Elizabeth Lavin

Urbanism

How Dallas’ Future Starts Now

To know where we’re going, we need to know where we’ve been. These 40 stories give us the road map.

Dallas is at the most exciting time in its history. There’s a pride in how far the city has come and an eagerness to see it move forward and be a part of the movement. Conversations have bubbled up around development, infrastructure, our burgeoning dining scene. We point to the Arts District as a grand success and Klyde Warren Park as an example of what can be done with a bit of foresight and creative financing. Some neighborhoods are showing renewed signs of life (Deep Ellum) while others are bursting at capacity (Uptown). And suburbs have, in some instances, even beaten downtown to the finest amenities of urban living. 

There are stories behind every one of these developments. In celebration of D Magazine’s 40th anniversary, we decided to do what D does best: find those stories, while also understanding how we got here. How North Texas went from 2.4 million people in 1970 to more than 6.6 million today. How the suburbs flourished and the city suffered. How today’s downtown grew enough to support a dog-walking business. How Catholics outpaced Baptists in gaining adherents. How the Vietnamese population soared. How Democratic politicians found a new place in the political landscape. How we ended up a four-sport town, a fashion destination, a city with a reputation as one of the most philanthropic in the country. How two men could marry.

We worked with demographers to compile data and present a picture the census never could. We analyzed those figures, looking for trends. We consulted countless sources and experts to help us understand, both quantitatively and qualitatively, how Dallas had entered this period. And then we saw the themes emerge—40 over 40 years—and found the 41 people (one couple made the cut) who perfectly accompanied those shifts. We found business owners, entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, artists, fundraisers, leaders of ethnic communities. We found a valedictorian, an athlete, a cancer biologist, a woman who went to space. Some of these Dallasites were the change agents. Others were the agents of change. All have personal stories to share. 

“The Dallas Forty” is a collection of those stories, presented alongside poignant photography, all designed to celebrate Dallas in its current state, while hinting at the future. Because, after all, the future is a product of the past. And this can’t be the most exciting point in Dallas’ history forever.

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