How Abuela’s Landscape Will Shape the Next American City

By James Rojas


Crawling between the plants in my Abuela’s garden was always full of surprises because I never knew what I would find; a beautiful flower, a broken ceramic Santo (saint), or an edible delight. Like many Latino children my grandmother’s house was my second home because she took care of me while my parents went to work. While the interior of her house offered very little comfort, beside a fresh bowl of beans, her garden piqued my interest as child. Through her stories of fairies, I retreated from the world and found a safe haven to be myself in her lush, magical garden. My eyes glazed at the fuchsias that hung similar to ear rings, and my tiny fingers dug into the dirt. I pretended the long stems of grass formed a skyline or the pedals of the pink hibiscus were the dress of a dancing girl. 

These early visual, spatial, and sensual experiences from her garden piqued my desire for landscape and to study urban planning….

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