Vanessa Léon is the Chief Executive Officer of Pinchina, an international urban planning firm she founded in response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake. As a Haitian American urban planner, her primary interests are in strengthening the physical, social, and economic well being of evolving communities in her parents’ Haitian homeland, her native New York and wherever else they may be.
Meaning of Pinchina
Pinchinat (original spelling) is the maiden name of the founder’s mother and grandmother. Also, Pierre Pinchinat was a free person of color and political strategist in the Haitian Revolution (1791-1803). Lastly, one of the largest post-earthquake tent communities was named Pinchinat. With, the confluence of personal, historical and post-quake realities, ‘Pinchina’ emerged as the most fitting name for this firm. The silent ‘t’ was dropped to assist non-French speakers with its pronunciation.
The mission of Pinchina is to positively influence the overall development of evolving communities. Our urban planning, community engagement, and policy-based research offerings will facilitate the development of communities that are well-planned for – while the leadership, technical assistance and consultation we provide will empower local stakeholders to take ownership of the present and future wellbeing of their communities.
What Makes Us Different
Pinchina delivers culturally relevant and locally appropriate planning and policy-based solutions to the communities and stakeholders that we serve. In the face of rapid urbanization worldwide, growing socioeconomic inequalities, and varying governance capacities, we work closely with government entities, community organizations and others to equip communities in evolving from where they are to where they can be.
Why We Are Needed
Too many communities continue to exist at the margins of our global societies and the need to address this calls for bold and competent advocates who are willing to take a stand on their behalf. Pinchina is such an advocate, ensuring that the perspectives of the most vulnerable among us are squarely situated at the forefront of urban planning, community development and policymaking processes.