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Enhancing the Resilience of the Walnut Hill/Denton DART Station Area in Dallas, Texas

I led an Urban Land Institute (ULI) virtual Advisory Services Panel on enhancing the resilience and revitalization of the area around the Walnut Hill/Denton DART Station in Dallas, Texas from August 10-12, 2020. The area was heavily impacted by the EF3 tornado that touched down in October of 2019, which is being compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the community and economy. The City of Dallas, the panel sponsor in partnership with the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Resilient Land Use Cohort (RLUC), asked us to make recommendations related to:

  • The policy and regulatory adjustments that should be considered to impact localized investments and broaden the types of small and minority-and-women owned business enterprises in the study area;
  • Policy, planning and design opportunities to reduce resident vulnerability to extreme heat and other extreme weather;
  • The types of infrastructure investments that would make multi-modal transport easier and more frequented by the area’s residents and workers;
  • Design types and infrastructure needed to attract and sustain a growing population of mixed-income residents while ensuring climate resilience and environmental justice; and
  • Which stakeholders and organizations need to be brought together to impact the physical environment, economic growth and quality of life for residents and workers.
Our ULI virtual Advisory Services Panel and staff.

After reviewing the briefing materials, doing research on the site and its challenges and opportunities, remotely touring the site via a drone, and speaking with a variety of community members, businesses, and decision-makers, the panel deliberated potential paths forward for the area. A central approach we discussed was to ensure that our recommendations not only reduce vulnerability, but also strengthen the area’s environmental performance, economic opportunities, and social equity. Based on our discussions, several key themes emerged including the importance of keeping an authentic sense of place, addressing safety issues and perceptions, strengthening a sense of community, enhancing connectivity, becoming more green and resilient, providing living and transportation options, and taking advantage of current opportunities now.

Our panel’s recommended next steps were to:

  • Coordinate and support the existing group of champions,
  • Engage social services and providers to help the most at-risk individuals,
  • Activate the Walnut Hill/Denton DART Station parking lot,
  • Install bilingual wayfinding,
  • Identify and publicize a safe an accessible resilience hub, and
  • Explore development financing tools to leverage current opportunities.

The slides and full video presentation of our panel’s recommendations are available on the ULI website.

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Extreme Heat Webinar with the Urban Land Institute and Design Workshop

Extreme Heat and Real Estate

We were joined by Katharine Burgess, Vice President of Urban Resilience and Elizabeth Foster, Manager of Urban Resilience at the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and Alex Ramirez, Office Director and Associate at Design Workshop for our latest Extreme Heat Network webinar. Our presenters discussed how private and public sector real estate leaders are mitigating and adapting to extreme heat. ULI shared key takeaways from a 2019 report on this topic, and Design Workshop presented a case study of their award-winning Bagby Street reconstruction project in Houston, Texas where mitigating temperatures was a guiding consideration.

Several Urban Land Institute resources mentioned throughout the presentation:

Sign up on our email list for future Extreme Heat Network webinars.

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Urban Waterfront Resilience for Miami

ULI Advisory Services Report

The report from the Urban Land Institute Advisory Services Panel I led June 2 – 7, 2019 on increasing the resilience of Miami’s urban waterfront is now out!

Download Full Report

The City of Miami and the Miami Downtown Development Authority asked the Urban Land Institute to conduct an Advisory Services panel to provide recommendations for addressing waterfront resilience and mitigating the effects of sea level rise along Biscayne Bay and the Miami River. They asked us to focus on four key areas: design, finance, policy, and implementation. As a part of the five day process, the panel toured sites along the bayfront and riverfront and interviewed over 80 stakeholders. The panel came up with strategic, independent recommendations that take a holistic approach to resilience for the urban waterfront with specific recommendations around waterfront design guidelines, infrastructure finance, community engagement, and leveraging past plans and studies into actions moving forward.

Summary of Recommendations

  • Embrace the legacy of the waterfront through design to protect from water, live with water, and create value from water.
  • Return to Miami’s history and embrace sensitive transit-oriented development (TOD) on the ridge for future growth.
  • Bring existing plans and visions together, act on strategies, and evaluate outcomes.
  • Pursue a portfolio of financial strategies to become the world leader in resilient finance, investment, and construction.
  • Reduce uncertainty for the community and private market through predictability, transparency, and accountability.
  • Incremental actions can lead to transformational changes.