Deborah Ryan is a practicing landscape architect and an Associate Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at the University of North Carolina Charlotte, where she founded the Charlotte Community Design Studio as the community outreach arm of the College of Architecture. While leading that effort, her focus was on activating urban places and encouraging local residents to participate in the life of the city. Towards that goal, she and her students designed award-winning playgrounds and developed the initial designs for Charlotte’s two new urban parks. As Director of the Mayor’s Institute for City Design: South and the Open Space Leadership Institute, Deborah led symposia that taught local leaders how to increase civic engagement, build social capital, and face growth issues in their communities. She has published and lectured widely on the subject of community engagement, and in 2013 she was named a Senior Edward I. Koch Fellow by the Historic House Trust of New York City.