Skip to content


Ceara O’Leary, AIA, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Oregon. Her practice, research and teaching focus on the community-engaged design of equitable neighborhood spaces. As an architect, planner and educator, Ceara's areas of focus include the design of inclusive neighborhood spaces transforming underutilized assets, public realm and urban design centering local culture at the corridor and neighborhood scale, and planning projects at the intersection of policy and community resilience. Current projects continue a trajectory of work with partners in Detroit, including design and planning for cultural and climate resilience micro districts and a “placemaking” initiative along a recovering commercial corridor.

Previously, Ceara was Co-Executive Director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), a multidisciplinary nonprofit design office and team of architects, landscape designers and planners working with community partners across Detroit who traditionally lack access to design resources. At DCDC, Ceara led collaborative community design and planning projects ranging in scale from the reactivation of community buildings and pocket parks on formerly vacant land to neighborhood plans and design guidelines, all rooted in Detroit’s unique character, opportunities and challenges. Ceara was also a Professor of Practice at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture and Community Development, teaching public interest design and community development courses. Ceara joined the DCDC in 2012 as an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow. Previously, Ceara worked with bcWORKSHOP in the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi. Ceara graduated from the University of California, Berkeley with Masters degrees in Architecture and City & Regional Planning and she earned her undergraduate degree from Brown University.