Making Our Own Space (MOOS) is a program focused on engaging and empowering middle and high school students with the skills to transform their neighborhood public spaces.

MOOS uses hands-on, on-site workshops to build physical and social infrastructure in collaboration with the surrounding community. Students initiate, design, and construct all projects; through a series of high-touch, high-visibility outdoor work sessions they are trained to use power tools to fabricate both temporary and permanent improvements for local parks and vacant spaces. Past projects include benches, swings, snow forts, observation towers, and one-of-a-kind playscapes. The program helps youth understand the actions and connections required to make real changes in their neighborhood, specifically by exposing them to public engagement processes and a range of design careers. Students receive a stipend for participating to honor the value of the local knowledge, creative energy, and design work they contribute to MOOS projects.

Started in 2015 by Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative (CUDC), the program supports the CUDC's Design Diversity initiative by raising awareness in African American and Latinx communities about the range of design careers available to youth. MOOS workshops expose students to design thinking and making, employing interdisciplinary approaches from architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, and graphic design.

In addition to CUDC staff and graduate students in KSU's College of Architecture & Environmental Design, a diverse team of design professionals and local residents lead the workshops. Collaborating closely with youth team members, MOOS workshop leaders include local and nationally renowned designers.

MOOS Design Team:  


Ben Herring

Architecture //


David Jurca

Urban Design //
Seventh Hill Design

Katie Slusher_bw.png

Katie Slusher

Urban Design + Architecture //
Urban Designer
Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative


Arlene Watson

Graphic Design //
Director of Public Programs and Engagement
FRONT International


Kristen Zeiber

Architecture + Urban Design //
Project Manager
Kent State Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative


Erick Rodriguez

Architecture //
Director of Neighborhood Planning & Engagement
Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc


Alex Gilliam

Design //
Public Workshop


For more information on MOOS or request to launch the program in your neighborhood, please Contact Us