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RENATA SOUTHARD

Baltimore City Department of Planning

SAY IT LOUD - MARYLAND Exhibitor
Maryland Based Designer

Who or what inspires you professionally?

The communities I work for are truly inspiring - hearing how people envision their neighborhoods makes my job worthwhile. I’m awed by the many individuals and collectives working tirelessly for design justice, but there are too many to name here!

RENATA SOUTHARD

Bio:

The great designer, Renata Southard is a Design Planner for Baltimore City's Department of Planning, where she provides design services to a wide range of City neighborhoods. Prior to her work with the City, Ren headed the Baltimore office of Autotroph Design. She holds an M.Arch and a Certificate in Urban Design from the University of Maryland, and has worked on several award-winning conceptual projects and on master plans in the Mid-Atlantic. Since 2018, Ren has co-chaired AIA Baltimore’s Urban Design Committee.

How did you first learn about architecture and when did you decide that built environment profession was an area of interest for you?

As a woman, I have been thinking about my place in the public realm since I was little. I was taught to occupy space differently from the boys around me. Fighting for more inclusive space became my passion and architecture was a natural tool for me.

What do you do?

I'm a public servant first. I use design to elevate voices of communities that have been historically disinvested. I don't work alone. Those who work tirelessly to improve their communities are the true champions, and I'm lucky to support their work.

What excites you in the work you do?

Cities have a long history of racist practices that manifest themselves in the built environment. I love working directly with communities to remedy these injustices. We can collectively impact public spaces, making them more inclusive and equitable.

Who or what inspires you professionally?

The communities I work for are truly inspiring - hearing how people envision their neighborhoods makes my job worthwhile. I’m awed by the many individuals and collectives working tirelessly for design justice, but there are too many to name here!

 

What is your proudest professional accomplishment or achievement?

For the past few years, I have worked in a supportive role on visioning within the Black Arts District. Supportive roles are not often seen as achievements, but I am honored to work on this long-overdue acknowledgement of important Black culture.

Featured Project Name: 

Bridging the Gap: A Jones Falls Welcome Center

Featured Project Location: 

Baltimore, MD

 

Featured Project Completion Date: 

December 2017

Role in Featured Project: 

Designer

 

Featured Project Description:

The Jones Falls Welcome Center imagines the future potential of the Jones Falls corridor, which has long been both a connector (north to south) and a divider (east to west). This unbuilt project examines options for a site in Baltimore that could benefit from better physical and social connectedness. The site has an opportunity to bridge a physical and metaphorical gap, and capture the rich historical context of the Jones Falls Valley while supporting the recent renaissance of the neighborhood.

Photography Credit:

Renata Southard