Yasmin Fodil: New York City

What’s your historical Los Angeles and New York connection?
I was born and lived in Hollywood until 4th grade, when we moved to the valley (Van Nuys and Studio City). I moved to NYC after graduating from Cornell in 2005 and am now back living in Chinatown after a break for grad school in 2008-10. I’m from LA but I grew up (professionally and personally) in NYC.

Describe your experience in NYC.
I founded BYO in Washington DC but it is thriving here; the diversity of interest and talent in this city is unparalleled and constantly inspires new thinking in our own work.
From a design project to improve the delivery of services at a NYC housing agency to a Digital Innovation Lab I’ll be teaching at NYU this winter – my work is about applying multidisciplinary approaches to solving public problems and NYC has been a perfect breeding ground for this kind of collaboration.
The NYC lifestyle also really fosters side projects, which I am a big believer in. BYO recently released a report based on one of our own side projects — Improving the Coworking Experience in NYC. We are hoping to write a similar report on coworking in LA within the next year.

What was the biggest challenge of moving from LA to NYC?
All of my family and most of my childhood friends are in LA, and it was really hard to leave a city that I love full of people who I love. I try to go back as much as possible and my goal for 2013 is to create more of a bi-coastal lifestyle.

How can NYC and LA best engage with each other?
I see more similarities in NYC and LA than most people. They are both fiercely independent, unapologetic for even their worst characteristics, and full of creative energy and possibility.
That being said I feel like work is accomplished in wildly different ways and we have a lot to learn from each other in that regard. I’d love to participate in an exchange program for adults where I could spend a few weeks shadowing someone doing similar work in LA, and then host them in NYC to do the same. It’d be an awesome apprenticeship/exchange program/summer camp/community building exercise all in one. Anyone game?

Favorite LA secret spot
I grew up down the street from Henry’s Taco’s in Studio City. It is certainly not authentic Mexican but for me is the epitome of LA comfort food.

Favorite NYC secret spot
I live in Chinatown and go to Tasty Hand Pulled Noodle on Doyers street way too much. The roasted duck + pan-fried/knife cut noodles are insane.

If you were not at BYO, what would you be doing?
I believe in pursuing your passions, and that is what I am doing – working on all kinds of projects at the intersection of design + technology that make the world a better place. If I had to pick I could see myself working as a Librarian, redesigning library services for a digital age. That would be cool.


From the 2462 Miles newsletter: connecting NEW YORK CITY + LOS ANGELES

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