Kounkuey Design Initiative

Productive Public Space (PPS)
Saint Anthony's Trailer Community, Coachella, CA
Phase I

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In the Coachella Valley a lack of affordable housing has led to more than 120 un-permitted mobile home parks serving as this community's primary means of low-income housing. These parks are in varying degrees of degradation, but all face poor access to sanitation, water, nutritious food, public transportation and electricity.

As Project Lead in February-April of 2011 I was responsible for Phase I of the St Anthony project. My role as project lead included grant writing, community organizing, leading and overseeing design workshops and design charrettes in Spanish, leading community workshops, and managing partnerships with local non-profits and community organizations. I co-authored a successful grant application for the California Endowment’s  Building Healthy Communities Initiative that allowed for phase 2 to move forward.

In February 2011, I worked for KDI to conduct several community workshops at St. Anthony to understand the community's most pressing needs - residents identified three: improved access to affordable food, a central gathering space to facilitate community organization and education and a safe, climate-appropriate recreation area for youth.

In March and April, 2011 we held youth art and gardening days to engage residents and introduce the possibilities for a Productive Public Space. Throughout that year KDI worked with community members in a number of design charrettes to establish components for a Productive Public Space that would provide solutions for identified community needs.