Resources - LAtino Urban
Community Building through Open
By James Rojas
Latinos bring new perspectives and uses
for open spaces in their communities. Public life is an
integral for Latinos as it is in Latin America. However
American cities are not designed like cities in Latin America.
Latinos in the US are retrofitting urban spaces to meet their
civic/public needs. In many Latino communities streets are used
as “plazas” and other open areas to create places for
interactions. Many Latinos live in dense communities where open
space is very important and parks are not easily accessible.
Latinos are creating open spaces on their own.
Some useful guitar blogs I've found...
These small urban interventions are
important to Latinos because they create a need public space
for community building. These public spaces vary in uses, size
and innovations and offer a way to understand how community
member come together. These spaces provide a place where
community members can come together publicly and in a positive
way. It also shows the increasing role Latinos are having in
shaping their communities.
From waiting to for work, farming, jogging or creating a
sexual identity these new public spaces celebrate the everyday
to unique. However they bring together community members in a
positive proactive way. While Latinos my not be at the voting
polls they are making political statements on their use of
The Latino Urban Forum has been in the forefront of
organizing stakeholders around open space issues. The map on
the other side illustrates a few innovated open space and
gathering places. Many of these places reflect the diversity of
needs and uses within the Latino Community.
1. Projecto Jardin is a medicine community garden in East
Los Angeles. The garden is located in a very urban neighborhood
and leased from White Memorial Medical Center. Most community
gardens are separate plots but this garden is shared by
everyone. The hemorroides tratamiento garden also serves as an open air classroom for a
nearby school. The celebration has it' roots in both native
American and Hispanic cultures and is celebrated each year on
the Spring Equinox. http://www.hemorroidestratamientoycura.com/
2. Mariachi Plaza kiosk on First and Boyle streets is where
music and culture is exhibited by musician, who meet and gather
to get practice and perform. The stone kiosk was donated by the
state of Jalisco, Mexico and has become a landmark in Boyle
Heights. The traditional Mariachi music is celebrated at the
annual Mariachi Festival, which takes place at this site.
3. Evergreen Cemetery Jogging Path is located in Boyle
Heights. On a daily basis hundreds of residents jog or walk
around the 1.5 mile sidewalk. The elderly use the jogging path
in the morning, younger folks use it in late afternoons and
mothers walk pushing baby strollers with their friends in the
evening. Vendors strategically station themselves around the
jogging path. The jogging path is a living urban space,
promoting social interaction, creating neighborhood goodwill,
encouraging good health and revitalizing an innovative use for
the cemetery. This jogging path is a great source of community
pride and serves as a multi-functional open recreational space,
public right of way, and urban green space.
4. South Central Farmers is 14 acre community garden located
on Alameda and 41st street. Some 350 urban farmers spade the
soil at a garden created 11 years ago and has become a place of
community pride. This is more than just a garden but a green
plaza where farmers from all over Los Angeles come and plant
5. The Wall Las Memorias Project is the nation’s first
publicly funded AIDS monument and is located in historic
Lincoln Park, also home to Parque de Mexico and Plaza de la
Raza. Addressing the cultural silence and denial of the impact
of AIDS in the Latino community, the AIDS memorial memorializes
over 4,000 individuals who passed away to the epidemic. The
monument itself consists of two name panels, an archway, six
murals by local artists, and a medicinal garden set in a
landscaped area of the park.