Practice Management (Contracts / Insurance / Finance / Personnel)

Education Session - Panel Format

FRI-B09 - Design Empathy: Reflecting Other Voices in Your Practice

Friday, October 20
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM


This session will share methods to approach design with the core value of empathy. Empathy is the first step in design thinking and the basis for usercentric design. Learn how practitioners from multiple design disciplines bring multiple voices into the design process using empathy as their starting point.

Learning Objectives:

Lauren Schmitt

MIG, Inc.

MIG Principal Lauren Schmitt, ASLA, AICP, leads MIG’s parks and recreation planning practice. She has worked across the United States involving communities in planning and design for parks, recreation, trails and systems for more than 16 years. Her facilitative leadership and strong project management skills have ensured the success of many complex, multi -objective projects involving parks, recreation facilities, natural and cultural resources, trails, open space and events/programming. She received an MLA from the University of Washington and a BA in Architecture and Urbanism from Smith College.


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Steve Cancian

Principal and Facilitator
Shared Spaces

Steve Cancian is a nationally recognized participatory designer who combines community organizing, facilitation and design to enable stakeholders to participate in every step of creating their own spaces and places. Often working in Spanish, Steve has led more than 500 design workshops around the country. He specializes in enabling community members to participate as co-designers, rather than just giving input, ensuring that their vision and decisions are reflected in the final outcome. Shared Spaces works only on public and non-profit projects, focusing on projects in park-poor low-income communities and often engaging African-American, Latino, Asian-American and multi-cultural communities.


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Scott Paterson

Design Director

Scott Paterson is the Design Director at West where they work with companies to create brand new markets and disrupt existing ones in ways never imagined. If product accelerators help companies go from concept to product, West helps companies go from product all the way into people’s lives. Bringing 20 years of strategic creative leadership, award-winning design, and mentorship across multiple disciplines, he helps public and private organizations, their teams, and students, to design innovative methods that tackle complex challenges like becoming a citizen-centered city, gaining confidence about uncertain futures, or delivering impactful services and experiences.


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Janet Tam

Noll & Tam Architects

An architect with more than 30 years experience, Janet Tam, AIA, is a founding partner of Noll & Tam Architects in Berkeley, CA. She has focused her firm's practice on public projects which require design collaboration with whole communities and multi-faceted user groups. She leads Noll & Tam's community-sector projects which include recreation and community centers, teen and senior centers. A LEED Accredited Professional, Janet is noted for her ability to analyze complex programs and synthesize all components into aesthetic and sustainable architecture. She has special expertise in facilitating consensus among diverse interest groups, particularly as part of a participatory community process.


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FRI-B09 - Design Empathy: Reflecting Other Voices in Your Practice

Session Guide

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