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Old 07-26-2013, 07:25 PM
 
581 posts, read 775,144 times
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Dallas - Fort Worth should be considered a multi-polar region not because of the numerous suburban office districts that have developed and the way many of them take on the appearance of what is considered a downtown, but because both downtown Dallas and downtown Fort Worth are beginning to transition over taking on the same characteristics as the suburban business districts.

Indeed, looks can be deceiving.

Toronto is often referred to as a multi-polar region and wrongly so in my opinion because its downtown area is an undisputed downtown.

in contrast, consider how downtown Dallas has been a shrinking office market for the last thirty years? Not just a shrinking market, but one that has had a rather large vacancy rate at that. Of the office buildings that have been built within the traditional loop, they tend to look more like the kinds that are being built in the suburbs. Or consider how downtown Dallas has lost its designation as the principle commercial shopping district of the Dallas - Fort Worth area? While there still exists skyscrapers in downtown Dallas, a lot of those have been converted over into apartments, residences, or hotels. What gives downtown Dallas the characteristic of a suburb is the ample amounts of potential property around it, huge amounts of it in fact, the likes of which continue making itself available to develop.

This situation came about because of the building of levees along the banks of an often flooding Trinity many years ago. As lots of land was freed up after their completion, a massive industrial area arose as a result. In the meantime, companies in this vicinity today are choosing to build new warehouses away from the inner city out by the more convenient by-passes such as I-20 in South Dallas which is freeing up property for repurposing.

Downtown Fort Worth isn't much different than downtown Dallas as the tallest building built there in the last thirty years was a convention center hotel. In the meantime, just consider how a former skyscraper damaged by a tornado was converted over into residential use while, at the same time, suburban like campuses were being built for major corporations on the outskirts of downtown?

This is just what a new southern city looks like. Being a rather large distribution center for a significant region has further pushed the area into becoming necessarily multi-polar.

Really, the Dallas - Fort Worth area could be said to be anchored by five separate principle cities: Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, Irving, and Arlington. Each has its own major universities. Each is either a business center or, in the case of Arlington, the major tourist designation. They each have major airports serving them. Arlington doesn't have an airport presently, but there is a former naval air station now abandoned (owned by the city of Dallas) in the vicinity with potential. They all anchor areas approaching a half a million people and more. Again, all these cities should be considered principle ones not because these principle suburbs are beginning to take on the traditional characteristics of urban areas, but also because the traditional urban areas of both downtown Dallas and Fort Worth are beginning to take on more of the wide open characteristics of suburbs.

Atlanta, itself a southern town, differs greatly from the Dallas - Fort Worth area because its basic infrastructure was established long ago, its footprint having been established since the early thirteen colonies. Houston, another southern town, also differs because it is dominated by one industry necessitating the building of skyscrapers to accommodate the expansions of the huge oil companies based there.

The the Dallas - Fort Worth area should not be considered either urban or suburban. Instead, it should be considered to have exempt status from the designation of sprawl as it has to be spread out much as Chicago has become as both areas are gigantic distribution, marketing, and convention centers.

In the end, the Dallas - Fort Worth region compares rather well to itself as the area does have lots of unique qualities making it neither urban nor suburban in characteristic. So, when in Dallas - Fort Worth, one shouldn't envision themselves as being in New York City or Paris, but as being in Dallas - Fort Worth.
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Old 07-27-2013, 07:49 AM
 
Location: plano
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I agree with you, well stated.

I think Houston is more comparable to DFW in evolution, the energy driven jobs do not make it materially different in terms of how its development has evolved.

Some jump on someone wanting to live in the burbs without finding out that job may be in the same burb area.

Wanting a high density, center city vibe to compare to old school cities, is like wanting a great black and white tv....times have changed.
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Old 07-28-2013, 08:25 AM
 
581 posts, read 775,144 times
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Originally Posted by Johnhw2 View Post
I agree with you, well stated.

I think Houston is more comparable to DFW in evolution, the energy driven jobs do not make it materially different in terms of how its development has evolved.

Some jump on someone wanting to live in the burbs without finding out that job may be in the same burb area.

Wanting a high density, center city vibe to compare to old school cities, is like wanting a great black and white tv....times have changed.
The building of the levee system along the Trinity river is the point when Dallas and Houston began to diverge apart going in separate ways. The Real Estate within the traditional downtown loop in Houston is very constricted keeping the price of it high. In contrast, huge amounts of property continues to make itself available in the whole of central Dallas helping to keep the price of real estate down.

In the suburbs, in areas where there is lots of available land, when a place gets too hot and expensive, developers can buy cheaper property to build in another part until prices fall back down. This is why development in the suburbs looks like a checkerboard as one is looking down on them from above while flying. A similar situation exists in central Dallas as just think of all the endless possibilities where developers can build? There is north Oak Cliff. There is what will be the convenience of West Dallas. The Stemmons corridor can be developed literally all the way to and beyond Love Field. Think of east of Dallas and the vacuum that exists between downtown, Baylor University, and Lakewood? Then there is Southside and the Cedars south of Dallas of which are areas well connected by light rail and soon to be trolley lines. This is why I say central Dallas takes on more the characteristics of a wide open suburb rather than the traditional urban center.

Or think of Chicago back during the days of that huge fire that raged destroying a large portion of its inner city. That devastation helped alter the footprint of the city established long ago opening up a lot of land in the inner core for redevelopment.

The same has become true in central Dallas with as lots of land is constantly making itself available from that huge warehouse district and the way much of it is becoming obsolete as companies move to the more convenient outlying parts of the city served by the bypasses.
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Old 07-28-2013, 01:54 PM
 
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Good thread... very good summary of things.
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Old 07-29-2013, 08:13 AM
 
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I don't think the levees had any impact on downtown Dallas - freeways did. If you can drive 20 miles in 20 minutes, then the value of land at the margins is going to be close to $0 and that's an easy number to get a profitable return on. And then white flight, NIMBYism, and development plans based primarily on poaching major industries from other cities has left huge swaths of land in existing cities empty for 50 plus years.

A mariginal value of land near $0 is great for the outer edges but lousy for the existing structures. Sunbelt cities are ruled by their highways and will be until their highway departments go broke.

Last edited by TheOverdog; 07-29-2013 at 08:30 AM..
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Old 07-29-2013, 09:47 AM
 
581 posts, read 775,144 times
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Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
I don't think the levees had any impact on downtown Dallas - freeways did. If you can drive 20 miles in 20 minutes, then the value of land at the margins is going to be close to $0 and that's an easy number to get a profitable return on. And then white flight, NIMBYism, and development plans based primarily on poaching major industries from other cities has left huge swaths of land in existing cities empty for 50 plus years.

A mariginal value of land near $0 is great for the outer edges but lousy for the existing structures. Sunbelt cities are ruled by their highways and will be until their highway departments go broke.
It isn't that you are wrong, but that you aren't being exact. About twenty years ago, the cities of Houston and Dallas diverged in philosophy with the first choosing to continue the route of freeway construction mainly in the building of its beltway 8, and the latter going the route of building the beginnings of a light rail system.

After the levees were completed, the huge amount of flood lands freed up went to commercial development out of which came three of the largest real estate developers in the nation - Trammel Crow, Vantage, and Lincoln. As the warehouses built by these companies become obsolete, that frees up land for redevelopment.

As a result of the building of a light rail infrasture, the philosophy of Dallas over the years has altered in approach as people began to find new appreciation in the building of low rise to mid rise multi-use kinds of developments based in and around transit lines - or transit oriented developments. Also, the building of freeways has taken a backseat in favor of building commuter and light rail lines.

At the same time, the city of Houston has had to pretty much continue building as it always has because it didn't have a rail system infrastructure in place to build transit oriented developments.

One of the causes of the transition taking place in centralr Dallas was the relocation of the over-the-road truck lines years ago from the inner city to the location of 1-20 and 45 outside of the loop. At the same time, located to the south of this location is a new modular container port. This phenomenon hasn't gone unnoticed as now the area is being developed as an inland port. Looking at a google map, one can still see along Irving Boulevard in central Dallas a huge port of breakdown trucking firms that one time served a massive inner distribution area in and around the inner core of Dallas spreading north along 35 all the way up into Carrolton.

It is this warehouse area that is in transition today as companies are choosing to relocate from older warehouses to newer ones that are being built out along the more convenient by-passes such as I-20.

Of the five principle cities in the Dallas - Fort Worth area that I mentioned in the prior post, they are all unique to each other.

1) The principle city of Irving is symbiotic with the "airport city" of DFW airport. The number of employees working at DFW added to the total number in and around Las Colinas is approaching 200,000. In the future, this area will have a confluence of freeways and transit rail lines built around it similar to what is now built in and around both the downtown areas of Dallas and Fort Worth.

2) Also, in the future, the principle city of Plano should develop having commercial districts fully surrounding it at the sides and corners of its boundaries all located along the four major corridors of the Dallas North Tollway, 121, Central Expressway, and Bush. As this phenomenon continues, the price of real estate within the city of Plano itself should continue rising putting pressure on the city to further urbanize in density.

3) The principle city of Dallas should continue to reform itself as the financial capital it once was while maintaining its designation as the primary convention and marketing center of North Texas, and so on.

4) The principle city of Fort Worth should continue expanding its base as the manufacturing center of North Texas.

5) Arlington has long been designated as a principle city apart from Dallas and Fort Worth. It has its own major university based there. It is the major tourist center of North Texas. Along with nearby Grapevine and Mansville, this area is uniquely separated from what are the principle cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, and Irving.
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Old 07-29-2013, 10:14 AM
 
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About twenty years ago, the cities of Houston and Dallas diverged in philosophy with the first choosing to continue the route of freeway
No they did not. That's just silly. The G Bush tollway was built in the past 20 years. Frisco as it is didn't exist 20 years ago. The commercial centers in Plano exist because the land was empty and the cost of building employment centers was next to nothing. DART has cost about $5b - the cost to rebuild the bit of 635 alone is $2b. That's a strong commitment to light rail?

And Houston and Dallas are the same city - only to texans who debate really subtle differences are they different. - what constitutes different - if you live in a relatively new house in DFW - you could probably move to the same model house and shop at the same stores in Houston - that is not different.

I don't care to rebut each of your points about areas - but I'll try Arlington - UT Arlington is not yet a major university. Irving and Plano don't have major universities. There are not major airports serving any of the sub-cities beyond DFW & Love. (Burbank or John Wayne are major suburban airports - Addison is not).

I agree that there are several employment areas - due to the poaching, land prices, and freeways I already mentioned.

Last edited by TheOverdog; 07-29-2013 at 10:22 AM..
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Old 07-29-2013, 11:51 AM
 
581 posts, read 775,144 times
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Originally Posted by TheOverdog View Post
No they did not. That's just silly. The G Bush tollway was built in the past 20 years. Frisco as it is didn't exist 20 years ago. The commercial centers in Plano exist because the land was empty and the cost of building employment centers was next to nothing. DART has cost about $5b - the cost to rebuild the bit of 635 alone is $2b. That's a strong commitment to light rail?

And Houston and Dallas are the same city - only to texans who debate really subtle differences are they different. - what constitutes different - if you live in a relatively new house in DFW - you could probably move to the same model house and shop at the same stores in Houston - that is not different.

I don't care to rebut each of your points about areas - but I'll try Arlington - UT Arlington is not yet a major university. Irving and Plano don't have major universities. There are not major airports serving any of the sub-cities beyond DFW & Love. (Burbank or John Wayne are major suburban airports - Addison is not).

I agree that there are several employment areas - due to the poaching, land prices, and freeways I already mentioned.
Alliance serves the corporate presence in Fort Worth. Addison airport serves the corporate companies in the North Dallas area. Love serves Dallas. And DFW airport is symbiotic with the same in Irving. McKinney is trying to develop its airport to compete with Addison for corporate jets. In other words, McKinney, like Richardson, Addison, and Frisco, has begun to attract its share of relocating companies. At the heart of the four cities I just mentioned is Plano.

The University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson isn't just recognized as a major university, but as a major motor powering the Richardson Telecom Corridor. Figure the University of Texas at Arlington is even larger. Plano as a principle city is served by the University of Texas at Dallas in Richardson. Irving is served by the University of Dallas which is a business school.

The business centers of the Telecom Corridor in Richardson and of Las Colinas in Irving are very similar in how they are both served by light rail. But Richardson has an economic relationship going on with Plano. The same is true of Addison and Frisco and their relationships with Plano. Plano and Irving should no longer be considered suburbs.
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