Monday, December 08, 2008

Spreading health and hope, one block at a time

What if we took a city block right in the middle of Downtown and created a plan for sustainable development that served the needs of those who lived there, but also modeled how communities ought to be developed going forward?

What if we made decisions that ensured that the block would be environmentally sustainable, safe, "green" and renewable from a holistic perspective?

What if the 500 units of housing we built included 40% affordable so that persons from every socio-economic status could live and work together?

What if the block included innovative work-live space and attractive, inviting retail options?

What if the block connected creatively and powerfully to high-quality public education for its children?

What if the block was safe and vibrant and extremely pedestrian?

What if the block included gardening opportunities that produced fresh produce? What if the block motivated a new pathway to the Dallas Farmers Market?

What if this block connected an important part of our Downtown sector to the wonderful Cedars neighborhood just across I-30?

What if from this block new ideas, new opportunities, new friendships and new strategies emerged that might contribute to the development of a new urban life in Dallas for all of its people?
What if the designed needs of the block required and provided "green jobs"? What if the very development of the block advanced the cause of re-tooling or enhancing employment skills for the poor and the under-employed in the field of green technologies?

All day last Friday, I was privileged to participate in an amazing design charrette organized by Brent Brown, bcWorkshop, and our own John Greenan, Central Dallas Community Development Corporation, and facilitated by Urban Re:Vision, our new partners who specialize in rethinking sustainable urban development. Included in the crowd were city planners, architects, community folks, real estate developers, environmental leaders, new urban community designers, public policy people, politicians and educators.

Our focus for the day: a city block just behind City Hall here in Dallas.

Mayor Tom Leppert got our day started. Watch his welcome here.

Next steps include an exciting international architectural competition to see what design firm can come up with the best approach to actually redeveloping the ground! There is growing interest in the project and its prospects for urban redesign in our city.
I'll keep you posted on our progress.



Acai Berry said...

well US is going through a tough time for sure.

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