Holding Back the Flood – Next City

Community Engaged Design in America

Holding Back the Flood

Texas Observer
Yvette Vela

In this article, Daniel Blue Tyx reports on the victories won and the struggles still being fought in the long-suffering coloniasof the Rio Grande Valley, in South Texas. Tyx’s story describes how designers and organizers are working together alongside underserved communities to secure public resources that are rightfully theirs. In this case, the resident activists of Land Use Colonia Housing Action (LUCHA), led by colonia native Josué Ramírez, with the help of architects from buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, trained themselves to evaluate their infrastructure problems and articulate their needs. Colonia resident and activist Eva Carranza says that before residents allied with organizers and architects, they lacked the kind of information that would make officials listen. “We yelled, we begged, but nothing changed,” Carranza says. “It wasn’t because we weren’t working hard. It was because we didn’t have the right tools.” Read this article to learn how these groups are continuing to work as a coalition to design detailed plans and articulate to officials exactly how they want future infrastructure funds to be spent.

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Organizations Referenced

Land Use Colonia Housing Action (LUCHA), Texas Low Income Housing Information Service, bcWORKSHOP

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