Liz Ogbu



Scholar-in-Residence, Center for Art & Public Life, California College of the Arts
San Francisco, California, USA

A designer, social innovator, and academic, Liz is an expert on sustainable design and spatial innovation in challenged urban environments globally.

From designing shelters for immigrant day laborers in the U.S. to a water and health social enterprise for low-income Kenyans, Liz has a long history of engagement in the public interest design movement. In addition to working as an independent consultant, she currently is the first-ever Scholar-in-Residence at the Center for Art & Public Life at California College of the Arts. In that role, she’s exploring opportunities at intersection of design, innovation, and community engagement.

Liz has been actively involved in shaping two of the world’s leading public interest design nonprofits. Over the past year, she was part of the inaugural class of Innovators-in-Residence at, IDEO’s sister nonprofit dedicated to fostering global poverty reduction through design and innovation. Prior to that, she was Design Director at Public Architecture, a national nonprofit mobilizing designers to create social change. Whether interviewing low income mothers in the San Francisco Bay Area, analyzing health clinics in Bolivia, or developing cookstove prototypes in Tanzania, she has worked to advance the cause of innovative design and strategic thinking as a tool to addressing the needs and desires of the underserved. Liz also has worked on independent art and architecture projects as part of the Bay Area-based collective FOURM design+build+educate as well as architecture and urban design projects at the award-winning firm SMWM (now part of Perkins+Will).

Liz lectures widely on design for environmental and social impact. She has written for and been profiled in publications such as Places Journal, Metropolis, Core 77 and the Journal of Urban Design. Her work has also been widely exhibited, including at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, Rotterdam Biennale and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Among her many honors include the 2009 Holcim Global Innovation Prize, the 2012 Next American Design Vanguard, and Senior Fellow of Design Futures Council.