April De Simone
Founder, The Practice of Democracy
April De Simone is a transdisciplinary practitioner working at the intersection of architecture, planning, and systems thinking. Her work is inspired by her experiences growing up in a Bronx, New York neighborhood, steeped in the collateral consequences of intentionally designed systems of inequity. In partnership with diverse stakeholders, she seeks to cultivate reframed opportunities within spatial practice to advance equitable, humane, and just frameworks and projects shaping the conditions of our society.
She brings over 20 years of experience investigating how democratic values are represented through the environments and systems we plan, design, and activate. Through this work, she activates a deeper understanding of how the ways we plan, design, and activate the systems and environments shaping the conditions of our society directly impact how democratic principles like civic participation, equality, justice, and fairness are accessed, experienced, and sustained. In practice, she connects her spatial investigations to projects demonstrating the equitable, humane, and just capacities of architecture, planning, and systems thinking mediums.
In 2015, April co-founded designing the WE, where she co-curated Undesign the Redline, a nationally recognized exhibition exploring the historical and contemporary impacts of unjust policies and practices like residential racial ordinances, Redlining, and Urban Renewal. She recently transitioned from her role as a Principal at a nationally recognized architecture firm to co-launch The Practice of Democracy in the Fall of 2023. Her newest immersive experience, Of the WE: The Truths WE Hold, launched in the summer of 2022 on the High Line in New York City and is traveling nationally to different communities.
April continues to be an invited lecturer, speaker, and facilitator at numerous institutions. She sits on progressive boards, including the American Sustainable Business Network, and was a Forefront Fellow with the Urban Design Forum. She works closely on a local and national level with stakeholders from diverse sectors on issues on issues of race, equity, and democracy. Recently, she was recognized by Enterprise Community Partners as one of their Impactful 40 in 2022.
A Dean Merit Scholar recipient, she received her Master of Science in Design and Urban Ecologies from Parsons School of Design. Currently, she is pursuing her Master’s in Architecture.