2018 Distinguished Alumni
We are proud of our alumni here at the College of Environmental Design, and it is an honor for us to acknowledge a handful of them at the 2018 CED Soiree for their vision and lifetime of achievements. The following alumni have garnered diverse achievements that profoundly impact a variety of disciplines.
Fred Blackwell is the CEO of The San Francisco Foundation, one of the largest community foundations in the country. The San Francisco Foundation works hand-in-hand with donors, community leaders, and both public and private partners to create thriving communities throughout the Bay Area. Since joining the foundation in 2014, Mr. Blackwell has led the Foundation in a renewed commitment to social justice through an equity agenda focused on racial and economic inclusion.
Mr. Blackwell, an Oakland native, is a nationally recognized community leader with a longstanding career in the Bay Area. Prior to joining the foundation, he served as Interim City Administrator for the City of Oakland where he previously served as the Assistant City Administrator. He was the Executive Director of the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Development in San Francisco; he served as the Director of the Making Connections Initiative for the Annie E. Casey Foundation in the Lower San Antonio neighborhood of Oakland; he was a Multicultural Fellow in Neighborhood and Community Development at The San Francisco Foundation; and he subsequently managed a multi-year comprehensive community initiative for The San Francisco Foundation in West Oakland.
Mr. Blackwell currently serves on the boards of the Independent Sector, Northern California Grantmakers, SPUR, the Bridgespan Group, the dean’s advisory council for Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, and the community advisory council of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. He previously served on the boards of the California Redevelopment Association, Urban Habitat Program, LeaderSpring, and Leadership Excellence. He is a visiting professor in the department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley and the Co-Chair of CASA. He holds a master’s degree in city planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in urban studies from Morehouse College.
Dana Cuff is Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of California, Los Angeles, where her research and teaching focus on the post-suburban cityscape, affordable housing, the architectural profession, and comparative urbanism in Pacific Rim megacities. She is Director of cityLAB, a think tank that engages experimental design and research to reimagine the emerging metropolis. Since receiving her Ph.D. in Architecture from UC Berkeley in 1982, Cuff has actively advanced critical cultural studies in architecture and the city as a teacher, scholar, practitioner, and activist. Her leadership in urban innovation is widely recognized both in the US and abroad.
Much of Dr. Cuff’s work emanates from cityLAB, which she founded in 2006 to collaborate with colleagues, civic leaders, and students on five initiatives: spatial justice, rethinking green, the postsuburban city, urban sensing, and new infrastructures (www.cityLAB.aud.ucla.edu). The think tank’s efforts have produced full-scale demonstration projects as well as research reports, winning design competition submissions, exhibitions, symposia, books, articles, and public policy. Following nearly a decade of research into “Backyard Homes” or accessory dwelling units, In 2016, Cuff co-authored California State Assembly Bill 2299 (Bloom) which essentially doubles the density of the single-family landscape of California. cityLAB’s accomplishments have received wide acclaim. The lab was an invited exhibitor at the 2010 Venice Architecture Biennale, featured on CNN and in Newsweek magazine, named one of the top four urban think tanks in the country by Architect Magazine, and granted a major retrospective exhibition at the Architecture + Design Museum in Los Angeles.
In 2013, Dana Cuff led a cross-disciplinary team at UCLA that was awarded a substantial multi-year grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for the “Urban Humanities Initiative” which brings the humanities and design together to build new curricular and discursive platforms to better understand collective life in Pacific Rim megacities. This initiative was renewed by the Mellon in 2016, with funding to create a sustainable program in Urban Humanities for undergraduates and graduates at UCLA. As a result, Cuff’s own work has expanded from design studies of Los Angeles, to Tokyo, Shanghai, and Mexico City. She and colleagues are currently completing a book on this work, entitled “Urban Humanities: New Practices for Reimagining the City” for MIT Press.
Throughout her career, Dana Cuff has upheld a commitment to advancing the profession and discipline of architecture. Along with her teaching appointment in Architecture at UCLA, she has a joint appointment in Urban Planning, and has held visiting positions at several Swedish universities. She maintains an ambitious schedule of lecturing around the globe and publishing in journals as well as popular media. She has written and edited a number of books, including Architects’ People (with W.R. Ellis; 1989), Architecture: The Story of Practice (1989), The Provisional City (2000), a collection of Robert Gutman’s writings (Architecture from the Outside In, with J. Wreidt; 2010), and Fast Forward Urbanism (with R. Sherman, 2011).
We are sad to announce the passing of Ron Herman, a CED alumnus and landscape architect responsible for designing many of North America's largest and most intricate private gardens. We will be honoring his legacy at this year's CED Soiree.
Ron holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley and served as a graduate research student at Kyoto University from 1966-1968. He created more than 400 full-scale garden designs in his career in landscape architecture, including the 25-acre Japanese-style village of Oracle co-founder Lawrence Ellison.