John Arroyo is an urban planner interested in the role of landscape, art, culture, and philanthropy in civic space, urban design, and civic engagement. As a proud native Angeleno reared in East Los Angeles, Arroyo's ongoing interest in the informal urban practices in Los Angeles inspired his award-winning graduate thesis at MIT, Culture in Concrete: Art and the Re-imagination of the Los Angeles River as Civic Space
. This project analyzed the role of art, culture, and informality along the Los Angeles River. Arroyo believes in providing tools for communities to design the built environment for themselves and thereby admires the DIY tradition proposed by communities with little resources. He provides fresh insights about issues of access and public space
for Departures: Highland Park.