economics and architecture

As Dallas continues to mature and it enters the next stage of civic life, we will witness transformation marked by progressive urban, cultural, and architectural changes.

Economics and Architecture

Jeff Whittington

However, progress and growing pains often come together, as exemplified by the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. This case rendered Texas’ current affordable and low-income housing tax credit allocation unconstitutional, and its subsequent decision has forced many developers to re-consider their development strategies and will have architects re-examining what neighborhood context looks like.

This Supreme Court decision will impact our definition of neighborhoods in Dallas, and it can give birth to a vibrant and exciting phase of our city’s growth if we allow it to.

The next Dallas Architecture Forum (DAF) panel discussion on May 10 at 6:30 p.m. will explore all of those possibilities, and how what may be viewed as a setback might invigorate the neighborhoods of our city.

The event will be moderated by Jeff Whittington, executive producer for special projects and KERA’s Think series, as well as host of Anything You Ever Wanted to Know on KERA 90.1 FM. He also created and launched the KXT Live Sessions series for KXT 91.7 FM.

“Moderator Jeff Whittington will be joined by expert panelists including a Dallas City Council member, a representative from City Square, and academic thought leaders,” said DAF Executive Director Nate Eudaly. “They will discuss the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision regarding Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc. and how it will define our neighborhoods.”

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Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect new developments.

When Andrew Foster bought his 15th floor penthouse at 511 N. Akard, he began the 7 month process of completely gutting the former commercial space. The building, which is the one of the few affordable apartment buildings in downtown Dallas,  includes permanent supportive housing for the formerly homeless. It was built in 1958 to house the headquarters of the Relief and Annuity Board of the Baptist General Convention, but today it has been transformed into something much more vibrant and useful.

“I love the space and I love downtown,” Foster said. “Downtown is a really exciting place to be right now.”

Though much of the original lobby remains — as does the brick, marble, and metal exterior — 511 N. Akard now has an entirely different purpose as CityWalk@Akard. Purchased and transformed by Larry James’ CitySquare, the building has become an experiment: Can a residential high-rise bring self-sufficiency and pride to the formerly homeless and still work as a mixed-income development?

Foster says yes, it can work, and it does.

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