Dana McKinney White is a licensed architect and urban planner, who is an outspoken advocate for social justice and equity through design. She contextualizes people and their broader communities throughout her work. Her academic and professional work integrates wellness, policy, and economics into innovative design solutions to benefit even the most vulnerable populations including system-impacted communities, persons experiencing homelessness, and aging populations.
Dana co-founded enFOLD Collective in 2021 with Megan Echols, a fellow GSD alumna. enFOLD, an interdisciplinary architecture, planning, and design practice positions community voices at the center of its projects. The collective is committed to producing work rooted in site specificity, community needs, and the histories of the people who made that place. Dana also established Studio KINN where she consults on considerations of social justice, equity, and alternatives to incarceration.
Dana graduated from Princeton University summa cum laude with a A.B. in Architecture and Certificates in Urban Studies and Spanish and completed her Master in Architecture and Master Urban Planning, both with Distinction at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. During Dana’s time at the GSD, she helped to establish the inaugural Black in Design Conference, Map the Gap, and the African American Design Nexus. She subsequently worked at Gehry Partners where she focused on the LA River Master Plan, Southeast Los Angeles Cultural Center, the Rio Hondo Confluence Area Project, and other river-related projects. During her time at Gehry Partners, Dana assisted in Frank Gehry’s Yale School of Architecture studio, “The Future of Prison” and served as an advocate and researcher in Impact Justice’s review of the Finish and Norwegian criminal justice system.
Prior to joining the faculty of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design, Dana served as a development manager at Adre, a purpose-driven real estate development company located in Portland, Oregon that strives to uplift the region’s Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) through spatial equity. During her time at Adre, she helped to secure more than $8.2 million in grants to develop affordable office space at the Building United Futures Complex and the Williams & Russell project. Dana also served as a lecturer at the University of Maryland School of Architecture in their undergraduate architecture degree program.
In 2018, Dana was awarded the Norman Foster Foundation Traveling Fellowship for the “On Cities” Workshop located in Madrid, Spain, where she participated in an international design charette and symposium to develop novel urban design strategies to better integrate emerging technologies. Dana currently serves on the board of the USC Architecture Guild and has previously sat on the 2021 Monterey Design Conference planning committee and Materials & Applications programming board.
Lisa Haber-Thomson and Dana McKinney White, Hosts