Sustainability summit kicks off in Kansas City

Posted at 8:48 AM, Sep 15, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-15 09:48:54-04

The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Folly Theater, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. If you'd driven through Kansas City, you've seen the work of BNIM

Bob, berkebile (burk-eh-bile), bnim architects founder, 50 years
"Everything you do as an architect or as a citizen for that matter is either positive or negative, no exceptions," exclaimed Bob Berkebile, the "B" in Berkebile, Nelson, Immenschuh, and McDowell, or BNIM.

That's why the KC-based architecture firm designs each of its structures with resiliency in mind.

"Sustaining things the way they are is probably not adequate," said Berkebile. "This is about reaching beyond that to provide new vitality, to provide regenerative sources to improve social, economic, environmental systems simultaneously."

That's the message architects Berkebile and colleague Vincent Gauthier shared at Kansas City's two-day Sustainability and Resiliency Summit.

"Too often I think people are thinking in silos," said Gauthier. "What we want to do is make sure that people understand that this action here does in fact this counteraction over here that's created."

While the summit focuses on sustainability across a four state region -- Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Nebraska -- it's attracting attention at the federal level.

"To plan is human but to implement divine," said Harriet Tregoning. "We are getting to that really important part of the process where people are learning how to fund, how to finance, how to create projects and make a reality of the plans they work so hard to create."

Creations made easier thanks to the $9 million the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Dev. recently granted to bolster sustainability and resiliency in communities across the Midwest.

One of the recipients of that $9 million in grant money is KC's own Mid-America Regional Council.



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