Neighborhood Stories - Arts District

Learn more about POP Dallas and Neighborhood Stories.

On October 27-28, 2012, bcWORKSHOP was a part of a monumental project for Dallas: the grand opening of Klyde Warren Park. The celebration commemorated an innovative park that decks over a portion of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, providing valuable new civic space and connecting Uptown and the Dallas Arts District.

bcWORKSHOP had a substantial presence at the park opening, engaging visitors on Harwood Street around our POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative as they passed between the new park and the Arts District. The centerpiece was a Dallas Neighborhood Stories exhibit inside our 45’ retrofitted shipping container that examined the evolution of today’s Arts District from its origins as the juncture of the Freedman’s Town/North Dallas, Little Mexico, and Ross Avenue neighborhoods, and how major interventions - the construction of Central Expressway, the construction of Woodall Rodgers Freeway, and the master plan for the Arts District - affected physical and social change.

The POP City Map also made an appearance; more than 200 people marked their Dallas neighborhoods, with dozens more showing their pride in places from Irving and Lancaster to Brazil and France. Finally, hundreds of revelers shared pictures and stories about where they live on the container itself and on camera in the Story House.

The weekend affirmed how strongly people identify and connect with their neighborhoods as well as the importance of understanding the decisions and actions that have shaped our city over time. We had a great time at the opening and look forward to bringing our exhibit back to the Arts District soon!

Homeowners Bootcamp

Learn more about POP Dallas.

As a continued effort to strengthen the social, economic, and physical health of Dallas’s neighborhoods, bcWORKSHOP brought the POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative to the 14th annual Dallas Homeowners' League (DHL) Neighborhood Bootcamp at City Hall on Saturday, August 25. Bringing together community leaders in an exchange of ideas for the betterment of Dallas's neighborhoods, DHL invited bcW to share three elements of POP: a workshop that introduced and applied the POP Toolkit;  the confirmation, adjustment and addition of neighborhood names and boundaries to the POP City Map; and the collection of Neighborhood Stories.

During the interactive work session, 21 neighborhood leaders learned about the Toolkit as a grassroots approach to addressing neighborhood issues through a four-step process. Following an introductory presentation, budding and battle-tested activists alike used the Toolkit to identify an issue, choose a scale, determine a method, and select tools to address an example concern from a volunteer. The session ended with robust discussion in breakout groups in which participants discussed local issues, swapped success stories, and shared strategies for unifying and activating their neighborhoods.

While the Toolkit presented strategies for how neighborhood leaders could direct their energy and efforts, bcWORKSHOP asked that they share their expertise in other ways. Throughout the event, residents of 27 different neighborhoods from across the city confirmed, adjusted, or added their neighborhood names and boundaries by drawing on enlarged sections of the City Map. Amidst the day’s activities, 7 new contributors to Neighborhood Stories took the time to share what they love about where they live and challenges they had overcome through collective action.

Cedars West Arts Festival

Learn more about POP Dallas and Neighborhood Stories.

In a fine example of People Organizing Place, the businesses along Rock Island Street in the Cedars neighborhood of Dallas recently put on the Cedars West Arts Festival to showcase the improvements they’ve made to their area. bcWORKSHOP showed up with our 40-foot Gatu (shipping container) gallery to exhibit photos and stories of the area’s past and engage visitors about their neighborhoods.

Named for the Rock Island Railroad that was extended to serve the area, Rock Island Street was developed from the river bottom reclaimed after the construction of the levees channelizing the Trinity River. Framed by the old meanders and conceived as an industrial area, the street remains populated by recyclers and architectural salvage companies. Working to share how existing buildings and businesses can be a part of change, property owners initiated a public art campaign and organized a street festival to spread neighborly good will.

In addition to displaying photos and stories about Rock Island, bcWORKSHOP collected neighborhood stories from dozens of attendees who told us what they love about where they live. Despite the June heat, the street was bustling with people buying found objects, enjoying the art and music while stopping in to provide valuable input informing our POP City Map.

Check out the video of the stories collected at the Cedars Arts Festival below, and watch for the latest version of the new City Map!

Power Plus

Research shows that 40 percent of all U.S. energy is consumed by buildings and 30 percent of that energy is wasted. Power Plus is bcW's energy education initiative addressing many of the underlying social, economic, and environmental factors that influence energy use. The initiative focuses the energy conversation within the scale of the home and employs high-tech and hands-on design tools that enable residents to make informed energy choices in the operation of their home in order to live a more sustainable lifestyle.

The high-tech side of the program utilizes an energy monitoring system called The Energy Detective (TED) to measure individual circuits and display real-time electricity cost within the home. Kill-a-Watt meters measure additional plug loads, creating a data-rich inventory of the home environment. bcWORKSHOP prepares detailed, graphic monthly reports of this data visualizing the home's energy use supplementing traditional utility bills.

The hands-on side involves a game-board style toolkit facilitating conversations about saving energy and money. The toolkit guides residents through a three month, seven meeting (4 weekly, then 2 bi-weekly, and 1 final month) discovery process with a bcWORKSHOP Energy Advisor. Visual tools including an annual graph of past power usage and the home's projected baseline performance serve as a guide for residents to inform decisionmaking, evaluate performance and achieve power usage goals. Using the toolkit, residents graph the weekly cost of appliances/activities separately, identifying the most costly behaviors. Additionally, a set of cards illustrate the cost per hour for each appliance and provides recommendations for saving money through either increased efficiency or conservation.

The high-tech and hands-on tools are deployed together encouraging dialogue and providing data. This coupled with energy saving actions and a feedback mechanism measuring action effectiveness helps residents make more informed choices. In this way, Power Plus demystifies the cost of electricity.