Loyola University Chicago

Center for Urban Research and Learning

Past Scholar

Susanne Schnell

Title/s:  CURL Visiting Scholar

Office #:  Cuneo Hall, 419

Phone: 773.508.8523

Email: sschnell1@luc.edu


Susanne is an entrepreneurial leader whose work supports sustainable urban development, community health, and social innovation. Her work at CURL focuses on building community capacity and healthy urban environments for connected, equitable aging. From 2009-2013, she served as Executive Director of Archeworks—a Chicago-based public interest design center dedicated to improving the physical, social, and environmental health and vitality of underserved communities through multidisciplinary design partnerships. In this role, Susanne developed innovative urban design and social impact initiatives with nonprofit, health care and public sector agencies; oversaw teams of postgraduate designers; and expanded socially-engaged experiential education programs. As a strategic advisor at Archeworks, Susanne went on to launch communities of practice engaging multi-firm teams of mid-career architecture, planning and urban design professionals. Projects included a framework plan created in partnership with Columbia College’s Convergence Design Labs for an innovative digital media learning initiative in high-need Chicago Public Schools. 

Previously, Susanne held positions with the Civic Committee—a regional business intermediary of leading corporations—and its nonprofit consulting affiliate, the Civic Consulting Alliance, where she developed public-private partnership initiatives in inner-city economic development, urban planning, workforce development, and education. In this role, Susanne was a lead strategist in the creation and launch of the Historic Chicago Greystone Initiative, an affordable housing rehabilitation and preservation program now operated by Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago. She also served for four years as adjunct faculty at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s City Design Center, conducting best practice research for a national study on neighborhood resilience and market recovery strategies, and co-developing a multidisciplinary Green Neighborhood Design Program. 

As a management consultant, Susanne played lead start-up roles in organizational planning and program development during the first two years of the National Public Housing Museum. She also directed ‘Learning from North Lawndale’—a multi-stakeholder neighborhood architectural and social history initiative at the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Before moving to Chicago, Susanne directed a national grant program and public outreach campaign for a Washington DC-based coalition of financial services institutions that promoted model community development partnerships in low-income communities across the country. She holds degrees from Smith College and the University of Michigan.