Nexus Podcast | January 21, 2022

Dana McKinney

Season 2, Episode 8: We learn from Dana McKinney how her commitment to activism has been integral to her architectural practice and education.

Dana McKinney

Dana McKinney. Image Courtesy of Dana McKinney.


Dana McKinney describes her time at the GSD as a balancing act of being a student and an activist. She shares the journey that started the African American Design Nexus, the Black in Design conference, and other initiatives she was essential to founding at the GSD. We learn how she has continued her work as an activist in her architectural practice.

About Dana McKinney

Dana is an architect and urban planner, who is an outspoken advocate for social justice and equity through design. During Dana’s time at the Harvard 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, and other river-related projects.

Dana is currently the Development Manager at Adre, an equity-centered development company in Portland, Oregon that seeks to develop buildings that create social and economic benefits for Black, Indigenous, and people of color through the creation of affordable homes, mixed-used developments, and facilities for mission-driven organizations. Dana also established Studio KINN where she consults on social justice and equity design problems.

In 2021, Dana co-founded enFOLD Collective with Megan Echols, a fellow GSD alumna.

How to Listen

You can listen to all available episodes and find program notes here on our website, or subscribe to the series via one of these providers: iTunes, GoogleSpotify, iHeartRadio, Stitcher.

About the Show

Developed by the African American Design Nexus at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, The Nexus is a podcast that explores the intersection of design, identity, and practice through conversations with Black designers, writers and educators. The Nexus is produced in conjunction with a commitment by the Frances Loeb Library to acquire and create an open-access bibliography of various media suggested by the GSD community on the intersection between race and design.

Show Credits

The Nexus Season 2 is hosted by Tara Oluwafemi and Darien Carr, students in the Master of Architecture program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. The show is recorded and edited by Maggie Janik, and the theme music is produced by DJ Eway.


For all inquiries, please email [email protected].