James Rojas | An Island Press Author

James Rojas

James Rojas is an urban planner, community activist, educator, and artist who runs the planning, model-building, and community-outreach practice Place It!. Through Place It!, he has developed an interdisciplinary, community-healing, visioning, and outreach process that uses storytelling, objects, art-production, and play to help improve the urban-planning outreach process. He is now an international expert in public engagement and has traveled around the US, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and South America, facilitating over 500 workshops, and building over 100 interactive models. His research has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dwell, Places, and in numerous books. Relevant areas of expertise include using model-building as a means of community and planning outreach; working with underserved, disadvantaged communities and bringing overlooked voices to the planning discussion; making the physical form of cities relevant to broad audiences; and understanding how immigrants—especially Latino immigrants—see and understand urban and suburban space in the US and why they oftentimes reshape those forms in the ways that they do.

Want Less Polarization? Stop Talking and Start Building

Dream Play Build authors John Kamp and James Rojas on how the simple acts of building and playing offer an antidote for today's polarized debates.

In an article written in collaboration with the Urban Resilience Project, James Rojas and John Kamp (authors of Dream Play Build) write that the simple acts of building and playing offer an antidote for today's polarized debates. 

They write:

If your sense lately has been we are living in a society that has grown increasingly cranky, tired, and creatively bereft, it’s because, in our text- and language-obsessed era, we are. We have created a nation of citizens whose survival brains are on overdrive and whose creative brains have effectively been relegated to the corner.

Change starts with flipping the script and giving our stubborn talking brain a timeout. We set aside the faulty notion that more and cleverer and stronger language will ensure that those we disagree with will finally see the light, and we literally bring our hands up onto the table. We attune our senses to the wide world around us. And we build—with others, with strangers, with people whose political views we never even talk about.

Read the full article published in Planetizen HERE