José Guadalupe Gutierrez

Jose Gutierrez

Biography

José Guadalupe Gutierrez is community organizer and landscape designer with a passion for creating community-designed parks and open spaces. At a young age José developed a passion for greenspace from spending summers in his family’s pueblo, Valle de Guadalupe, Jalisco. In Mexico, kids play on the street without worry, families gather after dinner on the sidewalk to sit and chat with neighbors, and towns are surrounded by lush, open pastures. José always struggled coming back to his native Los Angeles, where he had to play by the train tracks near his home because parks and open spaces were too scarce, too far, or too dangerous to visit. This reality led José to his role as an organizer at the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust, a nonprofit that fights greenspace disparities by building parks and community gardens in working communities of color. At the Neighborhood Land Trust, José oversaw the organization’s existing gardens and lead the community design process for new greenspace projects. As an organizer, José also led the organization in its efforts to transform greenspace funding policy at the city, county, and state levels to ensure funds reach Los Angeles neighborhoods with the most serious greenspace disparities. In 2016 the Neighborhood Land Trust successfully mobilized more than five hundred Los Angeles residents to reform the city’s outdated Quimby ordinance, which allows the city to collect development fees for parks. The Neighborhood Land Trust’s efforts led to an updated fees system and an extension of the radius of where they could be used so that funding can reach greenspace-poor, working communities of color. That same year the organization spearheaded a successful campaign to pass Measure A, Los Angeles County’s own park funding measure, and in 2018 organized Los Angeles residents to support the passing of Proposition 68, which will fund stormwater management and greenspace projects across the State of California. José served on the board of the Los Angeles Community Garden Council, a nonprofit that supports 40+ community gardens across the county. As a board member José supported the Garden Council’s initiatives by offering his experience in garden management, leadership development, fundraising, and communications.

After completing his Master of Landscape Architecture, José worked as a landscape designer for Dake Landscape, a small studio based in Boyle Heights, that focuses on park and open space design and construction. This position provided an opportunity to continue to build quality parks and gardens in working communities of color so that everyone, regardless of race or upbringing, can live within walking distance of a greenspace. He is now a park and recreation planner and landscape designer at MIG, working on park development and planning, and green schoolyards: a new and important frontier in the fight for park equity in communities of color.

Fellow at a Glance

Fellowship Year:
2019
Academic Background:
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Master of Landscape Architecture
Current Position:
Park and Recreation Planner and Landscape Designer
MIG
Expertise:
Architecture & Urban Planning
Environmental & Public Health
Environmental Justice
Land, Open Space, Smart Growth
Phone:

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