Hello classmates, colleagues and friends,
For the few of you who don’t know me yet, I’m Mandia Gonzales. I originally hail from the SF Bay Area, specifically the East Bay. Although the East Bay is technically my hometown, I claim Tucson AZ and the Sonoran desert as my real home. However, Portland is slowly wooing me and I expect to call it my new “home” real soon.
I’m currently a second year in the Masters of Urban and Regional Planning (MURP) program at Portland State University. While in the MURP program, I am focusing my studies on the challenges, goals, plans and policies associated with active transportation. I strongly believe that future cities must embrace active transportation in order to create healthy and happy communities, grow economically, and reduce social inequalities. Along with transportation, I am also passionate about urban design and how it can effect sustainability, livability, and diversity. With all that said, my interests lie at the intersection of urban design, land use and transportation planning.
Previously, my transportation related experiences have been centered around advocacy, community outreach and education. I have served as an intern for the Living Streets Alliance, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance, and once I return from Delft I will be spending the remainder of the summer with the City of Wilsonville working in their South Metro Area Regional Transit (SMART) department.
My interests and goals in taking this course are multiple. As a designer by trade, I’m interested in how urban design creates a safe network of streets for all users, but also, how design choices such as land-use decisions create a vibrant streetscape. Secondly, channeling my inner Jan Gehl, I’m curious how treating streets as public spaces promotes active and passive uses on the street, and from a social science point of view, how culture plays a role in created policies that promote such spaces. Lastly, active transportation has many social and environmental benefits, so understanding how Delft has created such a extraordinary bike/ped. network and why people choose to use is key in relating infrastructure and design to American cities.
Overall, I believe this experience will invaluable to my professional and personal growth. I’m looking forward to learning in a hands-on experience and riding the streets of Delft with new and old friends!