Top Row (Left to Right):  Alexandra Castillo-Kesper, April De Simone, Lara Furtado, Sabrina Dorsainvil and Thomas Lane

Alexandra Castillo-Kesper
Alex comes to Parsons after serving as Director of Development for Watts House Project, an artist-driven urban redevelopment project located across from the historic Watts Towers neighborhood in South Los Angeles. Originally from upstate New York, Alex received her M.A. in Art History from the University of Southern California and graduated magna cum laude from Middlebury College. While at Parsons, Alex is interested in designing radical strategies to leverage local skills and talent and empower communities to reimagine and redesign their city on their own terms.

April De Simone
April De Simone has over 15 years of experience in productively launching and developing for-profit, non-profit and government projects. Ms. De Simone’s professional, volunteer and personal experiences enhance her effectiveness in targeting the most efficient frameworks that maximize the full potential of blended value impact initiatives.

Continuing to advocate for social innovation, Ms. De Simone launched, and currently chairs the New York Metro Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance (SEA). Since 1998, SEA continues to serve as the “go to” hub for a diverse pool of stakeholders committed to using progressive methodologies to promote social impact and change. With a network comprised of chapters across North America, SEA bridges in-depth resources and opportunities to a vast and growing network of dedicated entrepreneurs and organizations that demonstrate how social ventures are catalysts for change.

Ms. De Simone is also a founding partner of two social hybrid ventures launching in 2013 (kreatealamode & Access the Change). kreatealamode stems from a previous venture, Urban Starzz, and uses consumer lifestyle purchases to create economic, educational, and community growth. Access the Change focuses on engaging a wider community of stakeholders to define their place of value in the ecosystem of social innovation.

A graduate of New York University, Ms. De Simone has been recognized for her leadership and dedication in empowering individuals and communities and is actively involved in various boards, initiatives, and ventures that employ innovative capacities that scale social impact. Most recently, Ms. De Simone was nominated as a candidate for New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Economic Council Initiative. In addition, she currently is a graduate candidate at The Parsons School of Design, Design and Urban Ecologies Program.

Lara Furtado
Lara Furtado is a Brazillian citizen that participates in a governmental program that encourages top students to be visiting students abroad. As an Undergaduate student of Architecture and Urbanism in one of Brazi’ls most socially unequal cities, she decided to study urbanism in a non traditional way that challenged problems from a practical and direct approach. She has worked as an intern in 3 architecture firms only to understand that their business model and quality of projects did not match her ideas of what a good social project should be. Later she became a Researcher in a laboratory in Ceará’s Federal University foccused in Urban studies, and worked closely with communities affected by the World Cup’s infrastructure actions that were going to be removed from their homes. She has also dedicated, with a group of 12 students, to make sure that commnities from favelas could have legal access to their homes and resist eviction. Her challenge is to contribute significantly into making Brazil’s social programs more effective when it comes to garanteeing property to low income families, effectively charging taxes from big real estate developers and making sure that governmental capital is being invested towards high quality housing programs.

Sabrina Dorsainvil
Sabrina Dorsainvil, a Boston, MA native, received her undergraduate BFA in Industrial Design from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in the spring of 2012. Growing up in a Haitian family with nomadic moving tendencies instilled in her a need to understand connections and relationships between people and their interactions with their environments and objects.  She has been involved in student groups, service work, art initiatives, and has participated in a series of projects such as the designing of the Center for Art and Community Partnerships SPARC Artmobile. These experiences have called on her to use art and design as a tool for positive change, especially in youth and community development.

Tom Lane
Tom Lane has more than a decade of nonprofit management and fundraising expertise, having advanced the work of several leading regional, national and international political advocacy, environmental, health and human rights organizations.  Most recently, Tom was a Major Gifts Officer with Global Greengrants Fund, an international NGO dedicated to promoting global, grassroots social justice and environmental sustainability movements.  In addition, Tom is a active member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, The New School Alumni Association, and he has provided pro-bono fundraising consulting services for various youth, educational, and human rights advocacy groups.  He currently serves as a volunteer Advisory Board Member for The Child Soldier Relief Foundation.  Tom holds a BA in Political Science from Boston College, and a MS in Nonprofit Management from The New School.



97 thoughts on “reBOUND

  1. Fixing the Future Trailer – 4.5 minutes from JumpStart Productions on Vimeo.

    We have researched alternative local economies within the USA and abroad, Brazil’s Palmas in particular. This PBS movie highlights the Baltimore BNotes and a bartering system in Portland, Maine called Portland Time Bank as well as other things being done on a local scale to help re-engage people with the local. This is only the trailer, The full 54 minute movie can be found on http://www.pbs.org/now/fixing-the-future/index.html
    We also have looked at Ithaca Hours, based out of Ithaca NY

    Posted by sabrinadors | December 2, 2012, 4:44 pm

    According to a statement from The United Nations Special Rapporteur Raquel Rolnik on the right to adequate housing, “States should establish laws, policies and programmes to ensure that the percentage of housing-related costs is commensurate 
with income levels and that the attainment and satisfaction of other basic needs is not threatened or compromised.”

    With that in mind I found relevant the implementation of a tool in Brazil’s constitution that targets low income families and social housing. The “Estatuto das Cidades” (Law of the City) is a law that complements brazillian Constitution when it comes to urban policies and usage of land. I have highlighted three major advancements that I thought were connected to our studies.

    SPECIAL ZONES OF SOCIAL INTEREST – ZEIS: ZEIS are low income areas targeted for state intervention to promote their re-qualification, legalization, and urbanization according to Plans of Urbanization approved by the executive and formulated with participation of the population involved. The objective of this initiative is to protect areas from real estate speculation by establishing them as areas devoted to low-income housing. Likewise, it also subjects low-income neighborhoods and favelas—a type of low income settlement in which residents do not have clams of ownership to the land—to rules of occupation that differ from those of the rest of the city. For instance, ZEIS authorities may grant exemptions in land use standards in the name and interest of promoting low-income housing development.

    SOCIAL FUNCTION OF PROPERTY: establishes the principle of the social function and creates instruments for the state to implement additional taxes or force the utilization of properties that are not inhabited and therefore do not fulfill its social function. Individual rights over property are not more powerful than common rights over a property for it should be used towards public utility.

    USUCAPIAO: creates the ability to establish uncontestable title of ownership for residents who have squatted continuously for five years on small lots of urban land, given no legitimate opposition to the change in title.

    For more information read a file developed by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about Urban Policies in brazil.

    Posted by Lara Furtado | December 2, 2012, 3:31 pm
  3. Earlier this semester we thought to use on of my “hometowns” as an opportunity to compare the situations that exist within low-come communities. Lawrence has a high population of low-income residents. They aim to address issues around predatory lending and homeownership but they also branch off into youth development opportunities by use of the arts.They may be worth a browse, check them out —I also have some quotes from their website.


    “Like many post-industrial Cities in America, Lawrence has struggled for some time to re-invent itself for the 21st century. Our view at Lawrence CommunityWorks is that our City has two major challenges:
    Re-populating the civic landscape with residents who are able to take on leadership roles, work together to solve problems and lead the city into a place in the global economy.
    Finding a way to help its many struggling families to build assets, escape poverty and build the networks of support they need to succeed.
    Both of these challenges require an investment in Community Building.”

    “Purchasing a home can be a worthy goal to achieve, but it can also be a confusing and overwhelming task to undertake. To make matters worse, predatory lending practices have become widespread in our community, regularly targeting many low-income families. The Homeownership Center help members of the community become knowledgeable and stable long-term homeowners by emphasizing financial literacy, mortgage readiness, anti-predatory lending education, and consumer protection.”

    What tactics can we use here in the addressing of housing issues?

    Posted by sabrinadors | December 1, 2012, 9:03 pm

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