Ceara O'Leary

Co-Executive Director, Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Professor of Practice

Ceara O'Leary
Contact Info:
Campus: McNichols Campus
Building: Loranger Architecture
Room: Detroit Collaborative Design Center
Phone: 313-993-1037
Ceara O'Leary
Areas of Expertise:
Community Development
Community Design
Urban Planning


  • Master of Architecture and Master of City & Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley
  • B.A. in Architectural Studies, Brown University


Ceara O’Leary, AIA, is a Senior Designer and Project Director at the Detroit Collaborative Design Center (DCDC), where she leads collaborative community design and planning projects that support neighborhood revitalization efforts citywide. Ceara joined the DCDC in January 2012 as an Enterprise Rose Architectural Fellow. Ceara is also the Associate Director of the University of Detroit Mercy Master of Community Development program. She teaches public interest design studios and community development courses as an adjunct professor at the University of Detroit Mercy School of Architecture.

Ceara sits on the American Institute of Architects Housing and Community Development Network Advisory Group, recently completed her tenure as a fellow with the ULI Larsen Center for Leadership, and was named a “Top Urban Innovator” by Next City Vanguard in 2015. She presents on community design and development practices nationwide and has contributed to the Public Interest Design Guidebook and Public Interest Design Education Guidebook.

Previously, Ceara worked as a Community Designer with Dallas-based bcWORKSHOP, setting up a satellite office in the Lower Rio Grande Valley, and contributing to a community-based planning project in eight colonias across Hidalgo and Cameron Counties. From 2010-2011, Ceara was the inaugural Public Design Intern at the Gulf Coast Community Design Studio in Biloxi, Mississippi, where she worked on community design and development projects in collaboration with local stakeholders along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. 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.