ULI PHL’s 5th Annual Willard G. “Bill” Rouse III Awards for Excellence finalists represent superior development projects in the greater Philadelphia region that embody the ULI mission of pushing the standard of excellence in real estate and land use and creating sustainable, thriving communities.
Dr. Carmen Febo-San Miguel, Executive Director of Taller Puertorriqueño joins us for this week’s “Five Minutes with a Finalist”. Taller Puertorriqueño has been recognized as a finalist for El Corazón Cultural Center. Here’s what she had to say:
Who has had the greatest influence on your career and what was the best advice he or she gave you?
I grew up in Puerto Rico in the midst of a struggling family of five children with two remarkable parents. My engineer father took on extra surveying jobs, after his hard day’s work, to make ends meet, many times working until early hours of the morning. My mother, a teacher, went back to school while raising us kids to finish a master’s degree, despite the expressed opposition of my father. They were loving and vigilant, liked to celebrate, generous to others, and inspired in us respect and appreciation of our heritage. For me, they set an example of tenacity, hard work and generosity that has been a constant guiding light.
What are you most excited about in the Philadelphia area and region?
I think Philadelphia is a city of possibilities. I was attracted to Philadelphia because of its diversity even though communities of color are still marginalized and struggle to overcome the many imposed societal barriers. But, as a “sanctuary city”, it is a welcoming city working to make progress on its unrealized promises.
As a ULI PHL Awards nominee, what makes you most proud of your project?
This project is one of several strategies Taller implements to further develop a community of belonging, integration, and permanence. Integrating the landmark quality of this building and project and what its accomplishment represents, in this case a hard fought, visually welcoming and nurturing physical space to showcase the arts, culture and heritage that define this neighborhood, Taller brings to the forefront the contributions, events, heroes, and participants that create, define, and deepen community identity.
While the Latino community has an expanding presence in the region, it experiences very limited opportunities to highlight these stories. This project helps Taller fill this gap, building community by focusing on programs that connect people to a shared sense of place and history.