Intro: Simon Tan

I’m an aspiring urbanist, on a journey to start a new career as an urban planner. Currently taking graduate school courses and aiming to finish in 2022.

I previously had a run as a product manager in the software industry. I worked for companies including Dropbox, Atlassian, Box, and Microsoft, specializing in mobile & enterprise productivity SaaS (cloud software).

While I’m passionate about the future of work and mobile productivity, I left the tech industry in 2020 to pursue my other lifelong passion in urban planning, where I have much more to learn and new ways to grow. I’ve been involved with nonprofits such as SPUR, SF Transit Riders, and Seamless Bay Area for years, but now I’m taking this hobby to the next level.

Brisk mobility largely defined my style as a product manager in tech, and I anticipate this is an element I will carry with me as I enter this new field. I look forward to documenting the journey here and invite you to connect and offer any advice or suggestions along the way!

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Recent Posts

  • A Treatise on Meritocracy
    On paper, I could be a poster child for the class mobility promised under a truly meritocratic society. I was born to freshly immigrated parents with minimal financial resources and no ability to speak English. For most of my childhood, we were essentially in continuous poverty – bouncing between cities where my parents could find … Continue reading A Treatise on Meritocracy
  • The Color of Law
    This is a review of The Color of Law, fairly established as required reading in most American urban planning graduate programs these days.
  • California’s Push for Sustainable Communities (SB 375)
    1      Introduction In 2006, the California Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32) was passed – requiring that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions across the state be reduced to 1990 levels by 2020. An executive order called for emissions to be reduced even further to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. These landmark climate actions necessitated many … Continue reading California’s Push for Sustainable Communities (SB 375)
  • How to Regulate Ridesourcing
    1      Introduction Between 2010 and 2012, companies such as Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar were pivoting from their original business models (on-demand limousine service, closed-network ridesharing, and peer-to-peer carsharing respectively) towards a new type of service that would match any person looking for a ride to an informal network of non-professional drivers willing to provide one. … Continue reading How to Regulate Ridesourcing
  • Memo: Sustainable Transportation 7
    Part of a series of “reading memos” that offer a brief summary of interesting academic content along with my personal reflections. This one covers Chapters 9, 11, and 13 (cars and transportation demand management) from Jeffrey Tumlin’s Sustainable Transportation Planning.
  • Memo: Sustainable Transportation 6
    Part of a series of “reading memos” that offer a brief summary of interesting academic content along with my personal reflections. This one covers Dablanc & Rodrigue’s chapter (“The Geography of Urban Freight”) from The Geography of Urban Transportation.