Fascinated by cities for years, Cristina Delgado spent her undergraduate career in Chicago and Eugene, Oregon. “When I was in Oregon, I was involved in a lot of activist work and I was really interested in urbanism,” she recounts. “I took classes in urbanism and studied abroad in France, and that opened my eyes to the different ways of organizing the city and the world.” From there, she moved to San Francisco to work in public health, always keeping an eye on the role urban design plays in the health of communities.
In the School of Architecture and Planning’s MUP program, Cristina is working closely with Professor Samina Raja in her Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab. “We look at how the built environment affects health,” she explains. “We work with the Healthy Communities Initiative in Buffalo, collaborating on a number of projects with them.
“No matter what you’re interested in, there is an organization here that you can get involved in and actually be engaged with the work.”
For Cristina, what makes the school such a great place to study is the beneficial relationship it has with the Buffalo community: “One of the things that really attracted me to the UB School of Architecture and Planning is that there is so much research – and it’s meaningful research, because so much of it has practical applications for the local community,” she says. “No matter what you’re interested in, there is an organization here that you can get involved in and actually be engaged with the work. And Buffalo is such a great place to work because there are a lot of partnerships that the school has with community organizations.”
Conducting fieldwork for her thesis on community gardens in Buffalo, Cristina is committed to the idea that a well-designed living environment can make a difference in everyone’s life: “I’m really interested in working in public health and urban planning together – great urban design can further wellness for everybody, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”