Leading with Vision: The Method not the Magic

How can the process of creating a compelling project mission with your community drive innovation and positive change?

Hosted in partnership with Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. and the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Leading with Visions: The Method not the Magic explores the process of creating transformative urban development in America. This program was presented in partnership with the Boston Society for Architecture.

This public program was recorded on Tuesday, November 2, 2022.
Click here to access the webinar through the host organization 
(Passcode: $5^vz..M).

Watch the Webinar


Have you ever looked at a high-impact community project and wondered “how’d they do that”? In this 90-minute webinar we will explore the process of creating transformative urban development including the essential role of leadership and vision. We’ll consider the value of a compelling vision, the process for creating one in collaboration with the community, and its impact on the project’s design and development.


We’ll begin our exploration with the presentation and examination of case studies of award-winning projects and in-depth discussions with visionary developers who have succeeded in spite of long odds to create breakthrough developments. Then, participants will apply what they’ve learned with an interactive, in-class exercise that will provide a template for future work. The workshop will draw upon the extensive resources and lessons learned from the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence’s more than 30-year investigation into urban design and development and the Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.’s Design Matters Tool Kit and Project Mission Writer, as well as personal insights from team members from two Baltimore-based development companies that are changing the narrative of development in their city including:

  • Parity Homes, an equitable development company that is bringing a home-ownership project to West Baltimore in formerly abandoned row houses, and is pursuing the project through a unique historical equity lens with a focus on avoiding displacement and deeply engaging residents in the process.
  • Seawall Development Company, which empowers communities, unites cities, and helps launch powerful ideas through real estate development projects like who created Miller’s Court (2015 Rudy Bruner Award Gold Medalist) the redevelopment of an abandoned tin can factory into a supportive living and working environment for schoolteachers and education-related nonprofits, and is now redeveloping a market in Baltimore, Maryland, a $40 million redevelopment of Lexington Market in downtown Baltimore.

The workshop will include an introduction to Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.’s Design Matters Tool Kit and Project Mission Writer and its use as a tool to support your work.

The Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence is a national design award that recognizes transformative places that contribute to the economic, environmental, and social vitality of American cities. Since 1987 the RBA has evaluated, documented, and shared the stories of 88 extraordinary places in America and identified insights from observations and lessons learned from more than three decades of investigation into urban development and the process of placemaking.

Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. is a national nonprofit that addresses America’s affordable housing crisis through programs, advocacy, and investments that increasing housing supply, advance racial equity, and build resilience and upward mobility. Over the past 40 years Enterprise has built and preserved 793,000 homes, invested $61 billion in communities, and changed millions of lives.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify and describe examples of visionary, mission-based development and their impacts on communities.
  • Understand and describe how inclusive planning processes and development projects 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.
  • Describe and discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with mission-based development.


Bree Jones, Founder, Parity Homes
Bree is the founder of Parity, an equitable development company that rehabilitates abandoned properties by the block to create affordable homeownership opportunities. Prior to founding Parity, Bree had a career in finance and investments where she was an analyst at Morgan Stanley, a vice president at Point72 Asset Management, and an investment associate at venture capital firm, Anthemis Group. Bree has been a lifelong social justice advocate, focused primarily on economic justice, affordable housing, anti-displacement, anti-gentrification, and anti-recidivism. As an advocate, Bree played a pivotal role in the creation of Community Benefits Agreements in her hometown, and advocated for community protections in local legislation and zoning.

Pickett Slater Harrington, Community Engagement, Development, Seawall Development Company
Pickett Slater Harrington has spent his career igniting social change. He is the founder and managing principal at Joltage, a social change design firm that champions innovative solutions to social challenges. Pickett has deep experience connecting and working with communities and institutions to address complex, systemic social issues. His work in Baltimore includes partnering with Seawall, a Baltimore based community developer that believes in using real estate to empower communities, to partner with residents of Baltimore to develop a community vision for the transformation of Lexington Market.

Thibault Manekin, Co-founder, Development, Seawall Development Company
Thibault Manekin grew up in Baltimore and graduated from Lehigh University with a degree in business and marketing. In 2006, he moved back to Baltimore and co-founded a real estate development firm called Seawall Development Company. Seawall’s mission is to help improve communities by breathing a new life back into forgotten old historic buildings while at the same time filling them with people who in their everyday lives are making cities better places. Seawall led the critically acclaimed development projects creating Union Mill and Miller’s Court in the Hampden and Remington/Charles Village neighborhoods of Baltimore. For this work, he was recognized by the White House as a Champion of Change. In November of 2021, Thibault’s first book, Larger Than Yourself is set to come out.

Anne-Marie Lubenau, Director of the Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence, Bruner Foundation
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.

Carrie Niemy, Carrie Niemy, Program Director, National Initiatives, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc.

Carrie Niemy serves as the Program Director for Design Initiatives at Enterprise Community Partners where she helps to pioneer new programs, tools and curriculums to effectively bring design excellence to the fields of community development and affordable housing. Prior to joining the Enterprise team, Carrie served as the Executive Director of East Somerville Main Streets for eight years where she led the organization’s urban and economic development efforts and placemaking strategy.  Her work in cultural economic development has engaged over 30,000 people and the programs that she envisioned have been acknowledged by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Boston Globe and others for their ability to leverage community assets.  Carrie holds a BS in Environmental Studies and Economics from Union College and an MBA focused in marketing and strategy from Boston University.


Miller’s Court Case Study (2015 RBA Gold Medalist)

Miller’s Court image courtesy Seawall Development Company.
  • Miller’s Court (2015 RBA Gold Medalist) in Baltimore is Seawall Development Company’s rehabilitation of an abandoned manufacturing building into a safe, welcoming community for teachers and educational nonprofits. Check out the Rudy Bruner Award case study for in-depth insight into its urban context and history, leadership and vision, collaborative partnerships, design and development, financing, operations and programming, and impact.

Design Matters Toolkit, Enterprise Community Partners

  • The Design Matters Toolkit provides three industry-tested tools that allow developers to incorporate thoughtful, people-focused design into any affordable housing project – no matter how tight the budget or complex the timeline. Watch the video for an overview of Enterprise’s core tools – Mission, Design, and Impact.

3 Developer Mindsets for Groundbreaking Affordable Housing, Enterprise Community Partners

Via Verde – The Green Way in South Bronx, NY. Courtesy of David Sundberg
  • Over the past ten years, Enterprise has collaborated with 129 developers and 94 designers that make up the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute (AHDLI). In 3 Developer Mindsets for Groundbreaking Affordable Housing, AHDLI shares observations and lessons learned from developers who jump past the status quo share core mindsets and approaches to their work. Read the blog post to learn more.

Larger Than Yourself, Thibault Manekin

  • Larger Than Yourself profiles the remarkable real-world change makers that Thibault has worked with. The book highlights community groups in some of the most divided countries around the world to build successful grassroots enterprises. Check out the Larger Than Yourself Podcast to follow Thibault Manekin and his inspiring guests.