Productive placemaking is growing food, fiber, fuel, feed, and “farmaceuticals”, in underutilized public and civic spaces. These can be foodscapes (sites) and foodways (corridors of sites/community operated spaces).

community design

productive placemaking

foodway design
community-operated spaces
patch level
site level


Booker T. Washington High


Booker T. Washington High School is located in Overtown, a challenged neighborhood in  Miami, Fl. Booker T. was opened in the 1920’s as an all black high school.

The food forest design included various patches representative of different regions of the world: Asia, Africa, the Mediterranean, Tropical Americas, and South Florida. The space included several outdoor classrooms.

The project was a collaboration with Florida International University’s Education Effect and The Center for Social Change.

Bronx River Foodway


Yanez and Thiesen co-created the innovative concept of foodway, as urban intervention.

A Foodway is a planned corridor of productive landscapes and community-operated spaces.

This particular Foodway was designed as a public engagement layer built on top of the existing Bronx River Greenway master plan linking 26 miles of parks along the Bronx River.

The Bronx River Foodway conceptual design was a collaboration with NYC Parks, The Bronx River Alliance, and local community groups.

The first detailed design was initiated for Concrete Plant Park from a public process that involved hundreds of community members and dozens of community groups. 

Coconut Grove Foodway


The Coconut Grove Foodway was a conceptual design for a large-scale intervention to integrate productive landscapes into various underutilized public and civic spaces in Coconut Grove, a historic neighborhood in Miami, FL.

This attempt was an ongoing collaboration with the City of Miami that in the end for political reasons did not bear fruit.

Concrete Plant Park


Concrete Plant Park is located in The Bronx, NY. It is one of the first of many planned productive landscapes within the larger Bronx River Foodway. It was a product of a facilitated community design process and consists of an acre+ food forest open to the public for foraging and learning.

The Foodway was a collaboration with NYC Parks, The Bronx River Alliance, and many local community groups. The design was led by Yanez and Thiesen, in  collaboration with Jono Neiger of Regenerative Design Group who added the planting plan and Kelly Fragale, who designed the built environment.

It was implemented with community volunteers with oversight from NYC Parks. It is still a viable, vibrant and active design implementation.

Dodoma Foodway

After my presentation in The Nature of Cities conference, I became good friends Paul Curie, (a brilliant fellow from Capetown who works for ICLEI Africa), who I shared the concept of Foodway with… it was exactly the kind of intervention he was looking to address the many ecoscial issues faced in Dodoma, Tanzania.

Over the following months, I created a conceptual design for a foodway corridor responsive to the specific challenges in Dodoma, one of many poorly-developed  places with excess burden of being a capital city, due of its central location. The call was to use regenerative agriculture and agroforestry livlihood corridor as a buffer between the overstressed areas of human activity and natural areas.
Over the coming months, the concept was refined, i was partnered with local organizations, and an initial site was selected. See Msalato Community Farm for futher details on design process and design.

Food Playscape


The first ever Food Playscape is located in the West Grove, a challenged neighborhood in Miami, Fl.

This project is funded by Kaboom! and was developed in partnership with Greater St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal church.

The design incorporates several natural play areas embedded within a bite-sized food forest of berries and cherries. The space also accommodates and orchard and annual garden for the church community.

Jose de Diego Middle


Jose de Diego Middle School is located in the Wynwood neighborhood of Miami, FL., a derelict inner-city neighborhood that was revived through street art and suffers now from excessive gentrification.
The design included a food forest and two market gardens as a learning intervention and as compliment to the public art around the school campus.

Sanctuary at Cutler Bay


Sanctuary at Cutler Bay was a planned 10-unit single-family housing development located in Cutler Bay, FL.
The conceptual design featured an entirely edible/useful landscape and rainwater harvesting systems to accompany the ecologically-sound design of these energy-efficient homes.

Sanctuary at Cutler Bay


A detailed landscape design and planting plan Sanctuary at Cutler Bay, a 10-unit single-family housing development located in Cutler Bay, FL.

The design includes an entirely edible/useful landscape and rain water harvesting to accompany the ecologically-sound design of these energy-efficient homes.

Unvun Homestead & B&B

Unvun (food forest in Hindi) is the name for a homestead and bed & breakfast project in Homestead, Fl. The native, bamboo-lined rock wall on the main road simultaneously hides and hints at the extraordinary, lush diversity of food systems inside this five acre paradise.

Upon entering, guests are greeted by a complex of bungalows, paths and perennial patches organized around a natural pool and central covered space bordered by an aquaculture garden to the east and the working farm radiating to the west. The farms growing systems, oriented for optimal southern exposure and diversity of yield, organically cradle the private residence in its center and shield the remainder of the working farm.

Village Green Elementary


Village Green is an ecology-based elementary school in Port St. Lucie, Fl.

The design/build included a bite-sized food forest with patches representative of different regions of the world.

It incorporated an outdoor classroom space, several discovery stations, and other learning spaces.

Vizcaya Village Agriculture


Vizcaya Village is the newest redevelopment within Vizcaya Museum & Gardens located in Miami, Fl. The Village will be a public space celebrating urban agriculture and telling the story of Vizcaya’s early days when they subsisted from food grown both, on site and locally.

FoodScape Designs (myself and Thais Thiesen) collaborated with M. C. Harry to develop the agricultural portion of the master plan.

The master plan took advantage of all possible areas to integrate productive elements and make explicit use of these for learning and public engagement.