Meet Senior Urban Designer Jodi Dubyoski

  • Insights
by The Streetsense Collective

Welcome back to our Spotlight series where we get to know the people that make the magic happen in our creative collective. Pull up a chair because we’re sitting down for a Q&A with Senior Urban Designer Jodi Dubyoski.


Q: Tell us about your background. How did you end up at Streetsense?

A: I am a licensed architect. I have experience in multifamily and small commercial—different firms around the country. For the last four years, I had my own practice in Richmond, Virginia where I focused on small commercial and on teaming with economic developers and planners on larger planning projects, like small area plans or downtown master plans.


I have a career-long interest and experience in community-engaged planning and community-led planning. So most of my work was framed around participatory design. 


After four years, I had really great clients and relationships and experiences, but I was exhausted from running a practice by myself. I had to decide whether or not to grow my firm or to look around for a team to join. 


I think the work is better when you’re part of a team. So I Googled placemaking jobs, and discovered Streetsense!



Q: What unique services does Streetsense offer that drew you to work here?

A: The big draw for me was having this close synergy with the Place Strategy team, with Research & Analysis, with the Public Non-Profit team. And also branding and interior architecture—it’s good to have those sensibilities all within one office.


What I experienced working on consulting teams is that we would typically pull together individual consultants and I would be the urban designer—there would be an economic developer and maybe a planner. But every experience was disparate. We never had a history of working together. 


Here at Streetsense we have the opportunity to grow relationships, leverage the strengths of our coworkers, and deliver a more successful end product. 



Q: What is that end product? What does the Urban Design team offer our clients? 

A: We provide placemaking services. Placemaking is a buzzword these days. But I think it is often the most appropriate word to describe what clients are looking for. Because they’re not just looking for design. They’re looking for a holistic approach to what makes a great place. That’s also programming and wayfinding and branding. 


It’s what makes a place feel safe and welcoming and comforting and useful. 



Q: In your opinion, what’s the most important thing that informs good Urban Design?

A: I think safety and accessibility are huge today because our country has a history of policing public places. A lot of things that make public places safe and welcoming and inviting for one group of people may not have the same effect for another group of people.


To build equitable places in an equitable, democratic society, we must recognize that public space is a fundamental human right.



Q: Is there a trend right now in the industry that you’re most excited about?

A: I’m really excited that the idea of maintenance and care is getting its day. In design, the creative world, and America at large, there’s always been this sense of: “making new things is the aspiration.” And we’re seeing places fall into disrepair because we haven’t cared for them. 


But there’s a de-emphasis on care and maintenance work as something that is important. We don’t think of custodial work as a noteworthy job—they aren’t compensated well. 


I am excited that people are starting to talk about that.



Q: You’re new at Streetsense. It’s day 8! How does it feel so far?

A: So far, it continues to feel like a place where you can show up as yourself and people want you here for your strengths. I think that probably has to do with the fact that we have so many different disciplines and roles within the company. 


People have been welcoming. I am pumped to get to know more people and learn their skills and talents and interests!



Q: What do you wish you had known when starting out in this industry?

A: I wish I had been pushed to follow my interests earlier on. Part of that is a by-product of the architecture career where you get put on a certain path. It’s hard to see in your 20s that sticking to your interests—instead of where you think you should be going—can pay off in your 30s and 40s.



Q: What do you do in your free time that inspires your work?

A: If I can avoid driving, I do. I always try to be walking or biking and am thinking about proximity and connection.


Our Urban Design team crafts the spaces between the buildings, with physical strategies that stimulate on-site experiences.



You’re in!

"Thank you for choosing to receive updates from across our global creative collective of placeshapers, brandbuilders, and storytellers. Learn more about Streetsense."

be in the know