Antonio Moya-Latorre

Department of Urban Studies and Planning

The Sparking Cycle. A Culture-Oriented Approach to System Change

Practitioners committed to building fairer societies need to cultivate profound sensitivity to perceive the complexity of the communities they work with and envision strategic actions that unleash incremental transformative cultural processes. The Sparking Cycle explores how culture-oriented projects can catalyze community-inspired change in contexts of oppression. Such projects can be designed to leverage a traumatic experience in order to spark the collective capacity of a community to pursue the lives its individuals have reason to value. I ground the theory in the story of an inspiring project I became involved in, in Jardim Colombo, São Paulo, that is overcoming structural oppression through a culture-oriented process that started with an art festival. This thesis is conceived to inspire practitioners seeking to advance wellbeing among the communities they work with and help them design more meaningful actions. Hopefully, this thesis will spark new ideas to plant seeds for more hopeful futures.

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