Dr. Patricia Wilson's graduate planning studio is an ongoing investigation into the methods of participatory action research as a program of agency-building and deep dialogue in the peri-urban communities of El Tráfico and Llano Grande, located in the northwestern outskirts of Mexico City. Using a whole-systems approach, the studio collaborated with the communities and the local project partners--Universidad Albert Einstein, Universidad Fidel Velasquez, and the Presa de Guadalupe Watershed Commission--to create social spaces that address the ecological and communal issues at play in the Guadalupe watershed. Objectives included building relationships between the local communities and the larger governmental and ecological bodies, as well as fostering the communities' own capacity for planning and action.
body of work
Work in the communities involved the following four elements of sustainable planning and design:
- participatory mapping of greywater-filtering plants and waste sites;
- ecotecnia workshops on how to resue waste in the communities, such as creating thread from plastic bags;
- park designs for a contaminated site with tenous land rights;
- humedal (bioswale) construction and co-education for water filtration;
- capacity-building and horizontal action planning to address long term regional ecological concerns.
Each participant has kept detailed journals with research into particular issues including land tenure, ecological systems, infrastructure, among others (see sidebar).