Mary deLaittre

Founder and Principal of Groundwork


Mary deLaittre has extensive experience working in city building. She is a catalyst for large civic projects, conceiving of ideas, developing implementation and communication strategies and creating organizational structures to realize projects. Most recently Mary was Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation where she transformed the organization to focus on its new mission, creating the Next Generation of Parks™. Since founding Groundwork she has conceived of and managed large scale civic projects such as the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board’s RiverFirst – the transformation of 5.5 miles of the Upper Mississippi River – and created and consulted to organizations  such as 2020 Partners, a public/private partnership that facilitates the transformation of a downtown Minneapolis industrial district to a new urban center.

Mary has been involved in design education, in a variety if capacities, including teaching Architecture and Urban Design at the University of Minnesota’s College of Design, founding and directing SiteLines, a 501(c)(3) that conducts research and develops educational materials, programs and events about neighborhood planning and design, and developing SiteSeeing, a curriculum and educational program that teaches students how to see and think critically about the built and natural environment.

Mary has also been involved in a number of special projects related to design and the built environment. She was General Manager of the Design Institute’s Twin Cities Design Celebration, a year-long series of design education events, she participated in the research and development of Planning to Stay, a handbook about neighborhood development, and produced “Safety and the Urban Environment,” a design competition, symposium and catalog introducing students to the topic of safety and design. Mary received a Bachelor of Arts in Art History from Brown University and a Masters of Architecture with a focus on Urban Design from the University of Minnesota.