Monday, June 18, 2007

A city planner gets his due

Many of you who read this blog regularly knew and were probably friends with Warren Burgess. He was a city planner and urban designer who worked many years for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Commission, then was town planner for the town of Davidson, and then worked at Neighboring Concepts in Charlotte. He died in 2005 at age 56. I wrote about him on and off over the years. Here's what I wrote when he left Charlotte for Davidson, and here's what I wrote when he died.

Many of his friends have wanted to honor him somehow. Now, three things are in the works to do so.

First, a poll of 70-some members of the N.C. chapter of the American Planning Association ranked Burgess among the most influential planners in the state. An article about the planners will be in the summer issue of Carolina Planning magazine. Others in the top eight:

F. Stuart Chapin Jr., a pioneer in founding the UNC Chapel Hill Department of City and Regional Planning; long-time Raleigh Planning Director George Chapman, a.k.a. "the dean of Triangle planning"; UNC Chapel Hill planning professor David Godschalk; Dave Owens, Richard D. Ducker and the late Phil Green of the UNC School of Government; and Wes Hankins of East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C.

(Another Charlottean, longtime Charlotte-Mecklenburg Planning Director Martin Cramton, was among "others receiving a substantial number of votes.")

But there's more. A group of Burgess' friends is working to put together an exhibition of his sketches and paintings in May 2008. They're talking with Linda Ostrow of the Queens Art Gallery, 1212 The Plaza. And they're seeking people who bought Burgess' work over the years who might want to donate a piece, as part of a fund-raiser. If you'd like to donate a piece, or work on the exhibit, contact Lenore Jones Deutsch.

Finally, there's to be a Warren Burgess Lane. NoDa-based architect and designer Babak Emadi of Urbana Architecture says he'll honor Burgess with a street named for him at Royal Truss Condominiums in the SteelGardens development. Construction on the project has started.