Menu Close


Project Team

Julia Robinson

School of Architecture University of Minnesota

Julia Robinson is a professor at the U of M College of Design. Over her career, she has published countless books and papers covering a wide range of design topics, including design programming, methods, and pedagogy. Her role spearheading the Investing in North Minneapolis Project was born from an earlier project, Design for Youth: Equity and Opportunity. The awareness gained from her study of societal disparities in urban youth prompted her current passion for the role of urban design for equity. She currently leads the Investing in North Minneapolis Project to advance equity in North Minneapolis’ urban fabric.

Savannah Steele

HGA Architects
School of Architecture University of Minnesota

Savannah Steele dances between practicing architecture, teaching design thinking skills, and advocating for community well-being. Savannah has contributed to design and construction of residential and commercial properties in North Minneapolis since 2015, and currently practices at HGA Architects and Engineers in the Arts| Cultural| Educational Studio. Savannah’s has offered design, coordination and technical detailing to a range of project types—she is particularly proud of successes in collaboration that helped to realize 1800 Chicago (Hennepin County’s Mental Health Urgent Care) and the Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain. Savannah foregrounds rigorous listening, playful testing, and somatic feedback in her creative process. She offers from her broad range of knowledge in development, architecture, construction, mental health, fabrication, sustainability, and her rich lived experiences as a woman of color in Minneapolis to fulfilling projects that share her values. Savannah is seeking to underwrite beauty, well-being, and justice into the future built environment of Minneapolis’ Northside by sharing leadership in the Investing with North Minneapolis Studio.

Rochelle Washington

Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization

Jamil Ford

Mobilize Design Architects and Planners

Jamil Ford is a Minneapolis Architect, native to the North Side and founder of Mobilize Design. He attended North High School, graduated in architectural design from the University of Minnesota, and founded Mobilize Design in 2010.  Since then, his firm has engaged several North Side projects, including the 5 Points building, the Estes Funeral Chapel, and the NEON entrepreneur center. His wider vision is excellence in the North Side built environment, beyond expectations. He has devoted his life to seeing positive community growth in the neighborhood.

Michael Chaney

Project Sweetie Pie
Environmental Justice Coordinating Council

Michael Chaney is the founder of Project Sweetie Pie and a co-founder of and Growing North Minneapolis. Project Sweetie Pie is a local nonprofit organization founded in 2010 that engages stakeholders in grass roots initiatives to address issues of structural racism and equity, advocates community-led green restorative development, and coordinates youth-led/youth-fed green initiatives and other gardening and urban farming operations. He has become the Johnny Appleseed of urban farming in North Minneapolis and is also a member of the North side Green Zone Task Force.

Jaycie Thomsen

Northside Safety NET
Environmental Initiative

Jaycie Thomsen (she/her) is the Senior Program Coordinator for Northside Safety NET at Environmental Initiative. She is a 2021 graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management with a minor in food systems. In her spare time she enjoys spending time outdoors moving her body (running, biking, hiking, etc.), cooking with homegrown vegetables, and listening to 89.3 the Current.

Ar’Tesha Saballos

Timothy Griffin

Minnesota Design Center at the University of Minnesota

Timothy Griffin is a senior research fellow at the Minnesota Design Center. He has led several community engagement projects and workshops around St. Paul and beyond. He also continues to teach in the College of Design, including co-teaching the Fall 2021 Investing in North Minneapolis Studio.

Shawn Lewis

Minneapolis Parks Foundation

Shawn Lewis has a BA in Political Science from the University of Minnesota as well as completed some graduate level courses at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs (Education Policy, Transportation, and Strategic Planning).  Lewis has worked in three different organizations as a Project Coordinator. First, LifeSource, involving a federal grant. Secondly, Urban League Twin Cities, involving a City Minneapolis employment contract, and finally, Volunteer Lawyers Network involving Hennepin and Ramsey Housing Court. In 2000, Lewis was promoted to a grantmaking position at the Great Twin Cities United Way. He has managed the allocation process of Basic Needs, Community Investment Fund and Innovation/Expansion special grants. In addition, Lewis has worked in various library positions at the University of Minnesota’s Biomedical Library, Minneapolis Public Library and Hennepin County Library.

Lewis has a certificate in Essential Skills & Strategies for New Grant makers sponsored by the Forum of Regional Associations of Grant makers and Council on Foundations. Also, a certification in Global Career Development Facilitator by the Center for Credentialing and Education, Inc.  Finally, a certification in   NeighborWorks Center for Homeownership Education and Counseling in Financial Capability.

Outside of work, Lewis enjoys walking with his spouse, casual recreational biking and reading about trends and analysis in the nonprofit sector, including philanthropy.

Katherine Fleming

John Jamison

Northside Resident Redevelopment Council

Clyde Quarles

Northside Safety NET
Environmental Initiative

Fall 2021 Students

University of Minnesota Students: Joshua Ziehwein, Chris Chayet, David Sheldon, Jack Foley, Riley Houlihan, Danny Ogranovich, Robert Gay, Cody Kashmark, Emily Dam, Rachel Forseen, Maria Berg, Olivia Mantsch, and Naomi Schroeder

Fall 2022 Students and Interns

University of Minnesota Students: Emily Sanchez, Cassidy Johnson, Julia Friedrichsen, Lauren Finch, Yizhen Cai, Anukriti Misra, Marshall King, and Logan Schaub

Northside Safety NET Interns/staff: Chairish Byas, Paris Beasley, Micah Beasley, Greg Wheeler, Evette Eaton, Lilly Hood, Clyde Quarles, Sebastian Wells
Learn more about the interns!

Research Assistants

2021 University of Minnesota Research Assistants: Allemu Slattery, Jonathan Breuer, Mortimer Ackerman, Naomi Schroeder, Riley Houlihan, Robert Gay

2022 University of Minnesota Research Assistants: Julia Friederichsen, Anukriti Misra, Jeff Yao, Robert Gay