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Personal vs. branded blogging

As I approach one year of ATC and as people like Lockhart Steele (founder of Curbed and Eater) return to personal blogging, I wanted to share something that’s been on my mind for almost this entire last year. And that is, should ATC just be a personal blog or should there be some greater end goal?

Right now it’s a bit of a hybrid. It’s hosted at, but along the way I created a somewhat independent Architect This City brand. The most obvious option is to continue to grow ATC and turn it into something like Curbed, This Big City, or Sustainable Cities Collective. In fact, a good friend of mine emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me why I’m not doing that.

But to do that would require a lot more time and many more posts a day. It would also mean more restrictions on what I can, or should, write about. Personal blogs are, well, personal. Branded blogs typically require a focus. Today I live comfortably in between both of those worlds. I write almost exclusively about city building, but I introduce many personal touches. Architect This City has become my personal brand.

In many ways, I feel like this tension is a natural one. With the rise of social media and the belief that “everybody is their own media company”, more and more people are finding themselves debating whether or not they should position themselves personally online or create an independent brand.

At the same time, blogging is evolutionary. It’s a laboratory. And most of the benefits are entirely indirect. Writing helps you get your ideas on “paper” and sort through them publicly. And sometimes that leads to unexpected outcomes. I mean, in the case of Lockhart, he started blogging about his Lower East Side neighborhood and that gave birth to Curbed, which he then sold to Vox Media.

So as much as I try and plan out where I think blogging everyday could take me, it’s also good to sit back, enjoy the ride, and just see where it takes me.

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