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From the Desk of the President: Public Policy Update
AIA Dallas Releases Trinity Parkway Position Statement
AIA Dallas members are passionate about the role of architecture in creating quality of life in our communities. In 2012, AIA Dallas embarked on a strategic planning process where we polled the members on what they needed from the Chapter. We heard a resounding desire for AIA Dallas to take a stand, be at the table, and help shape our city. I’m pleased to announce that we are no longer on the sidelines.
This year, we reinstituted a Public Policy Committee that establishes a political voice for architects on matters of importance to AIA Dallas and its membership. This committee works with our advocacy consultant, Macey Davis of The Davis Advocates, who advises AIA Dallas and facilitates connections with key civic officials and decision makers. The Public Policy Committee identifies upcoming issues, prioritizes and determines the best course of action to achieve our desired goals. The Public Policy Committee recommends positions to the Board of Directors, who sets the official AIA Dallas position statement and performs leadership outreach to policy makers and elected officials. With the future of Dallas being widely discussed in our community, our voice and vision is needed now more than ever.
The reestablishment of the Public Policy Committee is timely because the City of Dallas is engaged once again in a vibrant discussion about the parkway proposed for the Trinity River Corridor. Since the Balanced Vision Plan was adopted in 2003 and affirmed by voters in 2007, NTTA roadway design has progressed to become the "Alternative 3C" that currently sits before us (begins p. 2-26). In late April, a public hearing was held to gather input for the record. In response to the current "Alternative 3C," the AIA Dallas Board of Directors issued a position paper outlining our concerns in May as part of the public comment record. Click here for the position paper.
In the years since the discussion began about the potential of the Trinity River Corridor, Dallas has changed significantly, both physically and in the mindset of its officials and citizens. Some of those changes include:
- Revitalization of downtown and expanded urban living
- Development of Klyde Warren Park, which connects two of Dallas’ biggest neighborhoods and is an example of inventive reworking of highways
- Establishment of the CityDesign Studio and its connectivity efforts
- Rebirth of West Dallas
- Visioning the possible through The Connected City Competition
- Increased public interest in livability and parks
- Widespread recognition that well-designed cities are good for economic development and growth
- Multimodal transit options and generational shifts impacting driving and modes of transportations
- Recognition that highways disconnect and reconsideration of those in the Central Business District
As a result, larger conversations have surfaced about connectivity, transportation, and improving the pedestrian environment. For Dallas to achieve its potential, AIA Dallas must continue to champion a balanced, comprehensive, aspirational vision for Dallas as a great city that embraces our cultural diversity, provides opportunities for all citizens, and protects our future economic growth. We must demand "smart growth" and long range vision, building today the opportunities of tomorrow. Over the last decade Dallas has begun, and with inspired design will continue, the evolution to the connected, walkable, sustainable place that a great city is.
I invite you to join the conversation here on our blog. For more information on the Trinity Parkway issue, click here. If you have a question about an AIA Dallas position, or if you have an advocacy issue that the Chapter should be aware of, please contact our Public Policy Committee chair, Todd Howard, AIA, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click here for more information on the Chapter’s current policy efforts and here for a history of AIA Dallas' civic initiatives.
Lisa Lamkin, AIA
2014 AIA Dallas President