Public Design Impact Initiative: 2015 Project Selections

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative.


Pictured Above: The first community meeting for the Forest Hills Neighborhood Association PDII project to design a comprehensive landscape plan for the medians of three boulevards in their neighborhood.

In February 2015 an Request For Proposals was released to invite Dallas/Fort Worth nonprofit organizations and groups to submit project proposals to be matched with pro bono design services. From this RFP, we received many excellent proposals, and in March, a jury of nonprofit, community and design leaders convened to review and provide recommended the following project selections for 2015.


Feed by Grace
Feed by Grace (FBG) operates Unity Park, providing Fort Worth’s homeless a safe haven from the drug dealers and violence of the street. Recently, donors have gifted structures to serve as a classroom and community building in the park, an outdoor pavilion, and outdoor signage. Naturally, we are excited about these gifts, but they have presented some unexpected challenges. 

In this project, FBG envisions professionals: a) analyzing the park site, the footprints of proposed classroom, pavilion, and community buildings, other hardscape (signage, flagpole, picnic tables) and the general traffic flow in the park, b) recommending best placement for the proposed structures, c) presenting solutions to accessibility concerns that will be cost-conscious while in compliance with the city’s permitting requirements, d) presenting solutions to assure a safe and pleasant outdoor environment around the structures, and e) designing attractive yet hardy landscaping.

FBG envisions this grant providing professional help in creating solutions to accessibility through a porch, ramps, or other inventive means. FBG would also like assistance in landscape design to assure a pleasant outdoor environment around the proposed buildings and accessibility features. Through the grant, these services would assure our disabled neighbors could easily participate in courses and services meant to help them transition back into the larger community. The landscaping will improve the park’s aesthetics and further develop positive relationships with local businesses.

Forest Hills Neighborhood Association
Initiate an urban forest approach to maintaining and improving the medians in the Forest Hills neighborhood. The objectives are to ensure that the right trees are planted [currently and in the future]; in the right space and in the right way. The medians in our three boulevards [San Rafael, Forest Hills & Breezewood] have a total of 20 unique parcels with a variety of trees and shrubs. 

According to the U.S. Forestry Service: “Urban forests, through planned connections of green space, form the green infrastructure system on which communities depend. Green infrastructure works at multiple scales from neighborhood to the metro area up to the regional landscape.” As dynamic ecosystems, urban forests help clean the air, add economic value and connect people to nature. Our goal, as next door neighbors to White Rock Lake and Park and the Dallas Arboretum, is to be good stewards of our urban natural resource through the maintenance and improvements to our medians.

Old East Dallas Association of Neighborhoods
Plans for alternative infill townhouses for the typical residential lots (50’ by 140/150’) located near the Old East Dallas historic districts, in neighborhoods that were formerly single-daily and now are zoned MF-2. The current development model maximizes paved areas with limited to no permeable surfaces or landscaped areas. This typically replaces a small house surrounded by permeable lawn and landscape. Infill housing is needed to preserve economic diversity and affordability within the community.

The current development trends have greatly increased impermeable surfaces, and this has increased stormwater runoff contributing to flooding issues. Although the City is currently increasing storm piping to accommodate increased density in the area, this issue will only grow more severe as development density continues. Some existing housing lots are now listed within a flood plain, and this requires purchase of expensive flood insurance every year. Our goal is to provide a model that addresses increased storm water and also creates a more sustainable development model integrated with the streetscape and surrounding historic development patterns, including diversity of housing types and affordability.