Why Community Engagement is vital to designing cities of the future


People naturally gravitate towards safe and familiar environments, but history proves to us that the most groundbreaking ideas and impactful changes are born when we step out of our comfort zones and learn from each other.

I believe that the same applies to our profession. It is impossible to build a meaningful place for people based solely on expertise in a specific project typology or based on current trends.

The definitions continuously change, from living to co-living, working to co-working, and even “co-experiencing,” etc. At the same time, the boundaries between office, home, hotel, and restaurant are getting more blurred and less noticeable. That’s why we invest in research and time spent with people who are crucial to the projects we work on. That experience is the most fascinating part of our process. At Strada, we truly design with people in mind®.

As architects, we have a unique opportunity to immerse ourselves into very diverse communities and learn unfamiliar stories. Sometimes it is very difficult to gain trust and a true level of investment. But, it is critical to invite everyone to the table and ensure that EVERY voice is heard. Our response and responsibility is to transform the information we gain into a physical place.

At any scale, the impact of our work on the end-user can be significant. Well-designed places can change the way people behave or even think. That gives us a tremendous opportunity to impact our cities in a positive way and make a change.

I believe in a democracy with respect to the environments we live in. I think everyone has a right to good air quality, natural light, and a sense of ownership in any building in which they spend most of their time. Unfortunately inequality and isolation is a growing challenge in the world today. Sometimes we have to advocate for those whose voices are not as loud.

As an immigrant, I know how important it is to restore a sense of belonging and participation. By investing in our communities we create a sense of attachment, identity and solidarity. This is a crucial aspect of a flourishing society. Well balanced and diverse communities are the driving forces of our cities.

Architecture should be a platform for initiating open dialog about the future of not only an individual community but the world at large.