New Goal in Life: Beat UTA Students at Something, Anything

I thought Park(ing) Day Dallas was a huge success. It was great seeing all the parking spots (51 in all) be transformed into museums, trails, lounges, and soccer fields. A lot of people weren’t really sure what was going on. But, as one guy said, they all seemed to enjoy coming out of their office buildings or apartments and stumbling onto something cool. The coordinators, Noah Jeppson, James Warton, and the crew with Downtown Dallas Inc., did a great job getting everything together in just eight weeks.

There were a lot of great spots that had good ideas. I thought our book swap area, complete with Dirt’s fantastic landscaping (I wanted to take the book tree home with me) and Half Price Book’s storytelling time, was a shoe-in for the win. But I was wrong. The winners of Dallas’ Park(ing) Day competition, judged by the guys from Better Block, went to RE, one of four UTA architecture teams that participated. This is the second time those students have beaten us (the first time was in June during the 72-Hour Challenge). So I emailed Wanda Dye, assistant professor of architecture, and told her that it’s now my goal in life to beat her students at something. She was very nice in her response. “We do have an advantage of having time!” she says. She made Park(ing) Day part of her students’ class work. The winning scheme was called “The Bird’s Nest.”  Watch Robbie Curtis’ video, and you’ll see where the inspiration came from.

And for those of you who are against pop-up ideas, saying that it creates no real difference in a community, here’s this: Dustin Bullard, cityscape and urban design manager at Downtown Dallas Inc., says there are some semi-permanent plans in the works. “Based on the success of Park(ing) Day, DDI wold like to work with the city and stakeholders to create longer term installations that could be rotated around downtown.” For example, in San Francisco, they have dumpsters with plants and seating that they rotate throughout their downtown. I hope this happens. Seeing all the people, the parks, and the excitement on Friday demonstrated the great potential downtown Dallas has. I’d like to see this potential realized.