Chevening is looking for individuals who have a clear post-study career plan. Please outline your immediate plans...
PS: I have +22 words and need to narrow it down!
I the last 20 years I've seen my city grown into a concrete jungle; there are no clear plans and laws regarding how cities should develop. Public spaces and sustainability hasn't been a priority either, so inhabitants don't have a chance to relate to the most sensible and human part of the city.
In order to find solutions, I plan to join the research program at my alma mater (UNET) and create a project directed to the revitalization of public spaces in our city, outlining steps like: Diagnosis, community engagement, design-execution and expansion. This program would approach this issue in two angles: urban design and community participation. I've experienced firsthand that community-oriented participation, is the key when it comes to creating a change.
The first thing to do is to make a diagnosis of the current state of the public spaces and how they respond to the social-environmental context (Function, design, mobility and sustainability). After that, comes a phase where communities engage to participate in the design process. Here, local people have the opportunity to get involve and share their vision on what they would like to see/do in this areas, that way the design can truly reflect the community's identity. After collecting all this information, comes the technical part of the program, the design should attend not only the factors evaluated during the diagnosis, but keep a solution that is citizen-friendly enhancing the character of the context, playing with the landscape-environment to go on board with sustainable proposals. For me personally, is important to involve students in this project, so I think it could be beneficial to allow undergraduate students to join this program, especially those who could address this project as their thesis research.
For the execution, I would like to reach government related institutions that could carry on with the construction side of the project, following the guidelines offered by the research program. This also opens opportunities for locals in each community to find employment and participate in an active kind of way.
Universities usually have a budget for research programs. Although, I think it would be interesting to reach ONGs like Rotary and motivate them to support this project offering financial aid through a fundraising campaign. Another great target is to approach corporations and companies that look forward to lower their taxes by donating or sponsoring non-profit projects. These funds could be use not only for the research program but to the construction/revitalization of these public spaces.
Regarding the timeframe of this project, I believe it could take one year to design the program, summit it to the university research board and assemble the team that would help me lead it. Once the program is settled, I estimate that we could get on board with three different public spaces during the first year of research, taking each of these projects to full design competition.
One of the advantages of this program is that it has the possibility to expand in the future; it would be remarkable to see this program reach bigger sectors of the city, especially those outcast areas (slums) that lack of a defined urban plan.