This Evening: Discussing Fair Park at the Dallas Architecture Forum

I hope you can join me tonight at the Dallas Center For Architecture for a panel discussion I will be moderating called: “The Elephant in South Dallas’ Living Room: What Do We Do With Fair Park?” The departure point of the discussion is, in part, this article that was written by Patrick Kennedy back in June. In it he argues that some of the architectural features of the park — not the art deco buildings, but rather the copious parking lots — may contribute to the prolonged lack of investment in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Just a month later, after a police officer shot a young man in a neighborhood located just behind Fair Park, we were shown just how tense the neighborhood situation is as angry neighbors took to the streets. We now know that the individuals involved in the specific incident that led to the shooting were engaged in criminal activity, but the response of their neighbors nonetheless stood as a display of the prolonged feeling of anxiety and frustration in the communities around Fair Park,  as well as a demonstrated lack of trust in the city and police.

We hope you can come and join our conversation which will explore how the design of the park impacts the surrounding neighborhoods and what can be done — and what has already been planned — to realize Fair Park’s best form and utilization. It all begins at 6:30 p.m., and it will take place at the Dallas Center For Architecture, 1909 Woodall Rodgers Freeway, Ste. 100.  We will begin with a short presentation by bcWorkshop with some background information on the park, followed by a conversation between our panelists. For information on our five panelists, jump.

Joining us for the discussion will be a mix of urban designers and community activists including:

Hank Lawson

Henry T. “Hank” Lawson joined Frazier Revitalization Inc. as a Community Engagement Advisor in 2009. He is the retired executive director of South Fair Community Development Corporation, a neighborhood based community building organization in South Dallas. As the executive director, he worked to promote neighborhood revitalization through the development of affordable housing, economic development and providing community support services.

Hank has more than 35 years experience in community development and organizational planning. Since 1993 he has participated in the planning and development of over 1,250 units of housing and 75,000 SF of retail/commercial space with a development value of over $60 million.

Hank has a master’s degree in City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellow from the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and a Kellogg Foundation Fellow. Mr. Lawson is a graduate of the Bank of America Leadership Academy as well as a graduate of the Achieving Excellence Program from the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Vicki Meek

Vicki Meek received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Tyler School of Fine Arts in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania and her Master of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  In addition to her training in fine arts, Ms. Meek did Post Graduate work in Art History at Queens College in New York. Ms. Meek’s work is included in numerous private collections and part of the public collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut, and the African-American Museum in Dallas.  Although she no longer works actively as an artist in the public art arena, she continues to serve on numerous national selection panels for public art projects.

Vicki Meek adds to her career a long history as an independent curator.  Having curated over sixty exhibitions, she served as an Adjunct Curator for the African American Museum in Dallas.  Ms. Meek is currently the Manager of the South Dallas Cultural Center.

Rev Gerald Britt Jr.

The Rev. Gerald Britt is the V.P. of Public Policy & Community Program at CitySquare. A high profile community leader for many years, Gerald has strong ties to the political, faith and business communities of Dallas. Gerald most recently served as Senior Pastor for the New Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, located in the heart of far South Dallas. During his 22 years there, he led the church in significant growth and organizational change. Through his work in the church and surrounding neighborhoods as well as years of leadership in Dallas Area Interfaith, Gerald has distinguished himself as one of Dallas’ most influential community leaders. He has been out front on many city issues, from advocating for better care for Parkland Hospital patients to increasing voter turnout in South Dallas, among others.

Patrick Kennedy

Patrick Kennedy is a partner with Space Between Design Studio. With more than 10+ years of experience and serving as principal leading the urban planning and livability consulting practice, Patrick also serves on the Board of Directors for the Congress of New Urbanism — North Texas Chapter and writes a monthly column on urbanism for D Magazine.  He graduated from The Pennsylvania State University School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture with a focus in Urban Design and Sustainability. He is interested in creating energetic, viable, and, sustainable places successful in their uniqueness in creativity and their connection to the contextual built environment.  His definition of sustainability is rooted in the future tense; places that succeed economically, culturally, and environmentally without expensing any of the three.  Patrick’s experience in various sectors includes mixed-use projects, sustainability, regional urban parks, downtown revitalization/strategic planning studies, design guidelines, and comprehensive new town developments.  He is also an expert on creating/repairing walkable places and the new market influence exerted by the Millennial generation on Urban Centers. He writes the influential  blog

Robert Foster

A resident of South Dallas three blocks from Fair Park, Robert Foster works as scholar-in-residence at University Park United Methodist Church, serves as vice-president of Get Healthy Dallas, and is a board member of the Revitalize South Dallas Coalition.  Robert has also taught religious studies at both Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University and is an active volunteer at Dunbar Elementary and Lincoln High School, both in South Dallas.


  • bill holston

    I”ll be sorry to miss this. I hope Expo Park is part of this discussion. UTD’s Central Track is a great part of this neighborhood. I also love the businesses like Meridian Room which continue to be a draw and healthy presence. The newest neighbor will be Craft and Growler, a Growler (beer) bar two doors down from Meridian Room. It should open this month, just after the fair.

    I had such a great time at Earth day this year which was in Fair Park. What a great spot. I took the train and had a great time. Texas Discovery Garden is also a real jewel.

    I think the biggest issue is a perception about crime. I’ve been to expo park many times, and like Deep Ellum never once had an incident.