Engaging and Empowering the Next Generation
Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America

Hosted in partnership with the Northeastern University School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy as a part of its 2021 Spring Myra Kraft Open Classroom, Inspiring Design: Creating Beautiful, Just, and Resilient Places in America explores the role of design in cities.

The series is presented in partnership with the Association of Architecture Organizations, Association of Collegiate Schools of ArchitectureBoston Society for Architecture, and the Boston Society of Landscape Architects.

After a popular makeshift skatepark in New Orleans was demolished, Transitional Spaces, a volunteer-based group of young skaters, approached Tulane University’s Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design for help with developing a new one on city-owned land beneath a highway overpass. Join Small Center Director Ann Yoachim and Transitional Spaces’ Jullian Wellisz for a conversation about how the university-based community design center engaged neighborhood residents, skaters, School of Architecture students, engineering and design professionals, and public agencies in a collaborative design/build process that created Parisite Skatepark (2019 RBA Silver Medalist), the city’s first public skatepark. They and Michael Chavez from YouthBuild Boston will discuss how community-engaged design approaches empower and build capacity of people and communities, influence the next generation of designers and practice, and shape the future of cities.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and describe how investment in recreational amenities can address community welfare and affect economic, environmental, and social change.
  • Discuss the value of engaging in collaborative partnerships in the planning, design, and development of inclusive, community-driven projects.
  • Describe community-engaged design approaches and practices and how they empower and build the capacity of people and communities.
  • Discuss how university-based design centers are resources for cities, educate the next generation of designers, and influence the future of practice.

This session was recorded on Wednesday, February 10th, 2021 as part of Northeastern University’s Myra Kraft Open Classroom 2021 Spring series. ASLA and APA continuing education credits are available thanks to partnerships with Boston Society of Landscape Architects and the American Planning Association, Ohio Chapter.


Ann Yoachim, Director, Small Center and Professor of Practice, Tulane School of Architecture brings experience in building partnerships across campus-community boundaries as well as supporting meaningful change through research and interdisciplinary collaboration.  She is focused on facilitating this collaboration to shape built, natural and social environments that impact health and wellness. Ann’s wordy titles include Professor of Practice at the Tulane School of Architecture and Director of the Small Center, but she prefers to think of herself as a constant brainstorm-er who fosters collaboration in everything that she does. In her role as Director, Ann will steward the close collaborations the Center has enjoyed with other Tulane departments, local and national peer institutions, government agencies, community-based organizations, local design practitioners, as well as local and national funders and donors.

Julian Wellisz, Former Co-director, Transitional Spaces worked to legalize, expand, and maintain Parisite Skatepark, New Orlean’s first and only skatepark.  Established in 2012, the 50,000 sq ft skatepark was developed 100% independently of New Orleans’ city budget, as a community-supported enterprise funded by grants, public and private partnerships, social marketing and crowdsourcing. Transitional Spaces aims to provide a safe and accessible park for all users by fostering a positive and nurturing community. Skateboarding builds self-confidence as youth interact with their environment and each other. Skaters learn from unstructured peer support rather than coaches determining the best way to participate. Parisite Skatepark promotes creativity, self-expression, cooperation, and leadership skills.

Michael S. Chavez, Project Development Manager, YouthBuild Boston, Inc.
Michael’s role over nine years includes design and oversight of affordable housing, community service projects and engagement, commercial design, and youth program oversight. Michael was also an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow where he worked with the Fairmount/Indigo Line CDC Collaborative to spearhead a sustainable, smart growth agenda along the 9-mile Fairmount commuter rail line in Boston, MA. Michael received his undergraduate degree in Environmental Design with an emphasis in Landscape Architecture from the University of New Mexico and a Master of Architecture degree from the Boston Architectural College.

Anne-Marie Lubenau (moderator), FAIA, is the director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence at the Bruner Foundation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An architect, educator and writer, she is an advocate for engaging people in the design of the built environment and increasing awareness of its impact on our lives. She contributes regularly to national and international publications and forums on design and urban development and is a member of the Boston Civic Design Commission, Harvard GSD Alumni Council, and the Association of Architecture Organization’s board of directors. She holds a BArch from Carnegie Mellon and was a 2012 Harvard Loeb Fellow.

Ted Landsmark (facilitator) is a Distinguished Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs; Director, Kitty and Michael Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. Ted is an architect, attorney, academic, and civil rights activist who serves as one of five members of the Boston Planning and Development Agency.




Parisite Skatepark Case Study (2019 RBA Silver Medalist)

Courtesy of Jose Cotto on behalf of The Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design
  • For more information about Parisite Skatepark check out the Rudy Bruner Award case study to learn about the project’s urban context and history, leadership and vision, collaborative partnerships, design and development, financing, operations and programming, and impact.

Albert & Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design

Courtesy of The Albert and 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.

YouthBuild Boston

  • The mission of YouthBuild Boston (YBB) is to empower and assist underserved young people from the Boston area with the essential social, vocational, academic, and life skills necessary to navigate a positive pathway to self-sufficiency and neighborhood responsibility.