AMES, Iowa — Brian Hurd, the director of community planning and implementation for Rise Community Development in St. Louis, will speak about “Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Planning and Design” Wednesday, March 1, at Iowa State University.

Hurd’s lecture will begin at 5 p.m. in Kocimski Auditorium, room 101 College of Design.

In this presentation, Hurd will address current College of Design students specifically, observing that as the next generation of professional planners, designers and artists, they will need a social work lens to understand, assess and commit to action to make cities and communities better places for diverse people to live and work.

“As emerging planners, architects, interior designers, landscape architects, urban designers, artists, graphic designers, industrial designers and developers, students should acknowledge the shortcomings of their future professions with the desire to challenge themselves and those professions they will soon enter,” Hurd said.

Part of the 2022-2023 College of Design Lecture Series, his talk will highlight historical and current barriers as well as the opportunities to better understand how systemic social issues can be overcome by being intentional — just, equitable, diverse and inclusive.

Student exhibition

While at Iowa State, Hurd will serve as a reviewer for a project by students in the interdisciplinary spring studio “More than Poor and Un/Housed: Designing Abolitionist Spaces of Care,” taught by associate professors Jane Rongerude, community and regional planning, and Julie Stevens, landscape architecture. A public exhibition of the students’ work will be on display all day March 1 in the Step-a-torium at the Student Innovation Center.

About the speaker

A leader at the center of racial equity planning, development and trauma-informed community building, Hurd is sought after to provide training, technical assistance and real estate development services to a wide range of clients. In his role at Rise, Hurd helps the organization bring together nonprofits, banks, foundations, institutions and government to make successful neighborhood revitalization possible. He is also an administrator of Rise CDFI, Inc., which provides loans and business support services to minority contractors, developers and businesses.

Hurd extends his passion for equitable community planning and development as a field instructor for Washington University in St. Louis, where he supervises social work students with a concentration in social and economic development. Also an adjunct professor for WUSTL’s University College, he teaches a class on planning sustainable and racially equitable urban communities.

Hurd was a consultant on the city of Ferguson, Missouri’s “OurFerguson2040 Comprehensive Plan” adopted in 2020. He is a best-selling author with his 2020 book, Dream It! Plan It! Be It! A Playbook for Today’s Youth.

Before relocating to St. Louis and joining Rise in 2003, Hurd was a senior city planner for Norfolk, Virginia, where he specialized in planning functions including housing, transportation, and community and economic development.

Hurd received a bachelor of arts in organizational communications from Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1992, and a master of community and regional planning from Iowa State in 1997, and holds a University of Missouri–St. Louis Chancellor’s Certificate in Planning and Zoning. He is a certified Housing Development Finance Professional and a Certified HOME Program Regulations Specialist. He is an active member of the American Planning Association and Urban Land Institute.


Olivia Valentine, College of Design Lectures and Exhibitions Committee Chair, ovalen@iastate.edu
Saylor Upah, College of Design Event Planner, upahsay@iastate.edu
Heather Sauer, College of Design Director of Strategic Communications, hsauer@iastate.edu