Daví de la Cruz was born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Growing up in this neighborhood has shaped his approach in topics related to justice and the built environment. This includes Urban Planning, Urban Policy, Housing and Community Development as well as Public Park Planning and Design. His skillset in landscape architecture and urban planning were shaped by his schooling at California State University, Northridge’s Urban Planning and Chicanx Studies Program, as well as University of Washington’s Department of Landscape Architecture. In addition, Davi’s interest has been shaped by working with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a non-profit park developer in the Los Angeles region. He not only understood the importance of access to green space and park space in historically disinvested communities, but the role of shaping policy related to grant administration to address the need for green space access in working-class communities, and communities impacted by revitalization efforts.
Prior to joining Asakura Robinson (AR), Davi has grown his skills in capacity building of residents in stormwater systems, community capacity building around design and engagement processes and their relationship to the successful partnerships between multiple sectors from grassroots groups to private developers. Davi has focused on expanding the work of the Urban Studio, where he sits as a founding member and Board Secretary.
What’s your favorite type of community engagement activity?
My favorite type of community engagement activity is learning from knowledgeable leaders of a community and the ins and outs of their neighborhood; this is from getting their insight on the best place for bread, to the place that is prone to flooding after rain, to knowing where the longest standing community mural rests. Having these informal conversations helps reveal things that complement what we find in datasets.
If you could work on a project anywhere in the world where would it be?
The ideal project I would work on is in the place I was born and raised, what we now know as Los Angeles, also known as Tovangaar, land of the Tongva\Gabrielino\Kizh Nation. A project here that involves respecting waterways and greening land alongside community members.
If you had a superpower to make a bigger impact on communities/ cities/ or environments what superpower would you have?
If I had a superpower to make a bigger impact on communities, it would be to take on the size and perspective of a hummingbird to see how far I have to travel to the next greener area. This would provide me with a sense of how much more frequently I need to have access to blooming flowers, places for rest, and places to drink water.