The Greater Dallas Planning Council has announced its annual Urban Design Award winners for 2021, 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 WinnerAT&T Discovery District

AT&T, Gensler, The Beck Group, JQ Engineering, Kimley-Horn, DFW Consulting Group, Studio Outside

At the forefront of innovation, The AT&T Discovery District blurs the boundaries between corporate and lifestyle environments by transforming its global headquarters into an enticing urban campus inclusive to all. The District cleverly combines physical and digital environments with a matrix of fully connected digital platforms seamlessly integrated into the buildings and landscape. This immersive experience enables spur-of-the-moment take-overs of lighting, audio, and creative media content.

Throughout years of planning, the architecture and design team helped facilitate discussions between the client and city council, as well as neighboring hotels, businesses, and residences, to present the proposed media-rich space. After conducting numerous hearing sessions with the general public and city officials, the project acquired unanimous approval. Additionally, the design and implementation of the District is in line with the Downtown Dallas Inc. and the City of Dallas’ Downtown Dallas 360 Plan, which aims to advance urban mobility, build complete neighborhoods and promote great placemaking.

Built Project Award Honorable Mention: Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town

City of Burleson, TBG Partners, Hill & Wilkinson, Benet Benner Partners, Dunaway Associates

The Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza in Old Town (Plaza) has been touted as the City’s “front lawn.” In the early 1900s, Burleson was the home of an interurban rail station.  The railroad in this location is long gone, but the station has been repurposed as the City’s heritage center and used as the overarching theme of the Plaza. This project was constructed in place of the existing City Hall parking lot.  This project was timed to ensure that it did not start until two new parking projects were complete, and analysis was provided to show that there would be more parking spaces post-project than pre-project.

The Mayor Vera Calvin Plaza created a home for the rail cars and more context associated with them.  This simultaneously honors the City’s heritage and modernizes the space by creating a unique gathering spot. The Plaza has something for all ages – ping pong and foosball tables, Adirondack chairs and benches, children’s activities, and a large lawn for playing or lounging.  The City is ensuring that a balance is struck between programmed and unprogrammed times.

Built Project Award Honorable Mention: Railyard Park in Waxahachie

City of Waxahachie, Halff Associates

Railyard Park is a 1.2-acre multi-feature park and amphitheater located just steps away from Waxahachie’s prominent, well-preserved downtown. This new city park, which has stimulated downtown revitalization, is at the convergence of the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas (MKT) Railroad, the former Texas Electric Railway interurban passenger line from the heart of Dallas. This setting along the scenic Waxahachie Creek greenway draws people for its variety of activities, including symphonies, yoga and readings.

The resilient park has already served its dual purpose successfully by withstanding a torrential 7-inch rainstorm in April 2021 that caused Waxahachie Creek to rise well above its banks. All facilities withstood the flood, escaping damage with minimal cleanup. The park was up and running again for community events within a few days.

Unbuilt Dream/Study Award WinnerPark for Floral Farms

HKS, Inc., Neighbors United for Floral Farms, Downwinders at Risk, Inclusive Communities Project, Paul Quinn College

Park for Floral Farms is the collective vision of the Floral Farms residents to fight against environmental injustice on the former Shingle Mountains site. Through co-planned and co-led community engagement sessions with the neighbors, the design team listened to their vision. It helped them give physical form to their dream of turning this former toxic waste site into a beautiful community park. Soccer fields, walking trails, a community garden, trees, and a splash pad were high on the list for programmatic needs. Flower beds dot the site and mark the entry as a way of reclaiming their Floral Farms’ identity.

The success of this project is because the park was not something designed for Floral Farms; it was designed with Floral Farms. The robust and iterative community engagement process allowed the design team to bring Floral Farms’ vision to life. Identity, reflection, decompression, and discovery serve as the foundation for how this project will make an impact on the community of Floral Farms and the City of Dallas as a whole.

Unbuilt Dream/Study Award Honorable MentionArapaho Center Station Transit-Oriented Development

City of Richardson, AECOM, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)

The “Urban Design and Development Scenarios for Arapaho Center Station TOD,” also known as the Arapaho Center TOD Plan, is the result of several years of planning and investment by the City of Richardson to reposition the DART Arapaho Center Station as the walkable, mixed-use front door to Richardson’s 1,200-acre Innovation Quarter. The Innovation Quarter (The IQ®), home to more than half of Richardson’s businesses and 20% of Richardson’s jobs, is the city’s latest redevelopment initiative identified in the City’s Comprehensive Plan.

 The Arapaho Center TOD Plan incorporates traditional best urban design practices while advancing new ideas and principles such as shared streets (woonerfs), mobility hubs, and detailed shared parking analysis. The Plan takes advantage of the progressive FBC, which eliminated minimum parking requirements for mixed-use developments, granted maximum residential and commercial densities, and removed maximum building height restrictions. The City worked in partnership with DART staff to ensure all transit facilities were adequately planned for as the station is redeveloped into a walkable, mixed-use development.

Unbuilt Dream/Study Award – Student WorkUnion Nexus

Rachel Barrett and Anuja Pai with The University of Texas at Arlington

Union Nexus explores this historical but forgotten Union Station site in Dallas, TX, to be an accessible and self-sustainable food nexus. Addressing three major urban issues: food, water, and transit access, Union Nexus incorporates the principles of a Transit Oriented Development (TOD). A design strategy supports the revitalization of the existing infrastructures; surrounding empty parking lots and unused space will be reconfigured to form more compact, walkable, pedestrian-oriented mixed-use blocks. Additionally, as bike lanes abruptly end at Union Station, a pedestrian loop is to be proposed at 25’ above Reunion Boulevard, providing a healthy and educational experience, looping cyclists and strollers back into Downtown. While interior streets will remain open to the automobile, the street structure will be updated to give more priority to the pedestrian and bicycle.  

The project also incorporates urban agriculture , promoting a natural ecology. Water collection techniques are to begin in phases, restoring existing buildings into sustainable catalysts as well as multiple water filtration and permeation techniques in buildings and streets.  Recycled water and collected solar, and wind energy will serve new program features such as housing, urban farming, dining and social entrepreneurship to help local jobs and education for sustainability. 

Dunnigan Engagement Award WinnerSouthern Gateway Public Green

The Southern Gateway Public Green Foundation, C-Suite Consulting, HKS, Inc., and K Strategies

The Southern Gateway Park is a transformative project in Dallas, creating a new park that spans I-35E in Southern Dallas. Dallas’ next deck park promises to bring hope and prosperity as it reconnects divided neighborhoods south of downtown Dallas, knitting together the fabric of our great city. The initial outreach efforts that would inform the park’s design started during the Covid-19 pandemic in the summer of 20202 and resulted in quarantine safety precautions. The challenge of conducting traditional public and stakeholder input sessions would have to be tackled in an entirely different way. The sessions would have to be conducted entirely virtually. The initial outreach effort had more than 140 people participate and received more than 220 written comments and questions. The virtual environment of the public meetings allowed more people to participate because they could do so from home and enabled people to feel more comfortable and free to ask questions. The resulting park programming and design are largely derived from the feedback gathered through the engagement process.

Concurrently, C-Suite Consulting led an innovative outreach plan, in collaboration with residents and other stakeholders, to identify, assess, and prioritize the existing needs and assets of the community. C-Suite Consulting examined ways that the park can positively and holistically impact the community in six key areas: Safe and Stable Neighborhoods, Economic Development, Diverse Housing Stock, Education Opportunities for Children & Adults, Health and Wellness, and Historical and Cultural Values. The final equitable development plan is structured to offer a summary of existing conditions. It suggests several ways to leverage the park investment to achieve equitable growth and equitably  benefit existing residents and those new and returning to the Oak Cliff community.

Kessler Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: WJ “Bud” Melton

Halff Associates, Inc.

Following more than 20 years as a sub-consultant to Halff, Bud Melton continues his focus on active-transportation infrastructure, urban planning and urban design in Halff’s Planning and Landscape Architecture Division. As a lifelong advocate for active transportation, Bud spearheaded funding to convert the MKT rail right-of-way to what’s become one of the Dallas park department’s foremost civic spaces. Soon after, he reinvented himself as a bicycle and pedestrian planning specialist and joined his wife Annie’s transportation consulting firm, Bowman-Melton Associates.

In that role from 1995 to 2016, he managed scores of large-scale bikeway, trail and transit-oriented development (TOD) planning and design projects. He helped dozens of Texas cities plus several counties with concept development, master planning, funding partnerships and design assistance for varieties of micro-mobility infrastructure. He is an expert at finding innovative, creative solutions to complex problems and has achieved unprecedented success with stakeholder buy-in.  Bud was instrumental in shaping North Central Texas’ Regional Veloweb’ – an interconnected network of greenway trails and bikeways defined in the region’s long-range mobility plans. Teamed with Halff, he helped create the Dallas County Trail Plan: Trails for the 21st Century, a master plan which continues its implementation by Dallas County and its partner cities. They produced a similar plan for Collin County, which quantified connections between Dallas, Collin, Tarrant, and Denton Counties. During 2000-01, Bud helped the City of Dallas with its nationally acclaimed Renaissance Plan, which undertook comprehensive inventories of every park in the Dallas system. 

Mark Goode Urban Pioneer Winner: Jennifer Rangel, Inclusive Communities Project

Jennifer Rangel, Planning and Community Outreach Director at Inclusive Communities Project

Jennifer Rangel is the Planning and Community Outreach Director at the Inclusive Communities Project (ICP). To advance ICP’s fair housing mission, she uses her planning background and organizing skills to redress policies and practices that perpetuate the harmful effects of discrimination and segregation. As a first-generation Mexican-American with humble beginnings, she understands the importance of being authentically inclusive of all.

In the three years of joining ICP, she has worked closely with neighborhood groups in Dallas and has assisted them in their advocacy efforts for neighborhood equity. In collaboration with Downwinders At Risk, she helped co-author the Neighborhood Self-Defense Project’s curriculum. The curriculum has been instrumental in creating bilingual neighborhood-led land use plans for Floral Farms and the Tenth Street Historic District, which center fair housing and environmental justice. She uses her lessons learned thus far to serve as an assistant editor for “Planifiquemos,” an APA International Division project focused on providing valuable resources for planners and members of Latinx communities to work together. 

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 2021 GDPC UDA jury, including Jury Chair Dr. Maria Martinez-Cosio, along with Kay Shelton, Dr. Lorin Carter, Evan Sheets, Arturo Del Castillo, Steven Duong and Jack Gryczynski.

Peter Darby and Vince Tam, chair and co-chair for the 2021 GDPC Urban Design Awards Committee, would like to recognize and thank the committee members for their support, including Brian Keith, Ruben Landa, Carmen Garcia, Christopher Hernandez, Mike Grace and Michael Carleton.





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.