[reblogged from http://www.futureofny.org/medalists/omar-freilla]
Photo by Rob Bennett
Even though only 34, Omar Freilla has already brought fresh hope and new ideas to the South Bronx, an area that was a national icon of urban decay in the 1970s and 1980s. Ironically, the reason for this blighted image can be traced back to many of the issues that Jane Jacobs fought against: the construction of highway projects that tore through neighborhoods, cold and imposing housing projects, and slum clearance. Omar and his parents, Zoraida Martez and Jose Freilla, who settled in the Bronx after emigrating from the Dominican Republic in 1960s, were firsthand witnesses to this deterioration and the burning of the Bronx.
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