Alejandra’s thoughts and works on improving cities

Welcome to Urban Matters, a digital space that brings together articles about current urban issues, reflections about the cities and places I visit, a professional portfolio, urban events & resources, and much more! This is a personal and professional space, which are the same when passion meets work. Cities the physical manifestations of human complexity, the settlements and systems we have created to organise and manage our societies– are the focus here.

This space is:

  • Global:  To really understand cities, we have to learn from all of them: big & small, planned & unplanned, successful & unsuccessful, cosmopolitan & secluded, urban & rural settlements, etc. Hence, I aim to gather insights from various corners of the world.
  • Critical: Every single city in the world has its issues. These vary greatly in nature, scale, and complexity depending on the context. Understanding what is wrong, and what could be better is the first step in the quest to make cities better: more just and sustainable 
  • Ever-evolving: Just like cities, and everything around us, this web: its content, thoughts, and the author herself, are in constant change: in self-criticism to learn, grow, and improve every day.
 

What’s the “MATTER” part?

  1. Matter refers to the construction material from which the built environment, and everything we know, is made of 
  2. Matter is also a subject, topic, theme, or issue that is worthy of exploring and understanding 
  3. It also means importance. Urban affairs do matter, especially when we project 2/3 of the world will soon live in urban areas, cities matter now more than ever!

Alejandra’s thoughts and works on improving cities

Welcome to Urban Matters, a digital space that brings together articles about current urban issues, reflections about the cities and places I visit, a professional portfolio, urban events & resources, and much more! This is a personal and professional space, which are the same when passion meets work. Cities the physical manifestations of human complexity, the settlements and systems we have created to organise and manage our societies– are the focus here.

This space is:

  • Global:  To really understand cities, we have to learn from all of them: big & small, planned & unplanned, successful & unsuccessful, cosmopolitan & secluded, urban & rural settlements, etc. Hence, I aim to gather insights from various corners of the world.
  • Critical: Every single city in the world has its issues. These vary greatly in nature, scale, and complexity depending on the context. Understanding what is wrong, and what could be better is the first step in the quest to make cities better: more just and sustainable 
  • Ever-evolving: Just like cities, and everything around us, this web: its content, thoughts, and the author herself, are in constant change: in self-criticism to learn, grow, and improve every day.
 

What’s the “MATTER” part?

  1. Matter refers to the construction material from which the built environment, and everything we know, is made of 
  2. Matter is also a subject, topic, theme, or issue that is worthy of exploring and understanding 
  3. It also means importance. Urban affairs do matter, especially when we project 2/3 of the world will soon live in urban areas, cities matter now more than ever!

Urbanist | World Traveller | Researcher | Consultant

To understand cities, I deep dive into the sensorial and intellectual experience their streets, people, and places provide. I’m curious about how and why cities are the way they are today, and try to envision how they could be better tomorrow. I seek to understand urban systems: the physical ones like water, electricity, or waste management, and also their political, economic, and social systems.

I approach Urbanism from a non-technical, but multi-disciplinary and open-minded way, with a focus on its social dimension. Cities should serve the well-being of all its inhabitants in coexistence with the environment they are embedded into. A balance between the built and natural environments can be achieved through conscious, altruistic, and executive urban governance. See for example two of my publications:

International Urbanist

  • B.A. International Relations Economics 

Florida International Univ. Miami, USA

  • MSc. Urban Studies
    Erasmus Mundus 4CITIES Joint Master
  • Post-grad in International Development 
    Madrid (UCM)

World Traveller

  • 39 countries 
  • 5 continents
  • countless cities and towns
 

Learning takes place out of the comfort zone questioning our own assumptions.   

Being exposed to different cultures, methods and perspectives; and trying to understand them is the ultimate learning experience

Researcher

I focus on the socio-economic challenges of cities 

And explore solutions through social innovation and rights-based urbanism.

I currently manage a global research project about the Just Transition in the Built Environment in 8 cities worldwide at the Institute for Human Rights and Business

Consultant

For: Local Governments, businesses, NGOs, think tanks, Int’l orgs, etc.

Including:

“Be the change that you want to see in the world”
-Gandhi

The Philosophy

  • Values: I am driven by social justice, transparency, equity, integrity, and ethics. Therefore, through my work and my journey, I strive to return power to the dispossessed, give voice to the muted, and tools to the willing
  • Vision: while seemingly utopian, there are always actions that can be taken towards a world where everybody’s rights are acknowledged and respected, people can coexist with one-another and with the planet, and human life and dignity is uphold over financial profits. 
  • Mission: Improve the quality of life of people at a massive scale through effective and ethical urbanism that results in more just, inclusive, and sustainable cities.
 

This philosophy is expressed in the ‘Urban Matters’ logo:

  • The Fibonacci sequence, also known as the “golden spiral” or “golden ratio”, is a recurring proportion that is found in many elements of the universe, from atoms, flowers, plants, and animals, to music, the human body, and galaxies. The concept speaks of order and complexity, of evolution but in a harmonious way, just as the evolution of cities should be. This pattern also symbolises the necessity of positive social change at a massive scale in the world. 
  • People & Nature:

The green leaf pointing upwards, towards the future, symbolizes the value of nature as an enabler of life and as an embracing receptacle for human settlements. The symbol is also a reminder of the imperative to preserve the natural environment.

The blue sphere represents the world, and together with the upward curved blue line it resembles a person with open arms towards others, open to ideas, knowledge and cultures. Its position under the green leaf reinforces the role of society as driver of positive or negative change in nature.

Together, the Logo represents what ‘The Urban Matters’ stands for:

“Harmonious sustainable development that respects people and planet”