Brandon Castillo, Operations Manager
Brandon Castillo believes that human experience is the core of urban development. He begins every challenge with looking through the lens of how a solution applies to its environment. This thought process stems from a B.A. in Linguistics from Pitzer College and growing up as a first-generation Filipino-American. Living in two worlds his entire life, Brandon’s perspective was widely defined from the start. Taking this as an opportunity, Castillo drew upon his bilingualism to inform his Master’s thesis, an exploration of the mental effects of second language acquisition versus first language development, and then put the concepts to practice in Spain as he taught English as a second language. What he found instilled greater purpose than was originally intended.
In Spain, Castillo discovered the importance of the experience of learning, not only in the classroom but in the public realm. Expanding his research to public spaces, he learned the daily importance of parks, plazas, and interactive streets while living in Madrid. Brandon returned to the States two years later with endless notes and analyses. It wasn’t long until the Linguist shifted his visioning and concepts to practical activation. In 2010, Brandon launched the Deep Ellum Outdoor Market, pairing his love of physical interaction with his appreciation of hard-working business owners. After continual research and the desire to fill gaps within communities, Brandon started Deep Ellum Postal & Grocer, Deep Ellum’s (popular urban district in Dallas) first food market option, with the goal of replicating a community described in Jane Jacob's Death and Life of Great American Cities. During this time, and because of his keen understanding of the interaction between people and space, Brandon was invited to join Ash + Lime. He quickly became a pivotal cog in the leadership team as he grew the planning and design firm from a research and strategy focused firm to optimizing human impact through programming and education.