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Melanie Ferguson, Director of Special Projects for Matthews Southwest, will moderate a Panel on the history and affordability of Housing in Dallas for The Dallas Architecture Forum. Photo Courtesy of Ms. Ferguson.

 The Dallas Architecture Forum Presents

“Housing in Dallas: How Did We Get Here?”

May 9, 2019

 Free and Open to the Public!

The Dallas Architecture Forum, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing public education about architecture, design and the urban environment, continues its Spring 2019 Panel Discussion Series on Thursday,  May 9, 2019 with “Housing in Dallas: How Did We Get Here?” moderated by Melanie Ferguson.

“The Forum will begin a series of Panels that will continue over the next several seasons focused on the major issues of affordability and accessibility of housing in Dallas. The first Housing Panel will examine the history and context of this issue in our city, as well as overview the Housing Plan adopted by the City of Dallas last year,” said Nate Eudaly, Executive Director of The Dallas Architecture Forum. Please join The Forum to hear these experts as they discuss how Dallas’s current housing situation came into being.

Panels are FREE for both Forum members and the general public as a public outreach of The Forum. The discussion begins at 6:30 pm, with complimentary beverages available beginning at 6:15 pm. No reservations are needed to attend. One CEU AIA credit is available. Join us for a cold beverage and lively dialogue!

The venue for this panel is the Dallas Black Dance Theater building directly behind One Arts Plaza. The DBDT is located at the corner of Arts Plaza Street and Ann Williams Way – at 2700 Ann Williams Way, Dallas, TX  75201. Free parking is available between the DBDT building and Fellowship Church, located to the east of the DBDT building.

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North Texas is one of the fastest growing areas in the United States.  Since 2010 the population of North Texas has increased by over one million people, with the area estimated to currently have seven million five hundred thousand residents.  Though this growth in population has produced new jobs and opportunities, it has created severe challenges to providing affordable, available housing.  In the first half of this decade housing costs in the Dallas Fort Worth area increased over 40 percent.  Though the increase has moderated some in the last few years, the cost for both renting and purchasing a home in North Texas has become a major challenge for many area residents.  The speakers for this panel are all recognized leaders regarding housing issues in Dallas, and have first-hand knowledge in the identification of housing needs, the availability of public funds and the creation of public/private partnerships to provide appropriate housing for everyone in Dallas. Panel attendees will gain greater understanding of the historical context of housing in Dallas, and will learn about the key elements of the housing plan adopted last year by the City of Dallas.  They will also learn about the plans and potential issues involved in providing more affordable housing in the face of rapid economic growth in North Texas.  Attendees will be able to ask questions and engage in conversation with our Panelists and Moderator, each of them subject matter experts on Housing. 

Avis CHAISSON, Assistant Manager of Housing, City of Dallas

Myriam IGOUFE, Director of Housing Services, Dallas Housing Authority

Maggie PARKER, Director, The Real Estate Council Community Fund

Thomas SIMPSON, Senior Analyst, HR&A Advisors  

The Forum’s Panel Season Sponsors are Electronic Interiors, Purdy-McGuire and Walter P Moore. The Panel Sponsor is Janelle Alcantera -- Galaxy Modern.

For more information on The Dallas Architecture Forum, or the Panel Discussion Series, visit www.dallasarchitectureforum.orgor call 214-764-2406.


“Housing in Dallas: How Did We Get Here”

9 May 2019
Thursday, 6:30 pm, Informal reception at 6:15 pm

Venue:  Dallas Black Dance Theatre, 2700 Ann Williams Way in the Dallas Arts District.




Melanie Ferguson is the Director of Special Projects for Matthews Southwest, a commercial real estate development company.  She focuses on synergistic strategies and business development for projects such as the Dallas Water Gardens in the Cedars. As government and community relations liaison for the J. Paul Getty Trust in Los Angeles, she helped reopen the Getty Villa before returning to Dallas in 2011 as the Director of Development and Outreach for the Trinity Trust (The Trinity Park Conservancy).  Prior to her work in California, she lead public relations for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Dallas Theater Center.  Melanie has served on the boards of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, Opportunity Dallas, the Downtown Dallas Inc. Foundation, Make Art with Purpose (MAP) and the Barbara Bush Foundation’s X Prize — Literacy Instruction for Texas (LIFT).  Her business ethos is also further enhanced by service as a member of the DFW Corporate Citizens Network Steering Committee (Co-Chair), Big Thought’s Advisory Committee and The Real Estate Council’s Community Fund.  She is proud to live and work near the Trinity River and its leafy sibling, the Great Trinity Forest.



Avis F. Chaisson came to the City of Dallas in February 2018, after 11 years with the City of Fort Worth where she served in various roles, most recently as Acting Assistant Director of Housing and Neighborhood Development, a division of the Neighborhood Services Department where she was responsible for managing high profile projects that utilize U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) programs, including Community Development Block Grant and HOME Investment Partnerships Program funds, as well as Chapter 380 Agreements, Tax Increment Financing, and Tax Abatements. Avis has extensive project management experience with federal entitlement funds, Low Income Housing Tax Credits, and Economic Development Incentives.  With the City of Dallas, Avis is an Assistant Director in the Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization Department and the Assistant General Manager of the Housing Finance Corporation.  Avis is a current Board Member for the Texas Association of Local Housing Finance Agencies (TALHFA).   She holds a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in Geography and is a proud resident of the City of Dallas.


Dr. Myriam Igoufe is the Director of Housing Services for Dallas Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher program. She is responsible for ensuring DHA continues to effectively work with property owners, landlords, and community resources to enhance the affordable housing options in high opportunity neighborhoods. Dr. Igoufe led the North Texas Regional Housing Assessment, which included 21 cities and housing authorities across North Texas, as Co-Principal Investigator. The Assessment was mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requiring federal grantees to identify, evaluate, and address fair housing issues and factors contributing to inequities. Dr. Igoufe is a recipient of the Dwight David Eisenhower Transportation Fellowship from the U.S. Department of Transportation. She is also a faculty research associate at the University of Texas at Arlington and holds a PhD in Urban Planning and Public Policy. 


Maggie Parker is a Dallas native and Director of TREC Community Fund, a community development financial institution (CDFI) providing access to capital and technical assistance for real estate projects serving low-to-moderate income communities. She is committed to real estate development being a tool for inclusive, economic growth that builds generational wealth in distressed neighborhoods. She received her dual-masters degree in City & Regional Planning and Public Administration from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Thomas Simpson is a Senior Analyst at HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading consulting firm providing services in real estate, economic development, and program design and implementation. At HR&A, Thomas has focused on creating real estate strategies that leverage private investment for public good for clients including the Trinity Park Conservancy, Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. and the City of Houston. Prior to his time at HR&A, Thomas applied his expertise in equitable development, affordable housing policy and programs, and community engagement as an independent consultant, a member of the Opportunity Dallas Policy Task Force, and at the non-profit community design center, bcWORKSHOP, where he authored reports on housing affordability in Dallas and the potential for equitable transit-oriented development on DART-owned property. Thomas is a fourth generation Dallasite who graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School and wrote his thesis on the history of urban planning in Dallas at Princeton University.

About The Dallas Architecture Forum

The Dallas Architecture Forum is a not-for-profit civic organization that brings leading architectural thought leaders from around the world to speak in Dallas and also fosters important local dialogue about the major issues impacting our urban environment. The Forum was founded in 1996 by some of Dallas’ leading architects, business, cultural and civic leaders, and it continues to benefit from active support and guidance from these citizens. The Forum fulfills its mission of providing a continuing and challenging public discourse on architecture and urban design in - and for - the Dallas area. The Dallas Architecture Forum's members include architects, design professionals, students and educators, and a broad range of civic-minded individuals and companies intent to improve the urban environment in North Texas. The Forum has been recognized nationally with an AIA Collaboration Achievement Award for its strategic partnerships with other organizations focused on architecture, urban planning and the arts. For more information on the Forum, visit

Among the over 230 speakers who have addressed the Forum’s Lecture Series are Shigeru Ban, Brad Cloepfil, Diller + Scofidio, Peter Eisenman, Michael Graves, Daniel Libeskind, Thomas Phifer, Rafael Vinoly, Juhani Pallasmaa, AIA Gold Medal Winner Peter Bohlin, and regional architects David Lake and Ted Flato. Pritzker Prize winners speaking to the Forum have been Kazuyo Sejima, Rafael Moneo, Thom Mayne, Rem Koolhaas and Norman Foster (the latter two in collaboration with the ATT Performing Arts Center). Other speakers for the Forum have been leading designers Calvin Tsao, Andrée Putman, and Karim Rashid; landscape architect Michael Van Valkenburgh; and National Trust President Emeritus Richard Moe. Important critics, authors and patrons who have spoken to the Forum include Emily Pulitzer, Terence Riley, Pulitzer Prize winners Robert Campbell and Blair Kamin, Aaron Betsky, and the late David Dillon.

The Forum organizes and presents an annual series of Panels—local, informal, open, and offered free of charge as a public service to the community—led by a moderator who brings a subject of local importance along with comments by participating panelists. Moderators and Panelists have also come from both other Texas cities as well as from national institutions that were connected with particular Panel subjects. Panels offer attendees the opportunity to participate in creating discourse. Important topics addressed in Panels in recent years include: “Thoughts on the Dallas Comprehensive Plan”; “The Kimbell Expansion: A Discussion”; “Filling Out the Dallas Arts District”; and “Re-envisioning the Trinity”. 

For more information on the Dallas Architecture Forum, visit For questions about the Forum, call 214-764-2406.

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For more information, please contact: Sharon Cooper, 214.794.1610 or

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