Preserving the real places and the real stories of Texas.

Real Places 2019: Dowling Street To Emancipation Avenue

Community Revitalization In Houston’s Third Ward

Breakfast and General Session

Day/Time: Friday, January 18, 8:15–9:15 a.m.
Location: Capitol Ballroom
Speakers: Curtis Davis, Emancipation Community Development Partnership

Formerly called Dowling Street, Emancipation Avenue in Houston’s Third Ward is being reclaimed. This session will provide a historical context for this from an African American perspective focused on commerce and its relationship to culture. In black urban America, the patterns of built form, public spaces, and community are shrinking as a result of economic forces that began with slavery in the 16th century and continued through to Jim Crow laws in the 20th century and gentrification today. This session will examine current economic dynamics impacting Emancipation Avenue and surrounding neighborhoods. Strategies for preserving the community’s history and culture will be presented, including land “value capture,” placemaking, affordable housing, and community marketing, as well as innovative applications of form-based building codes and development regulatory reform, rooted in shared community visions and value propositions.

American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for this activity (or many activities at this event). When CM credits are available, they are noted at the end of an activity description. More information about AICP’s CM program can be found at

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Members of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) can earn continuing education credits for this activity (or many activities at this event). Texas Society of Architects (TxA) is the provider of record. When Learning Units (LU) and health, safety, and welfare (HSW) credits are available for AIA-approved courses, they are noted at the end of an activity description. More information about AIA’s continuing education program can be found at and



Curtis M. Davis, R.A., is an architect and urban planner specializing in regional planning, urban design, community development, and facility capital program management. He is the founding principal of ReBuildit Collaborative, a city building advisory service, and serves 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. Davis is also an adjunct professor in Construction and Design Technology at Houston Community College and has previously taught at Prairie View A&M University’s School of Architecture and Boston Architectural College. As project executive, he oversaw the planning, facility programming, and designer selection phases for the Smithsonian Institution’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture. Davis has a master’s degree in Architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a bachelor’s degree in Architecture from Rice University.