Friday, May 11, 2007

East Los Angeles College Remembered

East Los Angeles College Lecture: Returning Home

Today, I gave a lecture at East Los Angeles College’s Department of Architecture, for a friend of mine, Alexis Navarro. I spoke to her students about my master thesis, “The Enacted Environment”, and covered urban planning/design as a career and profession. The class was made up of many Latino and Asian students. Many of these students grew up in Latino neighborhoods, and there was lots of exchange and excitement over my research. This was the first time anyone had explained to them the urban design elements, and cultural conditions, that make Latino places great. Explaining Latino urbanism to these students was a good way to empower them to understand their community from the ground up. With just a few new ways of seeing, and understanding, they are now able to begin to articulate for themselves the planning and physical needs of their neighborhoods, to enable them to pursue that which would promote, enhance, and protect their neighborhoods.

I also remember back to an ELACC I knew 20 years ago, and how lost I myself was in career planning at that time in my life. Hopefully, though, my recent lecture will turn some students on to the field of urban planning, and help them come to an understanding of the power of community activism sooner than I was able to.

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