Aline Mazeto Roldan
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Where did you go for undergrad and what did you major in?
Universidade de São Paulo (USP), São Paulo -- B.S. in Social Sciences.
Why did you choose to attend DURP at UIUC?
The Master in Urban Planning of UIUC stood out large in my mind, mainly because of its outstanding faculty in urban planning with a remarkably high research activity and a solid concentration area of community development for social justice. The program combines a rigorous intellectual approach and the preparation of competitive professionals, opening the doors for those interested in continuing to a PhD program. Furthermore, I appreciated the fact that the department was quite small and Urbana-Champaign had a small town feel. I applied for different programs in different countries and was accepted to all of them. After the first semester, I am still convinced that I could not have made a better choice.
What are your career ambitions?
Winner of the Global Millennium Prize of the United Nations in 2007, I started a non-profit and worked in informal settlements in São Paulo State (Brazil) for four years. Under the umbrella of community development, our work focused on three main areas: Informal Settlements, Urban Gardening and Public Schools. Our goal was essentially to mobilize citizens for creating local and collective alternatives based on their dreams, to activate and nourish “Células de Transformação”, civil society groups which, through the emergence of their own potentialities, design and implement responsive projects. Some examples include the incubation of neighborhood associations, community organizing for participatory budgeting, public square revitalization, propagation of low-cost systems of solar heating and rainwater collection, and education programs. We have trained 360 facilitators, received 1,200 applications and impacted directly more than 3,000 people in four cities.
My research interest relies on the link between imagination, urban planning and critical future studies. I want to contribute to the design and implementation of techniques and processes that allow citizens, mainly in low-income neighborhoods, to express their stories, embodied ideas and emotions, by this process visioning alternative and disrupting futures. My career ambition is to serve this purpose in an international context.