Raised as an urban kid, playing on the steep streets of the world's highest (12,000 ft above sea level) capital city La Paz, Bolivia, at age 10 my family moved to another worldly region, Washington D.C. making me a real urbanist. I grew up in a humble low income single-mother household, with memories of my Aymara grandmother, whose legacy I reflect, embracing the barriers, struggles and achievements faced by all first-generation immigrants in a land that is also ours.
Always a scholar, as alumna of the University of Maryland and American University respectively, I earned undergraduate degrees in Arts Humanities and Architecture, and a Master’s degree in Int. Service and Global Environmental Policy.
My practice accounts for almost 20 years in community-centered urban planning and design, with expertise in policy analysis, equitable development, environmental justice, and public service. I am recognized by many as an expert in housing displacement prevention and in advancing equitable growth policies for front-line communities.
My expertise is in intersecting evidence-based policies with technology, managing data-analytics and conducting environmental and social impact assessments to pursue effective, sustainable, and empowered solutions. Over the years, I made significant contributions by spearheading 30+ community-based projects/programs locally, regionally, and worldwide. As well as drafting and advocating on over 30+ bills, 28 of which became law, in the District of Columbia.
In my first decade as an urban planner in the private sector, I recognized that the industry's disregard to address its role in social injustice and racial inequity, would not end, even despite its decade after decade failed attempts.
It became clear that without authentic representation meaningful participation, decision making power and capacity building, for and by those who are directly impacted, equity in development will not be reached.
For me, advocacy and activism, became a tool to ensure that equitable growth would be prioritized . Not just for my community, but for my own professional practice.
Purpose: to serve and empower disenfranchised communities through an equity-centered approach in development.
We strive to reach our purpose by:
- Developing master plans, strategies, designing programs, policies, that create community empowerment.
- Assessing the social & environmental impacts of public/private development projects.
- Ensuring that longtime residents have meaningful equitable participation.
- Building long-term capacity, to advocate and make decisions to improve their lives and neighborhoods.
EQUITABLE PROFESSIONAL PLEDGE
I pledge that every COMMUNITY that I choose to serve will:
Benefit equitably from development and growth.
Be provided with targeted solutions, actions, investments, towards gaining economic justice.
Be given ample notification and response time, that ensures equitable participation and representation of their interests and immediate needs.
Be provided with equal rights, access, choice, opportunities and benefits, regardless of race, class, gender, language , nationality and ethnicity.
Be provided meaningful opportunities to participate in all stages of development , public investment, and decisions.
Not bear adverse or negative impacts from development.
I pledge that every PROJECT that I work on will:
Meet the community and residents where they are, with the aim to listen to and prioritize their most dire needs.
Create choice, equitable opportunities, NOT displacement, mitigating gentrification and colonization.
Meet the needs of under-served communities by developing policies/programs, and practices aimed to end heath, environmental & economic disparities.
Build the capacity of all its residents to fully and substantively participate with decision-making power.
Manage growth and change by addressing historic, structural, and systemic inequities.
Preserve cultural and historic heritage, with inclusion.