Blog post from our friends at [bc]

November 9, 2015

Over the past two months, [bc] has participated in six public events for Downtown Dallas 360, the recently revisited master planning process undertaken by the member-based Downtown advocacy organization Downtown Dallas, Inc (DDI) and its project partners. [bc] is among those partners, teaming up with DDI to incorporate Draw Your Neighborhood into the 360 engagement process. Just as the people, buildings, and businesses of a city change (or stay the same), the same is true for neighborhoods and their boundaries. In fact, these changes or stases may be what drive changes in how we perceive neighborhoods. Using Draw Your Neighborhood, DDI and the master planning team will get a better sense of what people understand the geographies of their neighborhoods to be – how they’ve changed since the neighborhoods were drawn in the earlier version of 360, and how they’ve stayed the same.

DDI’s previous public engagement process to chart the future of downtown happened in 2011 and was the first iteration of Downtown Dallas 360. The plan either confirmed or created 15 officially recognized neighborhoods within the downtown area and outlined five strategies that were to “serve as guiding forces for steering public and private investment” in these Downtownneighborhoods in the years to come. Although that was only four years ago, there have been significant changes in who lives, works, and plays in eachDowntown neighborhood. Residences of all types – from the townhomes of the Farmers Market to the apartment towers of the Arts District – have been added, radically changing the residential base. New businesses have opened.New neighborhood organizations have started. Neighborhood identities have been strengthened. These changes have necessitated a revision of the master plan to reflect the sweeping transformation.

Neighborhoods feature prominently in all discussions about the new plan, and as neighborhood advocates who have our office downtown, [bc] is extremely enthusiastic about and invested in its outcome. At in-depth workshops and community forums the 360 team encourages the public to talk about their neighborhoods: what do you like? what don’t you like? what would you like see to happen there? [bc] has also been there asking folks to draw their downtown neighborhood boundaries with the Draw Your Neighborhood website. Feedback gathered through these sessions will inform the final plan which will include neighborhood specific plans to capture and enhance the unique qualities of each geography.

What do you think about the neighborhoods Downtown? Are there 15 distinct neighborhoods Downtown? Are there more? Less? Are The Cedars and South Side two different neighborhoods? Is Uptown part of Downtown? Where does the Civic Center end and Farmers Market begin? If you live, work, or play Downtown and are interested in being a part of shaping the Downtown master plan, check out the event calendar, join the DDI mailing list or contact us, we’d love to know what you think.


November 3, 2015

Downtown Dallas, Inc. is pleased to announce a new holiday concept for Downtown Dallas – Downtown Wanderland; a multi-faceted experience offering a variety of ways to eat, drink, shop, and be merry for the entire season.

EAT and DRINK. Participating restaurants, bars, and cafes will offer specials during Wander Walks and throughout the season to fuel holiday hunger. Visit Weekend Coffee, Midnight Rambler, CBD Provisions, Americano, Dallas Fish Market, Wild Salsa, Dallas Chop House, Oven & Cellar, Iron Cactus, Chop House Burger, City Tavern, The Woolworth, and Café Strada, just to name a few.

SHOP. In addition to the tradition of shopping at Neiman Marcus, Downtown’s long-time retail anchor, shoppers will find additional retail that has recently opened Downtown. Many retail partners at The Joule such as Traffic LA and TenOverSix will provide promotions and activities on Thursday nights during the Wander Walks like music, specially priced drinks, and extended hours. Weekend Coffee will provide holiday sips and treats in-store and in the lobby of the spa, with special offers on polish changes and chair massages. Look for additional Wanderland specials at Pink Toes Nail Bar | Salon, Downtown Pawz, Ro2 Art, Vertigo 12 Hair Lounge, Kettledrum Allie, and more.

And that’s far from all. Downtown Dallas, Inc. is thrilled to announce a Wanderland partnership with Unbranded. Founders of Need, Foremost, and Foot Cardigan, Matt Alexander and Bryan DeLuca, intend to provide free space at 1600 Commerce Street to a curated group of entrepreneurs, designers, developers, coffee roasters, photographers, and artists. Unbranded will host regular events, happy hours, and pop-ups for discerning shoppers seeking a unique experience in their city. Further details on Unbranded will be announced as the holidays grow closer.

“DDI is thrilled to partner with Unbranded to bring a new, fresh concept to Downtown for the holidays. It will be a great compliment to Neiman Marcus, The Joule retail, and all of the other great shopping and restaurant additions we’ve seen open over the last several years. This concept gets us back to our core mission of the holiday event of bringing people Downtown to eat, drink, and shop. Never before have there been so many options to do that!” said Kourtny Garrett, EVP, Downtown Dallas, Inc.

Also debuting this year is Park It Pop-Ups, a series of unique rolling mini-boutiques rotating through Downtown public spaces like Pegasus Plaza, Main Street Garden, and Stone Street Gardens. Look for concepts like a TASCHEN Library reading room, Dallas Farmers Market, Weekend Coffee cart, Brad Oldham Studio, Charming Florals & Finds, Kettledrum Allie, Ro2 Art in the Park, Downtown Pawz, Pink Toes Mini Bar, and other selections from some of Downtown’s favorite spots.

Featured hours of Unbranded and Park It Pop-Ups: Thurs – Sun, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday evenings for Wander Walks until 9:00 p.m. from November 19 – December 20.

BE MERRY. Downtown Dallas, Inc. and Headington Companies are partnering to bring up-and-coming artists to Downtown Wanderland too! Look for local artists from Varenport popping up at 1217 Main Street and live mural works each Thursday evening during Wander Walks. Watch Kyle Steed on November 19, Tiffany Mac on December 3, Lily Smith Kirkley December 10, and Bruce Webb on December 17th as they create mural art near the iconic Eye sculpture at Stone Street Gardens.

And back by popular demand is season-long Downtown décor, featuring Neiman Marcus Holiday Windows, holiday-themed B&Gs from the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Neiman Marcus Legacy Holiday Collection; the Car Tree at Pegasus Plaza and the Butterfly Garden at Belo Garden as well as new decorative elements including a 20’ holiday wreath and new holiday tree at Main Street Garden.

In addition to Thursday night “Wander Walks”, Downtown Dallas, Inc. will offer special programming on Friday’s at lunch, Friday happy hours, and family friendly activities on the weekends with children’s activities, live music, photos with Santa, movie screenings, and more!

For more updated information and a list of participating vendors, artists, restaurants, and bars, visit Retailers and merchants in the greater Downtown area interested in participating should email For more information on Unbranded, visit

About Downtown Wanderland
Downtown Wanderland is a play on words, putting an emphasis on ‘wandering’ around Downtown to find all there is to see and do. Downtown Dallas will be adorned with holiday lights and décor, plenty of photo opportunities and plenty of places to EAT. DRINK. SHOP. BE MERRY. #DowntownWanderland #mydtd #weareunbranded

About Downtown Dallas, Inc.
Downtown Dallas, Inc. is the primary advocate, champion, and steward for Downtown, effecting change by developing strategies, setting targets, and mobilizing resources that:

  • Stimulate a vibrant and sustainable Downtown environment
  • Improve infrastructure
  • Enhance economic competitiveness
  • Create a culturally inclusive urban center
  • Position the area as a global destination

Our program areas include: public safety, capital improvements, maintenance, economic development, public policy, planning/transportation, and marketing. For more information, visit

Dallas Innovation Alliance Launched to Execute Smart Cities Strategy

September 22, 2015

Can Dallas be a “Smart City”?

What does it really mean to be a ‘smart city’? It’s more than just having free city-wide Wi-Fi. A Smart City is a city where social and technological infrastructures and solutions facilitate and accelerate sustainable economic growth, and importantly, improves the quality of life in the city for its citizens across multiple key areas.

To be considered a ‘smart city’, we must make significant strides in five of the following areas: energy, mobility, technology, citizens, buildings, healthcare, government, and infrastructure (infrastructure MUST be one of the five to be considered).

So, where does Dallas stack up to other major cities, and how can we improve? According to a report by Frost & Sullivan, Dallas has advanced work in four areas: energy (thanks to Oncor pioneering the smart microgrid), citizens (because we have a high concentration of entrepreneurs and advanced degrees), buildings (because we have 32.7% square feet of commercial green space), and government (implemented Dallas Open Data portal), but we are lacking in the areas of mobility (lacking in bike share and suffer from signal obsolescence), technology (we only have free Wi-Fi in some public spaces like libraries and schools), infrastructure (we have 7,000 AMI meters but should further expand the program), and healthcare (we stand to greatly improve public health through North Texas Accountable Healthcare Partnership Health Information Exchange).

That puts us behind cities that are smart now like Chicago, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and Washington D.C., and those that will be smart by 2025 like Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland.

So, how do we ensure Dallas is on track to be a smart city moving forward?

Well, it’s time we find out, which is why Downtown Dallas, Inc. has joined forces with many other organizations, corporations, and the City of Dallas under the leadership of the Dallas Entrepreneur Center to form the Dallas Innovation Alliance (DIA). This week, at an event hosted by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) in conjunction with the inaugural Smart Cities Week, Dallas announced the formation of a public‑private partnership dedicated to executing a smart cities plan for Dallas. Dallas was one of only four cities that had announcements recognized by the White House and was the only city that was announcing their first foray into the Smart City community. The DIA is a coalition of stakeholders from the City of Dallas, corporations, civic and NGO organizations, academia, and private individuals who are invested in Dallas’ continued evolution as a forward‑thinking city where social and technological infrastructures and solutions facilitate and accelerate sustainable economic growth, resource efficiency, and importantly, improves the quality of life in the city for its citizens. Operating from a foundational vision that smart cities are about people – and not just technology – DIA is focused on the end user, and building a critical mass of the most highly‑engaged citizens in the country. Led by the Dallas Entrepreneur Center (The DEC), the Dallas Innovation Alliance is comprised of founding Charter Members: Mayor Mike Rawlings and the City of Dallas, AECOM, AT&T, IBM, Microsoft, Schneider Electric, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), Dallas Regional Chamber, Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Dallas, Inc., Texas Research Alliance, and The Real Estate Council (TREC). AT&T also announced their Smart Cities initiative and would be working with the DIA to implement a solution.

DIA’s work will be complemented through the City of Dallas and the Texas Research Alliance’s participation in the MetroLab Network, a national effort also announced this week at the White House, a national consortium of university‑city teams focused on sharing solutions to difficult problems in urban infrastructure. The MetroLab Network will bring together university researchers with city decision makers to research, develop, and deploy (“RD&D”) technology and analytically based solutions to the problems facing the systems and infrastructure on which our citizens, cities, and regional economies depend. The Network will focus on common challenges facing cities in order to develop shared, scalable solutions that can be deployed across the Network.

Across the city, innovative projects have been implemented in recent years, from organizations including the Dallas Arts District, the Dallas Police Department, and DART. An initial goal of DIA is to collate and aggregate all of the good work being done, and leverage results and lessons learned into a comprehensive plan focused on a single neighborhood that can be replicated throughout the city. Initial efforts will be centered in Downtown’s West End Historic District, where a confluence of multimodal transit, walkability, historic buildings, and a burgeoning innovation district will be ground zero for the city as a living lab, where a three‑pronged strategy will center on infrastructure, mobility, and connected living. DIA will leverage insights and momentum stemming from recent initiatives including the 2014 New Cities Summit, Downtown Dallas 360 plan, and results from Dallas’ IBM Smarter Cities Challenge Grant as a catalyst to execute a multi‑phased strategy reflecting Dallas’ commitment to sustainability and strengthening the urban core. For more information on the initiative and to get involved, please visit


August 19, 2015

Check out the latest post on Downtown Dallas 360 from our guest blogger, Janette K. Monear –  president and CEO of Texas Trees Foundation.

Read here.

What do the Downtown Residents want for Downtown Dallas?

August 12, 2015

Downtown Dallas, Inc. and the Downtown Residents Council recently hosted a Downtown Dallas 360 District Visioning Workshop for Main Street District, Thanksgiving Commercial Center, Dallas Farmers Market District, Civic Center, Dallas Arts District, and the West End Historic District. There were over 100 residents, property owners, and business owners in attendance who showed a genuine interest in making Downtown a better place to live, work, and play. It was quite interesting to listen to the discussions in the different groups and what they reported back to everyone. What did they want? Well, the themes were very similar in each group…..walkability (and bike-ability), more smaller gathering spaces with seating, shade, trees, and cafes, diversity (families!), reasonably priced retail and housing, and more every day services like grocery stores and cafes. And the most common theme was the need for better and safer connections between districts. Oh for example, that daunting walk under 345 to get to Deep Ellum for dinner or for a festival, or trying to walk or jog to Dallas Heritage Village from the Farmers Market over I-30, or biking from Downtown to the Trinity River or Continental Avenue Bridge. I happen to live Downtown too, and couldn’t agree more with this active group of stakeholders. Thank you to those who took the time to come and provide very important input that will help form the update of our strategic plan, Downtown Dallas 360. Visit for a calendar of events, updates from previous sessions, and links to the entire 2011 plan. Hope to see you at the next visioning workshop!

Shalissa Colwell
Downtown Resident and Downtown Dallas 360 Project Team

Attendees told us where they live, work, and play!

Attendees told us where they live, work, and play!

group shot at DRC rebecca greenan DRC

We received great feedback in our neighborhood galleries

We received great feedback in our neighborhood galleries

mapping project DRC

Todd Howard: Protecting Neighborhood Treasures as We Plan for Growth

August 6, 2015

Check out this great blog from our friend Todd Howard: 

360 Meeting Window #2 Recap: What Comes of Simply Sitting around a Table

July 25, 2015

This week, the 360 team had another intense round of meetings focused specifically on coordinating with a long list of concurrent projects that have overlapping impact that will ultimately shape Downtown.  These projects hold tremendous opportunity, and if leveraged – if translated from their inherent macro scope into to the micro issues that impact the livability of our neighborhoods – could move us beyond just striving to be  a “21st century city” to an authentic physical and cultural shift that will place Dallas as one of the great cities of the world. Where to begin? The proverbial family dinner table, of course.

We started with CityMAP. The depth and wealth of information being gathered by the CityMAP team is remarkable. Facilitating over 60 community input meetings thus far, themes of what Dallas wants to be are emerging. In our goals for the final 360 product, we talk about the need for urban mobility principles to inform transit projects of all modes, from regional highways and the local street grid, to light rail, streetcar and trolley, integrated seamlessly with pedestrian, hike and bike paths and trails.

Exclamation point number one: CityMAP and 360 have the ability to gain this intelligence from Dallasites and work together to apply it to future projects at the local, regional, and state level. 360 provides a mechanism by which values and scenarios that come from CityMAP can be applied to the urban core, integrated through a public-private partnership already established in our planning process. Visions for “Expanding Transit and Realizing TOD,” “Creating Vibrant Streets and Public Spaces,” “Ensure Great Urban Design,” street classifications and a circulation framework are already established and adopted from the 2011 plan; it’s time to expand the principles into all fifteen districts and apply them to our regional system based on the values we deem a priorities for Downtown.

Exclamation point number two: Let’s work together to do some stuff now. Early in both planning efforts we’re already hearing about, say, guardrails that are too low on the Ervay bridge over I-30 between the Farmers Market and the Cedars, making what is otherwise a natural pedestrian connection,  a frightening experience (I personally used to jog Harwood north from Corinth to Uptown back in my pre-children-Cedars-loft-living days. Not much better.) Another note: There is a gap in the sidewalk along Canton from the Farmers Market to Deep Ellum. This list of “quick wins” is growing; and sure, even pouring some concrete costs real money, but as we sit around the table it begins to become apparent that there are collective resources to leverage and will to make progress happen now.

It is a clear, and as @WalkableDFW pointed out to me, “obvious” alignment, for 360 and CityMAP to continue to work in tandem on a number of points –  interface of regional and local traffic, urban design, and the relationship of mobility to housing, jobs and neighborhood development. So right now: so far, so good at the table.

Time was also spent on the Neighborhoods Plus Plan and Dallas Bike Plan, both city-wide efforts that will be incorporated into 360 as they relate specifically to Downtown. For example, related to Neighborhoods Plus, how do we preserve affordable and middle class housing in high density urban development, particularly as we approach an era of new construction (good problem: we’re running out of vacant buildings that can grab tax credits and other incentives)? Where is there opportunity to build nodes of neighborhood services? 360 calls “Diversify and Grow Housing” a transformative strategy, with a long list of how-to-get-there’s. We’re eager to continue that path and evolve it into today’s needs and economic conditions.

With regard to the bike plan, as far as 360 is concerned, we can’t get bike lanes in fast enough. Yet, there is an appreciation for yet another paradigmatic shift in the way Dallas thinks about cycling. According to Ashley Haire, the commuter cyclist is still a rare species; we are dominated with the spandex-wearing enthusiast and a sprinkle of weekend cruisers. That is shifting, undoubtedly, as we at DDI know firsthand from the demand for bike share, but it is hampered by our (un)willingness to trade on-street front door parking for a safe cycle lane.  And side note, this is cool: Strava Heatmap .

A great deal of time, after highways, bikes and housing, was spent on high speed rail, quite timely given this week’s news, and related development interest along Riverfront.

But let’s save that for a few days and talk for a bit …

  • What are some “quick wins” in your neighborhood that could be addressed with an alignment of volunteer, public, and private resources?
  • Bike lane vs. valet and “in front of my house” parking? Go.
  • For Downtown dwellers, what services are you missing? And how far are you willing to walk, ride (bike, public transit), or drive to satisfy that need?
  • For non-Downtown dwellers who love Downtown, what is keeping you away? Housing type? Price? Services?

Finally, stay tuned to more on the last few weeks’ worth of work, as well as dates for upcoming 360 District Workshops. More opportunities to chime in.

Want to know how you can be involved? Join us at one of our upcoming 360 District Workshops or drop us a line to tell us how you’d like to be involved. You can sign up to be a volunteer, host an event or simply help us spread the word!

Kourtny Garrett
EVP, Downtown Dallas, Inc.
Downtown Dallas 360 Team Lead
Downtown Dallas Resident

Feedback from Wednesday’s 360 Kickoff

June 19, 2015

As promised, here is the feedback given from those in attendance at the Downtown Dallas 360 Kickoff:

Design District

Baylor District

Civic Center

Dallas Arts District

Dallas Farmers Market District

Deep Ellum

Main Street District

Reunion District

Riverfront District

South Side

Thanksgiving Commercial District

The Cedars


Victory Park

West End Historic District

I Wish

If I Could Change

I Love

Downtown Dallas 360 Kickoff Recap

June 19, 2015

Let’s start talking.

Wednesday night marked a special moment in Downtown Dallas: the evolution of the Downtown Dallas 360 plan. Nearly 300 sat in the audience at the Pegasus Room in the Dallas Power & Light Building for a conversation about wishes, hopes, desires, vision and pragmatic needs for Dallas’ urban core. There were residents, business owners, corporate and civic leaders – an audience so diverse that it surprised even those of us who live and breathe the business of our city every day. Many of Dallas’ long-time visionaries who were urban-before-urban-was-cool mixed and mingled with the new voices who are speaking – and acting! – loud and clear about the future of Downtown. Another surprise: the room was energized, hopeful and cooperative, which in light of the many passionate and polarizing issues that face us today, could have become an airing of grievances and strong-armed debate. Instead, it was a showing of love for our city.

For those who could not join us, here are some key points:

The Downtown Dallas 360 plan was adopted by Dallas City Council in 2011, so why go back just four years later?  First, Downtown Dallas 360 was created as a dynamic document meant to be nimble and responsive to our transforming urban environment. Rather than saying, “we need a new vision” or “we need a new plan,” we are instead working the existing framework, evolving the plan into strategies relevant to today through 2020.

In addition, we (meaning the collective “we” of public, private, and community interests) have just done a lot. Progress is evident in the Dallas Farmers Market redevelopment, Main Street district ground floor transformation and the Lamar Corridor. We’ve connected districts with projects like Klyde Warren Park and the Continental Avenue Bridge, integrated parking technology, gone on road diets and impacted policy change to improve street activity with revisions to ordinances that encourage street vending and outdoor cafés. Just since spring of 2011, Downtown’s landscape has significantly changed.  And there is an unprecedented amount of interest in Dallas’ urban core; from transformational projects like high-speed rail, D2 and CityMAP, to infill interest from developers, community organizations and the people who now call the center city home.

Wednesday night’s conversation was inspired. Daniel Iacofano, Chris Beynon and Alex Dupey with MIG stimulated dozens of comments from their presentation, articulated in one of their signature live recording exercises. Rather than recap it in exhaustive narrative, this is much more fun:


After the formal program, we broke into a neighborhood gallery exercise. Each of the 15 districts represented in the 2011 plan document were organized into dedicated space, exhibiting key recommendations and character sketches from the current plan. Through post-it note feedback, dialogue about the changing nature neighborhoods was encouraged: What’s new? What’s old? What do you want to see? What do you love? What do you wish? And if you could do just one thing … The responses were rich, personal and passionate (responses to each district will accompany this post):


In a debrief yesterday morning, Daniel, Chris, and Alex helped us begin to organize the conversation-starters, a process that will continue for the next several months. From the previous two days’ worth of meetings, it seems to boil down to two themes – mobility and livability. We want mobility principles that reflect the unique needs of urban Dallas, and for those principles to influence large regional transportation projects, as well as the local grid and its interface with the public realm. We want great street design that promotes multi-modal circulation, equalizing – or often prioritizing – access for pedestrians, bikes, and mass transit modes. We want to connect our districts and neighborhoods while preserving their authenticity, diversity, and character.  And building a livable Downtown is critical. We heard a calling for more usable public spaces – places for kids to play, dogs to roam, and all ages to recreate – as well as building a smart city and integrating technology into urban life and design. Attention to urban design and preservation is a priority, and diversity of housing product and price is a clear need, responding to new demographics, like families, who are living (with more coming!) in the center city. With that comes attention to jobs, entrepreneurs, start-ups, essential services and schools. In fact, equal to the applause for comments related to I-345 were those calling for schools, schools – good schools – and more schools.

But rest assured, this is only the beginning.

Through October, the Downtown Dallas 360 project team will be reaching out through a coordinated effort with neighborhood organizations and community groups to continue the dialogue. We want to know what you already have in the works, what is needed and how 360 can help. How do you see your neighborhood defined? What is its relationship to adjacent areas? And what are the issues that are shared and tie us all together? Our friends at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP use the phrase, “neighborhoods are not static,” which could not be more true. So help us evolve.

In addition to workshops, charrettes, forums and other in-person conversation, this website is a key tool for participation. Email us your thoughts. Stay tuned for updates. And very soon, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP will unveil a new crowd-sourced neighborhood mapping tool that will launch in partnership with 360. For the past several years, they have been engaging communities around the city to identify, confirm and record neighborhood names and boundaries. Over 300 have been mapped thus far, recognizing that Dallas has shifted dramatically in recent years – its cultural, social, political and economic geography.

Here’s how it will work:


All of your input will then shape the technical work of the plan that will start later in the year. Rather than profess today what we think “needs to be addressed,” we are designing the scope of the project with all of you. So talk to us. Tell your friends to talk to us. Tell us if there are organizations or groups we aren’t reaching. Our list of neighborhood and organizational partners (to be listed on our website shortly) is meant to grow.

Finally, a word about this site and blog. The web site (still a work in progress, thanks for your patience as we work the kinks out) is where you can keep up with plan documents, presentations and find out about upcoming events. The blog will be populated with editorial posts by 360 project team members and guests along the way, and we hope you will talk with us here as well. This is our Dallas, our Downtown, and our opportunity to keep it moving forward.

Tag, you’re it.

Kourtny Garrett

Downtown resident and mother of two, Dallas Farmers Market District
Downtown Dallas 360 Project Team
EVP-Downtown Dallas, Inc.

See you at the Downtown Dallas 360 Kick Off!

June 15, 2015



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 43,485 other followers