So, there's this interesting item on the city council's Trinity River Corridor Project Committee's agenda for Tuesday (and the council's addendum for Wednesday): The Trinity Trust is giving the city a five-year, $2 million grant that makes possible something called the Dallas Urban Design Studio. It will actually create three City Hall positions paid for by the Trust till FY2014-2015, at which point the city will start assuming the whole cost -- after accruing a little more of the paychecks' amount each year in between.
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Says the briefing, the $550,000 this year will go toward the "establishment and operation of the Dallas Urban Design Studio," as well as fund two "design professionals" and a coordinator. Meanwhile, urban planner Larry Beasley, in town for the West Dallas "dreaming session" last month, will serve as a "special adviser" to the DUDS. His and the director's professional services contracts will be revealed later. The Real Estate Council and AIA Dallas, who wrote two recommendations included in the briefing, are very much on board; says AIA Dallas's president, Todd Howard, "I am certain that the capacity and intention of this type of Center will only strengthen the vision of a more sustainable Dallas."
Here's how Addendum Item No. 12 spells out the duties of the DUDS:
The purpose of the Dallas Urban Design Studio is to elevate the design consciousness and culture of Dallas, while working to balance social, economic, environmental, and design sustainability towards enhancing livability for all Dallas residents. Its primary functions include:
This is a unique opportunity to help advance livable communities within Dallas and elevate an awareness and attention to design in both private and public projects. A key to the success of the Studio is blending together elements from Dallas' design community and City Hall.
- Advising city staff, City Council, boards and commissions, the development community and public interest groups on the importance of quality urban design and urbanism;
- Facilitating an urban culture in Dallas within the City and throughout the community; and
- Engaging in collaborative design of large private projects with private design and development forces, as well as review and influence significant public works projects.
As spelled out in the terms of the deal, the DUDS will report to the city manager.