Learn more about Public Design Impact Initiative.
The Public Design Impact Initiative was successfully launched in the Rio Grande Valley. We received 6 proposals that address some of the issues border communities face. [bc] has convened a great jury with representatives of the nonprofit, design and grassroots leaders community to provide recommendations on which proposals should be selected for the 2016 PDII projects. Read more about the jurors' backgrounds below:
Michael Seifert is the Rio Grande Valley Equal Voice Network Weaver, a coalition of eight community-based organizations serving more than 100,000 residents on the Texas/Mexico/Gulf Coast border. The RGV Equal Voice Network has achieved important policy changes in immigration, housing, access to health care, education and jobs for its clients.
As a former priest who worked for many years in Mexico and Brownsville’s Cameron Park, Seifert has lived and worked in rural underserved communities and colonias in the Rio Grande Valley for the past 28 years. In 1998, he and other Cameron Park community leaders founded Proyecto Digna, a community-based organization which was instrumental in the nearly complete reconstruction of that community's infrastructure. He is currently a resident of West Brownsville, Texas.
In practice for over a decade, Carolina Civarolo, a Registered Architect and LEED Accredited Professional, has spent her career building experience through various design firms and projects. She began her professional career while attending the University of Houston, Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture. In 2003, Carolina worked in Barcelona, Spain for the office of Enric Miralles + Benedetta Tagliabue (EMBT), where she gained a passion for graphics and presentations. She worked for seven years at the local architecture firm Boultinghouse Simpson Gates Architects (BSG), where she collaborated on different building types and scales and gained experience as a project manager.
Today, she is founder and partner at ORANGE MADE, an architecture studio that explores the process and impact of design and construction of various building types, master planning and adaptive reuse of existing structures. Carolina believes that our clients’ ideas help motivate our solutions. She has served on the Executive Board of the Rio Grande Valley American Institute of Architects Chapter as Secretary/Treasurer + Vice President and currently serves on the City of McAllen’s Building Board of Adjustments and Appeals. Carolina was born in Cordoba, Argentina, grew up in Houston, Texas and now resides in McAllen, TX.
Lourdes Flores is the president of the Support Center at A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE), an organization of women engaged in leadership development and community-building in four neighborhoods in South Texas. Flores was born in Reynosa, Mexico and moved to Mission,Texas at the age of 12. After high school she joined A Resource In Serving Equality (ARISE). ARISE’s mission is to aid communities by helping residents identify life goals and build capacity; Its guiding tenet: Don’t do anything for anybody that they can’t do for themselves. The organization’s founder, Sister Gerrie Naughton, recruited Flores early on and encouraged her to share her skills. Lourdes, now 42, continues to provide resources that help residents achieve life goals on their own. Under Lourdes’ leadership, this community center network responds directly to each community's needs, combining them with larger efforts that transcend neighborhood boundaries. Lourdes is also a cofounder of one of the ARISE centers in Colonia Muniz. In 2012 she co-founded the first Community PTA know as ARISE South Tower Community PTA, and since then five more comunitario pta’s have been formed.
Emma Alaniz is a Colonia leader from Edinburg, TX. She organizes neighborhood meetings and has experience with community outreach and door-to-door canvassing. She believes in equity for all and that all communities should receive essential public services. Emma is committed to the civil rights fight.
Emma has been an active advocate for her community at the local, state, and national levels. At the local level, Emma represents her Colonia Curry Estates, at Commissioners Court meetings where she has issues regarding flooding and trash collection. She encourages her neighborhood committee to fight for solutions, succeeding with the development of drainage infrastructure in her Colonia. At the state level, Emma was very active in the fight for Street Lights legislation and has advocated for State issued Driver’s Licenses. The Street Light legislation passed in 2015 and Emma and her neighbors submitted an application to the county to obtain lighting installed in her colonia. At the national level, Emma traveled with a group of colonia residents and community advocates to advocate for a just and fair comprehensive immigration reform.
As a LUPE member, she has the opportunity to organize on several initiatives like Unidos por RGV and the Planning Committee for the Annual Cesar Chavez March.