James Rojas is an urban planner, community activist, educator, and artist who runs Place It!, a planning, model-building, and community-outreach practice. Through Place It!, he has developed an interdisciplinary, community-healing, visioning, and outreach process that uses storytelling, objects, art-production, and play to help improve the urban-planning outreach process. He is an expert in public engagement and has traveled around the world, facilitating more than 500 workshops and building more than 100 interactive models. His research has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Dwell, Places, and in numerous books. Rojas’ areas of expertise include using model-building as a means of community and planning outreach; working with underserved, disadvantaged communities and bringing overlooked voices to the planning discussion; making the physical form of cities relevant to broad audiences; and understanding how immigrants — especially Latino immigrants — see and understand urban and suburban space in the US and why they oftentimes reshape those forms in the ways that they do. He is the co-creator of their traveling and interactive sound/video/model-building installation Tracks to Build to.
John Kamp is an urban and landscape designer, licensed landscape contractor, facilitator, and DJ/producer. He runs the landscape, design and engagement practice, Prairieform. Through Prairieform, he has developed innovative tools to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in urban and landscape design, transportation, walkability, climate change, and water conservation. Building on his 15 years of experience in landscape and urban design/build, Kamp translates findings from Rojas’ Place It! community engagement workshops and trainings into designs for inclusive and livable streets and neighborhoods that leave room for all residents to improvise and create a more welcoming public realm.
Kamp and Rojas are co-authors of Dream Play Build: Hands-on Community Engagement for Enduring Space and Places and co-creators of the traveling and interactive sound/video/model-building installation, Tracks to Build to.