Latinos are one of the largest and fastest growing social groups in the United States, and their increased presence is profoundly shaping the character of urban, suburban, and rural places. This is a response to these developments and is the first book written for readers seeking to learn about, engage and plan with Latino communities. It considers how placemaking in marginalized communities sheds light on, and can inform, community-building practices of professionals and place dwellers alike.
Dialogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities will help readers better understand the conflicts and challenges inherent in placemaking, and to make effective and sustainable choices for practice in an increasingly multi-ethnic world. The essays explore three aspects of place: the appropriation and territorialization of the built environment, the claiming of rights through collective action, and a sense of belonging through civic participation. The authors illustrate their ideas through case studies and explain the implications of their work for placemaking practice.
A consistent theme about planning and design practice in Latino communities emerges throughout the book: placemaking happens with or without professional planners and designers. All of the essays in Dialogos demonstrate the need to not only imagine, build, and make places with local communities, but also to re-imagine how we practice democracy inclusive of cross-cultural exchange, understanding, and respect. This will require educators, students, and working professionals to incorporate the knowledge and skills of cultural competency into their everyday practices.
Michael Rios is Chair of the Community Development Graduate Group and Associate Professor of Urban Design and Community Planning at the University of California, Davis. His research and practice focus on marginality and urbanism. He received his PhD in Geography from the Pennsylvania State University, and MArch and MCP from the University of California, Berkeley.
Leonardo Vazquez is a founder and director of Arts Build Communities at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He was also a founder and director of the Professional Development Institute and the Leading Institute at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy. He is a community and local economic development planner with expertise in cultural competency, leadership development, and strategic communications. He was a founding member of the Latinos and Planning division of the American Planning Association, and its first chairperson. Most recently, he was chosen as the winner of the APA's 2012 National Planning Leadership Award for Advancing Diversity and Social Change in Honor of Paul Davidoff.