Why is design an important part of revitalizing communities?
Design empowers people because it allows the designer to see space as something beyond the static and be shaped by the most personal of imaginations. Furthermore, design can be a democratic process shaped through the exchange of ideas where everyone participates. This can be an inspiring feeling for many communities, as many feel like they do not have a voice. As a result, it is through that initial "jolt" of inspiration that the purest form of change can occur. It allows the first instance of revitalization to be within, creating a healthy individual and in effect a healthy more optimistic community.
What has been most surprising, rewarding, or fun about your Collaborative experience?
Being able to listen to the needs of the diverse communities I've worked with, while in the community design collaborative, has been the most rewarding and fun. Each person has a subjective view of the world and being able to understand that narrative allows for an appreciation of complexity. When you piece together distinct stories it allows for you to understand an individual's understanding of place. As a result, the boundaries of space are no longer just physical because a responsibility is added towards the collective memory that makes a place.
What do you love most about Philadelphia?
Philly is a city that is easy to navigate but where you're never done exploring. Every alley has a story, every neighborhood a culture. You are always in contact with the past which is refreshing when you're so caught up in issues of the "future", it’s always a treat to look up. The food is always great, there's always a new restaurant opening. Furthermore, people in Philadelphia easily appropriate urban space. Informal gatherings are plenty.
Is there anything else you'd like to share about yourself?
Make sure to connect with Leandro on LinkedIn!