Making a Great City

A Signature Events Series Exploring (and Encouraging) Healthy Development in Kansas City

The Library’s popular Making a Great City speaking series, launched in January 2018, is designed to foster the healthy growth of Kansas City and examine the ways that development decisions can strengthen fiscal stability and reduce disparities in wealth across the community.

Programs in series have featured presentations by prominent urban planners and follow-up roundtable discussions among civic leaders. The focus shifted in March and April 2019 to Kansas City’s distinctive system of parks and boulevards, looking at its origins and the challenges of maintaining it.

More recently, former New York City planner M. Nolan Gray assessed the advantages of doing away with city zoning – the use of arbitrary lines that have come to dictate where Americans may live and work.

Participants also have included the mayors of Kansas City, Missouri, and Kansas City, Kansas; the executive director of the Mid-America Regional Council; Doug McGowen, the forward-thinking chief operating officer of Memphis, Tennessee; and an array of urban planning specialists including New York urban revitalization strategist and entrepreneur Majora Carter and North Carolina-based Realtor and developer Tiffany Elder.

Esteemed urban planner Joe Minicozzi, also of North Carolina, spoke in 2018 and was subsequently commissioned to draft fiscal assessments of KCMO and KCK. He unveiled his analysis in another Making a Great City presentation that drew 303 people to the Library’s Plaza Branch in October 2019.

Nearly 3,800 people had attended a total of 16 Making a Great City events – in person or via livestream – through the end of 2023. Video and/or audio recordings of all programs are archived and accessible on the Library’s website and (in the case of video) its YouTube channel.

The series has been co-presented from the start by the Kansas City architecture and planning firm Multistudio. Also co-presenting one or more programs: the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Greater Kansas City's LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), Hall Family Foundation, Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors, Mid-America Regional Council, National Association of Realtors, Newmark Grubb Zimmer, Penn Valley Park Conservancy, Roanoke Park Conservancy, Urban Land Institute of Kansas City, Verimore Bank (formerly First Missouri Bank).

Here’s the full Making a Great City lineup:

Signature Event
Wednesday, April 24, 2024 6:00pm
In Person
What does it mean to be a “great city”? Since 2018, the Library has hosted public presentations by urban planners and round-table conversations with c...