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Chicago, IL

Bonnie Sanborn

Expertise

  • Leadership
  • Design Research Leader
  • Senior Associate
Bonnie Sanborn
  • Design Research Leader
  • Senior Associate
"I'm fascinated by people, and I want to bridge the gap between research and practice to improve the human experience.”

As the firm’s Design Research Leader, Bonnie plays a unique leadership role within DLR Group’s growing R&D studio, collaborating with researchers in design technology, human-environment relations, and data analytics to generate actionable data, stimulate innovation, and activate a culture of knowledge-sharing within the firm.

Bonnie supports both DLR Group studios and integrated design teams in developing design goals based on relevant, applicable research, and leverages validated tools to assess project outcomes. B also serves as the firm’s conduit to stakeholder groups including colleagues, industry partners, academia, and clients to share DLR Group’s research position and outcomes.

B's background in academia and industry includes instruction and facilitation in environmental psychology, design thinking techniques, and product development. Their experience in social science and material culture sheds light on the connections between the built environment and human behavior in learning, working, and social interaction. B's academic background also includes anthropology and psychology, which further enable them to see clients and projects through a unique lens and identify underlying motivations for creating real change.

"I make my mark by getting my hands dirty and learning about a topic through tactile experience. Even as a child, I always wanted to get my hands on a tangible project, or get out in the mud and experiment, so that I could understand something from every angle.”

B holds a Master’s of Science in Environmental Psychology and a Bachelor’s of Arts in Archaeology and Physical Anthropology. They have an Evidence-Based Design accreditation from the Center for Health Design, and are a member of the EDAC Advisory Council certified in Social, Environmental, and Economic Design by the Public Interest Design Institute. B is active in organizations that seek to connect research to design including the Environmental Design Research Association. They are a National Allied Member of the AIA and are active in Chicago’s LGTBQ+ design community, including the LGBT Chamber of Commerce.