AIA Houston Historic Resources Committee Speaker Series w/Curtis Davis

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January 22, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Brasil Cafe Houston
2604 Dunlavy
Houston, TX

Brought to you by the Historic Resources


Wednesday January 22, 2020

Join AIA Houston Historic Resources Committee Speaker Series


Speaker: Curtis Davis, Real Estate Development Specialist, APD Urban Planning and Management, LLC

Title: Emancipation to Gentrification in Houston’s Third Ward

AIA Credit: 1.0 AIA LU


Formerly called Dowling Street, Emancipation Avenue in Houston’s Third Ward is being reclaimed. This session will provide a historical context for this reclamation, from an African American community’s morphological perspective. It will focus on community-based economic development and its relationship to culture.

1953 was a relative high point in the “Jim Crow” constrained world of African American urban communities. Commercial districts in African American neighborhoods thrived, as well as various forms of artistic and cultural expression. However, the limitations to success were severe. In black urban America, traditional patterns, or morphology, of community are shrinking as a result of economic forces that began with slavery and continued through community disinvestment, associated with “Jim Crow” policies in the 20th century, to gentrification today. This session will examine current economic dynamics impacting Emancipation Avenue and resultant urban forms. Strategies for preserving the community’s history and culture will be presented, including “land value capture,” “placemaking”, “affordable housing”, and “community marketing/economic development”. Innovative applications of real estate development and regulatory reform, rooted in shared community visions and value propositions, are being deployed and will be discussed.  



Curtis M. Davis is an architect and urban planner, specializing in regional planning, urban design, real estate development, community development, and facility capital program management. He is a consulting real estate & community development specialist with APDUrban Planning & Management. As the founding principal of ReBuildit Collaborative, a city building advisory service, he served as Project Manager for the Emancipation Community Development Partnership, a strategic collaboration between Project Row Houses, the Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, and the Emancipation Economic Development Council, in Houston’s Third Ward. Davis has been an adjunct professor in Construction and Design Technology at Houston Community College, an Associate Professor at Prairie View A&M University’s School of Architecture and an Instructor and Thesis Advisor at Boston Architectural College. As Project Executive for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, he oversaw the $500M facility’s planning, architectural programming, concept development, and designer selection phases.


Thanks to our location sponsor: Brasil Cafe Houston