The Greater Dallas Planning Council has announced its annual Urban Design Award winners, recognizing projects and individuals for excellence and leadership in urban design and urban planning in the Dallas region. For many years, the GDPC has identified local leaders and organizations in planning, engineering, architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design for their achievements and inspiration to the communities in the Greater Dallas region.  This year’s list of award winners continues to recognize outstanding projects and leaders who demonstrate vision and excellence.

Built Project Award Winner: Historic Downtown Ennis Streetscape
MESA and Gresham Smith (Prime) with the City of Ennis, TexasThe Historic Downtown Ennis Streetscape project creates a modern, active, and dynamic downtown environment that prioritizes and enhances the pedestrian experience while still accommodating vehicular traffic. The project also preserves the historic downtown’s warmth and charm while incorporating the evolving infrastructure and technology advancements of today’s modern cities. This includes infrastructure improvements incorporate low-impact development practices, focusing on stormwater management and energy-efficient lighting design.

The city now hosts various civic events, festivals, and street markets, including the Bluebonnet Trails Festival, Autumn Daze, Lights of Ennis, and Bluebonnet Market. The increase in these events’ attendance has led to more significant revenue for the vendors and downtown businesses. The increased popularity of Ennis has led to increased interest from developers in the downtown area. Additionally, multiple businesses have expressed interest in relocating to Downtown Ennis. Overall, the project enhances the historic character of Downtown Ennis and acts as a catalyst for its redevelopment and economic revitalization.

Built Project Award Honorable Mention: Pacific Plaza
SWA, Parks for Downtown Dallas, and Dallas Park & RecreationThe renaissance of Downtown Dallas is growing greener with the completion of Pacific Plaza in October 2019, a public park that has transformed the central business district’s experience. Funded by Parks for Downtown Dallas, the park replaces a surface-level parking lot previously utilized by the railroad, auto, and other industries. It creates a much-needed outdoor amenity for downtown’s burgeoning population.

Pacific Plaza is the first of an ambitious four-park initiative spearheaded by Parks for Downtown Dallas in a public-private partnership with the City of Dallas. Pacific Plaza represents a significant step in the city’s commitment to providing diverse outdoor experiences that will be encountered across the network of urban neighborhood parks envisioned in the city’s Downtown Park Master Plan.

Unbuilt Dream/Study Award Winner: Fair Park Masterplan Update
Perkins & Will with Fair Park First 

Fair Park is a cultural and historical landmark of Dallas, and the State Fair of Texas serves as the cornerstone activation. However, the park’s current state is underused and is unwelcome to its surrounding community. Fair Park is uniquely situated to benefit from and serve as a catalyst for sustainable community connections and equity. The Fair Park Masterplan implements holistic systems across 277 acres of impervious surface, allowing the community to stitch together their overall aspirations for culture and environment to create a more pervious and welcoming experience.

The Master Plan Update’s fundamental goal is to identify ways in which Fair Park can meet new and increased demand while creating a framework for future projects that enhance Fair Park and ensure sustainability in Fair Park for future generations. The Master Plan Update considers the historical, recreational, and environmental resources of the Park while responding to users’ and visitors’ needs, protecting the cultural and historic resources, and ensuring sustainability.  

Unbuilt Dream/Study Award Honorable Mention: Encore Park
Oglesby Greene Architects with Studio Adrienne Gardere / Encore Park Dallas / Stewpot / FPC Dallas Encore Park in downtown Dallas is a rare example of urban design driven by a holistic mission instead of proforma. The priorities were public access, education, and transparency. By creating a dynamic venue for Stewpot services, the goal is removing preconceptions about homelessness and provide space (both physical and conceptual) to experience art, culture, and history within the urban realm for everyone

Encore Park will create an integrated social impact campus for Downtown Dallas, combining core Stewpot services with innovative new channels to meet the people of Dallas’s growing needs. It will also set the culture and tone for the next phase of downtown development by preserving important, irreplaceable historic buildings and offering new venues and cultural attractions to enhance the entire neighborhood. Importantly, it will also create investment in the last undeveloped section of downtown Dallas.

Dunnigan Engagement Award Winner: Friends of the Katy Trail, Dallas, Texas
Robin Baldock, Executive Director, Friends of the Katy Trail The Katy Trail is a first-class 3.5-mile long urban hike and bike trail constructed on an abandoned Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT or “Katy”) Railroad tracks in the core of the 4th largest metropolitan area in America.  This trail is a beautiful landscaped pedestrian and bike trail system that attracts over a million visitors every year. 

The Friends of Katy Trail organization management maintains one of the premier urban trails that has completely redefined the urban core and has been a catalyst of billions of dollars in economic development along the corridor in Dallas. As a result, the Katy Trail is undergoing a significant facelift and upgrades to make it bigger, better, and more user-friendly than before.  This $8 million fundraising campaign was successfully achieved this fall and will ensure the upgrades and beautification needed to carry this amazing urban trail well into the future.

Kessler Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Charles English
Charles English, president, and CEO of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater DallasCharles English, president and CEO of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas, has devoted over 25 years to community service, and with his previous experience as a banker, has volunteered his financial management and leadership skills to improving program delivery to several non-profits, including Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce; Martin Luther King, Jr. Family Clinic; American Cancer Society; St. Philips School Endowment Foundation; Community Credit Union; and church ministries.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas expanded its reach with Dallas ISD to include 17 new on-campus after school programs, providing additional academic enrichment and experiences for these students -based programs. In February of 2020, representatives of the Trinity River Mission (TRM) visited BGCD staff regarding the imminent closure of TRM due to financial challenges that would have impacted over 300 youth in the West Dallas community. To prevent TRM from losing its afterschool and summer programs, BGCD joined forces this TRM to continue serving West Dallas youth afterschool and summer programs.

Mark Goode Urban Pioneer Winner: Janette Monear / Texas Tree Foundation
Janette Monear, president and CEO of the Texas Trees Foundation Through Janette Monear’s leadership, Texas Tree Foundation has filled an unattended gap by completed numerous important studies, some of which include creative collaborations with other public and non-profit entities.  These include the Dallas Heat Island Mitigation Study, the Downtown Dallas Study Tree Inventory and Ecosystem Report, Smart Growth for Dallas, State of the Dallas Urban Forest Report, and others.

Currently, Janette and her staff are leading a ground-breaking design make-over of the public rights of way within the Southwestern Medical District.  Upon implementation, this Streetscape Master Plan will be a nationally significant, transformative project providing community enhancement, ecological benefits, traffic calming, and healthy, walkable networks.  A project of this nature would not be feasible without their involvement and leadership.

 Appreciation to the Urban Design Awards Jury and Committee Members:

Brian Keith, President of the GDPC along with the Greater Dallas Planning Council Board of Directors, would like to thank the members of the 2020 GDPC UDA jury, including Lead Juror, Peer Chacko, along with April Allen, Monty Anderson, Marcel Quimby, Dean Ahmad, Brian Moore, and Phil Morley.

Peter Darby, chairperson for the 2020 GDPC Urban Design Awards Committee, would like to recognize and thank the committee members for their support, including Brian Keith, Ruben Landa, Paul Ridley, Carmen Garcia, Dean Ahmad, Christopher Hernandez, Marvin Jackson, and Phil Morley.