Throughout Dallas, countless groups are pushing to make the city even better.
But New Urbanism has a bigger vision. This design movement focuses on making urban spaces more walkable and sustainable. Ultimately, their goal is to build stronger communities and make the concrete jungle a bit friendlier.
And the advocates have specific solutions, too. They want to tweak the car-centric downtown and make it more welcome to pedestrians. They want neighborhoods to blend residential and commercial zones. They want to create a lifestyle that lets you live where you live, without having to drive 20 minutes to find a neighborhood to wander through.
Rik Adamski leads the North Texas’ chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism as its president. Just last year the group hosted a fundraiser and panel discussion for the development of Deep Ellum. Their conferences invite architects, city planners and developers to come together to share ideas and sculpt the future of Dallas.
As an import from Chicago, Adamski sees huge potential in the Dallas downtown. He said Dallas already has a strong sense of community, with many dedicated to local causes.
He cited tight-knit Dallas neighborhoods as great starts to making the city more walkable. Adamski mentioned Deep Ellum, Bishop Arts and Lower Greenville as areas that already embody New Urbanism ideals.
In Bishop Arts especially, he sees the most clear changes around the corner. The city is scheduled to add sidewalks to Davis Street and make the area more pedestrian friendly. But at the same time, Adamski hopes it doesn’t endanger the rich Latino culture in Jefferson.
“It’s going to be interesting seeing what happens there,” he said.
Adamski admits he doesn’t see downtown becoming fully walkable. But he mentioned ideas such as a well-planned bus route would complement the DART and improve options.
“What I hope to see is a future for Dallas where people have a real choice for transportation,” he said.
A big part of Dallas’ future weighs on the lifestyle that downtown pursues. Adamski fears that downtown is trying to compete with suburbs by being a better suburb, which would be a mistake.
“So it has to be these places that are walkable, mixed-use, that have a uniqueness to them,” he said. “Those are strengths that Dallas needs to enhance.”
But he thinks that Dallas still has a lot of potential its yet to realize. And having that vision, he said, is tremendously exciting.
“This is a place that doesn’t yet see its opportunities,” he said. “I see the farmer’s market, the trinity river, and I think ‘This should be the envy of the entire country.'”
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