Stephen Gray

Assistant Professor of Urban Design

Designers often operate with either formal or social-impact imperatives. Stephen Gray’s research and practice engages this problematic binary by acknowledging the intersectionality of race, class, and the production of urban space in two fundamental ways: (1) Interrogating design’s contribution to, and complicity with, structural and infrastructural racism; and, (2) Developing research and design methodologies that address issues of equity, access, social justice, and precarity at the scales of infrastructure, communities, metropolitans, and the globe.

Stephen Gray is an Assistant Professor of Urban Design at Harvard Graduate School of Design. His interests center on understanding political and cultural contexts of urban design; socio-ecological urban design approaches to resilience; and the intersectionality of humanitarian aid and urban design. Current projects include the Harvard Mellon Urban Initiative where his team blends archival and design research methods to foreground systemic racism in the physical and geospatial development of Boston; process design for the co-creation of child-focused spaces with Syrian refugees; and research with the World Bank examining the interconnectedness of social, natural, and spatial systems as they relate to informality, vulnerability, and resilience.

Stephen has experience working in complex urban environments with municipal agencies, colleges and universities, private developers, non-profits, and the public. He is co-chairman of Boston’s 100 Resilient Cities Resilience Collaborative providing thought leadership for “Resilient Boston: An Equitable and Connected City” as Boston works to adopt a resilience lens for all planning, policies, and practice. Prior to joining the GSD, Stephen collaborated with and led cross-disciplinary teams at Sasaki on projects ranging broadly from strategic reinvestment in downtown Wichita, to parks planning for the City of Bridgeport, advanced online engagement for the GoBoston 2030 mobility master plan, urban design visions for downtown Raleigh and uptown Cincinnati, and resilience planning for South Shore Long Island in post-Sandy New York.

Stephen has been a lecturer at MIT School of Architecture + Planning and Northeastern University School of Architecture, Associate Director on the Board of the Boston Society of Architects (BSA), and he has been tapped to serve on several Urban Land Institute (ULI) advisory panels. He holds a B. Arch. Degree from the University of Cincinnati and a Master of Architecture in Urban Design (MAUD) Degree with distinction from Harvard University where he received the Thesis Prize for Urban Design and the Award for Outstanding Leadership in Urban Design. In 2015, Stephen was recognized by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for his contributions to urban design thinking in the U.S. context with the National AIA Honor Award, the highest honor given to individual associate AIA members.

Projects