Monthly Archives: May 2014

meet katherine: chicago architect, designer and systems thinker

Katherine and Orlin, People with Panache

On why she chose the name Latent Design: “It’s truly from the definition of it. Latent and latency means making something invisible visible, and we use design as a tool to do that.” Katherine and Orlin in front of the project wall at Katherine’s studio.

In early 2010, Katherine Darnstadt got laid off. The economy dipped (drastically), and in one 6-month period she also got married, got licensed as an architect, and got pregnant. “I was broke, barefoot and pregnant, but as a licensed architect, I had hit my one huge professional milestone,” Katherine says. “I was finally legally, legitimately an architect, but I had no job to practice architecture in. And our field is notoriously not very kind to women or people with families.”

Katherine wasn’t about to let any of that stop her. She now owns Latent Design, an architecture firm in Chicago where she does so much more than design buildings. She designs communities. Continue reading

update: it’s the great milwaukee victory garden blitz!

Alysse says this year's best record so far is 15 gardens built by one team on Monday morning. "So far on Tuesday when we start we’ll have installed over 207—that's a little behind, but we’ll catch up. We’re doing over 500 beds, and still have to fill most of them with soil. We started with 40 garden beds in one day in 2009 and are now up to 500 in two weeks." Here are Gretchen and Alysse on either side of the Wisconsin senator and representative.

Alysse says this year’s best record so far is 15 gardens built by one team on Monday morning. “So far on Tuesday when we start we’ll have installed over 207—that’s a little behind, but we’ll catch up. We’re doing over 500 beds and still have to fill most of them with soil. We started with 40 garden beds in one day in 2009 and are now up to 500 in two weeks.” Here are Gretchen and Alysse on either side of the Wisconsin senator and state representative.

“We believe growing our own food will create a more sustainable, community-based, socially just food system than what we’re currently offered.” —Alysse Gear

The Blitz has begun! This week was the start of Victory Garden Initiative’s Great Milwaukee Victory Garden Blitz. The team has planned for months and gathered tons of volunteers to help install 500 garden beds in yards, schools and businesses across the county. Continue reading

update: congrats to “the empowerment project”!

The Empowerment Project on People With Panache

Kate on the left, Alysse on the right, our favorite documentary in the middle! “The Empowerment Project” is for everyone, and we can’t wait to hear about its travels, empowering people all over the world.

We interrupt our regularly scheduled interview to bring you an update on “The Empowerment Project!”

On Sunday night, we went to the cozy Music Box Theater in Chicago for the third screening ever of “The Empowerment Project.” Fancy, huh? We hope you remember it from our interview with Sarah (and many, many Facebook posts). “The Empowerment Project” is a documentary following a film crew of five women as they hop in a minivan and travel across the country to meet ordinary women doing extraordinary things. Continue reading