9:00 am - 12:00 pm (EDT)

Design Impact is a global design leadership speaker series sponsored by the Harvard Graduate School of Design Alumni Council. These virtual events bring together outstanding rosters of global leaders to share their work and vision, challenging us as a global community to use design as a tool for actionable, transformative change, and healing.


Thursday, September 24, 2020
9:00 am – 2:00 pm EST
Hosted on Zoom


Session 1: Slum Upgrading and the City: Policies, Design and Transformation

Slum Upgrading and the Right to the City: Policies, Design and Transformation will be the first of a three panels series revolving around the urgent need and impact of design across disciplines, scales, and geographies. This session would look at slum upgrading and what policy makers, planners and designers should be mindful of and how to work with communities to tackle the inequities in our cities which were laid bare by COVID-19. This last crisis add up to the increasing frequency and severity of disasters produced by climate change, and the systemic racial, religious and economic discrimination that plagues cities.

​Event Curator: Sameh Wahba, Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice
Event Moderator: Francisco Brown, Research Affiliate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


  • Sheela Patel, Director of the Society for Promotion of Area Resource Centres (SPARC), Chairperson, Slum/Shack Dweller International (SDI), based in Mumbai, India.
  • Jorge Mario Jauregui (Argentina/Rio de Janeiro), Architect and Urban Planner “The Favela-Bairro Program,” based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Bio
  • Inês Magalhães, Former National Housing Secretary and Minister of Cities, Senior Housing Expert, Based in Sao Paulo, Brazil
  • Jennifer Musisi, Former Executive Director of Kampala City, City Leader in Residence, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, based in Cambridge, MA
  • Anacláudia Rossbach, Regional Manager for the Latin America and Caribbean Region, Cities Alliance, based in Mexico City.
  • Sameh Wahba, Global Director for the World Bank’s Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice based in Washington D.C.

Session 2: Regenerative Design for Radical Sustainability

After two decades of global initiatives and efforts to promote Green building strategies, the design and construction industry is still largely responsible for resource depletion and environmental degradation worldwide. The Regenerative Design for Radical Sustainability panel explores alternative design strategies that enhance and regenerate our natural capital. Thought leaders and practitioners will share ideas and practical insights, promoting the design of environments that can coexist harmoniously with the vast richness and beauty of our planet. Speakers will inspire design leaders to take action in their practices and communities towards alternative design processes that can help reverse environmental damage.

Event Curator: Jaya Kader, Founding Principal of KZ architecture, born in Costa Rica and based in, Miami. Sustainability advocate.
Event Moderator: Aditi Agarwal, Research Associate, Harvard Graduate School of Design. Building Scientist and Researcher.


  • Edward Müller, Founder of University for International Cooperation, based in Costa Rica (Environmentalist, regenerative design advocate).
  • Susan Jones, Founder of AtelierJones, based in Seattle (Architect, leader in alternative sustainable practices).
  • Hitesh Mehta, An eco-landscape architect, eco-architect, and environmental planner. Founder of HM Design, born in Nairobi and based in Ft Lauderdale (Leader and pioneer in sustainable tourism design).
  • Ivan Shumkov, Founder of Build Academy and Principal of ISA – Ivan Shumkov Architects , based in New York.
  • Maren Costa, Founding member, Amazon Employees for Climate Justice, based in Seattle (Advocate for the Environment, Founding Member and Leader for Amazon employees for Climate Justice).
  • Alnoor Ladha, Founder of Brave Earth, based in Costa Rica (activist, alternative community building).

Session 3: Design Equity: The Revolution Will Be Designed

There has been continual philosophization about whether design can alleviate civilization’s collective offenses against humanity and the environment. Simply, Yes, it can. The question is, How do we do it equitably? To answer, we must confront the impediments to non-discriminatory ways of living worldwide and interrogate how design can be utilized to realize universal justice in the 21st century.

​Event Curator: Courtney D. Sharpe, former Director of Cultural Planning for the City of Boston, current MBA Candidate at MIT Sloan School of Management
Event Moderator: Naksha Satish, GSD MAUD 2022, Architect and Urban Practitioner


  • Jacquelyn Iyamah, User Experience Designer, Based in the Bay Area, California. Activist and social media maven addressing anti-Black racism through design.
  • Cheryl D. Miller, Founder of Cheryl D Miller Design, the corporate communications design firm that defined the civil rights era. Based in New York, NY.
  • Jefa Greenaway, RAIA MDIA (Wailwan|Kamilaroi) Knowledge Broker | Lecturer – Indigenous Curriculum Development, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  • Anne Quito, Journalist and Design Critic. Based in New York, NY.
  • Bryan C. Lee Jr, Artist, Educator, Architect and Design Justice Advocate. Founder of Colloqate. Based in New Orleans, LA.