Latino Urbanism + Post from The Grid

Check out my full blog post on Latino Urbanism on The Grid.

Last year I helped out with the Latino Urbanism Symposium in Phoenix. LU essentially is the adaptation of space in Latino immigrant communities (2nd or 3rd generation, typically) in the US. If you have ever been to a Latin American City, you probably have noticed how different it feels to be there. Did you ever once step into a private space or home? You probably spent most of your time in public squares and markets…very different from how we live in most US cities.

Two of my favorite concepts behind Latino Urbanism involve walls.

The first is the neighborhood interaction across the front fence or wall. Since our typical single-family home neighborhoods lack space for the plaza found in places like Oaxaca or Antigua, the front yard has become, in many senses, a place for conversing.

The second includes murals. Murals that tell you something: it might be a strong political message or it may just be telling you what you can find inside the building. These bring so much life to public space. Even if you are walking alone, you are still interacting with the building.

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What am I up to???

  1. Exploring the Netherlands and documenting/reporting what I find here.
  2. Completing my Masters Degree in Urban/Environmental Planning- to graduate in December.
  3. ‘Polishing’ my thesis after defending it this past summer…and hopefully submitting for publication.
  4. Conducting research on the built environment (from a social/psychological side of things) here in the Netherlands for the Exchange Program in which I am participating this fall.
  5. Blogging for another group called The Grid!

And the lovely job hunt ensues as well, but that doesn’t deserve a number.

what’s the small wall?

Why a Small Wall? Most posts will be snippets of observations. I don’t like writing long posts. I do like photos, maps, and info graphics. We will keep what is on the wall, small. You won’t have to hear me pontificate too often.

A Small Wall also describes a bit of how I think private/public interactions (both social and built) should happen in urban environments. While space should be delineated, there also should be ways to interact. You can see over a small wall; children can sit on it; you can talk to your neighbor as they pass by; there is protection yet transparency.

Also, it rhymes…