Above: Landscape designer Frank from KDI Kenya with LA-based Eric (planner) and Ross (fabrication design) during a recent exchange visit.

Hello and Happy Giving Tuesday! 


To celebrate and mark the beginning of our year-end campaign, we're taking a few moments to say a huge THANK YOU to our incredible staff and community partners, who tirelessly give their time, expertise, and passion to building better neighborhoods and cities every day. 

As we kick off our annual appeal, we warmly invite you - old friends and new - to join us by making a gift to KDI today. 

Donate

With gratitude,
The KDI team.


Above: Dancers take to the stage at the El Grito event, held in September on the site where the new park will be built.

The 20-strong Oasis Leadership Committee, originally established to co-design, program, and manage the forthcoming 14-acre Productive Public Space in Oasis, CA have become community advocates with big ambitions.

The Committee members quickly established themselves as the chief point of contact between local residents and government agencies, helping draw much-needed resources to an overlooked and under-served farming community. Meeting once a month, they discuss community needs, liaise with local elected officials, and even organize cultural events.

Back in September, the Committee organized an "El Grito" event to celebrate the diverse nationalities and cultures in Oasis. Working closely with local parks agency Desert Recreation District and hiring local women-run food collective Antojitos Mexicanos Oasis to cater, they pulled off a spectacular event attended by over 200 residents! 

Aside from providing delicious food, traditional music and dance, raffles, and games, the Committee also asked attendees to fill out a survey on recent flood events to identify where the gaps in resources and response are. They’re now using the data to develop an Emergency Response Plan that will help residents better cope with future climate risks. 

Thank you, Oasis Leaders, for being such inspiring partners and dedicated activists. We can’t wait to see what you do next!  


Above: Local residents identify public space solutions at a design workshop earlier this year.

A group of reformed youth in Makina Village, VUMA (which stands for "Youth for Sanitation and Development") are partnering with us to develop our 11th Productive Public Space in Kibera - and it’s far from business as usual.

The co-design process for any Productive Public Space has a way of highlighting the expertise and and building the capacity of our partner community groups. But the KDI team has been seriously impressed by how VUMA have not just identified clever public space solutions for local flooding and sanitation problems, but made the design process their own.

Co-facilitating and even leading a number of design workshops, the youth have pushed their fellow community members to have sometimes difficult conversations about the knotty challenges facing them. These included workshops to identify the specific sanitation and safety issues facing women in Makina village, and a series of focus groups to address gender biases on the construction site.

On top of this, some of the youth have joined the KDI-KEFRI Carpentry Academy, where they will fabricate sustainable doors and windows for the new KPSP11 sanitation block and community hall. They’ll bring the public space to life with their own hands, while learning vocational skills to support a more prosperous future for themselves and their community.

VUMA, it's a privilege to be your partners – keep up the great work and keep showing us what you can do!


Above: The KDI team, local residents, County representatives, and other stakeholders gather to celebrate the opening of the KPSP05 footbridge. 

It’s been a stellar year for the KDI team, and we couldn’t be more proud or grateful for what our designers, planners, researchers, and community organizers have achieved. Here are some highlights!

In Nairobi, we were thrilled to complete the new footbridge at KPSP05 (pictured) which was officially adopted by Nairobi City County – a landmark step in bringing formal infrastructure to an informal settlement. We also finished the sustainable landscaping at KPSP08 Anwa Junior Academy, bringing a more pleasant and productive learning environment for 400 kids, and completed our tenth Productive Public Space in Kibera, which opened in the summer.

With all these projects wrapping up, the KDI Kenya team didn’t rest on their laurels. Our researchers carried out hundreds of surveys for the Community-Responsive Adaptation project to capture data on flooding, while the planning and community teams kicked off a series of pilot projects to test new weather and climate communication systems.

Not to be outdone, KDI US also had plenty of successes in 2019. The Eastern Coachella Valley’s first active mobility plan was adopted by the county in 2019, and promptly won $6.8 million in funding and two APA awards! In partnership with Public Health Advocates, we helped 11 under-resourced municipalities across California apply for new state funding for parks – delivering dozens of workshops and building government capacity to engage communities in park design in the process.

In other news, we kicked off the Adopt-A-Lot pilot program - marking a huge step forward in how public vacant land is managed, began work to renovate the Vare Recreation Center in Philadelphia, and designed 15 street safety and livability improvements across Los Angeles under the People St program!

Please join us in saying a huge and heartfelt thank you to each and every staff member who has made all of this possible. You are all AMAZING!



If you want to support these projects and help our community partners build healthier, more prosperous neighborhoods,
please give a year-end gift to KDI today.

Donate


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Address postal inquiries to:
Kounkuey Design Initiative
309 E 8th Street
Suite 205
Los Angeles, CA 90014