February 21, 2012

Daniel Arreola on Latino Urbanism

by: Taz Loomans

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The Latino Urban Form lecture is this tomorrow!! We have an amazing panel who will talk about a relatively new and increasingly relevant concept called Latino Urbanism.

To give you an idea of what Latino Urbanism is about, I asked each of our three speakers to give us their thoughts on it in a short interview. You can find my interviews with Kevin Kellogg or James Rojas here and here, respectively.

Today I’m featuring the final interview with Daniel Arreola, a professor at ASU who teaches about Mexican Ancestry Populations in Phoenix.

The lecture will take place on Wednesday February 22 at 6pm at the Downtown Phoenix Public Market. Tickets are $5 and you can buy them here.  All ticket sales go towards making the Sustainable Communities Lecture Series possible. RSVP on Facebook.  A special thanks to event sponsors: Habitat Metro, Venue Projects, Kellogg + Associates, Barrio Cafe and The Clarendon Hotel.

Blooming Rock: What is your definition of Latino Urbanism?

Daniel Arreola: Here is what most agree to: Latino urbanism argues that Latino urban living in modern American cities can incorporate many of the principle tenets of new urbanism: compact urban form, pedestrian activity, public transportation, sustainability, recycling, and active use of public and private spaces.

Blooming Rock: Why is it important that communities understand what Latino Urbanism is?

Daniel Arreola: Latino Urbanism is a design and planning concept and while it might be based on certain ideas about how “Latinos” organize space, it is rather broadly stated and may not apply to all Latino groups.  For example, Mexicans and Dominicans are both considered part of a Latino population but there may be very different traditions of how lived space is organized in each group. What may be more important is that we as a society come to accept that there are different vernacular traditions that shape how people make a place.  Designing spaces for particular group traditions has a certain logic, but people who are members of a particular group may have a very different aesthetic than what we might think Latino Urbanism is all about.

Blooming Rock: How is Latino Urbanism is impacted by SB1070?  

Daniel Arreola: SB 1070 certainly impacts Latinos, but I’m uncertain there is necessarily a relationship with Latino Urbanism.  Please realize that I am not a professional planner or designer.  I study the vernacular landscapes that Hispanic/Latino groups make, and try to understand what those tell us about place making traditions.  I’ll leave it to the professionals to shed light on the value and worth of Latino Urbanism.

Come to the lecture this Wednesday to learn more and ask questions!

Photo Credit: The Perrona Megastore on Calle 16. Photo by the author.
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