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91 | Designing with Love

Katie Swenson is a nationally recognized design leader, researcher, writer, and educator. Her work explores how critical design practice can and should promote economic and social equity, environmental sustainability, and healthy communities.

91 | Designing with Love

Katie has plenty of experience both in the education and practice of affordable housing, community development, and leadership cultivation. Previously, she has served as the vice president of Design & Sustainability at Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., a national nonprofit that invested over $43.6 billion in community development. Katie also founded Enterprise’s National Design Initiative, directing the Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute, the Pre-Development Design Grant, and the Rose Fellowship. 

The Rose Fellowship partners emerging architectural designers and cultural practitioners with local community development organizations to facilitate an inclusive approach to development resulting in sustainable and affordable communities. During the process, she managed and nurtured hundreds of diverse design leaders. Under her leadership, the prestigious community development-focused fellowship quadrupled in size. The Enterprise Rose Fellowship work was showcased at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, the New York Center for Architecture, and the National Building Museum and recognized by the American Institute of Architects for its groundbreaking work. 

In 2018-2019, Katie was a Harvard University Graduate School of Design Loeb Fellow. She has taught at the Boston Architectural College and Parsons School of Design at The New School and lectured extensively on sustainable community development and affordable housing. Recently, Katie co-authored, “Growing Urban Habitats: Seeking a New Housing Development Model,” with William R. Morrish and Susanne Schindler. 

Currently, Katie is a Senior Principal of MASS Design Group, an international non-profit architecture firm whose mission is to research, build, and advocate for architecture that promotes justice and human dignity. 

We had a chance to talk to Katie on Social Design Insights about both the Rose Fellowship and her research. Have a listen at the link below.


Social Design Insights would like to thank all those who make our weekly show possible: Baruch Zeichner, our Producer and Sound Engineer, Donna Read, for producing our video content, and Leah Freidenrich, Director of the Curry Stone Foundation. Our theme music for 2018 is "Alright With Me" by Reggie Young from his album "Young Street." The break music for this episode is "C'mon a My House" by Bette Midler from her album "Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook."