Steven Lewis | Creating Equality and Positive Change Through Urban Architecture and Design

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Steven Lewis | Creating Equality and Positive Change Through Urban Architecture and Design

Steven Lewis

Posted on September 16, 2020

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Award-winning architect Steven Lewis believes that urban planning and design can promote positive change and progress within our often divided societies. As a principal at ZGF Architects, past president of the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA), and the former Urban Design Director for the City of Detroit, Steven is a leader in supporting diversity and bringing once-separated communities together as one. 

Steven is a tireless advocate for social justice and diversity within the field of architecture. With a unique perspective on community-building, he also offers incredible wisdom and honest insights about systemic racism, the lasting impact of the COVID pandemic, our path towards a more equal future for all, and so much more.

In this episode, you’ll also learn:

  • About some of Steven’s most innovative projects
  • Why thoughtful design and architecture brings communities together
  • How Steven is helping to bring more people of color into architecture
  • What Detroit’s city planners did to improve life for all citizens
  • Steven’s advice on proactively learning about other cultures
  • Why COVID is inspiring positive change and action
  • The similarities between COVID and systemic racism
  • How to use this moment to move society forward
  • Why Steven says that politicizing COVID has been a disaster 
  • What the tipping point is towards a more equitable society
  • Why you’re either an anti-racist or you’re not
  • The importance of speaking out against racism
  • Why George Floyd’s death has had such an impact on white people
  • How Steven’s influential architect father shaped his own career 
  • And so much more!


More About Steven Lewis

Steven Lewis is a principal with the firm ZGF Architects, where he leads the Los Angeles office’s urban design practice. Prior to joining ZGF, Steven was appointed by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan as the Urban Design Director for the City’s Central Region, where he played a key role in shaping the vision of the present and future development. Steven is the AIA 2016 Whitney M. Young, Jr. Award recipient, and was elevated to the AIA College of Fellows in December of 2015.

In January of 2008, he returned to Southern California to join Parsons as a Design  Manager after serving four years with the U.S. General Services Administration’s Office of the Chief Architect in Washington, DC. Steven was a Loeb Fellow at the Harvard Graduate School of Design for the 2006-07 academic year. He was a founding partner of the Los Angeles-based firm of RAW International in 1984, and for the next twenty years, was an essential part of the firm’s growth and success.

In December of  2010, he concluded a two-year term as President of the National Organization of Minority Architects, traveling around the country advocating for architects-of-color, while cultivating the next generation of diverse architects and designers. Steven recently launched a consulting practice – “Thinking Leadership – What We Do…Who We Are” – aimed at assisting clients to attain superior outcomes through his engagement. 


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Beyond the Built Environment

Colloqate: Design for Social Justice


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