Texas Architect January/February 2014: Ecologies
This issue on “Ecologies” explores urban design across Texas and focuses on the increasing importance of green infrastructure for our cities. With the rehabilitation of the San Antonio River, the state now has the longest linear park in the nation. Dallas is also leading urban design trends with its progressive parks plan — Klyde Warren Park is just one example of the good work being done. Houston and Austin are also both relying on green infrastructure to create valuable public spaces. Other important urban design initiatives featured include mixed-use development in downtown Austin, El Paso’s first net-zero senior housing project, and the push for San Antonio’s missions to be added to the World Heritage List.
Minding the Gap by Gregory IbaĂąez, FAIA U rban freeways are a decidedly mixed blessing in cities across the country, especially in postwar boomtowns like Dallas where, despite government and community aspirations, mass transit and bicycle traffic constitute a small percentage of the number of trips to the city center. For better or worse, the highway system, with its significant environmental cost, delivers the vast majority of the people to the core. Given that fewer than 7,000 people currently reside in downtown, commuters traveling from other parts of the city are essential to the economic and social vitality of the district. But Dallasâ€™ freeway network encircles the Central Business District, forming a noose and isolating the core from the surrounding areas, to the detriment of both. Woodall Rodgers Freeway (Texas State Highway Spur 366, on maps) forms the northern portion of that loop, dividing downtown from Uptown. In the early 1950s, it was originally conceived as a sunken roadway, but a second, more economical, elevated design emerged as construction 60 Texas Architect 1/2 2014