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Place It! de James Rojas

By Camille Vilain

Place It! de James Rojas – Place It! by James Rojas

From his experience as an urban planner during 20 years, James Rojas realized how difficult it was to make unprofessionals participate to urban planning of their city. Urban planning is a field that remains relatively inaccessible from the unprofessionals because of abstract language, reading maps and plans, etc. From this observation, he set up a participative planification methodology. Through workshops, James Rojas aims to understand how to change the planning process and make it more open so that everyone can become an actor in the planning of the urban environment. For him, everyone is an urban planner inasmuch as every inhabitant has a relationship with the city, and uses it in some way.

Key actors

  • Main promoters:

James Rojas / Urban planner (graduated from MIT DUPS)

  •  Secondary players:

– John Kamp / Runs the facilitation and training portions of workshops, creates policy documents and designs based on the outcomes of the workshops, and designs and maintains the PlaceIt!

– The residents

– During workshops : Governor’s Island (NYC), Eugene (OR), Cal Poly Pomona, UCLA, USC, MakeCalgary (Canada)

– Non-Profits : Arizona Bridge to Independent Living, Phoenix, AZ – Artworxla (Heart Project), California Endowment, Los Angeles, CA – Casita Maria Center for the Arts, Bronx, NY – Communities for a Better Environment, Huntington Park, CA – Day One, Pasadena, CA – Hacienda Community Development Corporation, Portland OR – Interboro Partners – Growing Up Boulder, Boulder, CO – La Loma Development Company – Materials for the Arts, New-York, NY – Pico Youth and Family Center, Santa Monica, CA – Phoenix Revitalization Corporation, Phoenix AZ – Rockaway Waterfront Alliance, New-York, NY – Roosevelt Row Arts District, Phoenix, AZ – Side Street Projects, Pasadena CA – Taking the Reins – Transportation Alternatives, New-York, NY – Project for Public Spaces, New-York, NY – Van Alen Institute, New-York, NY

– Museums : Architecture & Design Museum, LA, CA – Bronx Art Museum, Bronx, NY – Chinese American Museum, Los Angeles, CA – Exploratorium, San Francisco, CA – Getty Center, Los Angeles, CA – Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, Mass – Japanese American National Museum, Los Angeles CA – LA Plaza Museum de Arte de Cultural, Los Angeles, CA – Modern Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. CA – Museum of Latin American Art, the Collaborative, Long Beach, CA – Natural History Museum, Los Angeles, CA – Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam – Pasadena Museum of California Art, Pasadena, CA – Orange County Museum of Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA – Riverside Art Museum, Riverside CA )- Skirball Center for the Arts, Los Angeles, CA – Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA

– Galleries : Woodbury Gallery, Hollywood, CA – Fifth Floor Gallery, Chinatown, Los Angles. CA – Gallery 727, Los Angeles, CA – 18th Street Art Center, Santa Monica, CA – Art Venues – L.A. Freewaves, Hollywood, CA – Watts House Project, Watts, CA – Flint Public Art Project, Flint, Mich – South El Monte Art Posse, El Monte, CA

– Festivals : Sparkcon Festival, Raleigh, NC – Northern Lights, Twin Cities, Minn. – Folk Art Every Where, Los Angeles, CA – First Street Green Park, New-York City, NY – Art in Odd Places, New-York City, NY – Artopia, Chinatown Los Angeles – Hugely Tiny Festival, Storefront, Pasadena CA. – Spontaneous Interventions : design actions for the common good, 13th International Venice Architecture Biennale, Venice, Italy – Imagine North Adams Pop Up Gallery, North Adams, Mass

– Education : Broadmeadow Elementary School, Needham, MA – Chandler School K-8, Pasadena, CA – Turning Point School, Culver City, CA – Windward School Premier College Prep, Los Angeles, CA – Bishop Mora Salesian High School, Los Angeles, CA – Environmental Charter High School, Lawndale, CA – Franklin High School, Los Angeles, CA – Roosevelt High School, Los Angeles, CA – Renaissance High School, Los Angeles, CA

– Municipalities : City of Boulder, CO / City of Fiint, MI / City of Los Angeles, CA / City of Monterey Park, CA / City of Riverside, CA / City of Medford, CA / City of Raleigh, NC / City of Santa Monica, CA / City of Temple City, CA

  • Beneficiaries:

– The participants of the workshop, mainly residents of the place in question.

Role of design

James Rojas’s workshops enable to create city models from small daily items (colors caps, LEGO…). This new model construction invites participants to understand that the physical environment can be transformed. This interactive planning process is a strong learning component. Designing in manipulating objects allows to model the experience of residents and users.

CONTACT (of the editor)

James Rojas – Organization : Place It !