American Architectural Foundation to Convene National Urban Ecosystems Forum in Oklahoma City

WASHINGTON D.C. (September 12, 2017) — The American Architectural Foundation (AAF) and Kirkpatrick Foundation will convene the National Urban Ecosystems Forum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on September 28 and 29, 2017. During this two-day forum, multi-disciplinary thought leaders from Oklahoma City and around the United States will uplift and share urban development projects that successfully address the opportunities and ongoing challenges for the coexistence of nature and the city.

Forum participants will discuss how best to approach this holistic work amid financial constraints and environmental changes as well as what tenets designers, developers, and local leaders must uphold to restore and maintain healthy and beautiful cities for all species. In addition, Forum participants will tour some of Oklahoma City’s most notable open space developments to learn about public-private partnerships that have proved successful for the city, such as Scissortail Park, a 70-acre urban oasis currently under construction in downtown Oklahoma City, and Myriad Botanical Gardens, a 17-acre botanical garden and interactive urban park in downtown Oklahoma City.

As U.S. cities experience increasing instances of dramatic climate-related changes and population pressures, city leaders need holistic and multi-disciplinary strategies to maintain healthy urban ecosystems for all species. This is no easy task, and how cities develop context-sensitive solutions to restore, preserve, and grow their built and natural environments is challenging and time sensitive.

Kirkpatrick Foundation executive director Louisa McCune says, “At the National Urban Ecosystems Forum, we hope to highlight transformative and durable public-private partnership projects that improve quality of life in cities—for people, animals, and the natural environment. These projects and the professionals who steward their success have created places that engender the public’s affinity and education about the importance of sustainable development.”

For more than 15 years, the American Architectural Foundation has been committed to empowering leaders to transform their communities with design. By joining with the Kirkpatrick Foundation, an organization that provides transformative support and funding for visionary endeavors in arts, culture, education, animal wellbeing, environmental conservation, and historic preservation in Oklahoma City and the region, AAF looks forward to engage leaders further to plan and development better models nature and the city to coexist. AAF will publish a report summarizing the convening in October 2017.

“AAF is thrilled to be partnering with the Kirkpatrick Foundation to look more deeply into the elements that define the Urban Ecosystem and to identify strategies and knowledge that can help civic leaders more effectively address the full spectrum of decisions that impact the quality of life in cities,” says Ron Bogle, president & CEO, American Architectural Foundation. “We are proud to showcase Oklahoma City through this effort.”

Confirmed forum participants include:

Join the conversation on urban ecology on September 28th and 29th via Twitter [@kirkpatrickfdn and @AAFDesign] with the hashtag #urbanecoforum.

Read the official press release.

Photo: Crystal Bridge Conservatory at Myriad Botanical Gardens in Oklahoma City, OK. Image courtesy Myriad Botanical Gardens. 

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