Serena Brewer is a 2022-2023 Fellow at the Detroit Land Bank Authority where she is a Pre-Construction Project Liaison. Learn more about Serena below.


I moved to Lafayette Park in Detroit before I knew that I had gotten into Challenge Detroit or had a job with the Land Bank. Looking back in hindsight, having this apartment has made my experience moving to the city 800x better. I live in Lafayette Towers which were designed by architect Mies Van de Rohe. He also designed two other apartment buildings and a group of townhomes that all surround two parks. I had heard of Black Bottom before but did not realize that Lafayette Park had replaced the neighborhood. I was upset but not surprised to find out that after the highway bulldozed through, that it was an architect, I have learned well, who was integral in the erasure of the Black community that lived here. But I am now proud to live in this neighborhood and have gone through and read the plaques in the parks about the vibrant neighborhood that used to be here.

 About Serena:

Hi, I am Serena Brewer and my hometown is Oak Park, IL, a suburb bordering Chicago. I went to The Ohio State University and received my B.S. in Architecture and a minor in Society and Environmental Issues. After graduating, I returned to Chicago and worked in a small Black-owned architecture firm. Then, I went to the University of Michigan and received my Master of Architecture. Now I am living in Lafayette Park (formally Black Bottom) in Detroit. I live minutes from Eastern Market and my job at the Detroit Land Bank Authority. I enjoy trying new foods/restaurants, hanging out with animals,  swimming wherever I can, and watching nature documentaries, food competitions and anime.

These photos show the duality of my job here at the Land Bank. I have had the great privilege of coming into the office and meeting wonderful coworkers as well as going out into the field and seeing houses at every stage of the renovation process.


Why should someone apply to be a Fellow?

I would encourage people to apply to be a Challenge Detroit Fellow because it has been an extremely rewarding experience meeting like-minded and motivated individuals that have become not only my colleagues but also my friends. Additionally, the impressive female leadership of the program exposes the cohort to so many people, places, and programs in Detroit that you would not have access to otherwise.