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'What Makes A City?' Conference To Feature International Experts, Business & City Leaders On Oct. 23

Internationally known experts on cities, urban planning and architecture will join city officials and business and civic leaders for “What Makes a City: Character and Calling, What Does Dallas Want to Be?,” a day-long conference co-presented by The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture, The Trinity Trust Foundation and Dallas CityDesign Studio.  The conference will take place October 23, 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m., at The Latino Cultural Center, 2600 Live Oak St., Dallas, TX 75204. Admission is $60 for members of the Dallas Institute and its co-presenters, $75 for nonmembers, and $25 for member teachers.  To register, visit www.dallasinstitute.org, or call (214) 871-2440. 


Dr. Larry Allums, executive director of the Dallas Institute, said, “Since the first ‘What Makes a City?’ conference that Dr. Gail Thomas started in 1982, the Dallas Institute has focused much of its work on studying cities by drawing on the experiences of planning and urban experts. During this conference, we will attempt to imagine Dallas from a fresh perspective, setting aside our sworn allegiances for a brief moment in order to consider new ideas, whatever they might be.”


Dr. Gail Thomas, president and CEO of The Trinity Trust and director of the Dallas Institute’s Center for the City, and Dr. Allums will introduce the day’s program. Keynote speakers include Weiming Lu, internationally recognized urban planner and designer known for work in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Dallas, South Central Los Angeles, Chattanooga, and overseas; Vishaan Chakrabarti, principal of SHoP Architects and Holliday Professor and Director of CURE at Columbia University; and Ignacio Bunster-Ossa, principal of Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC.  City of Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings will give the opening remarks.


Panelists will include Lucy Crow Billingsley (Billingsley Company), Rev. Zan Holmes, Jr. (retired, St. Luke Community United Methodist Church), Monte Anderson (Options Real Estate), Don Gatzke (The University of Texas at Arlington), Jack Matthews (Matthews Southwest), King Scovall (Woodbine Development Corporation), Sara Mokuria (The University of Texas at Dallas), Byron Sanders (Dallas Education Foundation), CatherineCuellar (The Dallas Arts District), Miguel Solis (Dallas ISD), and Tierney Kaufman (The Trinity Trust). Brent Brown, director of Dallas CityDesign Studio, and Dr. Allums will moderate the panel discussions.


Dr. Thomas added, “All of us want to build a great city. We want to help create a city that is unlike any other place on earth. We want to serve; we want to make a city that is alive with opportunity, a city that is nurturing to its people. We want places and intimate spaces that feed our souls, ignite imagination, evoke memory. The speakers and interactions generated at the conference will help us continue that conversation long after it is over.”


Additional sponsors include AlonUSA, The McDermott Foundation, Deedie and Rusty Rose, Huitt-Zollars, Kathy and Graham Greene and HKS Architects.*


The Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit educational organization with a 20-member Board of Directors comprised of community leaders.  Created in 1980, The Dallas Institute is a center for creative and intellectual exchange, providing enriching programs for the public that are grounded in the wisdom of the humanities, laying the foundation for Dallas to realize its full potential for cultural excellence. The Dallas Institute is located at 2719 Routh St., Dallas, Texas 75201. For information, call (214) 871-2440, or visit www.DallasInstitute.org.



The Trinity Trust Foundation helps the city by raising private funds for this $2.2 billion urban park project. Donations from the private sector will add amenities such as the signature Calatrava bridges, lakes, a central island, a white water course, amphitheaters, and ball fields. The foundation also reaches out into the community to educate citizens about the project with presentations, symposia and events. More information can be found by calling 214.740.1616, by emailing info@thetrinitytrust.org, or by visiting www.thetrinitytrust.org



The Dallas CityDesign Studio is an office of the City of Dallas that seeks to convene the municipal, professional, and residential communities in the deliberate public design of Dallas, bring a heightened consciousness of design to the city, and deliver thoughtful design to areas that have been historically neglected in our city. The Studio believes design can improve lives and transform the places where we live, work, and play. In order to do this, the Studio employs a collaborative approach bringing together community leaders, designers, and local residents. More information can be found at www.dallascityhall.com/citydesign_studio or by emailing citydesign@dallascityhall.com.


*For additional information and sponsorship, contact Emily Hargrove at the Dallas Institute at ehargove@dallasinstitute.org or 214-981-8820.





Weiming Lu has earned international recognition for his work in American cities, for his consulting work in cities around the world, and for his writings and lectures on city design, urban conservation and development. His vision and effort with public and private partners have helped to rejuvenate cities and build communities including creative urban village in Saint Paul, the Arts District of Dallas and downtown Minneapolis. His preservation work helped save the Texas School Book Depository and revive inner-city neighborhoods in Dallas, ensure the passage of Minnesota’s Heritage Preservation Act, and effect historic rehabilitation in Minneapolis and across Minnesota. His international work includes consultation on the Beijing Olympics, Taiwan’s Planning Program, Singapore’s Chinatown, and the reconstruction of South Central Los Angeles after the 1992 riot.


Vishaan Chakrabarti, AIA, is a principal with SHoP Architects and Holliday Professor and Director, CURE, Columbia University. At SHoP Architects, he co-leads the design for major urban projects worldwide including the Domino Sugar redevelopment on Brooklyn’s waterfront, the Andy Warhol Museum, several new skyscrapers in New York City, mixed use projects in Detroit and Melbourne, new embassies for the State Department, and large-scale urban design and infrastructure work in New York, Dallas, and Miami. Simultaneously, Vishaan is Holliday Professor and the Director of the Center for Urban Real Estate at Columbia University.  His recent book, “A Country of Cities: A Manifesto for an Urban America” (Metropolis Books, 2013), argues that a more urban United States would result in a more prosperous, sustainable, joyous, and socially mobile nation. 


Ignacio F. Bunster-Ossa is a principal with Wallace Roberts & Todd, LLC, a national planning and design firm based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Within a broad spectrum of interests, Ignacio specializes in the revitalization of urban areas through the design of parks, waterfronts, greenways, streets and plazas.  As a landscape architect and urban designer, he has led many of the firm’s significant urban projects, including award-winning designs for Santa Monica’s Palisades Park and Beach Boardwalk, the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative in Washington, D.C., the Trinity River Corridor Project in Dallas, and the Steel Stacks Plaza in Bethlehem, PA. 


Dr. Gail Thomas, Co-Founder and Founding Director of The Dallas Institute and present Director of its Center for the City, serves currently as president and CEO of The Trinity Trust. She has made her life work the study and restoration of vibrant cities, having conducted over 30 conferences and seminars during the past 30 years exploring the question “What Makes a City?” and involving urban planners, poets, engineers, educators, and business entrepreneurs. Her application of these concerns has resulted in Pegasus Plaza in Downtown Dallas, a restoration of the Pegasus atop the Magnolia Building, and, for the past decade and more, efforts to reclaim the Trinity River through the Trinity River Corridor Project. She has spent her life transforming cities, and her work has resulted in tremendous change in Dallas and many other cities. 

Weiming Lu
Vishaan Chakrabarti
Ignacio Bunster-Ossa
Tuesday, September 16, 2014