A new book exploring critical planning issues facing Latino communities will include a chapter about a building technique in Texas colonias written by Cecilia Giusti, assistant professor of urban planning at Texas A&M, and Miriam Olivares, an Urban and Regional Science doctoral student.
Their chapter in the book, “Dialogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities,” edited by Leonardo Vasquez and Michael Rios, focuses on incremental construction, a gradual process of building and upgrading dwellings as funds become available, a widespread practice in Latino neighborhoods.
Incremental construction, say the authors, is an opportunity for planners to search for ways to stimulate positive and minimize negative aspects in the building process.
They have observed that penalizing Latino builders whose construction practices don’t comply with city regulations creates resistance and reduces citizen participation, wrote Giusti and Olivares.
The topic was also discussed during Latino Dialogo in Texas, a daylong symposium at Texas A&M in 2008, hosted by the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning, the College of Architecture and the Center for Housing and Urban Development, that aimed to advance the Latino agenda in planning.
“Dialogos: Placemaking in Latino Communities” investigates how Latino communities collectively engage in placemaking and looks at strategies to build more sustainable and effective working relationships between Latino communities and planning professionals. It is scheduled for publication in January 2012.