Addison7

The iconic roundabout namesake of Addison Circle. The story of its design, below…

By Amanda Popken
Special Contributor

For a whirlwind four days, hundreds of the world’s top urban planners, engineers, developers, and real estate professionals descended on Dallas to share best practices, data, and ideas about making our cities great. Attendees of the Congress for the New Ubanism‘s #CNU23 tend to seem a bit crazy for walkable neighborhoods, but in truth they respect a healthy balance of all densities and development types. Problem is, there’s far more demand for walkable places than there are walkable places. Especially in D-FW, where 68 percent of residents would like to live in a walkable neighborhood at some point in their lives, but only 4 percent of the real estate in Dallas is in a walkable environment and only 1.5 percent of D-FW is walkable.

This year’s most inspiring conversations included a call to action to build equitable and sustainable places, to be the innovators and thought leaders who will invent the “Just City.” A conversation about “Public Spaces People Love” highlighted Southwest Airlines’ Heart of the Community program in partnership with Project for Public Spaces to support the development of places people love in SWA destination cities.

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This is kind of surprising to those of us who think of Dallas as one great big urban sprawl, everyone living on half acre lots or on ranches. We are actually pretty dense and getting more dense. A U.S. Census Bureau report on urban population density shows that the D/FW area’s density of 1,112 people per square mile is actually higher than many eastern, old-growth urban cities. Like Philly. Who’d have thunk it? Here’s how we stack up:

— Austin  (1,006 people/square mile)

— Houston (1,150 people/square mile)

— Philadelphia (1,060 people/square mile)

— Boston ((862)

— Detroit (1,078)

— Cleveland (891)

— Pittsburgh (740)

— Cincinnati (796)

— Milwaukee (974)

— Columbus (1,035)

— Indianapolis (814)

— Providence (844)

–Atlanta (659)

The nation’s most densely populated urbanized area is Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, Calif., with nearly 7,000 people per square mile. The San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., area is the second most densely populated at 6,266 people per square mile, followed by San Jose, Calif. (5,820 people per square mile) and Delano, Calif. (5,483 people per square mile). The New York-Newark, N.J., area is fifth, with an overall density of 5,319 people per square mile.Of course, Chicago, New York and San Francisco remain much more dense than Dallas but still, this is interesting. Interestingly, some of those are also cities where Case Shiller shows real estate values are lower than low, cities like Detroit and Cleveland, which is losing much of its core population.

Other interesting facts: of the nation’s four census regions, the West remains most urban, with 89.8 percent of its population residing within urban areas, followed by the Northeast, at 85.0 percent. The Midwest and South continue to have lower percentages of urban population than the nation as a whole, with rates of 75.9 and 75.8, respectively.