Board of Directors
Cynthia is Director of Real Estate Development for ONE Neighborhood Builders, an organization that builds and renovates housing units for purchase by first-time homebuyers or for rental at affordable rates. She has over ten years experience in the field of resource development, community and economic development, planning and implementing neighborhood development strategies, promoting sustainable and healthy communities, planning and executing development programs and projects. She is dedicated to building stronger communities, working with residents and stakeholders in urban neighborhoods to improve the local quality of life by bolstering the local economy and investing in the built environment. In her earlier career, she worked as a carpenter, architect, urban planner, non-profit executive, real estate developer and educator.
Sandy teaches American Studies and Urban Studies at Brown University. He is a cultural, intellectual, and urban historian with particular interest in 20th century cities, the built environment, United States history since World War II, and nonfiction writing. He has written articles and reviews for a number of publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Nation, Reviews in American History, The Baffler, Metropolis, American Studies International, Southern California Quarterly, Cabinet, and In These Times. He earned his Ph.D. in American Studies from Yale University. His book Manhattan Projects: The Rise and Fall of Urban Renewal in Cold War New York is available from Oxford University Press.
DownCity Design Treasurer Lynne Prodger currently serves as Financial Reporting Analyst for the City of Warwick. In this capacity, she manages the annual budget as well as grants for the city. Her in-depth knowledge of budget administration and grant management were honed in her previous roles at Pawtucket School Department and the New England Foundation for the Arts. Lynne is a member of the Cranston Arts Commission and a Rhode Island Mentoring Partnership mentor. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Business from Skidmore College.
As the Associate Director of Community Relations at RISD, Bethany works closely with community and campus leaders to develop partnerships that address key economic challenges in the local marketplace, align with RISD’s priorities as a leader in art and design education, and serve to enhance positive interaction among members of the RISD and regional communities. Prior to coming to RISD, Bethany spent 10 years working at the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, where she directed the development and implementation of organization's communications and public policy strategies.
Bob Vierra has been in the construction industry for over 36 years and with Gilbane for the past 15 years. He has a degree in civil engineering and experience working on complex program management projects. Bob enjoys passing on his construction experience to the next generation.
Caroline Stevens is the founder and director of Doors Open Rhode Island and the Executive Director of the RI Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. She recently graduated with a MA in Public Humanities from Brown University where her work focused on the intersection of public engagement and the built environment. Prior to moving to Providence in 2014, Caroline managed Open House Chicago, the signature event of the Chicago Architecture Foundation and now the largest architecture and urban exploration festival in the country.
Steve is excited to live, work and play in the Downcity neighborhood of Providence. An architect, Steve founded Durkee Brown Architects before joining Cornish Associates in 2010 to help with their mission to make Providence one of the great urban places in America. He helped to grow transit in RI as a board member of the RI Public Transit Authority, and was the chair of the Providence City Plan Commission for 14 years.
Ben Willis is an architect at Union Studio in Providence. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2010 and spent four years working for a residential architecture firm in La Jolla, CA. Ben is interested in progressive traditional architecture that elevates the everyday experiences of a community. He writes regularly for Common Edge, and serves as an ACE mentor, a member of the PPS Architectural Review committee, a member of Grace Episcopal Church, and a founding member of Collegium Ancora, a professional chamber choir. He and his husband Matt live in Elmwood.