Samuel Jimenez

31/60 Unemployed landscape architect Samuel J. Jimenez, 28, of Philadelphia, has so many interests - landscape architecture, urban planning, food, community development, modern dance and choreography.

Yet, to him, they all fit together.

Samuel Jimenez

Let's start with food and community development.

"You are feeding your friends and family - and by extension, the community," said Jimenez, who writes a blog called Sofrito and the City, named after the mélange of onions, tomatoes and garlic that is the base for so many Latin foods.

"You have your dining room table," Jimenez said. "It's the heart of your home and, by extension, the heart of the community."

It's no surprise that Jimenez, 28, is out of a job, given the complete crash in construction, development and building. When he started his most recent job, the Philadelphia landscape architecture and civil engineering firm had million-dollar contracts for hospitality developments in Atlantic City and major projects for big institutions.

Then work dried up.

Jimenez's last task was to develop a plan for the University of Pennsylvania's James G. Kaskey Memorial Garden. He turned his report in on a Thursday. On Friday, he was laid off. That was in March.

To stay in his field, Jimenez volunteers as a member of the Francisville Zoning Committee, serving as consultant on architectural and community design projects in that neighborhood north of Center City.

Besides relying on unemployment benefits, he makes ends meet with two small jobs: selling furniture and working security at a club.

When Jimenez was growing up in the Bronx, his mother dreamed of moving the family to a house in North Carolina, where her sister lived. She and her son loved to look at books of blueprints for housing designs.

A fledgling architect at age 10, Jimenez began to draw his own blueprints, designing the ideal house for the family.

Update: As of December 2011, Jimenez is still working at the bar and at the store, but has been working as a temporary sub-contractor for the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society. He hopes the job will become permanent.

  • SamuelJimenez
  • Hometown: Philadelphia.
  • Profession: Landscape architect.
  • Experience: Generated conceptual designs
    for parks and plazas
    .
  • Education: State University of New York -
    bachelor's in landscape architecture
    .
  • E-mail address: Samueljjimenez@gmail.com
  • His blog: Sofrito and the City

In high school, Jimenez got an internship at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx. "It's a paradise," he said. "I'd go back there in a heartbeat." It prompted an interest in combining design and nature.

In high school, Jimenez also landed a fellowship as a dancer and choreographer with a modern dance company in New York. His college senior thesis? The connection between landscape architecture and choreography.

"Growing up in the South Bronx made me want to better the community.

"I want to make a difference in terms of the physical environment," he said. "I want to green the ghettos."


The Inquirer is not endorsing this individual as a job candidate; potential employers should conduct their own background checks.


Contact staff writer Jane M. Von Bergen at 215-854-2769 or jvonbergen@phillynews.com.