This article discusses the rise of participatory design and construction processes as a collection of concepts and experiences, developed in Latin America, and deeply influenced by Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Faced with fast urbanization and the consequent organic growth of shanty towns with no infrastructure, Latin American schools experimented with participatory processes as a possible response to the urban crisis of the region since the 1950s. More recently, the rise of colectivos of architects working with participatory design and participatory construction processes demonstrate how rooted Freire’s ideas are in the continent and how they can be instrumental for pedagogy and practice in the 21st century.