Panel 3 – Public Interest Design Partners

The rapid growth of public interest design is largely due to new diverse partners — such as cities, developers, foundations and even groups like tourism organizations. The panel will discuss the perspectives of these important partners who are effectively serving the public, and will explore what role PID can play to aid their work and goals.


  • Bryan Bell, Moderator
  • Brad Guy, USGBC Social Equity Committee
  • Kyle Corkum, LStar Communities, Managing Partner
  • Roberta Fox, City of Raleigh Urban Design Center, Assistant Manager
  • Duarte Morais, NCSU, People First Tourism, Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management
  • Omar Hakeem, bcWORKSHOP, and Leo Barrera, CDC Brownsville
Brad Guy, Assoc. AIA, LEED AP BD+C, SEED, is Assistant Professor. Brad is an Assistant Professor in the Masters in Sustainable Design program, School of Architecture and Planning, The Catholic University of America (CUArch), Washington, DC. He is also the Associate Director of the Center for Building Stewardship, Chair of the Sustainability Committee, and Faculty Advisor to the USGBC Student Group of CUArch. Brad is the Chair of the US Green Building Council Materials and Resources Technical Advisory Group, and a Member of the Board of the Off-Site Construction Council of the National Institute of Building Sciences, and a member of the Sustainable Sites Initiative Materials Committee. Brad recently organized the ìReclaim + Remake International Symposiumî, April 2013, at CUArch, which hosted speakers from 23 universities and 8 countries on the themes of building materials reuse. Current teaching and research focus on sustainable materials through life cycle assessment, prefabrication and modular design, design to use reclaimed materials, and productivity studies for deconstruction training in Detroit, MI. Brad also teaches an annual course at the Yestermorrow Design / Build School on ëDesign for Deconstruction and Reconstruction. Presentation Abstract: It’s hard to be an Environmentalist on an Empty Stomach. The USGBC has had a guiding principle to “Foster Social Equity” since 2008. In 2014, the Social Equity (SE) Working Group of the USGBC created a suite of LEED credits to realize this principle and to further the USGBC’s commitment to “expand beyond individual buildings to embrace the larger built environment and broader aspects of sustainability…” This presentation will describe the USGBC’s SE agenda, structure and content of the LEED SE Pilot Credits with a focus on the Social Equity Within the Community credit, and how this process / product has, and will hopefully engage(d) multiple stakeholders in these realms.
Kyle Corkum is Managing Partner, LStar Communities. Presentation Abstract: The Renaissance of Southfield: Last May, Star acquired Southfield (former Weymouth Naval Air Station), a 1,500 acre in-fill tract just 12 miles south of downtown Boston. For the prior 18 years, the project’s vision, growth and potential were restricted by political dysfunction, environmental concerns and market forces.  By adopting an inclusive, collaborative and transparent planing process, LStar was able to create a successful development/environmental plan in just six months. Now, the 1,500 acre site is governed by plans to intensely and sustainably develop 500 acres while preserving 1,000 acres for perpetual open space.
Roberta Fox, AIA, ASLA, is Assistant Planning Director. Roberta Fox is an Urban Designer and licensed Architect and serves as the Assistant Planning Director for the City of Raleigh.  She runs the Raleigh Urban Design Center (UDC), a municipally-run, outward-facing service for designers, developers, and the community. The UDC team of urban designers and planners envision and design solutions that create a better built environment for the City of Raleigh. By engaging and leading the people of Raleigh in deliberate, targeted design discussions, their work builds consensus around innovative solutions that encourage all people to be active in shaping the physical form of their community.
Duarte B. Morais is Lead in(ve)stigator, P1t Lab, NC State University. Morais explores how tourism and IT innovations can be used by subaltern people to break away from hegemonic dependence and earn human agency.  Morais is an Associate Professor of Equitable and Sustainable Tourism at NC State, a Tourism Extension Specialist, and the lead in(ve)stigator of the People-First Tourism Lab – a transdisciplinary network of researchers devoted to studying and enabling dignified and sustainable livelihoods glocally through frugal IT innovation and tourism micro-entrepreneurship.
Omar Hakeem, AIA, is an Associate Director at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP who is currently working to build [bc]’s Washington D.C. practice by bringing greater social and environmental equality through thoughtful design and planning. During his tenure at [bc], Omar lead the Rio Grande Valley office focusing on a geographical, social cultural frontier by addressing the systemic poverty, health and resilience issue that plague the region. Through these efforts he has completed award winning affordable housing, rapid response disaster housing prototypes, urban bike and pedestrian infrastructure, regional drainage improvements and community based rural planning initiatives. Omar’s passion for design has taken him from the cloud forests of Costa Rica to the ravaged communities of the Gulf Coast and many places in between. His professional practice has also included supporting large arts and cultural projects at Skidmore Owings & Merrill in DC, and prefabricated modular buildings at Alchemy Architects in Minnesota. Originally from Washington, D.C., he received his B.S. of Architecture from SUNY Buffalo as well as a Master of Architecture and a Masters of Science in Sustainability Design from the University of Minnesota in 2009. Presentation Abstract: Design alone cannot solve the pervasive problems that affect our struggling communities. However, neither can other independent, isolated activities. In many cases, the strongest, most impactful work to date has resulted from strong partners and partnerships. buildingcommunityWORKSHOP [bc] and the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB) will illustrate the impact created through development of their strong partnerships with each-other as well as other policy and community organizing partners.  This will be explored across a spectrum of scales ranging from single family homes to large scale institutional planning initiatives.
Jose Leandro Barrera IV is the Construction Administration Supervisor for the Community Development Corporation of Brownsville (CDCB). Responsibilities include: Environmental Officer for all HOME/CDBG Single Family Projects, all procurement and contracting related to the Single Family activities, Administrative oversight of construction projects. CDCB is a multifaceted affordable housing organization devoted to utilizing collaborative partnerships to create sustainable communities across the Rio Grande Valley through quality education, model financing, efficient home design, and superior construction. Previous experience is in Volunteer Management with Rebuilding Together New Orleans and Public Policy with The National Low Income Housing Coalition based in Washington, DC. Leo obtained a Bachelor’s from the University of Texas Pan‐American in 2008 now known as the UT‐RGV. Currently volunteers as a Site Coordinator for a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. The VITA site is a partnership between CDCB and the United Way of Southern Cameron County, it’s located at CDCB’s first Multi‐Family Tax Credit Project.



Brad Guy

  • Social equity and green building
  • How can LEED be applied to social equity in design?
  • LEED 4 system puts the most emphasis on climate change
    • Human healthy 20%, green economy 5%, and community 5%
    • Mostly used by corporate clientele and investors, less in the public sector
  • Responding to Brazil: just because it’s LEED, does it do good?
  • USGBC strategic plan to expand and be broader and respond to social equity
    • Incorporation of working conditions
    • Looking at community impact
  • New pilot credits: Social equity within the community, social equity within the project team, social equity within the supply chain
  • Equality and equity are not the same thing. Equity is achieving equality through necessary means
  • Minimum social equity attributes:
    • No child/ forced/ bonded labor
    • Health and safety
    • Right of freedom of association (most difficult to achieve acceptance globally)
    • Non-discrimination
    • Discipline/harassment grievance procedure
    • Fair working hours and compensation
    • Anti-corruption and bribery
  • Scale and scope: What is the community? (Photo 1)
  • Options for achieving social equity within community credit:
    • SEED evaluator Part 1 and 2
    • Partner with existing community service and advocacy organization
      • Template for validation of process
    • USGBC approved equivalent
  • Social equity within project team credit – multiple rating systems
  • Social equity within the supply chain – following existing standards
  • Advocacy for groups who cannot typically pursue LEED certification
  • New rating systems: LEED for existing buildings, LEED for homes, LEED for neighborhood development
  • Global harmonization of green building rating systems
  • Town Hall – Senior Housing, LEED Gold, Chicago, IL: achieved social equity credit

Kyle Corkum

  • Real Estate Investment Company
  • Southfield, MA (100 days ago video)
    • Old naval base outside of Boston
    • Existing project promised results not met, abandoned, run down, unsafe
    • Difficulty with community buy in – done through progress
    • Repurposing existing buildings
    • Creation of community facilities: dog park, sports fields, “little monster” baseball field, renovation of hanger
  • History of Southfield
    • Difficulties getting people to work together because of history of design speculation
  • Collaborative Design: fun activities that discouraged space for illicit activity, allowed community to come together
  • Short timeline and limited land – unable to be ambitious with plans due to lack of trust
  • How do you create a design that can be ambitious and accepted?
  • “Professional haters,” community leaders, community members invited to planning meetings
  • Now have a universal plan that is accepted by all developed through collaboration
  • Now: 450 homes built, 550 under construction, 500 million square feet of construction, multiple movie projects being filmed, commercial/residential/mixed use projects
  • LStar controls all design: Supports sustainability, social principles, maintenance of open space for wildlife habitat

Roberta Fox

  • Raleigh Union Station, Clearscapes
    • First city to submit a SEED proposal
  • Background
    • Rock climbing as merger of strategic planning and tactical opperations
    • Urban design centers around the country run through the municipality (Raleigh)
    • Transit and transportation – connections
    • Within Raleigh: two wings (planning and zoning/planning and design)
      • Outward facing branch that engages the community
    • Goals: Design assistance, design policy, civic design and implementation, historic preservation
    • Typical project lifecycle: feasibility, planning and programming, design, construction, operations and maintenance
      • Actually a divide between planning/programming and design
    • End goal of planning process is a report – how does that relate to the design process?
  • Use of Strategic design process
  • Implementation Project Manager:
    • Long range planning, transportation planning, urban design, construction management, transit/facilities operations
      • A different department handles each part of the process
  • Union Station – plans since the 1920s
    • Original plan for 4 towers in warehouse district
    • Need to deal with crowding/facilities at the current train station – but how can you use the existing buildings
    • Feasibility study of existing station turned into two TIGER grants
  • Clearscapes – moving forward with concepts allowed for additional funding
  • Ripples in a pond (Photo 2): balancing of all of the different stakeholders at different levels
    • Established through relationship building
    • The more stakeholders you have the more opportunities you have for funding partners
  • Design
    • Public plaza as entry
    • Plans to expand for bus station
    • Other features: Level boarding, tactile wayfinding, pollinator garden (NCSU etymology), Davis-Beacon
  • Public comments and community meetings throughout the entire process
  • SEED Process: currently seeking SEED certification
  • LEED Silver – taking cars off of the road (6:1 return on investment)

Duarte Morais

  • Participatory action research on tourism micro-entrepreneurship
  • Subaltern survives from gleaning the scraps of the tourism industry – people become passive attractions
  • Yet, tourism has both formal and informal space/stages
    • In under-regulated spaces, micro-entrepreneurs offer unscripted and unsanctioned tourism experiences
  • Methodological positioning
    • Traditional methods advanced the career of the researcher, but offered little solution to the community itself
    • Participatory Interaction Research
  • Tourism as industry – supply and demand
    • Academics have very little control. So, to make a difference, intervention had to be done at the retail level
    • Tourism sharing economy – trip-advisor, uber, airbnb, couch surfing
      • Targets the urbanized economy and leaves out under resourced people
  • New IT solution: development of web2cell technologies that enable user-resourced individuals to pursue livelihoods across the digital divide
    • Allows access for those who do not have access to web, but have access to cell phone
  • Partnerships: cooperative extension, TDAs, community colleges, NGOs, etc.
  • How do you make this scalable? Other change agents need to get excited/catalization
  • Extension agencies vet potential users/micro-entrepreneurs
  • Comparison of how different countries represent different travel destinations. Most places are described by other people than the place itself/the organization.
    • What is meant to be shared, what is authentic, what do they want to keep away from tourism
  • People First Tourism, inc.
    • Social venture that contributes capitalist muscle to break the cycle of grant research
    • Based in Raleigh
  • Tourism Extension, NCSU
    • Measured on workshops, educating the public/entrepreneurs, various partners around the state
    • Helps micro-entrepreneurs to become more connected
  • Vision: Academic partners, micro-entrepreneurs, tourists, corporations (corporate muscle), empowerment agents (typically low risk takers) all becoming connected

Omar Hakeem and Leo Barrera

  • Need for different tactics in order to work with different problems
  • Focus on partnerships
  • Brownsville, Cameron County, TX
    • Poor metropolitan area (35% poverty rate)
    • Rapidly growing population with lack of education means low income
    • Some incomes as low as $5000/year
  • CDC Brownsville
    • Founded as need for better housing, attaching bathrooms to structure, etc.
  • Housing education
    • Mortgage originator, mortgage loan education, housing education, youth build program, non-depository bank
  • Partnership with bcWORKSHOP allowed for better affordable housing design
    • Architects giving more choice/empowerment to clients
  • Working within the CDC workflow in order to tailor the design process for empowerment
    • Design meetings with clients, allows for choice while keeping the mindset of cost and efficiency
    • Maintains the ability to move through the design process quickly
  • Builder partnerships
    • Open to experimentation, back and forth process with budgeting
  • Policy Understanding
    • Understanding of surrounding political factors
    • Public housing needs to be positive. Finding ways to prevent infill housing
  • Delgado Family

Questions & Answers

Engagement of all stakeholders, not just the end users.

1. South shore: Was there experience before?

  • No prior experience, but grew up in the area
  • Prior owners big investors – would not talk well with the community
  • Importance placed on being approachable to the community. Need to be accepted by the community
  • Open lines of communication then action to build trust. Understanding of culture is important.

2. bcWORKSHOP – How do you get projects and funding?

  • Partnership with legal and policy advocacy group.
  • Threatened to sue federal government for poor disaster relief – then were given money for a project
  • Structured process allowed for bcWORKSHOP to write an RFQ
  • Recognition of the importance of the issues. It took time.
  • Other programs – funds come from CDCB funds
  • Congo street funded through private funds and eventually city funds

3. Sustainability – can these types of projects create employment and job training?

  • Congo street used job training volunteers from local prison
  • Requirements to hire locally, but how local is local? You can focus.
  • Local bidding instead of large contractors