The Heart of the City (2019)

"The Heart of the City" — Distinguished urban planner Alexander Garvin identifies shared elements of great downtowns, offers lessons from successful and failed projects, and charts a path forward to support downtowns into the twenty-first century.

About the program

As long as downtowns thrive, we can be certain of a prosperous and thrilling future for the American city. Some downtowns, including Uptown Houston and Atlanta’s Buckhead, have never stopped thriving. Others, such as downtown Detroit, have been in decline for half a century. A third trajectory includes downtowns such as lower Manhattan and downtown Los Angeles that were once on the decline and are now resurgent. Why are some downtowns in trouble while others are thriving? And what does it take to ensure a healthy future for the heart of America’s cities?

Alexander Garvin will answer these questions and lay out concrete recommendations to help Houston and other downtowns thrive.

This program is eligible for 1.5 CM credits from the American Planning Association.

Brazos Bookstore will sell copies of Garvin’s new book, “The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century,” on-site. A book signing will follow the program.

About Alexander Garvin

Alexander Garvin is an adjunct professor at the Yale School of Architecture and President and CEO of AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., a planning and design firm in New York City that is responsible for significant public-realm projects throughout the United States. Over the last 49 years, he has held prominent positions in five New York City administrations, including Deputy Commissioner of Housing and City Planning Commissioner. He is the author of numerous books including The American City: What Works and What Doesn’t and What Makes a Great City, published in 2016 by Island Press.