Park Pride is thrilled to welcome Ornela Gjoni to the team as a summer intern supporting the Park Visioning Program and advancing our mission!
Ornela hails from Tirana, Albania, where she received her Master’s in Architecture. After graduating, she worked for several years as a junior architect in local design studios. In 2022, she moved to Atlanta to join the Master of City and Regional Planning (MCRP) program at Georgia Tech after being awarded a full scholarship from the MIP program. Her planning interests include walkable, safe cities, urban agriculture, and parks.
In Ornela’s spare time, she enjoys reading theology, listening to podcasts, sketching, and spending time with her church family.
Continue reading to get to know Ornela in her own words!
What does the “power of parks” mean to you?
I see the “power of parks” as the potential of parks to enhance the quality of life for people, by helping them become more active physically and socially. On a larger scale, parks have the power to heal entire communities and contribute to their long-term vitality.
Why are parks an important part of the community?
Parks are essential because they make communities more vibrant and healthier, thus increasing the overall quality and livability of them.
What are you most excited about regarding your new role?
Being part of the visioning team gives me the opportunity to be part of a group of people who work towards making a lasting change for the community. It is exciting to generate design solutions that are responsive to people’s needs and desires, which will ultimately have a positive impact on their lives.
How do you hope to empower communities to engage and make a difference in their neighborhood parks?
I think community empowerment starts with being a listening ear to people’s needs, concerns, and desires. There is no better expert than those who live in the neighborhood and know the neighborhood thoroughly. It is the voices of the residents that will help the team make informed decisions which will make a difference in people’s park in the long run.
What’s your favorite park memory?
I will always cherish the memory of enjoying picnics with my family at the main park of our city.
Favorite Atlanta park (and why)?
Piedmont Park. I like it because it is Atlanta’s most iconic park, and it is located at the heart of the city. Additionally, Piedmont Park is close to my house, so I can just walk there whenever I need some quality time surrounded by nature.
Help us welcome Ornela to the team! Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.