Title: City Planner | Public Involvement Innovator
Alma mater: University of Kansas
Hometown: Blue Springs, Missouri
Why did you go into your chosen field?
I began college in pursuit of a Masters in Architecture because I wanted to help community members shape the buildings in which they spend most of their time. However, near the end of my undergraduate career, a KU architecture professor suggested I think about urban planning. Upon investigation, I discovered urban planning was the ideal profession for me because it enabled practitioners and community members to not only affect a particular building, but an entire neighborhood, collection of neighborhoods, an entire city, a region as a whole, and much more! As a result, I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Architectural Studies (2000) and a Masters in Urban Planning (2002).
What gives you motivation to progress your design career?
The potential to play a part in helping community members impact the future of their communities is one of the motivators for my career.
What is your most meaningful project, and why?
Envision Comanche is one of my most meaningful projects. With the goal of transforming the Comanche Park public housing complex into a mixed use, mixed income neighborhood, the Tulsa Housing Authority, working with Comanche Park residents, Phoenix Redevelopment Authority, Indian Nations Council of Governments, George Kaiser Family Foundation, the City of Tulsa, Camiros, Vireo, Blue Star Integrated Studio, KAI, and a host of others developed the Envision Comanche Master Plan. It’s themes center on programs and services for residents (also known as the “People Plan”), redevelopment of the housing complex, and connecting to the surrounding neighborhood. Through Vireo, I led Envision Comanche’s “People Plan”.
I facilitated multiple, interactive work sessions related to four topics: Employment and Self-Sufficiency, Health and Wellness, Cradle to Career Education, and Public Safety. People Plan participants prioritized barriers, explored strategies for addressing them, and identified partners and timing for a broad range of implementation projects, including quick wins, short-, medium-, and long-term projects. Implementation of quick win People Plan projects began during the planning process. Envision Comanche later won a NOMA NAACP Seed Award for Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion in Design.