Public Design for Equity

Pathways of Practice

Interdisciplinary, engaged, meaningful

Shalini's design practice emerges through her art, architecture, teaching, writing, speaking, workshops and advocacy. Her notable career includes co-founding a community design nonprofit, championing and educating the next generation of creative leaders at the university-level, weaving a network of diverse public interest designers and advocating for the importance of equity in the design industry. Shalini continues to pioneer and push boundaries as she explores and proves the value of design practices that are meaningful, collaborative and positively transform communities.

“Creative practitioners are positioned to be the facilitators of equitable and sustainable change.”

Highlighted Work


SFUSD / Architecture

San Francisco School District community engaging in the co-creation and design of their schoolyard. We provided a culturally sensitive and responsive process, identifying community resources and existing assets. Schools include Lawton Elementary, Jose Ortega Elementary, Longfellow Elementary.
Collaborators: Cat Chang & Maru Echevarria

Pathways to Equity / Equity in Design

Leadership experience with the goal of presenting hands-on design processes through the lens of equity and justice.
Collaborators: Garrett Jacobs & multiple


3rd Space Lab Collective / Collaborations

3rd Space Lab is a collective of artists and designers from Bangalore, India and the San Francisco Bay Area. We engage artists, craft communities, designers and other disciplinary experts in exploring knowledge sharing as creative processes by creating opportunities to learn from each other’s lived experiences.
Collaborators: Lalitha Shankar, Shamala Nandesha (India); Trena Noval, Shalini Agrawal (US)


Center for Art + Public Life / Collaborations

Leading next generation of creative leaders to make social impact through community-engaged practice at CCA through fellowships at Bay Area organizations, community-based courses focusing on mutually beneficial partnerships, social impact grants supporting student-led projects, and community engagement workshops and scholarship.
Collaborators: multiple


Room for Big Ideas at YBCA / Collaborations

Social in Practice featured a participatory installation and archive project that presented an ongoing exploration of community-engaged practice from interviews with artists, designers, community partners, and community members. Installation revealed the commonalities and differences in process and language used by a variety of practitioners in the Bay Area, in an effort to create accessibility and understanding for a larger audience.
Collaborators: Chris Treggiari


Mission Neighborhood Resource Center (MNRC) / Teaching

Activate Open Engagement was a design studio collaborating with the community partner MNRC in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood. Students investigated and proposed positive community experiences for MNRC's homeless residents through interactive, participatory, built, and/or performance methods. From these explorations and engagement, CCA students built site specific creative place-making solutions that were co-created with our community partner.
Collaborators: Chris Treggiari, Interior Design students


FIELD Design Network / Diversity in Design

FIELD (Forum for Inclusive and Equitable Leadership Diversity) Design Network supports a new generation of practitioners in public interest design through knowledge sharing, collaborative learning opportunities and partnerships. Our aim is to hold conversations that need to be happening in design.  FIELD Design Network hosts speakers and workshops in response to supporting emerging professionals in alternative practices in architecture and public interest design.
Collaborators: multiple



An arts-based community development organization reducing social isolation by creating grassroots partnership to co-design and build public space, empowering individuals to shape their future and the future of their community.
Collaborators: multiple

Harvard University the Future of Learning / Teaching

The Future of Learning Institute at Project Zero gathers dynamic educators from around the world to engage with designers to examine how learning is changing and acquire practical tools to support deep, relevant, and long-lasting learning in a rapidly shifting educational landscape.
Collaborators: multiple