Principal // TBG Partners
Parks for People Program Manager // Trust for Public Land
Why Connections Matter: Designing for Community Resiliency
Five Mile Creek meanders through southern Dallas for 15 miles before reaching the Trinity River. Home to some of Dallas’ most important natural landscapes, the creek and its many tributaries carve a series of valleys across southwest Dallas. The watershed drains approximately 70 square miles of the city and is a vital component of the city’s natural and ecological infrastructure.
Analysis by The Trust for Public Land indicates that of the nearly 187,000 people who live in the Five Mile Creek watershed, only 53 percent have access to a park or trail within a 10-minute walk. The Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt proposes 23.2 miles of trails, as well as the creation of four new parks. Once complete, over 56,000 people will live within a 10-minute walk of the greenbelt network. In addition, the plan provides a holistic framework for balancing environmental stewardship, recreational amenities, and equitable development.
The planning process incorporated input from local stakeholders, including civic leaders, educational institutions, neighborhood associations, and community groups. Four public workshops, numerous interviews, and a survey generated viewpoints and ideas that informed the design of the Five Mile Creek Urban Greenbelt masterplan. The
project is facilitated by the City of Dallas, The Trust for Public Land and TBG Partners, with extensive community input to shape the vision and design direction.
Through the telling of this project story, participants will gain a broader understanding of the differences between a historically segregated Southern Dallas and North Dallas based on real time data, especially in regard to greenspace, shared public space, and connectivity – and learn that through empathetic design, community engagement can be a powerful tool. The Five Mile Creek Greenbelt Master Plan will demonstrate what it means to design with a community for truly inclusive design outcomes, how important political engagement is in communities that face inequities, and the importance and implications of a community vision The project is a great example of how communities and neighborhoods, non-profits, and the private sector are teaming up to influence “a new type of development” and the importance of these models to getting work done for a non-traditional client, especially for communities who might not traditionally be able to employ traditional design models.