Reimagining School
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.

A high school was an essential component of the vision for Crosstown Concourse (2019 RBA Gold Medalist), the transformation of an abandoned, 1.5 million square foot Sears, Roebuck & Co. distribution center in Memphis into an inclusive, vertical mixed-used village anchored by arts, education, and healthcare. Crosstown High is a ‘learner-centered’ public charter school (and member of the national XQ Super School network) that engages grades 9 through 12 students in interdisciplinary project-based learning that emphasizes problem solving, collaboration, relationship, and communication skills. Join Todd Richardson, President of Crosstown Redevelopment Cooperative, and Ginger Spickler, Chief of Staff of Crosstown High, for a discussion about how the 16-acre complex—designed to promote openness, connection, and exchange—is a classroom for real-world collaboration, exchange, learning and community-building. Ron Bogle, President of the National Design Alliance, will share insights from leading Reimagine America’s Schools, a national initiative that’s rethinking public education and the built environment of schools.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and describe how investment in urban development can address community welfare through access to arts and culture, education, healthcare, and affect economic, environmental, and social change.
  • Discuss the value of engaging in collaborative partnerships in the planning, design, and development of inclusive, community-based projects.
  • Discuss the relationships between the design of schools, educational curricula, and place-based learning.
  • Describe initiatives that are rethinking approaches and redesigning high school education in America.

This session was recorded on Wednesday, February 3rd, 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.

Dr. Todd Richardson is the President of Crosstown Redevelopment Cooperative and co-founder of Crosstown Arts. Since 2010, he has led the transformation of the historic, 1.5 million-square-foot Sears Crosstown building into a vertical urban village anchored in arts, education and healthcare. Now known as Crosstown Concourse, the $210 million project is fully leased and recently received the Rudy Bruner Gold Medal Award for Urban Excellence, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and was a finalist for the 2019 Urban Land Institute Global Award for Excellence.

Ginger Spickler is the Chief of Staff at Crosstown High, a project-based learning high school, serving a diverse-by-design student body, located at Crosstown Concourse in Memphis, TN. In 2015 and 2016, Ginger spearheaded a community effort to develop an application for the XQ Super School Challenge, which invited school designers nation-wide to “rethink high school.” Originally a finalist for the contest, Crosstown was added to the XQ cohort of schools in 2017 and has been awarded significant technical and financial resources by XQ. Previously, Ginger founded and led Memphis School Guide, a school choice resource for parents. 

Ron Bogle, Hon AIA, brings decades of experience from the world of architecture, education and philanthropy to the challenge of leading Reimagine America’s Schools. With core funding from Schmidt’s Futures, Ron is leading a national initiative to bring together thought leaders from education, technology, design and the civic community to rethink public education and the built environment of America’s schools. Ron is currently President of the National Design Alliance, which he founded in 2018. Previously he served as the President and CEO of the American Architectural Foundation.

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.




Crosstown Concourse Case Study (2019 RBA Gold Medalist)

Courtesy of Crosstown Arts

For a detailed look at 2019 RBA Gold Medalist Crosstown Concourse check out to following:

Crosstown High

Game design in a Crosstown High sociology class. (Courtesy of Tom Vander Ark)

Diverse by Design


  • How do you reimagine something that has looked the same for generations? And what does a diverse society require – and need – in order to support a shared commitment to the common good? In a new four-part series, Diverse by Design captures one community’s efforts to answer both questions.

Reimagine America’s Schools

  • Reimagine America’s Schools is creating a full-scale national movement of educators, parents, and students collaborating for change. With the help of experts from curriculum, design, and technology, together, they create a dynamic and powerful force to advance new ways of thinking about where and how we learn. Reimagine America’s Schools is a project of the National Design Alliance in partnership with and funded by Schmidt Futures.