Let’s talk a moment about the elasticity of “neighborhood.” Sometimes the word is used to refer to an entire quadrant of a city, while some people wouldn’t dare call someone from three streets over a “neighbor.” It means pretty much whatever we want it to mean. That’s either useful or frustrating, depending on your outlook, or whether you’re off your meds.
I was talking about this with a fellow from North Texas Real Estate Information Systems — the company that keeps track of regional home sales data — a few months back. NTREIS relies heavily on the self-reporting of individual agents. He noted how inconsistent Dallas-area agents are in their use of the “subdivision” field when logging information about a property. One agent might dutifully type “Bent Tree North #3” while another reports a house on the same block is simply in “Bent Tree.”
This results in it being exceedingly difficult to track trends at a level as specific as a “neighborhood,” whatever that word means.
I might think of every bit of land between Mockingbird Lane and Henderson Avenue, Central Expressway and Greenville, as one continuous neighborhood. But I’ll bet there’s at least one guy from the Vickery Place Conservation District who insists that Vanderbilt Avenue might as well be the Berlin Wall, the hell if he’ll ever fraternize with those stuck-up Greenland Hillers.
Boundaries like these are usually fluid and ill-defined. So, while it may be foolhardy of us to have tried, we set out to do our damnedest to define them and to use those definitions to explain as best we can the facts and figures and people and icons that make up each of those neighborhoods.
A D Magazine brain trust was convened for the task. We consulted as many different, often contradictory, official and semiofficial sources as we could — from Wikipedia entries to legally binding zones that restrict what colors a homeowner can paint her front door. We also used our staff’s own knowledge of how we generally hear others use various neighborhood terms when discussing where people live — as opposed to purely commercial or entertainment districts. We did some combining. We split the differences. We grew comfortable with overlaps. We came up with what we consider to be the borders of the communities of Dallas as we recognize them.
And so we give you our neighborhood guides to this city of ours. What you see now is just the beginning, and we will expand and enhance our offerings in the coming weeks and months. Don’t be concerned if you feel your particular corner of town received short shrift. Longer shrift is in the works.
We welcome your help in improving this project. You can send feedback to [email protected].
Go forth and explore. Learn more about this city and the people who call it home.