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Urban Designer Caroline Swinehart Tapped for BPWA Board

Caroline Swinehart moved to Berkeley in 2016, straight from graduate school at Notre Dame. She now is a senior designer at Opticos Design, an urban design and architecture firm in Berkeley that specializes in creating sustainable, walkable communities. A native of Fresno, she was happy to move back to the West Coast.

    She loves the outdoors and exploring towns and cities on foot, so Caroline was delighted to discover the paths while wandering the hills above her North Berkeley neighborhood. 

   “The paths are a fascinating example of designing for walkability on hillside topography,” she says, adding that they are not just beautiful but also are important for emergency preparedness.  

    In what turned out to be a lucky encounter, BPWA President Colleen Neff met Caroline when Colleen was preparing to lead a walk featuring f the Little Free Libraries in North Berkeley. As it happened, Caroline had designed and built one in her front yard. Caroline then attended a talk Colleen gave at the North Branch Library about BPWA and the paths.  “I was intrigued by that event and wanted to get involved.”

   One of Caroline’s first undertakings for BPWA will be working with Councilwoman Susan Wengraf on a pilot project to design lighting for two paths.