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(Re)Designing an Urban Neighborhood

Creating curb appeal in the Crossroads

Join us in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District to ignite your inspiration and see firsthand how one neighborhood is redesigning what urban curb appeal means. Community leaders Robert Harris and David Dowell will delve into the incredible initiatives transforming the Crossroads, from re-thinking the relationships between automobiles and pedestrians to improving the microclimate by introducing green into a concrete jungle. 

Get ready for an engaging discussion on grassroots efforts – the challenges, the successes, the lessons learned, and the strategies that truly make a difference. Learn the secrets to establishing a reliable funding source and tapping into local and national grants to fuel community improvements. Then take a walking tour of 20th Street, a captivating case study on urban transformation, to see how the profound impact that the improvements have had on the Crossroads community. 

Don't miss this opportunity to learn how to be a catalyst for positive change and become part of the movement that’s turning neighborhoods into vibrant, welcoming spaces!

04.22.24 | 8:30-10:30am
  • 8:30am | Registration
  • 9:00am | Presentation
  • 10:00am | Walking Tour
  • Light Breakfast & Coffee Provided
$12 + fees in advance | $15 at door
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Robert Harris

Professionally licensed in all fifty states, Robert serves as project executive and Engineer of Record for numerous engineering projects. Having spent his entire professional career at Dialectic, he has served in numerous roles, including design, project management, team leadership, and quality assurance. His focus on customer service, technical excellence, and on-time delivery results in long and successful partnerships between Dialectic and their clients. Robert champions sustainable design and has assisted clients in achieving LEED Certification for over 465 projects covering more than 41,000,000 square feet in 48 states. He has also helped clients achieve Energy Star labeling for over 1,150 commercial buildings. Dialectic is headquartered in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District, and Robert currently serves as President of the Crossroads Community Association.

David Dowell

David Dowell has been a partner at architecture firm El Dorado for more than 25 years. He founded the Design+Make Studio at Kansas State University 12 years ago, the latest iteration in a teaching career that spans back to 1991 at institutions from the University of California, Berkeley (MArch, ’94); the Technical University in Dresden, Germany; Kansas City Art Institute; Washington University in St. Louis (BA in Architecture, ’89); and the University of Kansas.

Established in Kansas City in 1996, El Dorado is an integrated architecture, urban design, curatorial, educational, and fabrication practice. Their ethos is born of the Midwest: its frugality, its pragmatism, and its commitment to allowing and cultivating risk. But they go where projects and people take them, which is why they opened a second studio in Portland, bringing their accessibility and penchant for big ideas to the US West Coast.

El Dorado’s history with the Crossroads Arts District goes back to the earliest days, even before a name for the district existed. The very first iteration of El Dorado at 1712 Main Street consisted of a small architecture studio, a steel fabrication shop, and a 4000 square foot gallery / community space. This cross-disciplinary, multimodal set up established a DNA that is still active today, put into action across the United States and internationally. To date, El Dorado has completed dozens of architectural, urban design and streetscape projects in the Crossroads including the TWA Corporate Headquarters rehabilitation, the Crossroads Hotel, the Freighthouse Site (home to Lidia's, Grunaer, and Jackstack BBQ), Pedestrian Strands, 20th Street Concept Plan & Implementation Oversight, Baltimore/Wyandotte Streetscape (in need of support from CCA to implement), Novel restaurant and, soon, another fantastic concept restaurant for two of Kansas City’s culinary superstars.

El Dorado’s work has been broadly published in Places Journal, The New York Times, DWELL, Architect Magazine, Metropolis, Vogue, Architectural Record, Architectural Digest, Landscape Architecture, and Aeroflot Inflight. Their projects are routinely posted on Architizer, ArchDaily, Treehugger, Dezeen, Slate, and Inhabit.

Awards and peer-reviewed accolades include A/N’s 2022 Best Small Firm-Midwest; #5 Design Firm, 2019 Architect 50; Curbed Groundbreakers; Emerging Voices, Architectural League of New York; four 2023 PLAN IT Awards finalists; multiple AZ Awards, a handful of American Architecture Awards; numerous local, regional and national AIA Awards; multiple Interior Design Best of Year awards, one SCUP Award; one SEED Award; two Les Grube Memorial Design Awards; one Canadian Architecture Award; one National Historic Preservation Honor Award; and multiple ACSA Design Build awards.