Collective work and responsibility.

JIMA Studio leverages landscape architecture and urban planning to help various communities envision and build upon their futures.

See Our Projects
A collection of drawing placed on a table

JIMA (jee-mah) Studio is a landscape architectural design and urban planning studio that collaborates with community groups, organizations and builders committed to culturally relevant placemaking and strategic implementation. We centralize participatory design methods to provide full site design and planning services, from idea to implementation.

JIMA stems from the Kwanzaa principle Ujima (ooh-jee-mah), which means “collective work and responsibility.” It is the ethos of this studio to work collaboratively with other changemakers and use design as a vehicle toward accountability in placemaking, placekeeping, and land stewardship.

What we do

Empowering partners to transform communities in forward-thinking ways

We provide high-quality design and implementable solutions that empower our partners, collaborators, and clients to enhance or transform their communities in a collective and forward-thinking way. We offer design services that elevate the needs of those who will be impacted the most, while leveraging both a cultural and environmental sensitivity that is required for longevity, relevance, and resilience.
We integrate community engagement and participation in all our design and planning processes as a foundational source for co-creation and development. Ranging from one-on-one interviews to large-scale public engagement forums, we sustain a “Listen first, Listen often” culture that keeps our projects grounded and reflected within the values of the communities we serve.
We contribute to the design profession through critical thought essays and assessments, and toolkit development that reflect on lessons learned from our projects as well as other trends and methods of design and practice. Our goal is to contribute to design literature and the menu of best practices in a way that helps other change makers approach similar projects and challenges with tact.
Who We Are

A small and mighty team

Ujijji Davis Williams headshotWBENC logoMBEC logo
Ujijji Davis Williams

Ujijji Davis Williams is a practicing landscape architect, urban planner and researcher based in Detroit. She is the Founding Partner of JIMA Studio. Prior to JIMA, Ujijji served as Associate at SmithGroup, leading critical landscape and urban design work, including neighborhood planning, greenways and streetscapes in post-industrial cities across the country.


Landscape Architect — Michigan #3901001710


Taubman College of Architecture and Planning, University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, MI, Graduated 2017

Master of Urban Planning, Rackham Merit Fellow
Graduate Service to the Community Award

College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY, Graduated 2012

Bachelor of Science of Landscape Architecture, Cornell Tradition Fellow

Our shining staff

Shandra Bernath-Plaisted, Design Associate

Shandra’s experience in architecture is coupled with her background in social movements and organizing. Shandra worked a decade as a labor and community organizer in Philadelphia, Atlanta and Oakland, engaging diverse communities around housing and labor issues, including students, security officers, and hotel workers. As a Design Associate, she hopes to build on her organizing experience by supporting community driven and public interest initiatives.
shandra in front of graffitiJoseph in front of graffiti
Joseph Lee Powell, Junior Designer

Joseph Lee Powell is a landscape architectural designer based in Detroit, Michigan and the 2023 recipient of the Michigan ASLA Scholarship. As a Junior Designer, Joseph aims to create more green spaces in urban environments to bring residents and visitors closer to nature.