Kennedy had a prescription for how Dallas could wrestle the center of town back south to Dallas: Densification. Transit. Walkability. The implications to me were that Richardson needed to steal a page from Kennedy's playbook in order to hold the center of town in Richardson.The center of town has shifted to swaths of 635 and 75 up through Plano. The center of town is no longer Dallas, but the North Dallas border.
Being the center means that there is something in all directions. Today let's complete a tour d'horizon.
Yesterday's post looked south to Dallas. I still think that's the direction that can teach Richardson what's most important for its future. But that's not the direction that has captured Richardson's attention for the last few decades. Richardson has been obsessed with what it sees to the north. First it was Plano that Richardson looked upon enviously as it attracted all the fancy new development. Lately, it's been Frisco (and Allen and McKinney and whatever). Richardson is obsessed with trying to keep up with the Joneses to our north.
Remember Kennedy's central assertion: "The center of town has shifted to swaths of 635 and 75 up through Plano. The center of town is no longer Dallas, but the North Dallas border." Richardson is no longer a suburb. It's at or near the center of town. Kennedy says that requires different thinking. He says, "We've been applying suburban thinking to the [Dallas] downtown area, which has in effect, forced it to compete with the suburbs. That's a fight it cannot win." Just like Dallas cannot win a fight with the suburbs on the suburbs' own terms, neither can the new center of town, Richardson.
Richardson needs to turn away from Plano and Frisco and look back at Dallas for its strategy going forward. And that strategy is one of densification, transit and walkability. Dallas itself hasn't fully bought into that strategy yet. And that gives Richardson an opportunity to steal a march on Dallas and thereby hold the center. And opportunity knocks but once.