American Roundtable: Brownsville Undercurrents, Texas

Editors Lizzie MacWillie, Jesse Miller, and Josué Ramirez and report contributors Edna Ledesma and ChristinaMaria Xochitlzihuatl Patiño Houle present the report Brownsville Undercurrents and discuss key themes and findings.

April 9, 2021
12:00 p.m.

The Children's Parade marches down Elizabeth Street in downtown Brownsville during the annual Charro Days, a multi-day festival which has celebrated local cultures and traditions since 1938. Credit: Jesse Miller

American Roundtable is an Architectural League initiative, bringing together on-the-ground perspectives on the condition of American communities and what they need to thrive going forward.

How can grassroots organizations and individuals advocate for equitable development and the planning, housing, infrastructural, and transportation needs of underserved communities? How might design engage social service agencies to better serve populations? What strategies are being used to improve the lives of residents in informal settlements, such as the colonias of this border region? In a city of Tejano, Anglo, Indigenous, and Mexican communities, long defined by economic inequity and racism, how can public space and civic monuments be reimagined to create a more inclusive future for Brownsville, Texas?

Join editors Lizzie MacWillie, Jesse Miller, and Josué Ramirez and report contributors Edna Ledesma and ChristinaMaria Xochitlzihuatl Patiño Houle, as they share findings and highlights from their American Roundtable report Brownsville Undercurrents. Their informal presentation will be followed by discussion on some of the report’s key ideas and provocations with American Roundtable Project Director Nicholas Anderson and League Executive Director Rosalie Genevro. Read the full report on Brownsville, TX.

Learn more about the American Roundtable Initiative.

Lizzie MacWillie is director of urbanism at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP [bc], where she has worked on projects ranging from community engagement for the City of Dallas’ cultural plan to El Sonido del Agua, an arts and advocacy project in the Rio Grande Valley.

Jesse Miller is an architect with Megamorphosis in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Miller is an adjunct professor in the architecture program at Texas Southmost College in Brownsville, working with students on service learning projects with local municipalities and nonprofits. He serves as a vice chairperson for the Housing Authority of the City of Brownsville.

Josué Ramirez is the Mi Casita program coordinator at come dream.come build. in Brownsville, Texas. Ramirez guides participating families in the colonias and rural communities of Cameron, Hidalgo, and Willacy counties through the homeownership process and the design and construction of their homes through sweat equity. Ramirez also serves as the director of raw creativity for Trucha RGV, a media collective and online platform focused on the arts, culture, and social movements of the region.

Edna Ledesma is an assistant professor in the department of planning and landscape architecture at the University of Wisconsin-MadisonShe is co-director of the Kaufman Lab for the Study and Design of Food Systems and Marketplaces.

ChristinaMaria Xochitlzihuatl Patiño Houle is a mixed-race and mixed-Indigenous medicine woman and woman warrior. She is the lead visionary of the artists collective Las Imaginistas and the Network Weaver for the RGV Equal Voice Network.



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