Seattle is sometimes called the best city in America for nature lovers to live. Portland and Austin might disagree, but now Dallas may be vying for the title. The Texas city best known for it’s cowboy boots and barbecue is planning to build what would be the largest urban park in the country, according to a piece published in the Dallas Morning News.
The design of the “Nature District” is centered on redeveloping the Trinity River and it’s ancient watershed, with an area called the Trinity River Park in particular serving citizens. Though the river snakes through Dallas, architectural firm Michael Van Walkenburgh Associates says it’s largely unused.
“Despite its inextricable connection to city’s history and identity,” the firm writes on it’s website, “the river today is disconnected from the public by long stretches of undeveloped land and a general lack of access.”
Michael Van Walkenburgh Associates’ plan to develop the 200-acre park located near downtown Dallas has a proposed budget of $250 million, according to Seeker. The park will be dedicated both to civic space — such as playgrounds, plazas, and lawns — and to bolstering the river in an effort to support the river’s ecosystem and protect the city from future flooding. By working with — rather than against — the Trinity, the firm hopes to make the park adaptable and accessible through consecutive flood years.
“By working closely with government engineers and other specialists to ensure the infrastructural soundness of the floodplain,” Michael Van Walkenburgh Associates writes, “[we have] transformed the flooding of the river from a natural disaster into a breathtaking spectacle.”
The Trinity River Park is just a fraction of the area sectioned off for other similar but separate projects that will include the Great Trinity Forest and Trinity Lakes. At 10,000-acres, the proposed Nature District will be over 10 times the size of New York City’s Central Park.
Update: As noted by D Magazine, there are still many questions surrounding the proposed development of Trinity River Park, not least of which asks if Dallas politics will ever enable the park to be built.