Ceara O'Leary
Detroit Collaborative Design Center


“When I learned about Samuel Mockbee and the Rural Studio in my first semester at Brown University,” says Ceara, “I immediately resolved to pursue an architectural career that navigates the relationship between the built environment and communities in need.”

Hosted by Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), Ceara O'Leary has worked on a variety of neighborhood revitalization projects throughout Detroit, ranging from community spaces and corridor activation to blue-green infrastructure and eco-district planning. Since 1994, DCDC has worked with over 80 Detroit nonprofit organizations, community groups, and philanthropic foundations to create sustainable spaces and communities through quality design and the collaborative process. Ceara has worked on projects across the city of Detroit, with a focus on Livernois Avenue, the Eastern Market District and East Jefferson Avenue. She has also developed resources that can be used citywide like the Community Development How-To Guides, which received a 2014 SEED Award. She has fostered relationships with many people involved in community development efforts across the city, which informs her work, and teaches at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture, where DCDC is based.

Ceara holds a Bachelor of Arts from Brown University and dual Masters in Architecture and City Planning from University of California, Berkeley. She is a LEED Green Associate and the Spring 2010 winner of the Sandy Hirshen Prize for Socially-Responsible Architecture at UC Berkeley. Prior to her fellowship, Ceara served as a Public Interest Design Intern with the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio, where she developed “a deep appreciation for the importance of effective partnerships for successful affordable housing development, innovative research and community outreach.

The Impact Detroit Community How-to Guides highlight lessons learned and share helpful information for new projects and processes. Learn more.


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