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Top 10 Things Dallas Needs to Become a World-Class City

Top 10 Things Dallas Needs to Become a World-Class City

Dallas is the 14th-best city in the country, but it is not a world-class city yet. There are some things it could still work on before it becomes a city that tourists go out of their way to visit. 

These include: 

1. Improving public transportation

2. Fostering interconnected neighborhoods

3. Encouraging interactions between the suburbs and the city

4. Having more food trucks

5. Creating better recognition for celebrities and figures from Dallas

6. Preserving historic buildings and architecture

7. Promoting diversity in cities

8. Stopping the construction of Calatrava bridges

9. Having fewer buildings and more nature

10. Lowering the crime rate

1. Dallas must embrace public transportation.

Dallas must embrace public transportation.

Dallas is a great city, but its public transit needs work. There are areas where cars are a necessity since there are no bus or train routes nearby.

It needs to embrace public transportation, which will make the city more livable and accessible for people who don’t have cars or can’t afford them. 

The best example of how this works is in New York City, which has the most extensive subway system in the country and offers free transfers between lines at most stations. 

If Dallas enacts measures to improve the DART system, the city will reap the rewards within a decade. It’s estimated that every $1 invested in public transport could generate $5 in profits while creating thousands of jobs for several years. 

Plus, residents won’t have to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars for a car when they can easily get anywhere by bus or train. Tourists usually don’t have cars either, so better public transportation makes their visits a lot easier.

The benefits extend beyond just the money; if the city invested more heavily in public transportation instead of roads, it could reduce carbon emissions by almost 1/3rd while increasing our GDP by 5%.

Speaking of better public transportation, it will also greatly improve the interconnectivity of Dallas’ many neighborhoods.

2. Dallas needs urban neighborhoods that aren’t self-contained.

Dallas needs urban neighborhoods that aren't self-contained

Dallas’ neighborhoods are divided by boundaries – physical, economic, or both – that make it difficult for people to come together and form a strong overall community.

World-class cities are cohesive and aren’t composed of isolated neighborhoods. 

There are ways that Dallas neighborhoods can become more connected.

The first step towards creating a more interconnected city is to bring people together. This can be done through encouraging events like festivals and block parties in various neighborhoods, incentivizing people to go out of their hometowns.

Tying into these communal gatherings is to create spaces for them to gather. This could include parks, playgrounds, or even just communal seating areas.

For comparison, Austin, a smaller city than Dallas, has 92 more parks than Dallas does. These areas can not only provide a place for people to come together but also be a source of pride for the local community. 

Finally, it is important to foster economic growth within the different neighborhoods. This can be done by providing incentives for businesses to locate in certain areas, as well as by creating job opportunities for local residents. 

When businesses thrive in a neighborhood, it becomes more attractive to tourists and encourages residents of other neighborhoods to come and visit.

3. Dallas needs to bridge the ideological gap between the suburbs and the city.

Dallas needs to bridge the ideological gap between the suburbs and the city.

People from the suburbs and the city tend to have a territorial mindset where they believe their areas are the best and would prefer not to venture out into the other. 

Those north of the 635, for example, think those from the city are filled with the fake rich, politics-crazed people, and hookers. City dwellers think the upper 635 is filled with elitist, spoiled, plastic-surgery-filled rich kids.

Now, what the city needs are more incentives for these people to cross over their territories. 

Given enough exposure to life outside their home areas, they’ll find that lots of their stereotypes have no basis. 

Similar to how Dallas can better improve its urban neighborhoods, both the suburbs and the city can hold communal events like music festivals, bazaars, and city-wide parades to encourage visitors.

4. There must be more food trucks.

There must be more food trucks.

Food trucks are the future. They’re not just a trend or a fad, they’re an important part of our culture and economy.

Compared to brick-and-mortar restaurants, food trucks allow their owners to offer fusions and fresh takes on traditional dishes. Dallas can’t be world-class if all it has is Tex-Mex.

Food trucks add diversity to the city palate. The average startup cost for a food truck is $20,000, which is significantly cheaper than the $67,000 needed to open a restaurant.

Cheaper startup costs mean it’s easier for aspiring chefs to offer diverse food options in addition to what restaurants typically offer.

Food trucks are also good for the environment because they’re cheaper to operate than full-blown restaurants. They also create jobs in local communities, which help keep people excited about living in Dallas. 

5. There ought to be more respect for the Dallas Music Legends.

There ought to be more respect for the Dallas Music Legends.

Dallas is well-known for its music scene, and it’s hard to deny that there are some legends like Roky Erikson and the D.O.C. that deserve to be celebrated but aren’t.

Dallas needs to show its appreciation more, and the best way to celebrate these artists is to support their art.

Many of Dallas’ homegrown musicians grew up either middle class or poor and would have benefitted greatly from more accessible art programs. If Dallas were to honor their legacy, why not start there?

You’ll notice that many world-class cities like New York and Seattle are very supportive of young artists. If you can’t enroll in their universities, there are music schools littered all over the cities.

6. The city needs to preserve the architecture and stop turning everything into weird boxy apartment complexes.

The city needs to preserve the architecture and stop turning everything into weird boxy apartment complexes

Dallas has a habit of creating buildings out of necessity, without taking into account the history and significance of the historical buildings they replace. 

The new buildings are necessary and very useful, but they often follow a general theme: boxy, boring, and ugly.

As a resident of Dallas, you know that your city has a rich history and architecture worth preserving. You also know that it needs to stop turning everything into weird boxy apartment complexes.

Dallas is where Bonnie and Clyde ruled the streets and where JFK was left with a hole in his head. It’s also where you can find buildings from the 1800s like Hart Furniture, Cumberland Hill School, and the Old Red Museum.

Yes, progress is important, but the city’s history should never be forgotten. Dallas has been trying to make all the buildings look like modern boxes for years now, making it look bland and uncultured.

Rather than demolishing these buildings, the city should repurpose them. There are so many other options aside from replacing them with boxy apartments, like turning them into museums or government buildings.

If the buildings have bad structural integrity, Dallas has many contractors and architects to fix it right up. Reconstruction is also an option, similar to what Berlin did to the Reichstag building after the Cold War.

7. Dallas must embrace and encourage the diversity of the city.

Dallas must embrace and encourage the diversity of the city

Dallas is one of the most diverse cities in the country, but it’s not quite diverse enough yet. Hate crimes and racial profiling still occur.

Dallas police have implemented its “Duty to Intervene” policy, allowing the men in blue to police one another — a step toward becoming a more welcoming city.

Living in a diverse city is one of life’s great joys, and it’s a key characteristic of a world-class city. 

Whether it’s attending a cultural festival, trying out a new type of cuisine, or just simply enjoying the vibrancy of the city, being surrounded by people from different backgrounds can be an incredibly enriching experience. 

But it’s also important to acknowledge why diversity is important beyond just fun experiences; it’s essential to the health and success of our cities.

From a business perspective, diversity can lead to increased creativity and innovation, as different perspectives can help foster more creative solutions to challenges. 

What’s more, a diverse workforce can help companies better understand their customers and the markets they operate in, allowing them to develop products and services better suited to the needs of different demographics.

From a social perspective, diversity can help build stronger, healthier communities. 

By bringing together people of different backgrounds, different demographics can better understand and appreciate their differences, rather than focusing on what divides them. 

This can lead to empathic conversations and create an environment of increased acceptance and understanding. Finally, diversity can improve public safety and help reduce crime by bridging cultural divides. 

Studies have shown that diverse neighborhoods tend to experience less crime than more homogenous communities, as people from different backgrounds are more likely to look out for each other and feel less threatened by outsiders.

8. Maybe cool it with the Calatrava bridges for a bit?

Maybe cool it with the Calatrava bridges for a bit

The Calatrava bridges are a major part of Dallas’ claim to fame. They’re beautiful and unique, but they cost millions of dollars to build and maintain. 

These bridges are also riddled with structural integrity issues, like the Margaret McDermott Bridge’s vibrating cable rods. 

The problem with these bridges is that they’re expensive and dangerous. 

These bridges aren’t pedestrian or bike-friendly either, further worsening Dallas residents’ dependency on cars. While there’s supposedly a lane for those without cars, it’s been closed for four years due to structural problems. 

The McDermott bridge had an initial budget of $92 million which ballooned to $115 million as the construction went on. Despite going past the hundred million mark, the bridge broke a handful of its cables within the first few years.

9. Give us more nature!

Give us more nature!

Dallas is a concrete jungle, with most of its buildings being built in the 1950s and 1960s. The lack of green space feels depressing, worsens the city’s temperatures, and the city isn’t aesthetically pleasing to anyone.

As you walk around Dallas, you will notice that many of the neighborhoods are separated from each other by wide boulevards and highways — which is great if you want to get somewhere fast.

But where are the green spaces?

The city needs more parks, plazas, and playgrounds if Dallas ever wants to become a world-class city. Green spaces improve mental health, help regulate temperatures, and make the city more liveable.

For reference, Dallas ranks 85 out of 100 for greenest cities in the US by WalletHub.

10. Dallas needs to become safer.

Dallas needs to become safer.

Dallas is not a safe city, with its property and violent crime rates being 17.51% and 4.84% higher than the national median respectively. These crimes largely come from poverty, lax bail policies, and a lack of social services.

Dallas is one of Texas’ most developed counties, and yet 25.3% of the population is in poverty. Poverty-stricken areas breed lawbreakers out of a sense of desperation and lack of proper education.

There also aren’t that many accessible social services available for citizens who need help. Currently, Dallas is the worst city in the country for mental health

Therapy and other counseling sessions can cost from $75 to $115 per session, which a large chunk of the population can’t afford. These people can’t get the help they need, increasing the likelihood of violent crimes like murder or rape.

The Dallas justice system is pretty lax on criminals too. Convicts can easily post for bail even for violent crimes, allowing them to freely hurt more people.

Is Dallas the best city in America?

Dallas is currently the 14th-best city in America, according to Resonance Consultancy. It’s a bustling corporate haven with more than 10,000 national and regional HQs – more than any other city in the US.

It’s also among the most diverse cities, being home to the sixth-largest LGBT community.

Is Dallas the best place to live in Texas?

Dallas is the second-best place to live in Texas, next to Houston. Both are good places to live in, but Houston has a more ethnically diverse and educated population, plus more Fortune 500 HQs than Dallas.

Is Dallas a glamorous city?

Dallas is the 15th-most glamorous city in the United States, according to Lawnstarter. It has more luxury stores, fine dining restaurants, and beauty salons than anywhere else in Texas except Houston.

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