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Release Date: Tuesday, December 12th 2017

World-Renowned Landscape Architect Michael Van Valkenburgh to Deliver Keynote Speech at DRA’s 2018 Annual Meeting

RALEIGH, NC (December 12, 2017) - The Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA) is pleased to announce Michael Van Valkenburgh, world-renowned landscape architect selected to lead the Dorothea Dix Master Plan, as the keynote speaker for their 2018 Annual Meeting and Downtown Achievement Awards Ceremony, presented by PNC on Thursday, February 15 from 5:30 pm until 8 pm at the Raleigh Convention Center.

“Michael Van Valkenburgh is visionary. The parks and public spaces he has designed are some of the most beloved community gathering spots in the country,” said Kate Pearce, senior planner with the City of Raleigh and project manager for Dix Park. “He brings a sensitivity to place, a respect for history, a passion for nature, and a commitment to community to all of his work.” 

As head of one of the country’s leading landscape architecture firms, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Van Valkenburgh provides senior leadership on a wide range of projects, in both the New York and Cambridge offices. Recent examples include the ongoing completion of Brooklyn Bridge Park, the bold realignment and urban transformation of Toronto’s Don River, and the intimate Monk’s Garden at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. Van Valkenburgh is a registered landscape architect in more than 25 states and in Canada, and is a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome as well as the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Van Valkenburgh was honored with the Smithsonian Institution’s Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in Environmental Design in 2003 and was also the recipient of the 2010 Arnold W. Brunner Memorial Prize in Architecture from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for contributions to the practice of architecture as an art. Van Valkenburgh received the ASLA Design Medal in 2011 and is the Charles Eliot Professor in Practice of Landscape Architecture at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.

The 2018 Annual Meeting and Downtown Achievement Awards Ceremony, presented by PNC will celebrate individuals, businesses, and organizations whose contributions are making a significant impact on the downtown renaissance. This premier networking event is for stakeholders and community advocates interested in supporting a vibrant and more connected downtown. Connectivity is particularly important as plans take shape to adjoin Dorothea Dix Park, the city's most expansive green space, to downtown Raleigh. Throughout the evening, DRA will explore opportunities to create connected spaces and share valuable insight on the opportunities that await.

“The master plan that Michael and his team will complete in partnership with the greater Raleigh community will ensure Dorothea Dix Park becomes an inspirational and welcoming park for all,” Pearce said.

Early bird admission, available now through Friday, December 29, is $70 for DRA members and $85 for non-members. Afterwards, regular admission is $80 for DRA members and $100 for non-members. To register or learn more, please visit www.GoDowntownRaleigh.com/AnnualMeeting.

Thank you to our sponsors:


Presenting Sponsor:


Excellence Awards Sponsor:


Speaker Sponsor:
Dorothea Dix Park Conservancy


Gold Sponsors: American Audio Video, Poyner Spruill, Raleigh Convention Center, and Triangle Business Journal.


Silver Sponsors: ABC11, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Citrix, Clark Nexsen, Duke Energy, Friends of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, Hobby Properties, Ipreo, JDavis Architects, Kane Realty Corporation, The Spectrum Companies, The YMCA of the Triangle, and Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP.


Bronze Sponsors: 18 Seaboard, Alfred Williams & Company, Allied Universal, AT&T North Carolina, Balfour Beatty Construction, Blue Ridge Realty, CALYX Engineers + Consultants, Campbell University School of Law, CBRE | Raleigh, Clancy & Theys Construction Company, Coastal Federal Credit Union, Colliers International, Duke Raleigh Hospital, French | West | Vaughan, HagerSmith Design, Highwoods Properties, Inc., LS3P, Marbles Kids Museum & IMAX Theatre, Morningstar Law Group, NAI Carolantic Realty, NC Retail Merchants Association, North State Bank, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Raleigh Marriott City Center, RATIO, Ray Price Harley-Davidson, Stewart, US Foods, WRAL-TV, and WSP.




About Downtown Raleigh Alliance (DRA):

DRA is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to continue the revitalization of Raleigh’s downtown. The Alliance enhances the quality of life and positively impacts the economic success of downtown through six core services:  1. Safety & Hospitality Ambassadors; 2. Strategic Branding & Communications; 3. Events & Community Building; 4. Retail Attraction & Merchant Promotions; 5. Strategic Partnerships & Stakeholder Engagement; and 6. Strategic Planning. For more information about DRA, please visit www.YouRHere.com.