Despite efforts in recent years to support its growing minority entrepreneurial class, Portland still is referred to as the Whitest City in America. But Portland is determined to shed that designation. Fostering wealth creation within communities of color and low-income neighborhoods is key to Portland’s goals of becoming known as the most competitive and equitable city in the world.
Joy Alise Davis, CEO and founding partner of Design+Culture Lab, is a rising star in this effort of creating enterprise with the aim of advancing positive social change. Davis’ community design firm unites culture, place and race in projects ranging from Portland’s first African American City Plan to connecting with immigrant communities on changes to the Powell-Division corridor. Crain’s Portland spoke with Davis on the importance of community engagement, the evolution of design and in a nod to this week’s holiday, the inspiring work of Martin Luther King Jr.