“How people use space is really important.”

Foresighted urban planner and community activist James Rojas recalls growing up in the suburbs of East Los Angeles, notorious for the presence of gangsters. He remembers the importance of his vestibule, which he described as a miniature plaza where his family and neighbors gathered to celebrate birthdays and milestones and form strong social bonds. “For Latin Americans, that’s where they moved to survive. It’s really important how people use the space,” Rojas said.

LA-based Rojas made a special visit to the city center of CU Denver on June 2nd, where he had a conversation with Prime Minister Michel Marks and led by Regent Norbert Chavez. Attend.

Rojas’s visit took place during instrumental time in CU Denver as the university was preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary.th Chavez works with AHEC and the community to preserve and preserve the historic homes along Nineth Street to celebrate the anniversary and the people and communities who called Auraria home before the city of Denver embarked on a city project. We have embarked on a refurbishment initiative. For the first time, a three-facility campus that brings public higher education to the city, but in the process drives out and disperses hundreds of families. The Ninth Street initiative builds on more than 30 years of Displaced Aurarian Scholarship and last year’s scholarship expansion, with CU Denver, Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver), and Community College of Denver (CCD). , all A direct descendant of the Aurarians who lived nearby from 1955 to 1973. In addition, in May, HB 1393, a bill to provide additional funding for the exiled Auraria scholarship, was passed by the Colorado House of Representatives and the Senate and is now on the Governor’s desk. For consideration.

Intimate discussions explored the importance of CU Denver’s role in preserving community history while helping shape the future of the community. “We respect the past and promises. The present, which is the living memory of the people who lived there. And what the space will look like. The future of how we imagine, “Norbert said. “We want to take a genuine community-driven approach.”

With a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Rojas was part of the Peace Corps, traveled the world to study the city, and shared his philosophy and approach to community involvement. As a kid, he remembered. His dad took him and embedded the experience of his parents and his grandparents and told him a detailed story. “I got the job of the first plan, and it was boring,” Rojas said. “I just didn’t want to feel the place, I wantedknowplace. ”

Today, Lojas brings an interdisciplinary and artistic approach to urban planning and Latin traditions and beliefs such as fences, porch, murals, shrines and other structural changes in public and private spaces. When asked what advice the University of Colorado Denver would give in embarking on the Nine’s Street Initiative, Rojas said: I want to move that story forward so that the place has a memory-based meaning, not just a blank slate. When asked specifically about Nineth Street, Rojas said: It’s a very powerful space. ”

Attending was Miro Marquez, Director of the Latin American Behavior Council, whose mission is to empower Latin Americans in Colorado through leadership development, advocacy, and policy research. He commented on the importance of reconnecting his former Auralia neighbors. “When they are kicked out and dispersed, we lose their history and culture,” Marquez said.

Attendee Francis Torres lived in 10339th I attended an elementary school of Holy and St. Cajetan. St. Cajetan is an iconic pink church built in 1926, once a place of worship in the Auralia district. She was formed by various places of worship: St. Cajetan’s, St. Elizabeth of the Hungarian Church, and St. Dominic Catholic Parish. “The meaning and importance of our culture of walking from church to school made me feel okay about homeless people. My son DisplacedAurarian Scholarship to fund education in CU Denver. Torres, who used, said she hoped that CU Denver would embark on an initiative on 9th Avenue, saying, “Because we were there, we witnessed it, so with the community. Keep talking. ”

CU Denver plans to do just that. In addition, campus-wide units play an important role in the planning process, Chavez said. For example, this fall, the Faculty of Architecture Planning will hold a studio course, especially on 9th Avenue. “Everyone has an idea, but we need to discuss what the community wants first, and that’s the most important thing,” Chavez said. “If you start with the wrong foot, you won’t get back on track. We want to be thoughtful, attractive, and inclusive.”

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