Media for Change
Media for Change has been involved in this long term community transformation project since the very beginning and is currently following the Goombay Plaza Project with the goal of creating a documentary film that will serve as a instigator of similar ideas elsewhere in the country and the world.
Samina Quraeshi and her husband Richard Shepard joined at the School of Architecture, University of Miami in 1996, their first project focused on using architecture and design to revitalize one of Miami’s oldest communities in west Coconut Grove. The community had been established by Bahamian workers who came to Miami as workers to build out Henry Flagler’s vision on Miami. However the rapid boom and bust cycles of the town had left this old community behind and the area was facing the pressures of gentrification from all sides. Many from the community were choosing to leave and settle elsewhere.
Samina, who had joined the School of architecture as the Henry Luce Professor in Family and Community Design (1996-2004) forged a multi-disciplinary partnership across the University of Miami campus and students and faculty worked with west Coconut Grove community members to design and begin building businesses, community arts centers and even houses that would help at once to maintain property values and embed foster entrepreneurship in the community.
Although Samina and Richard left Miami and both of them sadly passed away in 2013, their work continues at the University of Miami, School of Architecture.
Under the leadership of Professors Charles Bohl and Armando Montero and others, the School of Architecture is now partnering with the west Coconut Grove Community to design and build Goombay Plaza. Currently, the first iteration of the project is using a community owned plot of land at the crossing of Grand Avenue and Douglas Road to organize a group of food vendors from the community to share their talents and cuisine in a public market. Furniture and stalls have been crafted from discarded wood pallets and a stage is now set up for bands to perform. Artist Wendell McShine is working with faculty member James Brazil and children from the community to create a large mural as the backdrop for the market. The mural is being carefully developed based on illustrations of food made by the children.