Leonardo Parra Agudelo

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BIndDes Universidad de los Andes, MFA (Des&Tech) Parsons: The New School for Design


Street Interventions for Change: Design with and for Community Groups and Grassroots Organisations




A large number of Latin American cities suffer from straining living conditions. In Colombia, where more than 50 years of an ongoing and undeclared armed conflict have led to forced internal migration, multiple grassroots organisations have emerged to creatively address civic issues related to under-served communities, including violence, poverty, social disenfranchisement and discrimination. This study examines the ways that grassroots organisations and community groups creatively engage in addressing civic issues through street-based interventions in Bogota from the adversarial design perspective. The study presents the development and evaluation of two different kinds of design artifacts: situated interactive interventions for grassroots projects and community consultation, which informed the application of adversarial design as a process for envisaging street-based interventions with grassroots organisations in Bogota, Colombia. The findings highlight the need for building collaboration networks, leveraging local obstacles through creativity; providing individual and collective learning opportunities as a means of capacity building for long-term social transformation and; emphasising the city and its streets as a playground for change where the future can be envisioned collaboratively with others in a creative fashion.




Leonardo Parra Agudelo is a designer and PhD candidate at the Urban Informatics Research Lab, School of Design, Creative Industries Faculty at QUT. His research interests are in how active citizenship can be supported by digital media, and the possible political implications of designing digital media for urban public spaces. Before his PhD candidature, he was Assistant Professor (teaching) at the School of Design and Adjunct Professor at the International Studies Centre at Universidad de los Andes in Bogota, Colombia. He was a member of the Universidad de los Andes Architecture and Design Faculty Committee in 2009-2011. He was chair of the Sigradi Conference 2010 and co-edited the conference proceedings. His work has been showcased in different venues around the globe, including the Chelsea Art Museum and Flux Factory in New York, Sónar International Festival of Advanced Music and New Media Art at Barcelona, and numerous events and shows in Colombia. He has been part of the Teachers’ Development Program of the Universidad de los Andes in 2005-2007 and 2012-2015. He has also been awarded with the Dean’s Award from Parsons the New School for Design 2005-2007, and QUT’s QUTPRA and HDR Tuition Award 2012-2015.


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