Kanchan Wali-Richardson, MLA I 2021
Organization: Kounkuey Design Initiative
Sponsor: Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies Community Service Fellowship
“Hello! This summer I am very excited to be working with Kounkuey Design Initiative (KDI), based out of the Los Angeles area, though of course this summer we are primarily based out of zoom! KDI is a community development and design non-profit founded by multiple GSD alumni who came from both planning and landscape architecture backgrounds.
KDI partners with under-resourced communities to advance equity by using design and planning to leverage greater power for these communities. They firmly believe in community-led planning as the key to sustainable and equitable change, co-designing programs and spaces that integrate basic infrastructure, open space, enrichen social life, economic opportunity and environmental needs.
Over the course of the fellowship, I will be helping with multiple projects. My primary focus is on a large public housing project in the Coachella Valley. KDI is leading the community design process and landscape plan. For the last two weeks I have also been working on a project called Philli Play Streets, which is a program that turns residential streets in underserved neighborhoods into temporary play spaces for kids. I have had the chance to research the principles of playful learning and helped to create playful learning signage to enrich children’s experiences with the KDI playground kit of parts. It’s been wonderful to work with KDI to help bring joy into more kids’ lives, which feels all the more needed after the intense challenges of the last four months.”