Out West student blog

Advocating for Equity in Urban Greening Projects

Jess Dominick sitting on a rock at Lake Alpine, a local camping destination.

By Jess Dominick '22
Hometown: Angels Camp, CA
Major: Architectural Design
Parks for People Bay Area Project Intern, The Trust for Public Lands

Why did you want to do this internship?

I wanted to do this internship to explore my passions for environmental justice and urban planning. Even though the internship is a bit different from what I expected now that it’s remote work, I'm still exploring subjects that are meaningful to me and feeling like I'm making an impact in the work I'm doing. I'm able to see and work on real-world connections and actions relating to environmental concerns and sustainability, getting an inside look into the field of urban design.

How does your role support the host organization’s mission?

With the projects that I work on, I'm actively helping to communicate with community partners and organizations that are involved in the design, planning, and construction process of urban green spaces in the Bay Area. I'm supporting them in their roles to help communities and engage residents to ensure that everyone is given access to healthy green spaces.

Describe a project you will be working on this summer.

I'm working on a project that relates to a wellness trail in Richmond, California, where we are creating space for multimodal transportation access and community engagement with local businesses. I'm drafting a report, which will take the majority of the summer to create, that will assess and analyze community concerns relating to gentrification and the risk of displacement in the area. Day-to-day activities include researching topics I'm genuinely interested in, interviewing community members about their thoughts, and designing a report that will inform the rest of my organization, the city of Richmond, and the surrounding community about the impacts of our work.

How does this project relate to your studies and/or career goals?

In the future, I hope to incorporate methods of environmental justice and sustainability into design work through architecture, urban planning, or community organizing. I'm working directly with landscape architects who have gone through programs that I may one day want to go through, so it's helpful to hear about their experiences and projects. This sort of advocacy work, particularly my project relating to gentrification, is something that I'm really passionate about and hope to continue as I figure out what I want to do with my life.

What do you like to do in your spare time? 

In my spare time, I've been spending a lot of time with my roommates, doing things like painting or playing Smash together. I've also been doing a lot of reading in an effort to educate myself on various issues going on in the world right now. I've also been making a lot of different playlists, which has been a fun way to explore new music and decipher how music makes people feel.

Read more at the Out West Student Blog »

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