Dialogo to highlight planning issues facing border regions

Cecilia Giusti

Cecilia Giusti

Nabeel Hamdi

Nabeel Hamdi

Stan Marek

Stan Marek

James Rojas

James Rojas

Urban issues affecting the Texas-Mexico border will be discussed by experts and participants at Dialogo on the Border, a conference sponsored by a multidiciplinary partnership that includes the diversity council at Texas A&M’s College of Architecture April 19-20 at the International Technology, Education and Commerce Center in Brownsville, Texas.

“In addition to examining border issues from a planning perspective, the "dialogo," Spanish for "dialogue," will engage participants from other disciplines, including architecture, construction science, engineering and communications, in a discussion seeking solutions for the myriad challenges affecting border regions,” said Cecilia Giusti, chairwoman of the college’s diversity council and associate professor of urban planning.

Year of Diversity The event is tailored for those interested in improving living conditions in border areas, including planners, community and political leaders, law enforcement personnel, academics, and representatives from charitable organizations.

The Dwight Look College of Engineering, the map and geographic information system library at Evans Library and the Texas Sea Grant are additional Texas A&M entities partnering with the diversity council to sponsor the dialogo.

Registration details are available online.

Keynote speakers at Dialogo on the Border will be Nabeel Hamdi, emeritus professor of housing and urban development at Oxford Brookes University, Stan Marek, chief executive officer of Marek Brothers Systems, Inc., and James Rojas, founder of the Latino Urban Forum.

Hamdi’s award-winning housing projects, which he developed as an architect at the Greater London Council between 1969 and 1978, established his reputation in participatory design and planning.

From 1981 to 1990 he was associate professor of housing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was awarded a Ford International Career Development Professorship.

His many publications include Small Change, Housing Without Houses and Action Planning for Cities.

Stan Marek is a 1969 graduate of Texas A&M and chief executive officer of Marek Brothers Systems, a major corporate partner of Texas A&M’s Department of Construction Science and one of the largest interior contractors in the southwest.

Marek, who has focused on workforce development, sustainability and comprehensive immigration reform, is the co-founder of Texans For Sensible Immigration Policy and a member of Americans For Immigration Reform, a Greater Houston Partnership task force.

He is also a member of the World President's Organization, a senior fellow of the American Leadership Forum, sits on the board of directors at the University of St. Thomas, is a founding member and past president of the Department of Construction Science’s Construction Industry Advisory Council and president of the Diocesan Foundation Board of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston.

James Rojas, founder of the Latino Urban Forum, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of planning and design issues facing low-income Latinos, is an urban planner, activist and artist who employs participatory processes for community based design.

Rojas, who earned Master of City Planning and Architecture Studies degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, links communities to urban planning by facilitating public planning workshops. He has written and lectured extensively about how culture and immigration are transforming the U.S.

The conference will also include sessions and roundtable discussions showing how planning theory can be applied to address border issues, best practice examples from experts, tours of key projects, and more.

John Jacob, a community development specialist with the Texas Sea Grant Program, will join the speakers in facilitating the workshops.

Dialogos, an initiative of the Latinos and Planning Division of the American Planning Association, have been held around the United States to identify critical planning issues affecting Latino communities and planners.

“The dialogo is also part of an effort to build a diverse and supportive national network of planning, community and policy professionals interested in addressing the many issues affecting communities around the country,” said Giusti.

For more information on the April 19-20 Dialogo on the Border, or for details about a limited number of scholarships available to attend the conference, contact Jan McCoy at jmccoy@arch.tamu.edu or 979.458.0539.

posted March 12, 2013