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Urbanism

Making Downtown the Center of Gravity—Again

Downtown Dallas presents a huge opportunity as it remakes itself.

This piece is a feature from our special edition, Dallas and The New Urbanism. The magazine examines the successes and pitfalls of the urbanist movement in a region well known for its dependence on the automobile.


Downtown Dallas has attracted flocks of cranes and renewed interest in almost every corner, largely spurred by private investment in the long-planned Arts District and the success of Klyde Warren Park.

Although the walkability scores in and around the core are high, the rents remain comparatively low. Its adjacent highly walkable areas enjoy some of the region’s top rent premiums. The discrepancy presents an opportunity.

The neighborhoods—Deep Ellum, The Cedars, Victory Park, Design District, Farmers Market, Trinity Groves, and Uptown—all offer residents a place where they can live, work, and play, reducing daily dependence on the automobile. And they are growing.

Walk scores courtesy of Walkscore.com

Deep Ellum is in the midst of an ambitious period, attempting to mix its historic low-rise storefronts with developments like the seven-story, mixed-use Novel Deep Ellum. The Farmers Market is almost there. Since the market was privatized in 2013, the area has more than doubled its amount of residential units (from 1,000 to 2,200) and has almost 700 more under construction. Farther west, in the Design District and Trinity Groves, new restaurants pop up seemingly every week. And perhaps the most interesting of all, The Cedars has gradually grown into a small, walkable urban center. Recent projects on its northern edge, like the relocation of Four Corners Brewing Co. to Ervay Street and the hard-to-ignore Lorenzo Hotel, show that there is plenty more to come.

Concentrations of residents bring amenities, which attract more people. It takes 4,000 people living in a four-block area for it to truly blossom. These downtown neighborhood pockets are close. The next five years should see them take off.


Head to this link to buy a copy of the issue and learn more about our July 11 urbanism symposium at the Dallas Museum of Art.

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