A Friend of Unfair Park sent word a little while ago that I really needed to check out the Dallas Urban Lab Web site. For those new to the concept, it's a program down at the University of Texas at Austin's School of Architecture, where, for the last two years, UT students have been conceptualizing the city -- by which I mean West Dallas, for the most part. But as it turns out, the site to which I was sent is brand-spankin'-new -- a whole two days old, Dallas Urban Lab director Dean Almey tells Unfair Park this evening.
And the focus of the program has switched: "We had been working on West Dallas for a couple of years, but things sort of ground to a halt because of the economic climate," Almey says. Which is how the Dallas Urban Lab turned its attention to Victory Park -- specifically, how to link Victory Park with the Design District and the Trinity River Park. The UT School of Architecture got involved after Wallace Roberts & Todd began exploring whether or not that was even possible.
"They'd been working on some new street designs, and what they were trying to do was get Hillwood and Victory involved and begin to look at what are the possibilities -- and what are the obstacles," Almey says. "They had done some analysis on connection points, and we were looking for our next project. So just this last spring, we worked with them on an idea they had originally proposed -- a Dallas high line that connected the top of the levee through Continental down to Victory."
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Much of what the students came up with is available in the "Research" section of the site. Be prepared to spend an hour there. Or a long holiday weekend.