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Leadership + The New Economy: Fernando de Mello Franco

April 9, 2019
6:00-8:00pm CST
IIT Institute of Design
3137 South Federal Street 2nd floor
Chicago, IL 60616

Lecture, 6pm

The nature of today’s environmental and social innovation requires designers, policymakers, and other leaders to enable large scale transformation by activating multiple stakeholders and bridging dispersed networks. Fernando de Mello Franco, former Secretary of Urban Development of the City of São Paulo and founding partner of MMBB Architects, will discuss how we can approach complex problems that affect large populations and design solutions that seek to correct inequities rather than reinforce them. Fernando and his team co-designed “Connect the Dots,” the grand prize winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2016 Mayors Challenge in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Panel, 7pm

The rapid growth of the world’s urban population poses complex and ambiguous challenges to existing food production and consumption systems, and contemporary infrastructures can prevent desirable transitions. For example, when designing interventions to promote access to affordable and healthy food, leaders often have to choose between environmental sustainability, social equity, or economic security. 

Latham Fellow + Panelist

Fernando is the former Secretary of Urban Development of the City of São Paulo (2013–2016), where he led the executive branch of the revision of the city plan and the regulatory framework for urban development policy. During this time, he was also the President of SP Urbanismo (2013–2016), a public company focused on urban design and development. The founding partner of MMBB Architects, an architecture and urban design company specializing in the development of public and institutional designs, Fernando is also the director of the Institute of Urbanism and Studies for the Metropolis URBEM, an NGO focused on urban design projects with social impact. Fernando currently teaches design at Mackenzie University.

Panel Moderator

Dr. Weslynne Ashton, Jefferson Science Fellow with the USAID Bureau for Europe and Eurasia’s Energy and Infrastructure Division and Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability, IIT Stuart School of Business

As the Jefferson Science Fellow with the USAID Bureau for Europe and Eurasia’s Energy and Infrastructure Division, Dr. Ashton works with partner countries to modernize energy systems. As Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability at the Illinois Institute of Technology Stuart School of Business, she researches industrial ecology, optimizing water, energy and material resource flows in socio-ecological systems, and developing entrepreneurial solutions to social and environmental challenges in low income and developing regions. More about Dr. Weslynne Ashton


Rodger Cooley, Executive Director, Chicago Food Policy Action Council
Rodger helped organize the Chicago coalitions Advocates for Urban Agriculture and the Chicago Food Policy Action Council and was a founding board member and the founding executive director of the International Network for Urban Agriculture. Previously, he was responsible for the adoption and implementation of the Good Food Purchasing Policy and worked nine years with Heifer International, supporting the development of urban farming projects in Chicago and the Midwest. Rodger has a master's degree in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago and bachelor’s degree from Oberlin College. He is currently adjunct faculty at DePaul University in the geography department, with a focus on food justice. 

Vijay Kumar, Professor and Charles Owen Endowed Chair at the IIT Institute of Design (ID)
Vijay leads the Strategic Design Planning and the Design Methods programs at ID. For more than 12 years he was the chief methodologist at Doblin Inc. (now a member of Monitor Group), a global innovation firm. He has also led his design consulting practice in India for more than seven years. With over 30 years of global work experience, Kumar has taught, published, lectured, and consulted throughout the world about how to use structured methods, tools, and frameworks for conceiving reliable human-centered innovations and turning them into strategic plans for organizations. More about Vijay Kumar

Carol Ross Barney, FAIA, Hon. ASLA, Design Principal, Ross Barney Architects
Carol has been in the vanguard of civic space design since founding Ross Barney Architects in 1981. With a career that spans over 40 years, Carol has made significant contributions to the built environment, the profession, and architectural education. As an architect, urbanist, mentor, and educator, she has relentlessly advocated that excellent design is a right, not a privilege. Her body of work occupies a unique place within the panorama of contemporary architecture, being exclusively composed of work in the public realm. Ross Barney is a graduate of the University of Illinois. Following graduation, she served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica planning national parks. Carol’s work has been honored with over 100 major design awards, including six national AIA Institute Honor Awards. She was named as a “Gamechanger” by Metropolis magazine in 2018. More about Carol Ross Barney

About the Latham Lectures

Richard Latham (1920–1991) was an influential figure in strategic design who studied design at the Illinois Institute of Technology in the early 1940s. Latham believed that the principles of design should be the core of business planning. Committed to this philosophy, he worked only with those who had a deep respect for users—and who understood that sustaining their organizations depended upon this respect. Today, Latham Fellows connect to Latham’s philosophy and are selected because of their ability to challenge the boundaries of design and transfer knowledge about design planning and its value. Fellows give a lecture hosted by ID and share their emerging ideas with the ID community and the wider public by publishing freely available digital content in the form of a paper, article, or other presentation that acknowledges their fellowship.

About ID Design Intersections 2019: Design + Networks + Activation

For today’s leaders, achieving systems-level success requires cultivating and activating networks—technological, infrastructural, and social—that support new collaborative activities, processes, and mindsets. 

Design Intersections invites designers, executives, strategists, policymakers, entrepreneurs, and other diverse leaders across industries and sectors (including education, food, finance, government, healthcare, insurance, mobility, technology) to explore how we can activate networks through activism, entrepreneurship, and leadership and achieve large scale impact. Read more

About IIT Institute of Design (ID) 

IIT Institute of Design (ID) continually challenges what design is and can be. We focus not just on design itself, but the impact it has on the world around us. Founded by László Moholy-Nagy in 1937 as the “New Bauhaus,” for over 80 years ID has ignited designers’ imaginations—evolving design to combine form with human behavior, conquer complexity with clarity, and challenge convention through innovation in pursuit of a more sustainable future.

Our new home in the Kaplan Institute, just south of the Loop, is near the 35th-Bronzeville-IIT Red and Green Line stops, 90/94, and Lake Shore Drive.