Last month Ariel and I took a trip to Chicago for the AMA Non-Profit Marketing conference. So what do you do in Chicago but enjoy the beautiful summer weather and walk, walk and walk? (We actually calculated the miles walked the 4 days we were there and it was over 10 miles.) As you can imagine, we saw a ton of interesting and inspiring things in the city, some on a personal level but also ideas to take back to somehow use for Downtown Dallas. No, we will not be building a Millennium Park.
On a side note, please realize that we DO understand that Dallas can never be a Chicago, NYC or San Fran…these are old cities where urban life has been a part of their culture since their beginning. However, Dallas is seeing a movement on the residential front Downtown. Our challenge is trying to change a culture that has never experienced this before, and honestly, “just how DO you live downtown?”
Moving right along, while we were on State Street and Michigan Avenue we noticed these landscape projects in the sidewalks. Each had a theme, The Centennial in Chicago and some odd Pirate one (awesome!) that only added to the pedestrian friendliness of the city. How friendly? Well Ariel made a stop and made a new friend.
So putting the thoughts of paragraph two and three together, we thought of a real opportunity for Downtown Dallas. We need Downtown to feel like a community, of people that is… to make it another “neighborhood” of Dallas, just as Oak Cliff, Lakewood, etc. If you’ve ever been around the Main Street District and talk to the thousands of residents that live there, there is already a sense of pride and ownership.
In our brainstorming, we thought of creating these “community projects” for the general masses (from existing residents to people who have no current connection to Downtown) in which we at DOWNTOWNDALLAS help organize with a landscape architect – a themed pedestrian project in the tree wells and medians in specific locals that need extra sprucing up.. (Elm Street ring a bell?). Teams of volunteers could come out one Saturday and help us plant and put together the final plan, and the end result would be something that people would take pride in, tell their friends about and create a connection to the area.
What are your thoughts? Bueno idea? or help us flush it out further!