Liliana Raquel Miranda Sara
This profile was prepared when Liliana Raquel Miranda Sara was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2003.
The New Idea
An architect and urban planner, Liliana has seen firsthand what happens when cities expand rapidly: their building practices–and indeed planning generally–fail to keep pace with growth, and inexpensive but potentially hazardous building materials are chosen over sustainable ones. She aims to present such cities, and the people who call them home, with standards that will ensure quality and safety and demonstrate the benefits of sustainable building: reduced costs over the long run and conservation of precious resources such as water and energy. Working with construction companies, self-builders, and policymakers in two carefully chosen sites–shantytowns in Lima and Chimbote–Liliana is reducing the use of hazardous materials like asbestos and encouraging communities to set aside community-tended green spaces and parks. In the process, she is demonstrating that citizens–including poor people with few resources–can erect homes and design neighborhoods that are safe, secure, and clean. A source of pride rather than shame, these living spaces will, she hopes, translate into a shared sense of community and responsibility for maintaining them. As a base for spreading the ideas and standards she is developing, Liliana has brought citizen groups, builders, and representatives from the municipalities of 21 cities in Peru together into a Cities for Life Forum that will advance change nationally.