“The short answer is yes — and I think that’s one of the reasons I chose a design profession.”

– Michael Richardson, co-chair of Students for Design Activism, when asked if he thought designers have a responsibility to improve people’s lives

Design Futures Team, Present and Past

Theresa is a community-engaged architect, educator, and facilitator. She has spent over 12 years focused on equitable cultural and community development with multiple groups and campaigns. Theresa uses methods of mindful dialogue, interactive arts-based workshops, and design-thinking to think holistically with residents about the social issues that face our neighborhoods.

She was the former Director of Community Design and Planning at the Skid Row Housing Trust, a non-profit permanent supportive housing organization where she was the Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow from 2009-2012. Theresa is an adjunct studio professor at Woodbury University.

Her work has been featured in Architectural Record, the New York Times, Atlantic Cities, Al-Jazeera America, Residential Architect, and other media outlets. She is on the Board of Directors for Venice Community Housing and the Association for Community Design and was recognized as one of Next City’s Urban Vanguards 2015. She received her Master of Architecture from Harvard Graduate School of Design (2007) and a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and Art History from the Johns Hopkins University (2001). She is a licensed architect in California and is a LEED accredited professional.

Theresa Hyuna Hwang

Director of Programs
Dan brings over 10 years of experience in the public interest design field to his work as a co-founder and convener of Design Futures. As a founding member of the Tulane City Center at Tulane School of Architecture Dan was instrumental in building one of the strongest university based community design center’s in the country. After 10 years at the Tulane City Center Dan moved on to focus on building a small community oriented business – The Pagoda Cafe – in his neighborhood and launched a small design practice with Seth Welty and Emilie Taylor called Colectivo. In addition to this work Dan also consults with faculty and staff at UT Austin in support of their based design and planning work.

Dan Etheridge

Past Director of Programs, Co-founder
Barbara is co-founder and director of curriculum for the Design Futures Student Leadership Forum. Wilson is an Assistant Professor of Urban and Environmental Planning at UVA, focused on the ethics, theory, and practice of sustainable community development. She contributed as a practitioner to the co-founding of the Austin Community Design and Development Center and as an academic to the founding of the University of Texas Public Interest Design summer program. She now also serves on the board of Piedmont Housing Alliance and is working to help them develop platforms to give their residents more active voice in the design and development of their communities.

Barbara Brown Wilson

Past Board of Director, Co-founder

We strive to diversify the Public Interest Design ecosystem, elevate the rigor and impact of the work done under this moniker, and build the next generation of leadership through educational and field building activities.

Design Futures Advisory Board

Christine has over 15 years of experience in community design and is currently the Executive Director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP) — whose mission is to use the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement.

Christine Gaspar

Executive Director, Center for Urban Pedagogy
A designer, urbanist, and social innovator, Liz is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally. She is founder and principal of Studio O, an innovation firm that works with communities in need to use the power design to deliver deep social impact.

Liz Ogbu

Founder + Principal, Studio O
Trained as an urban planner, Marc has worked in the field of community development and finance for over 20 years. Committed to community development and affordable housing, he consults with architects, planners, non-profits, and others on projects throughout the United States.

Marc Norman

Consultant, Writer, Lecturer
Elgin Cleckley is a designer, educator, and creative director of _mpathic design, a Design Thinking initiative and practice focusing on strategies for empathic, human valued design.

After studying architecture at the University of Virginia and Princeton University, he collaborated with DLR Group (Seattle), MRSA Architects (Chicago), and Baird Sampson Neuert Architects (Toronto) on award-winning civic projects. He was a Muschenheim Fellow at the University of Michigan (1998), also teaching undergraduate studios at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Before joining UVa’s Design Thinking program in 2016, he was the 3D Group Leader and Design Coordinator at the Ontario Science Centre (Toronto), Science Content and Design Department, and Agents of Change Initiative, since 2001. This work produced award-winning exhibitions and public art with international artists David Rokeby, Michael Awad, Steve Mann, and Stacy Levy.

Elgin teaches Design Thinking studios and seminars at the University of Virginia, also directing the School’s Design Thinking program in Ghana.

Elgin Cleckley

Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design Thinking, University of Virginia
Born in Los Angeles and raised in Long Beach, California, Rajan began documenting his Afro-indigenous, Garifuna culture during his first visit to Honduras at the age of seven. During his senior year of undergraduate studies Rajan was awarded a post-baccalaureate fellowship to direct a year-long, participatory mapping endeavor in ten rural Honduran communities. As an urbanist, Rajan recognizes the significance of community engagement in the planning process, especially in communities that have been historically and traditionally marginalized. He has practiced ethnography both academically and creatively, domestically and abroad, on topics as varied as housing, latino-urbanism, and community self-perceptions. Rajan graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with his B.A. in Urban Studies in 2015. He currently works for the City of Long Beach as the District Manager of a City Council District.

Rajan Hoyle

District Manager, City of Long Beach
Sarah works as the Assistant Director of Research for the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture. She helps to direct a dynamic and hands on research team at the school’s research center, The Center for Sustainable Development.

Sarah holds a BS in Conservation & Resource Studies from University of California Berkeley and a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin.

Sarah Wu

Co-Founder Design Futures, Assistant Director of Research, University of Texas, Austin

Past Board of Directors

Mary Kathryn Fisher, Design Futures Alum
Jose Latorre, Design Futures Alum
Pratt Cassidy, University of Georgia

Interested in attending the 2019 Design Futures Student Leadership Forum?

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