Diego Rodriguez Renovales was working at a commercial architecture firm in Dallas when he first realized the power behind every proposal reimagining blighted, gentrified places or suburban strips and revitalizing urban cores.
But with that realization came another one: Architectural principles proposed by Pritzker-winning architects oppose those proposed by leading urbanists, he said.
“There was much to be understood from the cities themselves in order to work from all existing theories and build one of my own towards ‘Smart Development,’” said Renovales, who decided to pursue a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Policy in 2009. “My goal was then to learn more from city problems and find opportunities to change the conversation to the important topics needed to solve real life urban problems.”
Today, Renovales works as head of design and architecture at Tecnológico de Monterrey, an educational institution in Mexico with 64 campuses, two hospitals, and 55 offices across the country.
Here, he discusses his internship in graduate school and how the experiential opportunity helped him professionally.
“During grad school I did an internship with WCCP, now Leading Cities, that analyzed ‘Innovation and Talent Attraction and Retention’ with city governments, universities, and nonprofits in eight different global cities. My focus was Zapopan, Mexico, and the Tecnológico de Monterrey. My project was focused on reporting metrics on talent attraction and retention in comparison to the other cities and universities, and propose strategies for promoting innovation, attracting, and retaining talent.
Today, I work as head of design and architecture at Tecnológico de Monterrey. I joined this institution in a time of change, with a wide range of projects throughout Mexico in an attempt to re-brand the institution as the best university in Latin America. One of the areas I oversee is the campus in which my project focused, and today we are trying to solve that same problem at a system-wide and national level. I still use my notes as guide to solving my everyday problems at work, and I believe taking a Masters in Urban and Regional Policy gave me many tools to solve a wide range of topics I face every day at my job.
Besides the internship, the courses I took, my teachers, and my classmates helped me broaden my mind to new urban policy and planning ideas. My projects at Northeastern were interesting and filled with information that is now helping me figure out a way to transform a university system infrastructure and its relation to the city and urban context. In many ways my experience at Northeastern made me fit for this role and gave me tools to do a very good job in proposing smart and sustainable development across Mexico.”