Trailblazing landscape architect, scholar to visit the Stuckeman School remotely

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Charles Cross, director of landscape and urban design at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center and a founding board member of the Black Landscape Architects Network, will present “The Detroit Collaborative Design Center: 28 Years of Good Trouble” virtually at 6 p.m. on Oct. 12 as part of the College of Arts and Architecture Stuckeman School’s 2022-23 Lecture and Exhibit Series.

Cross’ talk will delve into the founding of the multidisciplinary, nonprofit design center based in the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Community Development (SACD) in 1994 by Steve Vogel, who “understood the importance of design, especially in underserved communities in Detroit,” according to Cross. He will also focus on the design center’s body of work over nearly three decades as a steward of community-engaged design.

“Design is an act of social justice, and all people deserve good design,” said Cross, whose research interests include historic African American settlements, Underground Railroad heritage sites and cultural asset mapping in Afro Brazilian and Afro Cuban communities.

Cross is also an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy SACD, where he teaches site analysis and design, design studio and special topics courses. A faculty co-advisor of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students SACD chapter, he also advises architecture and community development master’s students.

Prior to joining the Detroit Collaborative Design Center, Cross gained valuable experience in the public sector with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service and the State of Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, Real Estate Division. He also has private sector experience with SmithGroup-JJR, Elizabeth Kennedy Landscape Architects and Artist Mary Miss of New York City.

He has received the New York American Society of Landscape Architects Merit Award and was named a Fulbright-Hays Fellow in 2018.

Cross holds both a bachelor of landscape architecture and a master of urban design from The City College of New York. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in agriculture from Western Michigan University.

The virtual talk, which is a Department of Landscape Architecture Bracken Lecture, will be live-streamed by WPSU.

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