Design Open Mic: Empowering Communities to Prevent Disasters + Park Project Underway in the Portola District of SF

Design Open Mic: Empowering Communities to Prevent Disasters + Park Project Underway in the Portola District of SF

  • by Architecture for Humanity
  • Sep 21, 2011
  • comments

At the top of our Design Open Mic program this week, we had Justin Moresco, Project Manager of GeoHazards International -- a nonprofit group "working toward global earthquake safety" -- introduce Luz María Sánchez Hurtado, Executive Director of the Lima-based nonprofit Estrategia. The two organizations have teamed up to advocate for and train women of low-income communities in Peru to build housing that is seismically sound and safe for their communities.

Through mapping exercises that highlight problem areas and workshops in masonry and housing rights, the women of communities like Pachacute in Lima and Chocos to the south, are able to take charge and make a difference in the housing issues that have traditionally been managed by men and that have plagued them through the years. Through the training programs supported by Estrategia and GeoHazards International, women are becoming leaders in their communities and in some cases stopping evictions and even pushing to meet with the housing ministry for better solutions. Download Ms. Hurtado's presentation, see photographs from the concrete mixing and mapping workshops, and check out video highlights below.

Following Ms. Hurtado's presentation, Reaz Haque and Bo Wongkalasin -- both from Architecture for Humanity's San Francisco Chapter and SmithGroup -- presented "1 Burrows," a project that will convert a small pocket of space in the Portola District from a dead-end dumping site into a sloped park and bioswale. With neighbors and the Portola Neighborhood Steering Committee already heavily involved in the project, the planners hope that the landscaping and activity will revitalize the neighborhood in the long run. See the beautiful drawings and plans that have been sketched out so far in the download-able PDF presentation below.