Design Futures  


Design Futures 2025!

The  2025 Design Futures Forum will be an in-person five-day, interdisciplinary leadership development convening in New Orleans, Louisiana in the summer of 2025. Hosted by Tulane,  we will bring together 70+ student leaders from across the nation representing design programs from leading academic institutions and over 25 academic and practitioner faculty from private and non-profit based practices.

Registration is through the University Consortium. Individual registration may be available.

If you are a university representative, faculty or staff and would like to participate in the Consortium, please contact

Do you have an idea for an engaging and interactive workshop around an aspect of community-engaged design? Sign up for our newsletter to get updates on the 2025 Request for Proposals (RFP)  


Ezra Kong (they/them)
Executive Director

Ezra Kong is a community-based facilitator and practitioner. They are the co-founder of Reflex Design Collective, an organization working to shift how our cities evolve to design with, rather than for, those most impacted by (in)equity. Ezra is based in Oakland, California on Ohlone land.  

Past Team Members

Barbara Brown Wilson
Dan Etheridge
Rajan Hoyle
Theresa Hyuna Hwang 

Jose Cotto (he/him)

Jose Cotto is an interdisciplinary artist, designer, and educator whose creative practice explores relationships between people, place, and time – often integrating poetry, design, mark-making, and lens-based media. He has a Masters of Architecture from Tulane University and BFA in Design + Architecture from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In his current role at the Small Center of Collaborative Design, Cotto curates exhibits & programs and works with students to explore critical connections between our environments and social fabrics through courses and projects.

Jess Garz (she/her)

Jess’s primary goal is to support groups to create policies, practices and cultures that take an active position towards social and racial justice. As the founder and director of RAE Consulting, Jess’s practice is inspired by a decade of work as a grantmaker, training in architecture and urban planning, and a community of brilliant colleagues, artists, friends and family. After decades of moving around, Jess lives in the neighborhood where she was born and raised in Philadelphia

Christine Gaspar (she/her)

Christine Gaspar is Executive Director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a New York-based nonprofit whose mission is to use the power of design and art to increase meaningful civic engagement in partnership with historically marginalized communities. Her 15+ years of work in community-engaged design draws on her degrees in architecture, urban planning, environmental studies, and her experience growing up in an immigrant family.

Liz Kramer (she/her)

Liz works with people working for the public good to design meaningful, engaging, human-centered change. She co-leads Public Design Bureau, a St. Louis-based organization that works across sectors, centering the voices of those most directly impacted and historically excluded in decision-making in the design of new products, services, experiences, and more. She previously led the Office for Socially Engaged Practice at the Sam Fox School at Washington University, and teaches design thinking, creativity, and empathy.

Liz Ogbu (she/her)

A designer, urbanist, and spatial justice activist, Liz is an expert on engaging and transforming unjust urban environments. Her multidisciplinary design practice, Studio O, operates at the intersection of racial and spatial justice. Among her honors, she’s a TEDWomen speaker, Public Interest Design’s Top100, and Aspen Ideas Festival Scholar.

Sarah Wu (she/her)

As the Assistant Director of Research for the School of Architecture, Sarah is responsible for coordinating and working directly with faculty, professionals, stakeholders and community groups on various projects, and assists in grant writing for proposed work. Sarah has a BS in Conservation & Resource Studies from UC Berkeley and a Masters in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include environmental planning, social equity, public interest design and sustainable development.
Past Board Members

Marc Norman
Sue Mobley
Elgin Cleckley

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