We are a community of intention. Get to know the Collective.

Our ecosystem is ever-evolving and includes a board circle, hired support, alumni members, and affiliate groups we affectionately call Cousins.

Cousins are the extended family of BlackSpace. They localize the (un)learnings of our Manifesto. Learn more about what BlackSpace Atlanta, Chicago, Oklahoma, & Indianapolis are up to.

Our hired staff, contractors, and Project Partners lend their expertise in diverse fields and community knowledge to facilitate projects and workshops.

Staff

Leads org-wide program planning and operations.

Project Partners

The neighborhood strategies and workshops and are led or guided by a cohort of Black urbanists who are competitively selected.

Our board is accountable to our Collective’s governance and finance. They have a deep understanding of our culture and mission.

We gather across fields to explore ways to center Black life in the built environment. Meet our people.

Vanessa Morrison

she / her

Vanessa (she/her) is a social impact planner who leads engagement, cultural preservation, and design initiatives in Black/marginalized neighborhoods. Her practice focuses on supporting people’s ability to thrive in their communities and possibilities within the built environment.

Community Planning

Armando Sullivan

he/him

Armando (he/him) is an equity-centered transit planner and geographer focused on empowering communities through mobility, spatial analysis, and intentional design. He is from Montgomery County, MD and earned his Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard University. He currently lives in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Favorite Black space: My family's compound in Viriginia where my grandmother and two uncles each have a house. This is where all graduation parties, cookouts, birthday parties, and holiday celebrations take place.

Transportation

Chicago, IL


Aleiya Evison

she/her

Project Partner

Design & Facilitation

Denver, CO

Aleiya (she/her) is a designer who strives to cultivate joy, connection, and collective transformations at the crossroads of design and facilitation. She is a fellow with Moonshot edVentures in Denver, CO where she is building the vision for Collective Design for Public Life.

Favorite Black space: Urban Sanctuary in Denver, CO which is a yoga and wellness center owned by a dope Black woman named Ali Duncan. Going to their BIPOC classes I feel such a sense of groundedness and body acceptance. It is also aesthetically stunning and located in 5 Points, one of the historically Black neighborhoods here!


Alicia Ajayi

she/her

Program Strategist

Architecture & Social Work

New York, NY

Alicia (she/her) works with community development corporations, private developers, and non-profits to create visions of spaces that reflect their mission and goals for positive change.

Favorite Black space: Any place my family reunion is which mostly happens in Arkansas where my family owns farm land.


Armando Sullivan

he/him

Board & Project Partner

Transportation

Chicago, IL

Armando (he/him) is an equity-centered transit planner and geographer focused on empowering communities through mobility, spatial analysis, and intentional design. He is from Montgomery County, MD and earned his Masters in Urban Planning from Harvard University. He currently lives in Hyde Park, Chicago.

Favorite Black space: My family's compound in Viriginia where my grandmother and two uncles each have a house. This is where all graduation parties, cookouts, birthday parties, and holiday celebrations take place.


Bre Robinson

they/them

Board

Indianapolis, IN

Bre (they/them) is an attorney who focuses their practice on HUD-insured multifamily housing transactions. Bre also practices abolitionist work that challenges current institutions in order to create a safer and more equitable society for Black folks.

My favorite Black space is Ujamaa Community Bookstore because I am an avid reader and art enthusiast and Ujamaa has both books and art.


Breanna Robles

she/her

Project Partner

Landscape Architecture

Newark, NJ

Breanna (she/her) is a landscape architect who uses her passion for community building to fuel her work, designing historical and cultural spaces across the country.

My favorite Black space is the streets of Flatbush in Brooklyn. I love walking around the neighborhood and seeing all the different ways blackness can manifest itself.


Brittany Drakeford

she/her

Board

Urban Planning

Washington, DC

Brittney (she/her) is a PhD candidate in Urban and Regional Planning and Design at the University of Maryland. As an urban planner, Brittney practices combining faith, arts, and technology to energize communities to create equitable places for generations today and tomorrow.

My favorite Black space is The Well at Oxon Run. The Well is an intersectional community farm and gathering space in Ward 8 Washington, DC. Its a beautiful space encourages the transfer of ancestral wisdom and exploration.


Camille Applewhite

she/her

Cousin

Landscape Architecture & Transportation

Camille (she/her) is a Chicago-based landscape architect. Her work ranges from culturally significant site planning and design to active community engagement. Camille is focused on exploring how urban design can work to promote socioeconomic inclusion throughout the urban landscape.

Favorite Black space: I recently had the pleasure of attending the 92nd annual Bud Billiken Parade on MLK Drive in Bronzeville. The largest African American parade in the United States. So much black pride and cultural excellence. The youth drill teams were my absolute favorite!


Camryn Banks

she/her

Staff

Public Policy

New York, NY

Camryn (she/her) was raised in Flint, MI where she grew her roots as an advocate for urban environmental justice. She is passionate about poverty alleviation, urban development, and social justice. Camryn is an alumna of the University of Michigan. She resides in Brooklyn, New York.

Favorite Black space: As a foodie and R&B/Soul connoisseur, I love Black-owned restaurants with fire R&B playlists for the moments that everyone puts their fork down to hit a note in unison!


Danicia Malone

she/her

Cousin

Arts & Urban Planning

Philadelphia, PA

Danicia Monét (she/her) is an arts & culture ambassador and urban planner pursuing her Ph.D. in Geography at Temple University focusing on Growing Cultural Literacy. She is the Founder of Rokh. Her work has been published in Forbes, the Washington Post & Fast Company among others.

My favorite Black space is Duncans Bay in Trelawny Jamaica. Watching Black families play in the ocean in nontraditional swim wear/every day clothes, like white tanks and swim dresses is a healing thing to witness


Daphne Lundi

she/her

Board

Urban Planning, Climate Adaptation, Textile Arts

New York, NY

Daphne (she/her) is an urban planner, policymaker, and artist. She believes in the power of popular education to demystify systems. A self-taught sewist, she is interested in garment construction and using unconventional materials to convey info about space, place, and history.

Favorite Black space: I love kitchens in Black homes. It's the space where Black creativity and joy is expressed in so many forms: cooking, hair care, storytelling. I always find warmth in kitchens.


Devon Ginn

he/him/they/them

Cousin

Social Practice & Community Engagement

Devon (he/him/they/them) manages the programs and outreach efforts at the historic Madam Walker Legacy Center. As a freelance artist and meditation practitioner, Ginn’s practice examines the psychogeographies of the built environment through the lens of defiant joy and mindfulness.

Favorite Black space: The Indianapolis Public Library's Center for Black Literature and Culture elevates the artistic, academic, and social contributions of Black people from across the African diaspora. It is one of my favorite spots to study and chill.


Dr. Sophonie Joseph

she/her

Board

Visual Arts & Community Planning

New York, NY

Dr. Sophonie Milande Joseph (she/her) is a visual artist & community planner. She uses diverse methods to conduct community-engaged research. Her arts in planning practice stems from her background in working with and supporting communities in the Caribbean & North America.

Favorite Black space: The Grandchamps Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY is a Haitian space and a Black space that makes me feel at home. I enjoy sitting in their restaurant while hearing the music and sounds of people inside the restaurant layered with the street noises from outside.


Emma Osore

she/her

Co-Managing Director

Participatory Design & Arts/Culture

New York, NY

Emma (she/her) is a community designer and has launched several initiatives, including New Museum x NEW INC’s business school’s first majority-BIPOC artist membership, Americans for the Arts’ first ecosystem for BIPOC culture workers, and, of course, BlackSpace’s award-winning work!

Favorite Black space: I love PG County, MD where I grew up - I was exposed to Black urban planners, artists, and educators throughout my childhood that had a meaningful impact on my becoming an urbanist.


Ethan Lassiter

Cousin

Economic Development & Real Estate

Chicago, IL

Ethan Lassiter is an urban planner focused on economic empowerment of communities of color through design, finance, and real estate practices. Previously working throughout the Midwest at a real estate and economic development consulting firm, he now works for a community development organization on the South Side of Chicago. Ethan works to partner building owners with entrepreneurs and artists to re-energize commercial corridors and facilitate small business growth by Black creatives.


Euneika Rogers-Sipp

she/her

Cousin

Arts, Design, Planning, Spirituality

Euneika (she/her) is a planning and social design artist and co-founder of the Destination Design School of Agricultural Estates, a community-owned art and design school. Her current work is at the intersection of ecological and cultural creation, design education, and public art.

Favorite Black space: The 200-mile Diggin Du Bois Trail and Participatory Walk in the Georgia Black Belt (from Atlanta to Albany). At its roots is the inspiring Souls of Black Folk written by W.E.B. Du Bois in 1903 and then re-imagined in the 21st Century by Black Woman Spiritualist and Space Maker Ndgo Bunting. It's the first Reparations Ecology Trail in the U.S.A and highlights, documents, and regenerates over 200 Native African American agricultural landowners!


Jasmine Graves

she/her

Board

Public Health & Public Policy

Boston, MA

Jasmine (she/her) is a researcher/strategist. For ten years, she reported the harms of carceral systems & drove policy in NYC government. She is an abolitionist committed to designing systems that facilitate wellness. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in Social Epidemiology at Harvard University.

Favorite Black space: I love block parties because they are often sites of Black joy. At a block party you may find Black people playing games, cooking delicious food, dancing, and playing music all in one space. All things I love and cherish sharing with other Black people.


Jennifer Allen

she/her

Board

Community & Urban Planning

St. Louis, MO

Jennifer (she/her) is a community planner who loves leading social change collaboratives of residents. She has worked in grassroots fundraising, affordable housing, and transportation advocacy. Jennifer’s expertise includes community engagement, facilitation, and people management.

Favorite Black space: I love a comedy show that is Black-centric! There is nothing like hearing and laughing at jokes you understand in a culturally visceral way and looking around and seeing all the Black people in the room feeling seen and full of joy.


Jessica Smith-Peterson

she/her

Board

Law

Las Vegas, NV

Jessica (she/her) is a Deputy Public Defender at the Clark County Public Defender’s Office in Las Vegas, Nevada. She advocates on behalf of indigent defendants accused of misdemeanor and felony charges.

Favorite Black space: I love Black restaurants, I love fellowshipping with Black people over food. I love Black art exhibits and Black celebrations (birthdays, graduations, weddings) - places where we can love on each other publicly


Julia Jannon-Shields

she/her

Project Partner

Community Development, Planning & Engagement

Seattle, WA & SF Bay Area, CA

Julia (she/her) is a community planner working towards an equitable, sustainable future by centering minoritized experiences in governance, planning,  & development. She is a Community Engagement & Co-Creation Program Lead for King County (WA)’s Office of Equity & Social Justice.

Favorite Black space: I love pop up community events (block parties, makers markets, festivals/parades, educational discussions/series, etc.)! Spaces that bring us together around a common interest are so inspiring and sacred.


Kenyatta McLean

she/her

Co-Managing Director

Economic Development & Heritage

Los Angeles, CA & New York, NY

Kenyatta (she/her) is interested in neighborhood resource distribution and heritage conservation. She previously worked on commercial corridor health with the NYC government. She studied Political Science and Afro-American Studies at UCLA and earned her Master’s in City Planning at MIT.

Favorite Black space: I love a good beauty supply, I love to switch up my hair so it's like my own arts and crafts store. Each store has their own flare and its fun to strike up convos with other shoppers about what they are doing to their hair.


Leila Tamari

she/her

Project Partner

Art, Creative Placekeeping, Community Development, Wealth Redistribution

Chicago, IL & New York, NY

Leila (she/her) is a multidisciplinary cultural worker, facilitator, and strategist. Leila works at the intersection of moving money with repair, community self-determination, and arts & culture.

Favorite Black space: HARLEM WORLD! Haiti <3 my mama's house: all these Black spaces have ancestry, love, care, cultural brilliance, and great food in common ;)


Lorryn Young

she/her

Board

Law

Chicago, IL

Lorryn (she/her) is a Chicago-based intellectual property and business law attorney who is dedicated to fostering community, utilizing the law to create new opportunities, and protecting the legacies of individuals, businesses and communities.

I love music! My favorite Black space is anywhere that Black people are signing, dancing and enjoying music.


Natt Slober

he/him

Board

Construction & Sustainability

Jersey City, NJ

Natt Slober (he/him) is a Construction Manager researching sustainable environmental concepts that addresses the impacts of Climate change, most especially on frontline communities. He works as an Environmental Health & Safety Officer for Turner Construction Company.

Favorite Black space: I was inspired by the Covid-19 Pandemic to create a backyard garden, now I am obsessed with gardening and have planted consistently for 3 years, a garden that supplies me with fresh produce during season. I use to be an athlete (soccer) so I do my best to stay in-shape. I would play music all day, if somebody don't tell me to shut it off :)


Peter Robinson

he/him

Board

Design & Education

New York, NY

Peter (he/him) is the founder of WorkUrban, a design consultancy that partners with communities, individuals and institutions while engaging students toward leadership and empowerment. Peter is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at Cornell University.

My favoriate Black Space at the moment is Janet's - an informal Jamaican dining and social space in a Queens backyard.


Rosanna Valencia

she/her

Project Partner

Architecture, Art, Design Research

New York, NY

Rosanna (she/her) is interested in affordable and accessible housing design, community engagement, and Caribbean architecture. Presently, she is an architectural intern at Architects FORA and a presidential fellow at the Rhode Island School of Design.

My favorite Black space has to be the beauty salon. Conversations are shared freely and safely, there’s laughter and joy. It’s also a place where we get to relax and tend to ourselves.


Vanessa Morrison

she / her

Project Partner

Community Planning

Vanessa (she/her) is a social impact planner who leads engagement, cultural preservation, and design initiatives in Black/marginalized neighborhoods. Her practice focuses on supporting people’s ability to thrive in their communities and possibilities within the built environment.


Ujijji Davis-Williams

she/her

Project Partner

Landscape Architecture

Detroit, MI

Ujijji Davis Williams (she/her) is a landscape architect, urban planner and researcher in Detroit. She is the Founder of JIMA Studio, a landscape architectural design and urban planning studio that focuses on culturally relevant placemaking.

Favorite Black space: The Joe Louis fist in downtown Detroit - a symbol of black power and pride


Kyra Assibey-Bonsu

she/her

Project Partner

Storytelling & Community Development

New York, NY

Kyra (she/her)is an multi-disciplinarian storyteller, podcast producer, and community developer whose practices focuses on storytelling to bolster Black and Brown community identity and historical preservation. She is intent on intensifying immigrant community voices

My favorite Black space is wherever there are Afrobeats, R&B from the 80s onwards, and Afro-Carribean dancing. No matter what I'm doing, I always stop to wind, grind, and move my feet. It is where I feel at peace and the most alive.


Britt Redd, AICP

they/them

Cousin

Urban Planning

Indianapolis, IN

Britt Redd (they/them) is a city planner whose work centers ensuring neighbors have power over the places they value and decisions that affect them. Britt has collaborated with neighbors on regional and neighborhood plans, public spaces design, and economic development strategies.


Charlie Redd

she/her

Cousin

Wellness

Indianapolis, IN

Charlie Redd (she/her) is a sound healer and wellness teacher. At the core of everything that she does is a passion a mission to create spaces where people from marginalized groups can show up as their whole selves.


Tawkiyah Jordan

she/her

Cousin

Atlanta, GA

Tawkiyah Jordan (she/her) is an urban planner, advocate, strategist, convener, negotiator, and policy expert. She’s worked across sectors and is currently leading US housing innovation and community development work.


Chandra Christmas-Rouse

she/her

Cousin

Urban Planning & Policy

Chicago, IL

Chandra (she/her) is an urban planner and artist based in Chicago. Her design approach includes working with community stakeholders in a participatory process to support capacity building, achieve place-based solutions, and reimagine systems.


Ready to join the conversation? Our Slack community unites Black urbanists from around the country. Together we share, inspire, cultivate, and celebrate Black experiences.