August 2012

UNM Establishes Indigenous Design and Planning Institute

The University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning has established an Indigenous Design and Planning Institute, iD+Pi, to provide greater awareness, understanding, appreciation and adaptation of design and planning techniques that have long served Native communities. The director of the institute, Ted Jojola (Isleta Pueblo), describes indigenous planning as “a worldview constituted from people who live successfully over generations in the same place, who understand a really important sense of self and meaning. That’s very different than what you find in urbanized communities where you use it, abuse it, you leave and then go somewhere else. The indigenous focus emphasizes community sustainability over short-term solutions.”


Jojola began teaching at UNM in 1980 and was named a distinguished professor last summer. He said that iD+Pi will be a resource to tribal communities. “We are already discussing projects with the Red Pond Road Community near Church Rock as well as the pueblos of Santa Clara, Taos and Ysleta del Sur. Others are clamoring for our assistance in technical issues, as well as aid in doing planning and design in a culturally informed way,” he said.


Jojola received a $70,000, two-year Surdna Foundation grant that, together with $30,000 from the Office of the Provost, allows him to hire a halftime program coordinator and a faculty member. The program can also tap into a special fund of $1.6 million endowed in support of regionalism and the Indigenous Design and Planning Institute.




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