Year-after-year, the Study Tour grows in popularity and quality of programing. At the BDA, we acknowledge the value of experiencing the successes and challenges of other urban environments. We also know relationships are built through these experiences, away from the comforts of our familiar surroundings. Our commitment is to provide a fun, informative, inspiring, thought-provoking and worthwhile experience. We want you to return home with fresh perspectives, stronger relationships, and confident, bold ideas.
Klyde Warren Park
As the anchor for the Study Tour, the delegates spent an entire morning learning about the park's history, placemaking programs, engineering feats and challenges, and operations and maintenance. For years, the Downtown Bellevue community has referenced the park as a comparable resource for the Grand Connection's I-405 crossing vision. Visiting the location elevated our understanding, building confidence for future decisions.
A City's Response to an Underhanded Slight
Over the course of the trip, the delegates were reminded of a pivotal point in Dallas's history. Boeing decided to locate its headquarters to Chicago in 2001, not Dallas. Why? It was noted that Dallas lacked cultural appeal. The aftermath was a massive, united effort to showcase culture. Led by the community, Klyde Warren Park was envisioned and driven towards completion. The Arts District was expanded. Since then, investments in these areas have yielded amazing returns. Billions of dollars in development and economic activity has sprung up and around the park.
Placemaking and Activating Klyde Warren Park
The park is maintained and operated by an independent non-profit organization. Event permits go through this organization with little oversight from the City.
Organic Life Cycle of a Lid Park
The analogy was a pot of soil sitting on a porch for five years. Eventually, the soil will naturally decay and sink. Klyde Warren Park is essentially a giant pot over a highway. Sustaining a lid park requires biological expertise to build and maintain.
Placemaking is Big Deal in Big D
Klyde Warren Park has a vast array of amenities to serve the public. Bistro sets for seating, public restrooms, interactive water fountains, stages, games, and a playground. But, the most important amenity citied was open green space.
Every study tour includes a big dinner. Delegates enjoy networking and reflecting on lessons learned. Who said learning isn’t fun?
Dinner with a View
The group dinner was hosted at the Tower Club on the 48th floor of the Thanksgiving Tower. Timing was perfect. The sunset painted the sky with color as the building began to light up for the evening.
East Quarter Redevelopment
This revitalization project will add new office spaces to an area that was underutilized. More importantly, the buildout will bridge the Downtown and Deep Ellum neighborhoods by transforming a once unattractive connection into a desirable destination.
East Quarter Neighborhood
This transformational project includes eight buildings, creating its own neighborhood in addition to bridging a vital connection between two growth areas.
Bridge Homeless Recovery Center
Delegates witnessed firsthand the facility operations and programs of Downtown Dallas's unisex low-barrier shelter. Serving a daytime population of 1,000 people and sleeping 300 at night, the Bridge continues to serve its mission while responding to an increase of homelessness.
Dallas's Privately-Operated Urban Shuttle Service
A fleet of electric shuttles transported the group to Klyde Warren Park. Operated by a private company, these shuttles move up to five people and serve the urban core and its surrounding districts.
City Leadership Learning on the Run
Bellevue City Manager Brad Miyake and Councilmember John Stokes chat about Downtown Dallas while touring Commerce Street.
Dallas Farmers Market Revitalization
In 2015, Spectrum Properties acquired the historic Dallas Farmers Market from the City. Through a private-public partnership, the once rough area has transformed in a thriving residential area while preserving the market and expanding shopping opportunities.
Ebb and Flow of Study Tours
Three days of extensive learning can be exhausting, so trips were structured with a balance of walking tours, lectures, and social hours. The Farmers Market team hosted the group at shaded, decorated picnic tables. Water was also provided, helping recharge the group after a walk in 90-degree weather.
Dallas’s five-star Joule Hotel features a colossal-size of sculpture, created by Chicago-based multimedia artist Tony Tasset. The attraction garnered a lot of attention and photos from onlookers.
Dallas 360 Plan
Delegates learned about the Dallas 360 Plan update, led by Downtown Dallas Inc and the City of Dallas. Building on the transformative strategies from the original plan adopted by the Dallas City Council in 2011, the plan addresses housing, transportation, urban design, parks, and public space. It was drafted in partnership with more than 40 local organizations and with input from more than 1,000 touch points through community partners and stakeholders.
Finding the Fun
Every city has its watering hole attractions, and we know these destinations are important elements of a thriving urban environment. Powered by Puget Sound Energy, the delegation enjoyed a social hour gathering after a walking tour at Waterproof, a sky bar atop the recently revealed mid-century Statler Hotel.
Delegates stepped out into the Nasher sculpture garden, an enclave of art wrapped by an urban environment.
An Earpiece Makes All the Difference
With a group size of 65 people, walking tours can be a challenge for guides communicating over the urban sounds. The BDA Study Tour provides delegates radio earpieces so they can hear every detail.
Peering into Design Thought Process
Visiting new projects allows the delegates to see how developers are engineering spaces to create livable, attractive places.
Guided by Local Champions
Lily Wiess guided the group through the Dallas Arts District. She started her career as a ballet dancer, transitioning to a teacher and leader at Booker T Washington Arts Magnet High School (first African American high school in Dallas, est 1892). Now she's the Executive Director for the Nation's longest contiguous arts district.
Dallas Arts District
Located in the northeast corner of downtown Dallas, the Dallas Arts District is the largest contiguous urban arts district in the nation, spanning 68 acres and 19 contiguous blocks. This iconic neighborhood has more buildings designed by Pritzker award-winning architects than any location in the world. It attracts 4.1 million annual visitors, including 500,000 students.
Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center
Opened in 1989, this concert hall is one of the original gems of the Arts District. Revered as one of the world's greatest orchestra halls, it was designed by architect I.M. Pei and acoustician Russell Johnson's Artec Consultants, Inc.
Nasher Sculpture Center
Opened in 2003, the Nasher Sculpture Center was the $80M gift from longtime Dallas philanthropist Ray Nasher. Learning about the Center reinforced the recurring theme about citizen leadership and city building.