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International Downtown Association summit starts in OKC this week

The evolution of downtown Oklahoma City will be scrutinized this week by more than 100 urban professionals from around the globe, hosted by the International Downtown Association and Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership.

Topics at the 2019 Economic Development Summit, which runs Wednesday through Friday, will include how downtowns serve as economic development generators and how social equity and diversity play an important role in place management. Experts will share best practices on enhancing downtowns' economic impacts on cities and states, and discuss retail and development strategies, as well as trends impacting downtown progress.

Jane Jenkins, president and CEO of Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership, served two terms as chair of the IDA a decade ago.

“Downtown Oklahoma City is growing at an unprecedented rate, and many types of funding and programs are at play in the development community,” Jenkins said. “We hear about it every day. We are living in a period of retail disruption and its impact on our downtowns is being felt in ways big and small.”

Keynote speakers are Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Ron Frantz and Chris Leinberger, with individual sessions to be led by 13 local speakers and 15 national economic development speakers. Session topics will include middle market downtown housing, retail strategy, the importance of place, equitable urban design and redevelopment of culturally sensitive, inclusive developments.

Pre-registration for the conference is $200, and on-site registration is $225. Other planned activities include a bike tour featuring art, architecture and the booming brewery scene or a walking/streetcar tour exploring the history and development of downtown.

Additional information and a full program are available at Discussion is expected on Twitter using #IDAEconDev19.

Steve Lackmeyer

Steve Lackmeyer is a reporter, columnist and author who started his career at The Oklahoman in 1990. Since then, he has won numerous awards for his coverage, which included the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, the city's... Read more ›