Navigating Change

Presented as a part of the Association of Architectural Organizations’ 2020 Design Matters Conference: RADICAL TRANSFORMATION.

The 2020 Association of Architecture Organizations (AAO) Design Matters conference explored how people and organizations dedicated to engaging the public in architecture and design are responding to the convergence of a global pandemic, US presidential election cycle, racial reckoning and rise in nationalism. In the 90-minute Navigating Change session, RBA Director Anne-Marie Lubenau joined Ann Yoachim, Director of the Albert & Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design (2019 Silver Medalist Parisite Skatepark), and Ceara O’Leary, Co-executive Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (2009 Silver Medalist St. Joseph Rebuild Center) for a conversation about the power of incremental change as a means for transformation and development of new partnerships focused on the role of design in supporting societal change.

This program was recorded on December 3rd, 2020. Click here to access the webinar through the host organization.

Anne-Marie Lubenau, FAIA, is an architect, educator and advocate for excellence in urban design and planning. She focuses on expanding the role of architects in shaping cities by engaging people in the process of design and increasing understanding about the built environment and its impact on our lives.


Ann Yoachim is the director of the Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design and a professor of practice at the Tulane School of Architecture. As an educator, scholar and administrator, she facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration and shaping built, natural and social environments that impact health and wellness in rural and urban settings.


Ceara O’Leary, AIA, is a Co-Executive Director at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) and Professor of Practice at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture. As a director and educator, she leads collaborative community design and planning projects and teaches courses in public interest design and community development.



Albert & Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design

  • The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design brings together creative makers and doers working for a better city. The Small Center works to advance community-driven ideas through collaboration, design education and scrappy problem-solving. The organization collaborated with Tulane School of Architecture faculty and students, nonprofit Transitional Spaces, and local skaters to design and build Parisite Skatepark (2019 RBA Silver Medalist), a youth-driven DIY creation of a new public park on vacant land underneath a highway overpass in New Orleans (pictured below).
Courtesy of Jose Cotto on behalf of The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design

Detroit Collaborative Design Center

  • The Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC) is a multi-disciplinary, nonprofit architecture and urban design firm at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture dedicated to creating sustainable spaces and communities through design and collaborative processes. DCDC worked with a coalition of New Orleans nonprofit organizations to design St. Joseph Rebuild Center in New Orleans (2009 RBA Silver Medalist), a day shelter providing comprehensive services for the homeless (pictured below).
Courtesy of Neil Alexander and Jeff Johnston on behalf of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center.

Myra Kraft Open Classroom Series
Dukakis Center for Urban Research & Policy, Northeastern University