Viviana Frank FAIA, founding partner of Able City, is a registered architect in Texas and New York with over 30 years of experience. Before launching Able City with her partners, she was co-owner and principal at Frank Architects Inc.
In 2018, Viviana was elevated into the American Institute of Architects College of Fellows, the first in Laredo, and the first woman along the Texas-Mexican border.
Able City was born out of her shared beliefs with her partners: first, an able city is one that seeks to enhance quality of life through architecture, urban design, advocacy and city making; second, working inclusively and with urgency with colleagues, clients, citizens, and local governments yields exponential results; third, the pursuit of happiness, access to a livable, healthy, sustainable and satisfying place, with an opportunity to excel is the main purpose of cities.
Viviana’s work demonstrates that cities are able to accomplish much for the wellbeing of the environment and citizens. Her architectural experience in all types of built projects, in urban design, planning, and real estate development have been uniquely recognized because she believes proximity to be a powerful economic development tool and a catalyst for better cities and quality of life.
She is interested in helping transform communities that have suffered from a lack of citizen (both public and private) participation in the creation of policy, codes and programs to catalyze cities that are more equitable and sustainable with access to economic opportunity. In Laredo, Texas, she guided the city and the private sector in the establishment of many of the economic development programs that are beginning to transform the inner city and historic center, as well as city government.
Through advocacy, policy, and ordinance writing, and a deep knowledge of and respect for the inclusiveness of the public implementation processes, Viviana helped establish the City of Laredo Economic Development Advisory Committee, Neighborhood Empowerment Zone Ordinance and Policy, Downtown Tax Increment Investment Zone No.1, Downtown Management District, Downtown Façade Improvement Grant, and It Street Incentive Program for the downtown entertainment corridor. All of which have resulted in millions of dollars of public and private investment.
Her devotion to the belief that access to a happy life is the main purpose of cities has focused Viviana’s attention to the formation of City Makery, a nonprofit that empowers and equips citizens to develop and implement what they value and need in their city. “We ask citizens to stop complaining about the city they have, and go about the business of making the city they value.” Whether it is a local and just food system or a more bikeable city or even a more transparent local government, City Makery shows advocates how to build solutions and together facilitate and implement them.
By practicing a philosophy that connects people to the places, Viviana is steadfast in her commitment in advancing the mission of Able City and its work to be powerful solutions for better places to live.