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CTroyMathis
14 March 2002, 01:40 AM
Urban dreams
Students rally 'round downtown

03/14/2002

Forget Dallas' immediate budget woes and dream about the center city newly designed and revitalized. Texas Tech architecture students got that opportunity in Professor Ian MacBurnie's urban design class this semester. And last week, the students presented their visions for reinventing downtown Dallas to a group of architects, developers and city planners hosted by HLM Design. Their ambitious work is worth discussing.

OK, some ideas were farfetched. It's unlikely Dallas would be willing to invest in another new stadium this one for the Cowboys on the land in back of City Hall. But that area of town does need tending

One student group made the innovative suggestion to develop that Civic Center-Farmers Market area as a major recreation center, with soccer fields and a large climbing wall that could be distinctive in North Texas. The students argued that such a development would help support residential properties and revitalize that corner of town.

The students supported locating a residential not commuter university in the center city. One design had an educational complex and student housing as part of a shopping mall. Another suggested that a university dedicated to the principles of John F. Kennedy be built in back of Dealey Plaza across the top of the merging highways; Reunion Arena could become that school's athletic stadium. The plans may be grandiose, but the idea of finding ways to attract more students to downtown deserves some brainstorming.

All agreed on the importance of residential development. Making the environment more attractive by using green space was critical.

They sought to increase amenities and activities to keep Dallas bustling. Movement was emphasized: making Akard Street a boulevard with Thanks-Giving Square as a center point; linking the Convention Center and a new hotel to Fair Park and Union Station with shuttle buses; and developing an inter-modal station with an underground bus terminal.

The students may be dreamers, but they also know that downtown development means more city tax dollars in the long run. That's something worth more than dreaming about.

jsoto3
20 March 2002, 06:09 PM
that's my prof/thesis advisor and friends!! way to go guys!

i wish they said who was there in the article. some big wigs. ken hughes, a vp of belo, and senior dallas planners to name a few. i have got a video of the meeting. if anyone wants a copy, let me know. i may try to digitize it and post it on the web, we'll see.