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Rice Design Alliance Civic Forum
2023–2024 Public Programs, Fall Edition
MATCH: Midtown Arts and Theatre Center Houston, 3400 Main St


Andy Icken
Chief Development Officer, City of Houston 
Barron Wallace
Partner & Group Co-Head, Bracewell LLP
David W. Robinson 
City Council Member, At-Large Position 2


Anna Deans
Vice President, Investment and Development, Midway
Zion Escobar
PE - Founder & CEO, Freedmen’s Town Community Investment Project
Ryan LeVasseur
Principal, LeVass Ventures LLC
Kris Larson
President & CEO, Central Houston, Inc.

Moderated by Troy Schaum, Rice Architecture


Our Civic Forum takes place yearly to look at urban and design topics that are of particular relevance to Houston and its region. As such, civic forums look to provide an open forum to discuss and analyze timely topics that are affecting Houstonians, but which also have a larger national and international relevance. 

This year, we are exploring the ever-increasing influence of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) as a tool of planning governance. TIRZs are zones the Houston City Council created to attract new investment in an area. They help finance the costs of redevelopment and promote growth in areas that would otherwise not attract sufficient market development in a timely manner. At its inception, this tool was promised to pull the underserved and thus underdeveloped neighborhoods to a common, higher standard of urban infrastructure. This civic forum program seeks to gather stakeholders in a workshop format to engage in a public conversation about TIRZs, their importance, relevance, and future.

Special thanks to our Host Planning Committee:

Andrew Albers, AIA - Principal, OJB

Amna Ansari, AIA, NCARB - Partner, Ultrabarrio

Doug Childers, AIA, CDS, LEED AP - Studio Practice Leader, HKS

Sean Cowan - AGM, Uchi Houston

Curtis Davis - Former Visiting Professor, Rice Architecture + Prairie View A&M University

Melissa McDonnell-Luján  - Deputy Director of the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston

Heather Rowell - Principal at HR Design Dept.


This program is made possible through the generous support of the Betty R. and George F. Pierce Jr., FAIA, Fund; the William B. Coleman Jr. Colloquium Fund for Architecture; and the Wm. W. Caudill Lecture Series Fund. 

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