Designing Health Care Environments for Community Integration and Empowerment

Designing Health Care Environments for Community Integration and Empowerment

As a part of its quarterly Limitless series, global design firm HKS recently hosted a panel to discuss how health care design can facilitate community integration and empowerment.

Nupur Gupta, Senior Medical Planner at HKS, moderated the panel and introduced each of the panelists and their community health care practices. Panelists were Jessica Duckworth, COO of The Rose Breast Center for Excellence; Dr. Andrea Caracostis, CEO of the Asian American Health Coalition dba HOPE Clinic; and Joel Miller Kalmin, facilities designer manager at Legacy Communities Health Services.

Design That Honors Community Identity

Hospitals and clinics can be unwelcoming and impersonal institutions, but many health care and design professionals are working to change this narrative with inviting and community-oriented health care design.

HOPE Clinic is a community health care provider that serves patients from 90 countries of birth in 60 languages. The clinic launched in 2002 in a Chinese community center and continues to serve a large Asian and Hispanic population at its five locations in the Houston area.

To honor the communities it serves, HOPE clinics have prayer rooms for Muslim patients and use colors and themes in the design that are significant to Asian and Hispanic communities. Outdoor spaces display murals and cultural decor such as Chinese lanterns.

“I think that we forget that, if we want people to engage in their health, we also have to provide them a safe space where they feel respected, and they feel like people are putting their needs first above everything else,” Dr. Caracostis said.

Legacy Community Health Services launched in 1978 at the Montrose Clinic to provide STD prevention services to gay men in Houston and now operates more than 50 facilities. Its Southwest Houston clinic is home to 70 different ethnicities. Drawing inspiration from Latin and African culture, the exterior of the clinic is adorned by colorful panels to represent woven textiles. The clinic also features stools with fabric designed by patients.

At Legacy’s Fifth Ward clinic, the community is represented with exterior “Healing Hands” murals by local artist Reginald Adams.

“The murals feature larger-than-life hands with palms outreached surrounded by color fields that represent the chakras,” Kalmin said. “Community members, children and parents alike went to the studio, and their hands are actually part of this permanent mural.”

Meeting Patients Where They Are

Duckworth said that transportation and time constraints are a major barrier to accessing health care. To reduce these barriers, The Rose Breast Center of Excellence operates five mobile mammography coaches to reach patients in their communities and perform life-saving screening services. Founded in 1986 in a 915-square-foot (85-square-meter) space, The Rose now sees 40,000 patients a year across 43 counties in Greater Houston and Southeast Texas through its mobile mammography fleet. The fleet is the largest in Texas.

According to The Rose, 77% of its mobile mammography patients would not have received their annual screening mammogram if they didn’t visit one of its coaches.

“We got to most of the local ISDs to be able to set up a mobile van there so the teachers don’t have to take off, they can just walk out,” Duckworth said. “We got to business, as well, to be able to provide those services.”

In the last five years, Legacy has partnered with schools to offer a variety of health services — such as behavioral health, immunization and dental care — to students during school hours. Parents of students who are minors can enroll their students in the program by signing a consent form for them to be treated by the Legacy team at school.

“The child doesn’t have to miss school, and either guardian or parent doesn’t have to miss work for the child to get the care that they need,” Kalmin said. “That’s a really important niche that is not being served.”

Integration of Care: A “One-Stop Shop”

Dr. Caracostis said that, for many patients, having to return to the clinic at a later date or travel to another clinic for additional care is burdensome as it causes them to be away from their families or take time off work.

“Being able to provide dental, vision and other services in that same space and on that same day is really critical for families,” Dr. Caracostis said. “Because a lot of our families’ wages are on an hourly basis, and every time they take off to go to a medical appointment, it’s dollars off their paycheck.”

Duckworth also shared the value of health care environments acting as a “one-stop shop” for patients.

“If they’re able to go and get all the services they need, they’re going to be more compliant and improve their health outcomes because they’re going to get all of that done in the place that they trust versus having to travel all over to different clinics to be able to receive those services,” Duckworth said.

Engaging with Communities

The Rose and Legacy both have dedicated community engagement teams, and because of data collected in community outreach, Legacy determined a gap in senior primary care. It now has three primary care facilities designed specifically for seniors, featuring wider hallways to better accommodate wheelchairs and exam chairs instead of exam beds.

When HOPE Clinic built its newest facility, it held a visioning session inviting community members to share their hopes for the new space. The clinic features social spaces for community events such as a culinary program and an upcoming concert series.

“We’re all super proud that we provide fabulous services, but that doesn’t mean we’re good community partners,” Dr. Caracostis said. “Being a community partner means you get off your soap box and you listen to the communities and open your doors for their priorities and not necessarily yours.”

View the full webinar recording here

HKS Health Fellowship

HKS Health Fellowship

The HKS Health Fellowship is a one-year program developed to propel talented recent graduates who are committed to improving health care environments through design. The fellow pursues research while working on design projects in our award-winning health studio.

The prestigious fellowship — open to applicants finishing their undergraduate or graduate studies — is much more than an academic opportunity to delve into a topic of choice. The winning applicant is given full-time employment at HKS and the opportunity to continue his or her career with the firm after the one-year fellowship term.

Fellows work with some of the most influential architects and researchers in the profession and have access to networking and travel opportunities.

The winning applicant is given full-time employment at HKS and the opportunity to continue his or her career with the firm after the one-year fellowship term.

Apply Now

“The Health Fellowship allowed me to investigate a topic I was deeply passionate about. It opened doors within the firm and industry to connect with thought leaders and be mentored in healthcare planning, research, and design.”

Hannah Shultz, Medical Planner

How It Works

Each year, the HKS Health studio leadership and previous fellows assist the incoming fellow to develop a research topic. This topic will be based on the fellow’s particular area of interest and strategic initiatives within the HKS Health studio.

Suggested topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

The fellow will also get the opportunity to attend one health-related conference to support research and education, coordinated through the committee of mentors.

At the end of the fellowship, the designer delivers results, that may include, but is not limited to a research paper or a design tool. 

HKS leaders will work with the selected Health Fellow to pair them with the HKS office location and mentorship that can best support their research interests. During the interview stage, fellows can relay their office preference with firm leadership and discuss that office’s ability to support their research.

“We prioritize research in everything we do, and the fellowship infuses this mentality into a unique entry-level position. It’s creating the next leaders in our firm.”

Southern Ellis, Architect

Important Dates & Applying

Applications open
November 1, 2023

Applications close
January 2, 2024

Interviews via Zoom

Fellow announced 
Late January

Apply Now

Fellowship Advisors

Health Fellow Research Studies

The Fellows

Build Your Network at the HKS-Sponsored 2023 ULI Fall Meeting

Build Your Network at the HKS-Sponsored 2023 ULI Fall Meeting

The Urban Land Institute — the world’s oldest and largest network of cross-disciplinary real estate and land use experts — will host its annual Fall Meeting from Oct. 30 to Nov. 2, 2023, at the Los Angeles Convention Center West Hall. The four-day event will feature 21 development tours and more than 50 concurrent sessions highlighting the real estate industry’s best projects and most influential decision makers. Please join global design firm and premier-level sponsor, HKS, by registering for the Fall Meeting here, and don’t miss the following events:  

SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park: Designing an Authentic Los Angeles Expression Tour

Monday, Oct. 30 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT

Full ULI members are invited to tour HKS-designed SoFi Stadium in Inglewood and Hollywood Park, a new commercial mixed-use development that, once completed, will feature 2,500 new residences, 25 acres of public park space and will be home to the National Football League’s West Coast headquarters.  

Welcome Reception 

Monday, Oct. 30 from 5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. PT | The Belasco Theater, 1050 S Hill St., Los Angeles, CA 90015 

Help HKS kick off this year’s Fall Meeting with a networking reception at the historic Belasco Theater in downtown Los Angeles.  

Opening General Session: Emerging Trends in Real Estate® 2024

Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. PT | Los Angeles Convention Center, West Exhibit Hall B 

Dan Noble, CEO and President of HKS, will give opening remarks at the Meeting’s first general session recapping ULI’s latest Emerging Trends in Real Estate® publication and further explaining how emerging trends will affect the real estate market in 2024.  

SoFi Stadium: Influencing the Future of Design with Resilience and Impact 

Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PT | Los Angeles Convention Center West Hall, Concourse: 151 

Mark Williams, Global Sector Director of Venues at HKS, will join a panel to discuss SoFi Stadium’s and Hollywood Park’s innovative designs and positive impacts on the city of Inglewood. 

What We Learned at the United Nations Science Summit on Brain Capital

What We Learned at the United Nations Science Summit on Brain Capital

About 1 in 4 firms have announced targeted solutions to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. Brain Capital is not only a means to take that progress further, but to see progress through a more holistic lens. According to the Brain Capital Alliance, Brain Capital “considers mental health and brain skills . . . as indispensable parts of the knowledge economy.” At Steelcase’ sprawling location abutting Columbus Circle in New York City, a diverse group of neuroscientists, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and other stakeholders from around the world gathered recently to discuss how Brain Capital can tackle society’s most pressing challenges, from behavioral health to burgeoning knowledge economies.

Countless rich questions highlighted the day-long symposium, which became a sort of Brain Capital “stress test.” But as we at HKS continue to look for ways that design can help shape and guide the future of our communities, here are five thoughts from the summit to help all of us think about how to achieve that.

Why the focus on “capital”?

Mental health disorders are projected to cost the global economy $16 trillion by 2030, according to Pawel Swieboda, who delivered an opening address. From Brain Healthy workplaces to reinvesting in behavioral health facilities or drug-treatment facilities, the financial upside for cities is clear. But value itself also needs rethinking. Clayton Mitchell pointed out that if we use traditional measures, like ROI, on everything we do, we’ll end up in the present situation.

Rym Ayadi said that capital accumulates and deteriorates driven by several factors — political, social, natural, and economic contingencies. Many panelists noted that a new global economy is possible, with Brain Capital as the fulcrum of future prosperity. Our economy is a brain economy. With the rise of automation, the skills in demand will rely more on cognitive, social, and emotional capacity.

Taking this idea one step further, Tom Osha of Wexford observed that innovation districts may be the anchors of future cities, buoyed by university research centers, clinical enterprise, and community inclusion.

What do we do about youth well-being?

Across the globe, Gen Z reports a higher share of mental health challenges than any other generational cohort, and if Brain Capital is to inform curriculum redesigns or community interventions, their voices can’t be overlooked. The morning program of the Brain Capital symposium was devoted to youth and adolescent mental health, as 1 out of 4 Generation Z people to report their mental health as fair or poor, according to the American Psychological Association. Youths today pursue health information differently than previous generations — through web-based tools, mobile applications, and online health information — and it’s the responsibility of health providers, and community stakeholders, to meet them in these spaces.

What can the built environment do about brain capital?

Marta Schantz argued that we need to take a closer look at the places we inhabit through the lens of real estate portfolios. “Greening” our real estate is a matter of growing the bottom line, and the capital trend toward “cognitively-healthy” properties is real. Investors are paying more for green buildings, and occupants are seeing them in both residential and commercial spaces.

People spend 90% of their time indoors. So why wouldn’t they have the expectation that both commercial and residential spaces promote healthier people? One study finds that workers within green-certified buildings report 30% fewer sick days than baseline.

Ultimately, the environment either promotes or impedes a continuum of care. Electrification may alleviate asthmatic symptoms indoors, and environments may proactively help neurodiverse persons or those experiencing neurodegenerative disorders. If we design for people who are most sensitive, we all benefit. Design ideals, including biophilia, access to natural light, and access to both quietude and community, stand to benefit all people. Novelty and fascination aren’t just design features, they’re critical to brain-healthy individuals by boosting creativity and alleviating cognitive fatigue. Jennifer Kolstad may have said it best, “beauty isn’t gratuitous, it’s essential to our well-being.”

How do technology and Brain Capital work together?

Steelcase’ Columbus Circle location embodies what a brain-healthy and technology-enabled space can be. Outside the main stage, meeting rooms and collaboration areas were set up around several floors where event participants could hold a meeting or take a respite from the crowd. Beautiful variations of focus spaces were ubiquitous on every floor. Each room was enabled with a screen to view the main stage. A balcony looked out over Central Park.

Technology may be a supplement to the work we must accomplish each day — but it is also the technologies that permeate a continuum of care.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality reports that there are more than 350,000 health care apps on the global market today. With all that choice, the consumer is stretched to find what works. Entrepreneurship is necessary to fulfilling the goals of Brain Capital, but we need to keep an eye on “technologies that produce solutions in search of a problem.”

One of the best discussions on the evolving landscape of technology came with the final keynote by David Faigman, the Dean and Chancellor of UC Law College of San Francisco. Throughout history, industrialization has led to evolving standards of law. With radio and the television, the FCC was formed. Product liability law evolved under the new relationships between tools and users. Innovation goes hand-in-hand with the evolution of law. And product developers, operating alongside lawyers, can both protect communities while working toward innovative products.

What are the realities of today’s health care climate?

Pennsylvania State Rep. Aaron Kaufer, a Democrat, said “we’ve spent so much time destigmatizing talking about drug and alcoholic abuse, we need to spend just as much time with what to do next.” Today, the out-of-pocket expenses for mental health are climbing, especially after many states began to roll back funding for telehealth. But it’s not only about throwing money at the problem, but innovating appropriately. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the famous Oregon study demonstrated that expanding a tenet of the safety net, like Medicaid, can only get us so far in more favorable health outcomes.

Jane Brown focused her words on the practical questions that need answering.  What are covered benefits or fee schedules? How do reimbursements mix with quality of care delivered? We’re working through a model that has long since stopped working. What is the real cost of care? Will the expansion of telehealth improve outcomes or simply reduce costs? Medicaid programs cover more telehealth programs than ever. The financial structures are problematic, however. It’s a policy issue that telehealth appointments pay less, and are chronically underfunded, because reimbursements aren’t as high as in-person visits.

Finally, if perfectly rational actors don’t fit our economic models, it won’t for the concept of Brain Capital either. Ideally, every resident would exercise, have great nutrition, and do everything possible to receive preventative care. This ideal is far from the current benchmark, where food deserts exist, population health differs considerably by zip code, and those on Medicaid receive 50% of their care through the emergency department of a health facility. People aren’t perfect, but neither are the environments built for them — and there’s much to be improved in either capacity.

A full event recap report can be found here. This event was organized jointly by the Brain Capital Alliance, Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, HKS and CADRE, with the support of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission of California as well as Kooth.

Connect with HKS at the 2023 NOMA Conference

Connect with HKS at the 2023 NOMA Conference

HKS is excited to attend and participate in this year’s National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) conference as a Diamond sponsor. Scheduled for October 11th-15th in Portland, OR, the annual event will unite more than 1,200 designers, allied professionals and students under its 2023 theme, “Building Bridges Toward Just and Joyful Futures.”

HKS team members look forward to engaging with conference attendees interested in joining hands to create more just and equitable communities through collaborative design.

Connect with HKS designers during the 2023 NOMA Grad Fair + Expo

Talk with HKS team members from cities around the country about the firm’s culture of inclusion, design excellence and innovation.

Date and Time: Saturday, October 14th 10:15am-4:15pm

Hear from HKS panelists during these exciting education sessions:

1 – “Out in Architecture: Witnessing LGBTQIA+ Joy to Build Just Futures”

Date and Time: Thursday, October 12, 2023, 2:45pm-4:15pm

Yiselle Santos Rivera, HKS’ Global Director of J.E.D.I. and My-Anh Nguyen, HKS Design Professional will joinfellow panelists A.L. Hu, Amy Karn, Bz Zhang, Andrew Grant Houston to discuss their paths to authentic expression, joyful living, and equity-building within the architecture profession.

2 – “Demystifying the workplace: Preparing for success as you join a new firm”

Date and Time: Friday, October 13, 2023, 2:45pm-3:45pm

HKS’ Yiselle Santos Rivera will present with R. Corey Clayborne and Tiffany Millner about how young professionals can navigate the architecture employment process and leverage the AIA Guides for Equitable Practice as a resource.

How Do Built Environments Help Build Brain Capital?

How Do Built Environments Help Build Brain Capital?

For the past two years, HKS researchers, designers and innovators have been working diligently on expanding our thinking about health and well-being to encompass brain health.

The World Health Organization defines brain health as “the state of brain functioning across cognitive, sensory, social-emotional, behavioral and motor domains, allowing a person to realize their full potential over the life course, irrespective of the presence or absence of disorders.” Another compelling definition in the British Medical Journal holds that brain health is “the preservation of optimal brain integrity and mental and cognitive function and the absence of overt neurological disorders.”

Brain health allows us to hyperfocus on the fundamental building block of human cognition and functioning — the human brain — and design environments that support and enhance it.

There is a strong economic imperative to focus on brain health. Our current global economy is often described as a “brain economy” where many new jobs demand cognitive, emotional, and social skills. Innovation is now considered a tangible outcome related to employee productivity. As automation increases, a premium is being placed on cerebral, brain-based skills that make us human such as self-control, emotional intelligence, creativity, compassion, altruism, systems thinking, collective intelligence, and cognitive flexibility.

Enter “brain capital,” an emerging imperative that pulls together brain health, brain skills, and concepts of the brain economy to enable people to realize their potential as productive members of society. It is being advanced by the Brain Capital Alliance, a public-private-people partnership to optimize the brain, brain health and brain skills in our modern economy.

The shift to brain capital in our thinking makes us pose this critical question: What if we could optimize our brains — not only to improve mental and physical health — but also to contribute to positive social and economic benefits that would increase individual and community well-being and advance our societal goals?

The 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are broad-reaching and holistic outcomes that require integrated, system-based solutions. Brain health and brain capital are clearly related to SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being), but it also intrinsically tied to SDG4 (Quality Education), SDG8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure), SDG10 (Sustainable Cities and Communities), SDG13 (Climate Action), SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions) and SDG17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Through the innovation and creativity unlocked by a workforce and youth population empowered with brain healthy habits, we will make significant progress on all 17 SDGs. A new brain capital economy will require bridging previously siloed disciplines and expertise to understand, test and draft policy to assess and incentivize the outcomes we desire.

At the upcoming Science Summit at the United Nations General Assembly, we will convene a full day event focused on youth mental health, workforce development, economic security and resilience, sustainable futures, brain + building, neuro-science law, and food systems. Advocates, neuroscientists, medical doctors, psychologists and designers will lead conversations along-side academics, business leaders, elected officials, policy experts and real estate financers, owners and operators. The brain capital economy will help us amplify and institutionalize innovation to date, while also creating a platform to accelerate creative approaches for the next frontier.

As researchers and designers of the built environment, we know that places and spaces have a big impact on how we can build brain capital and realize the SDGs. Here are five things we encourage our teams, clients, and partners to do as we kick-start the journey to design for brain capital:

1. Explore the intersection between neuroscience and architecture to unlock new ideas for design.

In the emerging field of neuro-aesthetics (a movement started by the Academy of Neuroscience and Architecture), a growing evidence base links environmental factors directly to brain behavior. Air quality impacts cognitive health, access to nature reduces stress and anxiety, novelty in environments can improve memory, exposure to arts can activate dormant synapses in the brain — the list linking design to brain health outcomes is long — and growing every day. Designers can catapult pieces of evidence into channels for transformational change through the enriched environments they design and build

2. Invest in your own brain capital through brain-healthy workplaces.

A disproportionately large portion of our life is spent at work. Work, especially in the brain economy, relies on brain health. Invest in design and operational best practices that make your workplaces healthy for your brain.

3. Build your and your team’s cognitive fitness with the same passion as you build physical fitness.

We often think about our diet and exercise for physical fitness, but we need to be intentional about our mental, social and cognitive fitness, too. Connect with people, spend time doing creative tasks that push your thinking, learn new things, and consider brain health training programs such as SMART from the Center for BrainHealth to build your capacity.

4. Think of every capital investment as a project for brain capital.

Think about a design project you might be working on — a school, an office, a hospital, a hotel, a housing development or a new neighborhood — and then place a brain capital lens on it. Are brain health and brain skills important to the project’s outcomes? Could investment in people’s well-being lead to economic benefits? How can you create an environment that gets to the core of how someone learns, heals, relaxes, lives and flourishes? These questions will help you unlock design potential for exponential impact.

5. Dissolve disciplinary silos to work with scientists, economists, environmentalists, artists and policy makers.

The fundamental premise of brain capital is bringing professionals from a wide range of expertise together to make bold, systemic change. And that starts with creative convenings beyond disciplines.

Imagine a future where everyone has opportunities to fulfil their potential — at home, at work, in any place at any time. If we work together to invest in building brain capital, we can create a regenerative world where creativity and innovation thrive and life flourishes.

• A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: toward economic reimagination. By Smith, Erin; Ali, Diab;
Wilkerson, Bill; Dawson, Walter D; Sobowale, Kunmi; Reynolds, Charles; Berk, Michael; Lavretsky, Helen; Jeste, Dilip; Ng, Chee H; Soares, Jair C; Aragam, Gowri; Wainer, Zoe; Manji, Husseini K; Licinio, Julio; Lo, Andrew W; Storch, Eric; Fu, Ernestine; et al.
• World Health Organization Health Topics: Brain Health
What is brain health and why is it important? By Wang, Yongjun; et. al

Building Resilient Futures: 2023 HKS Detroit Design Fellowship Applications Open

Building Resilient Futures: 2023 HKS Detroit Design Fellowship Applications Open

The HKS Detroit Design Fellowship (DDF) is a student design charrette that seeks to cultivate emerging design talent, excite and stimulate new design approaches and provide service to benefit the communities in which we live.

Since it began in 2009, the DDF has focused on the learning opportunities presented by pairing professionals with selected university students from some of the region’s top design programs.

In partnership with community organizations, DDF Fellows leverage design to solve challenges faced by Metro Detroit communities. In previous years, the DDF has worked with organizations such as Cass Community Social Services, Plymouth Coffee Bean Company and the City of Northville, Michigan.

The city of Detroit holds great significance as an historic hub of the American automotive industry and a cultural center known for its contributions to popular music. The city has endured and continues to navigate economic, social and educational challenges.

Due to population decline, suburban immigration and the emergence of charter schools, Detroit’s traditional public schools have experienced a decrease in student enrollment. This decline in enrollment has strained the finances of the Detroit Public Schools Community District, impacting available resources and educational opportunities. Additionally, the school district has struggled with low academic achievement, as evidenced by consistently below-average standardized test scores and graduation rates. Various factors, including high poverty, inadequate funding and a lack of resources, have contributed to the school district’s challenges. Detroit continues to harness the strength of its communities, embracing resilience as a fundamental value to create a better future. The heart of this year’s DDF design challenge is resilience – within, through and beyond the built environment.

Our partner this year

This year the DDF is partnering with Brilliant Detroit. This non-profit organization was founded in 2015 with the goal to provide a radically new approach to kindergarten readiness in Detroit neighborhoods. The idea was to create a unique delivery model in early childhood development by using underutilized housing stock to create early child and family centers in city neighborhoods.

Brilliant Detroit homes provide holistic services for children aged 0-8, predicated on evidence-based programs concerning health, family support and education. Brilliant Detroit was born to create kid success neighborhoods. In each of the organization’s locations, neighbors come together for activities and learning to assure school readiness and provide needed support for families. The DDF Fellows will work on a challenge that expands on this approach, exploring the power of design to build a more resilient future.

Location and Schedule

During three days of collaboration, DDF participants will investigate, iterate, and propose solutions, based on a design prompt. The workshop will begin on Friday, September 8 and culminate on Sunday, September 10.

A final review and public exhibition will be held Friday, September 15 as part of Detroit Month of Design, a citywide celebration of creativity. The exhibition will provide the community with the opportunity to learn more about the design process and actively participate in it. Registration for the final review and public exhibition will be available through the Detroit Month of Design website at

Specific 2023 DDF design challenge information will be presented to students selected to participate in the fellowship one week before the in-person collaboration.

HKS Detroit Address: Main St, #102C Northville, MI 48167

This year we are part of Detroit Month of Design

If you are in Detroit, we invite you to this year’s Detroit Design Fellowship student work exhibition in the MarxModa Detroit office on September 15. This event is part of the Detroit Month of Design, which is a citywide celebration of creativity that gathers designers and the greater community to celebrate Detroit’s role as a national and global design capital. Detroit is the first city in the U.S. to be named a UNESCO City of Design.

The exhibition is free to the public and provides an opportunity to learn about the Fellow’s work and the design process behind it. You can register on the MoD website.

Address: 751 Griswold St, Detroit, MI 48226
Time: 6 pm – 9 pm


Sixteen Fellows will be chosen by the design fellowship committee. All applicants will be notified of the status of their application via email within a week following the application deadline. Those selected for the Fellowship must submit a headshot photo and brief bio (up to 200 words) upon notification for inclusion in the welcome packet and website announcement.


DDF is open to college or university undergraduates, graduate students and recent graduates (up to 1 year post graduation) of architecture, interior design, industrial design and other design programs.

The 2023 application period opens July 10 and closes on August 21.

To apply, please email the following information to [email protected]

Meals will be provided to participants during the four days of the DDF. Hotel and travel arrangements will not be provided, however, and are the responsibility of the Fellows.

The decisions of the design fellowship committee are final. For any inquiries, please email: [email protected]

Making Urban Spaces Equitable Places for All

Making Urban Spaces Equitable Places for All

Inequity is often viewed through the wide lens of socioeconomic and racial disparity, but it manifests itself in more places than one might expect. It’s built into every aspect of a person’s daily environment — even, for example, in something as mundane as the amount of time it takes to get to the grocery store. 

As a part of its quarterly Limitless series, global design firm HKS recently hosted a panel to discuss inequity in the built environment and the cooperative effort necessary to improve it.  

Dan Noble, HKS President and CEO, gave opening remarks. Erin Peavey, Health and Well-being Design Leader at HKS, moderated the panel, which examined the city of Dallas as a setting for the creation of healthier and more equitable development and redevelopment. Panelists were Dr. Maria Martinez-Cosio, Dr. Christopher J. Dowdy, Dallas City Council Member Jaynie Schultz and Murphy D. Cheathum II. Dr. Lorin Carter, founder and CEO of C Suite Equity Consulting, was the keynote speaker.  

“A lot of people don’t intuitively understand the relationship between health, well-being and the built environment,” Peavey said. “They don’t understand that the way our cities are designed is this constant underlying influence.” 

Inequity Manifests Itself in More Ways Than You Might Expect

As the Dallas area experiences a population boom that could earn it the title of the third-largest metropolitan area in the country in the next decade, its southern half hasn’t experienced the same rapid development as the northern half. Much of that area was labeled as “hazardous” by the now-defunct Home Owners’ Loan Corporation, a federal agency founded in the 1930s that is often viewed as the creator of the practice of redlining. Redlining is a discriminatory practice of withholding loans or other financial resources from neighborhoods based on residents’ race or ethnicity, marking them with redlines that show their status. 

The inequity that oppressive systems like redlining have created is, in many ways, limitless. In her keynote speech, Carter expanded on the concept of social determinants of health.  

“This is not high blood pressure or whether or not you have asthma,” Carter said. “These are all things (like) … where you’re born, how you grow, you work, you live and age, and all the wider sets of forces, systems and constructs that we live within … that impact our overall quality of life.”   

Carter presented a series of maps that illustrated a variety of social determinants of health in the Dallas metroplex. The maps closely resembled the ‘30s-era redlining map, with the most negatively affected areas in present-day Dallas having been marked as undesirable for development nearly 100 years ago.  

For example, according to a 2010 map by the city’s Office of Economic Development, almost all prominent business headquarters are located on Dallas’ north side, with many located in areas that are difficult for residents of South Dallas to reach without personal transportation. A job proximity index map showed that residents of South Dallas and parts of East Dallas live near significantly fewer job opportunities than residents of North Dallas, and another map showed that most racially/ethnically concentrated areas of poverty (R/ECAPS) are in South Dallas.  

Carter also highlighted a study by University of Texas health systems that revealed major differences in life expectancies by ZIP code in Dallas and demonstrated an interactive map with color-coded sections of average life expectancy.  

Dowdy, Vice President of Strategy and Larry James Fellow at Forest Forward, also noted the study’s findings.  

“Depending on where you’re born here in Dallas, that can take five or 10 years off your life, which is arbitrary and horrific,” Dowdy said.  

Cooperative Solutions for Building Equity in Urban Environments

The panel agreed that extensive collaboration during the design process with the communities a development plans to serve is vital to building equity in those communities.  

“Sometimes we forget that communities and residents that live and will live with the changes are also experts in what they need,” said Martinez-Cosio, interim dean of the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington.  

Martinez-Cosio also noted that although efforts to include community stakeholders in the development process are well-intentioned, some burden residents more than they give them a voice.  

“We’re all billing for our time (to attend these community meetings), but we expect residents to sit and attend these night meetings without daycare, without getting time off work,” Martinez-Cosio said. “We expect them to do all this to rectify part of what we’ve created.” 

Dowdy noted that marginalized communities may not trust developers or local government after being let down and “de-resourced” in the past, so it may take years to cultivate the relationships necessary for true collaborative and equitable development.  

“We need to think about all the things people need, not just drop in a shiny project and say we’re done,” Dowdy said. “We need to think about how to, over years and years, develop trust and struggle alongside and think through different strategies so that we can develop the cultural and economic enterprises that are going to make the most sense for that neighborhood to give them power over the things they’re going to enjoy.” 

Cheathum, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Manager for the Americas at global commercial real estate services firm CBRE, noted the power of the private sector in helping to effect change. 

“Private business, private equity and private investment are always going to lead the way,” Cheathum said. “Government policy is great. Nonprofit is great, but we all know private dollars lead government policy.”  

The Dallas City Council is contributing to addressing inequity in the built environment through its Racial Equity Plan adopted in 2022, said Schultz, City Council member for District 11 and chair of the City Council’s Workforce, Education and Equity committee.  

The plan’s “racial equity indicators were our checkup. Now we know the prognosis, and we are beginning to have conversations that, for years, we avoided as a city,” Schultz said. 

What Individuals Can Do to Help

While the panel explored the need for a well-rounded, collaborative effort among city leaders to build equity in underserved communities, individuals — especially young people — can still make an impact on their own.  

Dowdy highlighted how easy it can be for passionate designers to unintentionally lose their spark for meaningful work when faced with the potential to earn large sums of money. He called on designers to keep in touch with the desire to make a difference.  

“A life in solidarity with the people who really deserve your attention is a life repairing the damage we’ve done to these communities,” Dowdy said. “It’s up to us to learn our trades but also to keep our character.”  

Cheathum, who now works for one of the world’s largest real estate services and investment firms, said he didn’t know real estate development was an industry until he was 27 years old. He believes professionals can help bring sustainable wealth to low-income communities by exposing people to professions they wouldn’t ordinarily encounter. 

“What you all can do individually is show people — who look like you or don’t look like you — your profession, the skills it takes to do what you do and put them on a path to go generate that revenue and income, and then reinvest that income wherever they choose to live.”  

View the full panel discussion below.

Watch Recording

Join HKS at the 2023 European Healthcare Design Conference

Join HKS at the 2023 European Healthcare Design Conference

Please join HKS at the European Healthcare Design Conference in London and virtually, June 12–14. The theme of this year’s event is “Fault lines and front lines: Strengthening health system resilience.” The highly anticipated conference seeks to spark conversation in Europe and around the world about how to plan and design health systems and infrastructure to achieve fiscal balance, equality of access, greater efficiency, net-zero, pandemic preparedness, quality improvement and better health outcomes in design.

HKS’ Jess Karsten, Deborah Wingler, Angela Lee, Sarah Holton and Joshi Rutali are all scheduled to speak at the conference, in addition to video and poster galleries from Sammy Shams, Sumandeep Singh and Jennie Evans that delegates can peruse between sessions.


Video + Poster Gallery

The cultured surroundings of the Dorchester Library will play host to the Video + Poster Gallery


We hope you’ll join our illustrious team for rewarding discussions on health care design resilience.

HKS’ Southeast Design Fellowship Promotes Equity & Resiliency in Orlando

HKS’ Southeast Design Fellowship Promotes Equity & Resiliency in Orlando

Orlando, Florida, often referred to as “The City Beautiful” and synonymous with the happiest place on earth, is a vibrant metropolis in the heart of the Sunshine State. However, like many growing cities, there is a marked disparity in socioeconomics among some Orlando communities. One such area is the historic Parramore neighborhood near downtown.

Developed in the 1880s, Parramore was an economic and cultural hub for African Americans in Central Florida until the 1960s, when Interstate 4 was built between Parramore and Orlando’s affluent central business district. The raised expressway displaced more than 500 properties and created a distinct divide in downtown Orlando.

HKS engaged with the City of Orlando and the city’s Future-Ready Initiative to create designs for addressing inequities and deploying resilience hubs within Parramore. The HKS Orlando office recently hosted our 2023 Southeast Design Fellowship (SEDF), an incubator for young designers with a passion for solving complicated challenges in their communities.

The SEDF design charrette occurred in two phases, a month-long research phase and a four-day design phase during which five teams of HKS Southeast Design Fellows met with Orlando city leaders, toured the community and presented their design concepts and solutions.

The Southeast Design Fellows were tasked with using the American Institute of Architects Framework for Design Excellence to investigate Parramore, develop an understanding of the community’s history, culture and environment and develop design solutions that mitigate and adapt to hazards, so the people of Parramore can thrive.

Below are descriptions of each team’s design and guiding principles.

Parramore Farmline

Designed by Brian Lachnicht, Fernando Arana and Mahnoor Faheem

Urban interventions introduced into a historically disenfranchised community empower healthy, positive interactions, engaging change through activation, celebration, connection and education.

Activate: Repurpose abandoned lots into wetlands, green spaces and urban farms.

Celebrate: Soft scape spaces to reduce surface run-off, build a bioswale to filter run-off before it drains into lakes and sell fresh produce at a local street market.

Connect: Connect various sections of Parramore’s urban fabric through bike lanes, continuous sidewalks and green belts.

Educate: Educate residents of Orlando and Parramore through didactic measures that include developing bike routes that pass through historic sites of Parramore, providing farming classes to enable residents to grow, eat and sell food and providing access to Wi-Fi and electricity for charging devices through resilience hubs.

Learn more

Circular Economy

Designed by Maria Guruceaga, Zeid Omeish and Karla Orellana

This group evaluated three options through the eyes of a child, to create a network of security for children based on playing, learning and creating. Designing a circular economy through an interconnected network of varying scales promotes children’s safety, education and ownership.

Community Center: Main providers for resources, learning and civic involvement.

Resilient Pod: Creating a safe space for networking, production and learning.

Mobile Unit: Providing distribution, refill programs, collection and community outreach.

Learn more

Resilience Avenue

Designed by: Carlos Rivas, Danna Bermudez and Elizabeth Chew

Reclaiming the underused sectors of Parramore Avenue introduces a resilient “public canvas” to engage and celebrate the community while providing a platform to showcase innovation and progression.

The “public canvas” introduces a flexible community-focused space tailored for gathering and sociological analysis. This typology is meant to encourage innovative solutions in the pursuit of community well-being and catalyze the large-scale implementation of successful case strategies. A community space that provides access to first aid, clean water, Wi-Fi/electricity, food and prep space and public facilities promotes resiliency.

Learn more

Bodega in Parramore

Designed by Hossein Mirzajani, Luiza Heleno and Ja’Nai Ferguson

Community cornerstones increase engagement, bridge the generational gap and empower the community through resilience.

Drawing inspiration from a typical bodega, this group evaluated locations to provide modular, prefabricated community cornerstones. Four sites throughout the community will provide unique resiliency features including restrooms and showers, clean drinking water, book exchanges, art and educational spaces, internet and charging stations, areas for food exchange and waste disposal, fitness areas and historic preservation honoring the community heritage.

Learn more

The Parramore Collection

Designed by Chris Tromp, Claudia Reyes and Shantanu Parikh

This team proposed a two-fold approach for children to cement ownership of their community’s future.

First, the team created an illustrative platform that represents children’s potential and allows them to author their own stories.

In conjunction with this platform, the team proposed a series of architectural interventions to support the spread of vital information and meet community needs.

Graphic novels portray the possibilities in an approachable way that allows kids to envision their future and create a sense of pride about where they came from and where they are going. Community parks create engagement and provide kids with a safe space to explore.

Learn more

2023 HKS SEDF Fellows


HKS would like to thank GATE, Armstrong, dri-design, Sherwin Williams, KONE, Steris, NOVUM and ASSA ABLOY, the sponsors of the 2023 Southeast Design Fellowship. 

Join HKS in Designing a Better World at the AIA 2023 Conference on Architecture

Join HKS in Designing a Better World at the AIA 2023 Conference on Architecture

The American Institute of Architects will host its 2023 Conference on Architecture at the Moscone Center in San Francisco from June 7–10. The four-day, annual conference will feature an Architecture Expo for industry-wide networking and more than 400 additional events centered on designing a better world.  

This year’s Conference will debut seven education tracks aimed at streamlining the experience for conferencegoers who wish to attend sessions tailored to their interests. Five panels will feature a total of eight HKS architects and designers.

Please join HKS for the following events:  

Relationship with Technology (Practice vs. Process) Panel at the TAP Symposium at A’23 

Wednesday, June 7 — 2:15 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Vibhuti (Vickie Patel) Harris, Firmwide BIM Leader, HKS; Matt Wheelis, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Build and Construct Division, Nemetschek Group; Sam Omans, Industry Strategy Manager, Architecture, Autodesk; Kim Dowdell, AIA, NOMAC, 2023 First Vice President, The American Institute of Architects; Brad Prestbo, FAIA, Boston Office Director, Studio NYL. 

Harris will join the TAP Symposium’s third panel to discuss the lack of software designed to meet the evolving demands of project delivery and the AEC industry’s role in collaborating with software companies to effect positive change.  

Empowering Communities Through Empathetic Listening

Wednesday, June 7 — 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Erin Peavey, AIA, Health and Well-being Design Leader, Community, HKS; Jessica Roddenberry, AIA, Studio Practice Leader, Education, HKS

Peavey and Roddenberry will host a discussion on the power of empathetic design in granting communities participation and choice in the development of their everyday spaces.  

Performing Beautifully — The COTE Top Ten Awards 

Thursday, June 8 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Michelle Amt, AIA, Director of Sustainability/Associate Principal, VMDO Architects; Katie Ackerly, AIA, Principal/Sustainability Director, David Baker Architects; Avinash Rajagopal, Editor in Chief, Metropolis; Lori Ferriss, AIA, Principal, Director of Sustainability and Climate Action, Goody Clancy. 

The COTE Top Ten Award, architecture’s most prestigious sustainability award, honors design excellence. A panel including COTE award jury members will discuss real-world implementation of design that considers climate action, equity and environmental performance. Tommy Zakrzewski, Director of Building Engineering Physics at HKS, will also briefly talk about the firm’s design of its COTE Top Ten-winning North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood. 

Please join Zakrzewski and Rand Ekman, Chief Sustainability Officer at HKS, in celebrating the firm’s 2023 COTE Top Ten Award at the AIA COTE Top Ten Toast on June 8 from 7:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. PDT, and the AIA Honors Awards Celebration on June 9 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PDT.  

Virtual Models & the Future of Digital Delivery: SoFi Stadium 

Thursday, June 8 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Cory Brugger, Assoc. AIA, Chief Technology Officer, HKS; Heath May, AIA, Global Practice Director of LINE, HKS; Devin Lewis, AIA, Senior Architect, Solomon Cordwell Buenz; Timothy Dufault, FAIA, Chief Revenue Officer, ConcertVDC. 

Brugger and May will discuss HKS’ award-winning SoFi Stadium and its use of virtual models throughout construction.  

Stronger Together: The Future of Latinx in Architecture 

Thursday, June 8 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Yiselle Santos Rivera, AIA, Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, HKS; Patricia Alcaron, AIA, Principal, Ratcliff; Bayardo Selva, AIA, Architect, cre8 Architects; Ingedia Sanchez, AIA, NCARB, LEED BD + C, Sr. Technical Director/Associate, UrbanWorks, Ltd.; Patricia Centeno, AIA, Principal, BAR Architects & Interiors. 

As the Latinx population increases in the United States, Latinx architects are working to expand resources for Latinx design professionals. Rivera will join a group of architects to discuss diversity within the Latinx community and representation in the design industry.  

Leveraging Integrative Frameworks for Resilient Design 

Thursday, June 8 — 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Amanda Barton, AIA, Project Designer, HKS; Sammy Shams, AIA, Sustainable Design Professional II, HKS; Ibrahim Almufti, Associate Principal, Risk & Resilience Team Leader, ARUP; Thomas Packer, Associate Principal, ARUP.  

Barton and Shams will join ARUP representatives to discuss both firms’ respective, yet complementary, frameworks that promote design resilience.  

Greening Large: Advancing Organizational Sustainability Through Regenerative Projects

Friday, June 9 — 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. PDT

Speakers: Allison Smith, Assoc. AIA, Sustainable Design Leader, Vice President, HKS; Wes Sullens, LEED Fellow, Director, LEED, U.S. Green Building Council.

The Harvey Milk Terminal 1 Boarding Area B at the San Francisco International Airport is the world’s first LEEDv4 Platinum- and WELL Platinum-certified airport terminal. Smith will join a discussion of the project’s sustainable design, as well as the potential impact of large new projects on an individual organization’s sustainability progress, certifying bodies and the AEC industry at large.

Becoming a Citizen Architect 

Friday, June 9 — 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. PDT 

Speakers: Julie Hiromoto, FAIA, Principal, Director of Integration, HKS; Kira Gould, Hon. AIA, Principal, Kira Gould CONNECT; Angela Brooks, FAIA, Principal, Brooks + Scarpa Architects, Inc.; Christian Solorio, AIA, Arizona State Representative.  

Hiromoto will join a panel of fellow award-winning architects to discuss the citizen architect’s role in government and civic engagement.  

College of Fellows Investiture Ceremony

Thursday June 8 – 3:00pm – 5:00pm PDT

HKS’ Bernita Beikmann, Chief Process Officer, Principal and Executive Vice President, will be officially elevated to the AIA College of Fellow during the annual investiture ceremony.

How Design Can Benefit from Indigenous Ways of Being and Doing

How Design Can Benefit from Indigenous Ways of Being and Doing

When I think about Environmental, Social, Governance in Design, or ESG in Design, I often consider the relationship of social constructs, identity and well-being. It is our responsibility as designers to understand how we can work with people in communities, empower them and help create places that support and reflect their lived experiences.

HKS recently invited architect and educator Wanda Dalla Costa to speak at our annual ESG in Design Celebration about her perspective on these ideas. Dalla Costa is the first, First Nation woman to become licensed to practice architecture in Canada and she founded Tawaw Architecture Collective, where she is a Principal. Dalla Costa holds a joint position at Arizona State University between The Design School as Institute Professor and the School of Construction as Associate Professor.

In a keynote address to HKS’ global studios, Dalla Costa shared how she works to uplift indigenous communities through participatory design. As HKS’ Global Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, I was inspired by her messages and wanted to dig deeper. I invited her for a follow-up conversation to talk more about her work and discuss the values and shared goals we have for the design industries.

Yiselle Santos Rivera: Your design firm, Tawaw Architecture Collective, includes a staff of native designers and focuses on providing services with “Indigenous Ways of Being/Doing.” Can you talk about the impact this approach can have?

Wanda Dalla Costa: The fundamental shift we’re trying to accomplish is to increase spatial agency of our user groups. We’re also aiming to increase the accuracy and relevancy of design for people who are diverse. To bring indigenous ways of being and doing into a firm, it means you have to change the process. If you don’t change the process, you don’t change the product. Our process includes place-based research, community-led teaching, co-design and storytelling. We also focus on listening more than talking. When you do that, you get information on a wide variety of topics and perspectives that haven’t typically come into architecture lately. It’s about resurfacing the place for ancestral worldviews in contemporary society; and that’s an underexamined and understudied subject.

YSR: I love that you mention process. You’re shifting the mindset of two things — who is leading the conversation and how the conversation is being led. This can help us rethink how we put design teams together, what we do, and how we engage. You’ve also shared the philosophy and practice of “decentering self” in the design process. Can you elaborate on how that differs from dominant ways of working in architecture and how this can be a meaningful path forward for the design industries?

WDC: I think the metrics of success in architecture have typically been how many awards an architect receives, which are often judged by a homogenous and non-diverse group. That really negates the fact that all the voices count in this world. When you look at indigenous practices happening around the world, the decentering of self is about prioritizing the voice of the collective. Indigenous people have long practiced consensus-based decision making. The difference is that it’s not about what is best for us, but what’s best for the whole group. We don’t just think about the human group, we think about all living things. If we don’t all live together in harmony, then we all won’t survive. There’s a focus on the whole kingdom of nature that necessitates a shift away from the self toward a bigger collective.

YSR: It’s always been important, but right now it’s critical for us to think about the entire ecosystem and our place in it. I find the clarity of the language of “decentering” self extremely powerful, and I think it’s important we incorporate this language and ideology in our practice and processes. Your practice and process emphasize participatory design and research. At HKS, we believe that both are key parts of creating beneficial experiences for people in the places we design. How does leveraging both participatory design and research lead to stronger, more equitable outcomes?

WDC: The research and participatory side of this work is critical to jolt us out of limited outcomes. Our research covers many realms, and part of it focuses on making visible what is invisible. Many things are invisible in different cultures and we want to lift those up. I think invisible aspects of cultures worldwide are important because they have a broader system of measurement than what has been used in architecture. Research broadens how we measure design, and it brings science to it. Right now, I’m working with a researcher at ASU and we’re looking look at holistic measures of success. There are a host of factors that, together, make good space for human beings — social, psychological, spatial, cultural and spiritual factors.

Regarding participatory design — unless we begin to bring narratives that have not typically been captured in architecture, we will never see progress in the field. When we explore multiple diverse perspectives, it brings up whole new dialogues. I see this happening in indigenous design specifically. When we do place-based research and engagement, we come up with inspirations that are completely the opposite of what you would learn to be inspired by in design school. I think that will change outcomes in the whole field of architecture.

“Unless we begin to bring narratives that have not typically been captured in architecture, we will never see progress in the field.”

YSR: I relate to the idea of ‘making the invisible, visible’ very much. There’s a disconnect at many architecture firms in what Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion means to the work. Many people think it’s inward facing, but there is connection between our internal efforts and our project outcomes —what we’re delivering is not for us, it’s for other people. Some of your participatory work is with the Indigenous Design Collaborative, which you founded at ASU in 2016 and where multidisciplinary group of students and professionals work with tribal communities in Arizona to enhance the built environment. Can you talk about some of the discoveries you’ve made through this initiative?

WDC: What I was shocked at when I started the Indigenous Design Collaborative was the level of interest and how easily and quickly that idea became scalable. We now have calls from people who associate with the word ‘indigenous’ from Hawaii, South America, the Middle East, India and more. There are indigenous communities around the world identifying with what we’re teaching about, what we’re researching, and the mission of this work. I suspect that’s the biggest discovery — finding people with similar challenges to us. We’ve become a coalition of sorts where we’re all paying attention to what other groups are doing and seeing if our ideas have staying power.

YSR: You’ve talked about how Native cultures place value on giving to future generations. How do you see design playing a role in impacting future generations? How do you see these ideas and your leadership as an architect and educator supporting young people in the design industries?

WDC: Something that drives the design we do at the firm is reciprocity. With every project, we ask: how does this give back to the local community? If we can’t name how it gives back, then there is not enough reason for us to get involved. In my lectures, I often talk about Wakanda from the movie Black Panther. It is a place designed to honor worldviews, lifeways and identities of different cultures, which gives power to people who live there. It communicates the notion that you don’t have to live in a place that doesn’t represent you or where people don’t design like you or look like you — you can live in a place where your identity is reflected.

Another important aspect about giving back is being a role model for the up-and-coming generations. Not only do I want to create the worlds that they can see themselves in, but I want them to take the pen out of my hand. I want them take on this job and mission of uplifting all indigenous and diverse cultures. We start with indigenous cultures because there is a certain right we have with the land that we recognize, but I think that inclusivity permeates to all different nations and cultures across the globe.

HKS Global Design Fellowship Cultivates Design Excellence

HKS Global Design Fellowship Cultivates Design Excellence

Fostering conversations about great design is foundational to design excellence at HKS. One way we support these conversations is through our annual Global Design Fellowship. This program brings together HKS employees from throughout our 26 offices worldwide to explore big ideas through design. The fellowship is an opportunity for emerging talent to explore topics that are important to us as a firm and to advance the quality of design at HKS.

“We’re a global firm for a reason – we think that’s an asset,” said Jenn Carlson, an HKS designer who serves on the Global Design Fellowship committee. “We’re better when we’re pulling from all our offices. It’s about bringing the absolute best minds from across the firm together to develop the most creative ideas.”

Hannah Shultz, who is also an HKS designer and committee member, said the fellowship gives up-and-coming HKS employees a chance to spread their wings and take ownership of a design topic that interests them, which “only gives them more courage and agency in how they want to cultivate their career.”

Investing in our people through initiatives like the Global Design Fellowship helps express how highly HKS values both beauty and inspiration in design.

A New Design Language

Eight HKS employees were selected for our 2023 Global Design Fellowship class, which was divided into three teams:

During the fellowship the teams examined how, as science and technology have advanced, buildings have shifted away from designs that respond to their context and towards artificial environments that separate people from nature.

The design fellows sought to discover a new design language that supports both the natural and artificial realm in order to enhance the human experience and reinvigorate ecosystems.

They approached this issue by exploring how the built environment can promote a positive relationship with the Texas Blackland Prairies, an endangered ecosystem heavily impacted by the recent, rapid growth of Dallas and Austin.

Each team of fellows met virtually for two months to research, define the problem and present their progress to a team of advisors. The teams then participated in a week-long design charrette at the HKS Dallas office.

The week was capped off by the recent 2023 Global Design Fellowship event at HKS Dallas, where the design fellows presented their ideas in person to the firm as well as a panel of regional design and environmental experts.

Poetry and Power

The three teams took distinct approaches to the problem, but they each married the science and poetry of design to deliver beautiful, powerful presentations.

Siyang Zhang, Johnson and Ham (Team X) collaborated on the design of a community composting project featuring contoured underground chambers that artfully reveal the soil structure to help people better understand the underground ecosystem.

The group noted that every year in the U.S., more than 35 tons of food waste are sent to landfills. By encouraging and facilitating composting, the team’s project is designed to help replenish the Texas Blackland Prairie soil. And by collecting compostable material and distributing high quality soil to organic farms or city gardens, the project would also help build a circular economy within the community.

Dandi Zhang and Shastavets (Team Y) partnered on a project to preserve bird species that are vanishing from North America. Describing the project from the perspective of a bird watcher and a scissor-tailed flycatcher, they proposed a kit of parts to transform abandoned buildings in Texas ghost towns that are located along major migratory flyways into protective environments for birds.

Beyond protecting bird species, the project would provide viewing opportunities for bird watchers, who contribute $1.8 billion annually to the Texas economy, according to research cited by the team.

Marais, Martin and Dai (Team Z) devised a strategy for creating a web of prairie corridors to connect Dallas to the Texas Blackland Prairies. The team described the history of the Blackland Prairies, including indigenous practices to encourage prairie growth and the later industrialization that reduced the Blackland Prairie ecosystem to 1 percent of its original land mass.

The team told “The Legend of the Prairie Mother” from the viewpoint of the future, looking back on the year 2023 when, according to the legend, an environmentalist, gardener and chef teamed up to reawaken human relationships with the land, in order to rewild the landscape, build community and feed people.

The team said they chose the story format for their presentation as way to honor indigenous traditions they learned about in their research, many of which were passed down from generation to generation through storytelling.

Bridging the Dichotomy

Following the teams’ presentations, Heath May, Global Practice Director of HKS’ Laboratory for Intensive Exploration (LINE), moderated a panel discussion that included Lisa Casey, Associate with Dallas-based landscape architecture and urban design firm Studio Outside; Dr. Oswald Jenewein, Assistant Professor of Architecture at the University of Texas at Arlington; and Brett Johnson, an Urban Biologist with the Dallas Park & Recreation Department.

The panelists discussed the presentations, shared their personal career paths and talked about how their work is, as May said, “bridging the dichotomy between architecture and landscape.”

Casey explained how her professional interests intersect with the ideas expressed by the design fellows.

“I’m looking at how we tie into the native ecoregion, bringing native plant material into projects so that there’s a sense of rootedness to the work I do,” Casey said.

She praised the design fellows for bringing visibility to topics that are “central to moving things forward” in landscape architecture and urban design.

Dr. Jenewein talked about helping cities develop comprehensive plans for future development that incorporate climate adaptation and environmental topics. “I feel like we’re making significant impact,” he said. He complimented the teams for the compelling storytelling they brought to their presentations.

Johnson described how aspects of the local ecosystem, like grasslands, are aligned with human needs, such as stormwater management or open space where children can play.

He said that because his job entails considering the broader effects of different elements of the environment, he especially appreciated the idea of revealing the soil in order to increase people’s understanding of soil’s importance.

“You’re taking something that’s been subliminal…and you’re bringing it beyond the surface, so we can actually experience it and talk through it,” Johnson said.

May noted that over the next several decades, geographies in Texas are likely to undergo a process of transformation. He said that projects like those presented by the design fellows “are so valuable in showing what the role of the architect could be in all of this, as kind of a mastermind that is allowed to invent and experiment.”

Lasting Impression

As Chief Design Officer here at HKS, one of the most exciting things about the design profession to me is the opportunity we have to make a clear and lasting impression on people’s lives.

The HKS 2023 design fellows demonstrated that design excellence requires a deep understanding of what shapes a community and place. Places don’t exist in one time, one generation, one decade. As designers, we need to consider how we create the future without losing the sense of what makes a place special.

We want our environments and spaces to inspire people. I applaud this year’s design fellows for elevating the work that we do.

Learn with HKS Health Leaders at the 2023 ASHE PDC Summit

Learn with HKS Health Leaders at the 2023 ASHE PDC Summit

Health care and design leaders from around the world will gather this week in Phoenix for the 2023 International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction. The event, which runs through March 15, is hosted by The American Society for Health Care Engineering (ASHE).

HKS invites all attendees to join our designers and collaborators at four exciting sessions as they dive into topics related to sustainability and health care delivery, highlighting successful stories from world-class health care environments.

AIA/AAH Forum – Sustainability in Healthcare: How the Next Generation Will Be Drivers of Change

Tuesday March 14, 2023 – 6:30 a.m.-7:30 a.m. MST

HKS’ Amber Wirth will join a panel of sustainability leaders as they discuss how the next generation can carry the torch and drive transformational change in sustainable health care design. Speakers representing the fields of architecture, engineering and construction will explore the ways health care facilities can be designed, operated and maintained in a more sustainable manner as well as how health care facilities can better support the well-being of their patients, staffs and communities.

Parkland Health Redefines Change-Ready Clinics of the Future

Wednesday March 15, 2023 – 8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m. MST

HKS’ Brian Briscoe and partners from Parkland Health and McCarthy Building Companies will describe how they worked together to consolidate 24 clinics and multiple ancillary services into the 525,000 SF Parkland Outpatient Clinic in Dallas ahead of schedule and $8 million below the total budget, despite the pandemic, weather delays and scope expansion. Presenters will share insights on how to create change-ready facilities that can evolve over time.

How ProMedica Toledo Hospital Found the Value of Research and the Cost of Cutting Cost

Wednesday March 15, 2023 – 9:45 a.m.-10:45 a.m. MST

HKS’ Rutali Joshi and Camilla Moretti will present with ProMedica about how they leveraged interdisciplinary expertise to minimize waste, maximize efficiency, optimize functional performance and improve safety and quality at ProMedica Toledo Hospital project, a 756,600 SF, 13-story, 309-bed inpatient replacement tower. They will share the integrated research-based design process, as well as the outcomes of an occupancy study that assessed effective strategies, performance evaluation and illuminated learning opportunities.

Fire to Electrons: Decarbonization at Baptist Health South Florida’s Boca Raton Regional Hospital

Wednesday March 15, 2023 – 11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. MST

HKS’ Sammy Shams and partners from TLC Engineering Solutions and Robins and Morton will share their work renovating and expanding the campus of Baptist Health South Florida’s Boca Raton Regional Hospital. Presenters will explore opportunities regarding electrification and seeks to empower a movement in health care to reduce emissions and not disqualify complex health buildings from decarbonization goals.

Six Developments to See While You’re in Dallas for the ULI Fall Meeting

Six Developments to See While You’re in Dallas for the ULI Fall Meeting

Welcome to Dallas, ULI! As you settle into my hometown, I thought you might enjoy seeing some key developments that make the DFW metroplex the dynamic urban environment it is today. As sponsors of the conference, HKS is participating in a host of ULI-led tours. But if, like me, you enjoy exploring cities on your own, then here are six places that I recommend visiting—with tips on nearby spots to grab something to eat or drink, too.

1. Klyde Warren Park

Klyde Warren Park, the 2014 ULI Urban Open Space Award winner, is a must-see for any urbanist. The park that was built atop an interstate highway—and reconnected downtown Dallas to adjacent Uptown and Victory Park neighborhoods for pedestrians—transformed Big D. HKS-designed projects, including the Park District, KPMG Plaza, WELL-Gold certified Hall Arts and 2000 Ross (arguably one of the most elegant parking structures you’ll ever see) line the perimeter, and prove that urban open space coupled with great design amplifies real estate investment and transforms cities.

Hungry or thirsty? I’m partial to the modern take on southern cuisine at Ellie’s Restaurant inside the elegant new Hall Arts Hotel.

2. Victory Park

Victory Park is another development featured at the ULI Fall Meeting many times through the years, and for good reason: the once-desolate downtown neighborhood is booming today. HKS-designed projects, including the American Airlines Center, home of the Dallas Mavericks, W Hotel & Residences and mixed-use development The Union make the walk from Klyde Warren to Victory Park pedestrian-friendly.

Where to stop for a drink or food nearby:  Billy Can Can is a sophisticated take on Texas cuisine and one of the development’s many great places to eat and drink. If you’re more interested in people-watching, try The Henry in The Union.

3. Pacific Park

I’ll argue that the architectural epicenter of Dallas can be found at One Dallas Center, the IM Pei-designed, HKS-repositioned tower home to HKS Global Headquarters. Our 650 local team members help make the adjacent Pacific Park and Pacific Park Pavilion one of Dallas’ most successful new urban spaces. (Just two years ago, it was a pothole-riddled parking lot!) We hope you visit our office during the Fall Meeting, and after you do, be sure to walk around the corner to see the late, great Philip Johnson’s Thanks-Giving Square Chapel.

Where to stop for a drink or food nearby: the Park is a five minute drive to Deep Ellum, where you can try some Texas barbeque at Terry Black’s or the Pecan Lodge. In Deep Ellum, bars, music & nightlife abound.

4. South Dallas

What’s next in Big D’s renaissance? Be sure to see what’s happening in South Dallas and take a look at what’s to come. My personal favorites are the Park for Floral Farms, Forest Theater, and future Southern Gateway Park, which is the South Dallas bookend to Klyde Warren. And for folks looking for historic Dallas neighborhoods with great food, well… South Dallas is the place to be.

Where to stop for a drink or food nearby: swing by Bishop Arts and enjoy the people-watching, food and drink at Written by the Seasons or longtime neighborhood favorite The Boulevardier.

5. Arlington

I know there are a few of y’all who will argue that SoFi Stadium or U.S. Bank are the most beautiful NFL Stadiums of them all, and I get that. But let’s be clear: it all started with the HKS-designed home to America’s team, the Dallas Cowboys: AT&T Stadium.

It’s hard to imagine today, but when we first built the stadium more than a decade ago, there wasn’t much else to do in Arlington, from an entertainment perspective. Today, it’s a whole different ball game, as it were. The newly-opened Globe Life Field, home to the Texas Rangers, and resort-like hotel with killer views of AT&T Stadium at Texas Live by Loews make Arlington DFW’s hottest new entertainment district.

It’s not all football, either. Did you know that more visitors see the world-class modern art collection annually at AT&T Stadium than they do at the Art Institute of Chicago? Or that half of AT&T Stadium’s revenues happen when the NFL isn’t in town? It’s true. And for local residents: the Arlington ISD Center for Performing Arts offers neighborhood students professional-caliber performance venues to prepare for careers in the arts (be sure to check out the Fall Meeting session for a deep-dive into what makes it unique).

What’s next in Arlington? The soon-to-open Loews Arlington Hotel (that pool!), and newly-repositioned Choctaw Stadium, former home of the Rangers, that’s now an eSports venue.

6. The Stockyards

When in DFW, it’s imperative to visit Fort Worth. There are many fantastic places to see here, but in the interest of your short stay, let’s focus on the place Where the West Begins: The Stockyards. It’s here that you can enjoy the Fort Worth Herd Cattle Drive, or watch a rodeo at nearby Dickies Arena. If you do, be sure to check out the 2021 CoreNet Global award-winning adaptive reuse for Simpli.Fi, and then perhaps wind down at the newly-opened, HKS-designed Hotel Drover.

Where to stop for food or drinks or new cowboy boots nearby: The Drover’s 97 West Kitchen & Bar is a perfect vantage point to consider whether you should buy Lucchese or Ariat after your visit to the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame.  

See the ULI Fall events HKS is hosting, speaking in and sponsoring. 

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Why Health Equity in the Built Environment Matters

Why Health Equity in the Built Environment Matters

Inequitable access to health care costs the U.S. $135 billion each year. This is in addition to the nearly unfathomable loss of 3.5 million life years associated with premature deaths. Michael Crawford of Howard University shared that W.K. Kellogg Foundation data during a recent HKS webinar on Health Equity & Access that explored the high price of health inequity.

The webinar was part of the firm’s quarterly Limitless panel series, conversations between HKS leaders and experts in other industries about ideas that influence design, examined through the lens of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

For the most recent installment, HKS convened research, nonprofit and health care professionals to discuss equitable access to health care, and the intersection between health equity and the built environment.

Data to Address Health Disparities

Crawford, Associate Dean for Strategy, Outreach & Innovation at Howard’s College of Medicine, opened the webinar with a keynote address on the roles of digital technology and the built environment in addressing health disparities.

He presented information on life expectancy gaps for residents of major U.S. cities. Referencing data for Washington, D.C. zip codes, he said, “Two kids grow up in the same city, five miles apart. One has an expectation to live 27.5 years longer than the other child. How does that instill hope?”

Crawford described efforts by Howard University’s 1867 Health Innovations Project to improve health equity and access through digital health solutions and non-tech solutions for medically underserved communities. A pilot project involving the use of mobile phones to connect with people who have sickle cell disease has shown promising results for medication adherence but has also revealed limiting factors such as insufficient Internet access, he said.

This research, and the experience of dense urban populations during the COVID-19 pandemic, have identified needs for spaces where people can receive care, isolate to reduce disease transmission or access health information on the Internet using mobile technology. Transportation, green space and adequate housing are additional assets for creating health equity.

“These are items we are focusing on…as we think about the architecture community and what role you can play in terms of being able to facilitate greater access to tech solutions, or to build solutions that promote a community health and wellness mindset,” Crawford said.

He emphasized that the most valuable asset is the community itself.

Crawford said that listening to diverse community voices “leads to an equitable health design that can facilitate and promote health and well-being. I think it’s critically important in terms of how we design facilities.”

Understanding Community Needs

HKS Design Researcher and Senior Medical Planner Kate Renner moderated a panel discussion that followed Crawford’s keynote. The panel featured Ginneh P. Baugh, Vice President of Impact & Innovation for Purpose Built Communities, an Atlanta-based nonprofit community development organization; Robert Goodspeed, Associate Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the Taubman College of Architecture & Planning, University of Michigan; and Kate Sommerfeld, President of the Social Determinants of Health Institute and Vice President of Community Relations and Social Investments for Midwest health system ProMedica.

Like Crawford, the panelists highlighted the importance of community involvement in projects to tackle health equity and access.

Forming a deep history with individuals and listening closely to what they have to say can take time, but provides “incredibly rich data,” said Baugh.

One thing to keep in mind, she said, is, “Who are we designing for?”

Health care spaces, for example, should be sized based on the number of anticipated patients plus the expected support network for people in the community.

“Who’s waiting with you for dialysis, or how many people need to be with that new mom?” Baugh asked.

Other community norms can come into play. Baugh recalled a clinic designed with a small waiting room that had people lined up down the block—but not people from the neighborhood. A community health worker knocking on doors learned local residents did not want to be seen waiting for an appointment outside the clinic.

Sommerfeld said that to design the best community health solutions, public and clinical data should be balanced with “voice and lived experience.”

While cross-sector partnerships with hospitals, universities, government and financial institutions can supplement insights from community members, she said, “make sure that residents are at the forefront.”

Working in partnership with the community can help identify evaluation metrics, strategies and uncertainties for urban planning projects, Goodspeed said.

He described a multi-year collaborative project on mobility that showed the importance of public transit to reaching places like the dialysis clinic or other medical clinics. By interviewing stakeholders and holding public workshops, researchers were able to pinpoint specific locations in the region, which they used to draw new transit maps to serve health care destinations.

Make sure that residents are at the forefront.

Health and the Built Environment

Panelists agreed the built environment provides rich opportunities for innovation in addressing health inequity and access.

“Housing is a health issue,” said Sommerfeld. “We’re seeing more and more payers start to invest in things like affordable housing across the country.”

If a child is in the emergency department many times a month struggling with breathing issues, paying to replace moldy carpet to improve the air quality of the family home is both cost effective and best for the child; evidence is mounting across the country for these types of interventions, Sommerfeld said.

Goodspeed noted the documented relationship between eviction and a host of mental and physical health outcomes. Housing stability is “a fundamental driver to health,” he said.

Families who live at the same address for three years benefit from a ripple of positive health outcomes related to children’s consistent school attendance and family members’ ongoing connections with neighborhood health providers, said Baugh.

Panelists also described how the built environment can improve food access, a key contributor to health equity.

To eliminate a food desert in Toledo, ProMedica’s Social Determinants of Health Institute “took a very bold leap to go ahead and open and operate a grocery store,” said Sommerfeld. The system has now helped five other health care organizations and nonprofits launch grocery stores to provide more equitable access to healthy food.

Baugh mentioned a neighborhood in South Atlanta that has been looking into accessory dwelling units (ADUs), small homes that can be installed in a backyard to provide additional income for residents. Local families can build wealth by owning or renting an ADU; the units also help increase the neighborhood population to the point it can support a grocery store.

Institutional changes, such as zoning codes that allow ADUs, can drive change for neighborhoods and individuals, Goodspeed said.

At the conclusion to the panel, Yiselle Santos Rivera, HKS Director of Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, remarked that the discussion had underscored the overall importance of innovation, collaboration and trust.

“We have to pay attention and we have to be intentional,” Santos Rivera said. “These, to me, are at the core of how we create a more equitable, just and inclusive world.”

Join HKS at the 2022 European Healthcare Design Conference

Join HKS at the 2022 European Healthcare Design Conference

HKS’ sessions at the 2022 European Healthcare Design Conference will focus on planning climate-smart health care systems that place health creation, disease prevention, disaster preparedness, and health and social equity at the forefront.

The conference will be held at the Royal College of Physicians, London from June 13–15. Participants will learn about recovery, renewal and rediscovery for the future of health care systems. The conference will feature two days of insightful, provocative and entertaining talks, workshops and panel discussions leading up to a ceremony to present the EHD2022 Awards, supported by lead sponsor IHP. Sessions will be streamed virtually for delegates unable to attend in person.

HKS will highlight two of its health projects through site tours, The Royal Liverpool University Hospital and Cleveland Clinic London.

HKS Regional Practice Director of Health Jane Ho will attend the event.

“We are delighted to be able to showcase our project achievements as part of the EHD Congress. Our teams have reached these momentous milestones through challenging times, and we look forward to sharing the final success with our peers,” Jane said.

Study Tour 1: Liverpool: The Royal Liverpool University Hospital

Designed by HKS in collaboration with NBBJ, the new Royal Liverpool University Hospital cohesively integrates an inspirational landmark building with complex clinical and technical criteria. Its key drivers are a healthy hospital; patient and staff-focused; a civic institution; and sustainability. The complex technical needs have been considered alongside the creation of comfortable, attractive and functional surroundings.

Study Tour 2: London: Cleveland Clinic

33 Grosvenor Place has seen the conversion of a former office building into Cleveland Clinic’s first European hospital. The 325,000sq ft health care facility offers specialty services focusing on heart and vascular, digestive disease and surgery, neurosciences and orthopedics. The Cleveland Clinic design team, along with PLP Architecture, and in collaboration with HKS Architects, have completely reimagined this historic building, which sits on a sensitive site that overlooks Buckingham Palace Gardens.

Whilst the existing façade has been retained on 3 sides, the introduction of the new structure, cores and roofline have transformed this building into a state-of-the-art healthcare facility accommodating 184 inpatient beds, eight operating theatres, a full imaging suite, endoscopy and interventional labs, day case rooms for surgery, and a full neurological suite with rehabilitation.

2022 HKS Design Fellowship Focuses on Making Cities More Equitable

2022 HKS Design Fellowship Focuses on Making Cities More Equitable

Designing public spaces is typically a top-down approach where those in power wield the most influence over the process.

With an estimated 300 people moving to Dallas every day, it’s time for the city to incorporate as many voices as possible in its planning – not just those with the most resources and influence on the public sector.

This concept of shared agency among all constituents can help growing cities pivot from decades of unfair development and better engage communities that have historically been left behind in city planning decisions.

The 2022 HKS Design Fellowship event recently showcased how major cities like Dallas can serve their residents more equitably. The event included a panel discussion hosted by HKS President and CEO, Dan Noble, and presentations from this year’s Design Fellows on ways to improve Dallas’ public spaces.

“Those with authority, capital, and influence have long driven the form of our built environment, skewing spaces to be designed for like-minded individuals,” said HKS Architect Kay Curtis, who is part of the Design Fellowship planning team. “Designers have influence over these decisions, and it’s important for us to understand how those decisions impact those who don’t currently have a seat at the table – and how we can facilitate those voices being a part of the conversation.”

Designers have influence over these decisions, and it’s important for us to understand how those decisions impact those who don’t currently have a seat at the table.

Leading the Change

Panelists LaTosha Herron-Bruff, Senior Vice President of the Dallas Regional Chamber; Darren L. James, President of KAI Enterprises; and Patrick Todd, Managing Partner of Todd Interests Group, are all longtime advocates for Dallas through their respective professions.

During their panel discussion, they shared what inspired them to become involved in their communities and what they believe are areas of opportunity for Dallas.

Herron-Bruff said her dedication to Dallas came from her mother, who was recently inducted into the Hall of Fame for the African American Museum for Educations, and her father, who has owned a real estate company in southern Dallas for more than 50 years.

“Their leadership in those areas have always inspired me and my brother to think about communities and how we help propel others to reach their fullest potential, through education or how people become economically mobile,” Herron-Bruff said.

She has found that her position at the Dallas Regional Chamber helps her to “not just work on one leg of the stool but all three legs of the stool” when it comes to community development.

James said his inspiration also came from his childhood, where he noticed while growing up in St. Louis that the affluent part of the city had nice, open areas while the less-resourced side of the city had community centers that “looked like bunkers.” When he became an architect and moved to Dallas, James saw a similar dichotomy between the city’s affluent and lower-income communities.

“Community engagement is not about having group meetings, it’s about actually going out into the community and recognizing the people that don’t have a voice or may not show up to some of those meetings,” James said.

When Noble asked about barriers in Dallas to “getting things done,” the speakers shared that the city is in a crucial moment of its history with an influx of new residents.

“One of the barriers is that making sure new ideas don’t die on the vine because someone has told you that you can’t do this, or we haven’t done that in Dallas before,” James said. “You’ve got to be persistent, and you’ve got to push.”

Todd said that making the city more equitable doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money. Adding well-lit, ADA-accessible sidewalks that connect different parts of Dallas could improve resident mobility. Activating existing dead spaces could also bring life to neighborhoods facing decline.

But a renaissance is happening in Dallas, Herron-Bruff said, with new design projects intended to give a voice to residents who have historically gone unheard in city planning decisions.

The Southern Gateway Park, for example, will re-connect a neighborhood that for decades has been divided by an interstate highway and differences in resources. The HKS-designed park will include an educational component that showcases the stories of freed slaves who once made Dallas their home.

Another way to enable equity would be to devise new policies that would incentivize developers to take on projects in underrepresented neighborhoods like southern Dallas County, Herron-Bruff said.

“We always say we need to bring the community to the table, but it’s their table and we need the business community at their table,” she said. “Part of the problem is making sure we’re understanding and we’re listening to the community and letting them guide what happens in their community.”

Design Solutions for the Future

The 2022 HKS Design Fellowship allowed nine HKS employees – the most diverse fellow class since the program launched in 2006 – to brainstorm how Dallas can address some of the challenges mentioned by  the panel so that residents can have a stronger sense of shared agency.

“While architects and designers don’t usually have the capital or authority to implement change at a large scale, we can use our influence to plant seeds in those who do,” Curtis said.

This year’s fellows collaborated over a two-month virtual research phase that culminated with a one-week charette at the HKS Dallas office – the firm’s largest – as well as the 2022 Design Fellowship event, where they pitched three ideas to help Dallas become a more equitable city.

Gee Yang Tan from HKS Singapore, Jaya Tolefree from HKS Chicago, and Zac Rudd from HKS Dallas came up with a game called Metafarms where Dallas residents would work on community gardens in exchange for points that would unlock rewards for their contributions.

The Metafarms team said they created the mobile app to encourage residents to physically leave their home to explore their community and meet new people while adding to the city’s green spaces.

Another project, Jubilant Forestry, would focus on multigenerational impact in a Dallas neighborhood where 46 percent of residents live below the poverty line and have historically been left out of Dallas’ development plans.

Bonaventura Satria from HKS Singapore, Hannah Shultz from HKS Dallas, and Shreya Jasrapuria from HKS Chicago said Jubilant Forestry would add to the neighborhood’s ongoing efforts to improve their quality of life by bringing residents into the conversation.

From top left: Bonaventura Satria, Jiming Chen, Zach Orig, Gee Yang Tan, Zac Rudd, Jaya Tolefree, Shreya Jasrapuria, Hannah Shultz, Joey Tan

Jubilant Forestry would build an urban forest in Jubilee Park to promote its residents’ well-being, impacting generations to come as the trees mature over time.

The third team of fellows found that 25 percent of households in downtown Dallas are families where the parents are 25 to 36 years old who are learning to navigate city life with young children.

Joey Tan from HKS Singapore, Jiming Chen from HKS Houston, and Zach Orig from HKS Atlanta said their project – which they called Slowspace – would activate an underutilized plaza in downtown Dallas with play areas for families and create a coloring book for young children to explore what’s in store for them in that plaza.

Curtis described all three ideas as “easy-to-implement, small-scale instigators” that have the potential to leave a big impact on the city as a whole. And although they are theoretical solutions for now, they propose actionable steps for changing our society for the better, she said.

“The Design Fellowship gives up-and-coming innovators in our firm the chance to push boundaries on social and environmental issues without being constrained by a client or budget – while still working within the theoretical world of the plausible,” Curtis said. “This allows them the opportunity to explore their own voices and passions along with similarly ambitious colleagues to see how impactful design can be in achieving these goals.”