PDII 2017 Projects Completed!

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

For the two projects selected this year, filmmaker Tony Pena filmed and produced two videos for Equal Voice Network, and graphic designer Nayelli Bautista designed essential handouts and informational materials for Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos. 

These projects will both assist each organization with their outreach to residents of the Rio Grande Valley, ensuring they are informed about their rights as citizens or non-citizens. It also positions each organization as a resource for their communities. We hope these design works enable both groups to reach a wider and more diverse audience. 

You can see the products of each project by following our recipient organizations: Equal Voice Network and Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos on their social media. 

Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos now has brochures, posters, flyers, and business cards to distribute that inform Rio Grande Valley residents of their rights and provides resources in case these rights are violated.

Equal Voice Network now has two short videos regarding the impacts of legislation like SB4 and how we can all work together to advocate for the interests of individuals and families in the Rio Grande Valley.

These Public Design Impact Initiative projects were made possible by support from the Ford Foundation. Thank you to our designers, nonprofit partners and supporters!

Cool & Connected Oak Cliff

Learn more about our Smart Growth for Dallas related work!

We've had a blast working with The Texas Trees Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, and The Nature Conservancy; and working together with Oak Cliff residents and schools to implement large-scale tree planting projects in a targeted “heat island” area in southern Dallas. 

Science has shown that healthy urban tree canopies provide cities and communities a broad range of environmental and health benefits. Trees help combat extreme heat and harmful air pollution, both of which contribute to public health concerns like asthma and heart disease. They also regulate water quality, reduce storm water runoff and provide habitat for wildlife. Increasingly, urban forests and other forms of green space are recognized as an important strategy for increasing a city’s resilience to the impacts of climate change and, a growing body of research shows that students benefit from close proximity to green space around schools.

Unfortunately, parks, trees, and green space are in short supply in parts of Dallas—particularly around schools. Research from The Trust for Public Land indicates that only 58% of Dallas residents have a park or trail within a half-mile walking distance from their home; and a recent study from the Texas Trees Foundation indicates that 95% of schools in the Dallas Independent School District lack adequate canopy cover. Additionally, Dallas has the 3rd fastest growing urban heat island in the country.

Project partners are using data driven analysis to identify and advance tree planting in neighborhoods and school campuses with the greatest need. The Trust for Public Land’s recent “Smart Growth for Dallas” analysis identified portions of the historic Oak Cliff community, in southern Dallas, as a high priority for urban heat island reduction, connectivity enhancements, equity improvements and efforts to improve public health.

Over the course of the next several months, project partners will work alongside community volunteers and students to plant over 1,000 trees in a target area of Oak Cliff. Trees will be planted on two Dallas Independent School District (DISD) school campuses and in the surrounding neighborhood, including linkages to the Honey Springs-Cedar Crest Trail.

Join us! There will be more tree plantings and community meetings in 2018. Find out more about the project and the next opportunity to contribute your time and input into this work here: http://www.texastrees.org/projects/cool-connect-cedar-crest/

Pre-Construction Clean-Up at 1208 E. 10th Street


[bc] received a Safety Grant from Texas Mutual to support our purchase of ergonomic office equipment and safety equipment to keep our staff safe at the Tenth Street Neighborhood Resource Center construction site. 

In the Tenth Street neighborhood—one of the last remaining and perhaps the most intact of Dallas's historic Freedmen's Towns—we’re working with residents to help build local capacity.  We're renovating a historic home at 1208 E. 10th Street to serve as a Neighborhood Resource Center.  When completed, it will become a repository for essential resources, a site for activities that promote technical learning among residents and strengthen community cohesion, and a residence for a [bc] architectural designer who will hold open office hours to assist the community with technical advice.

The Neighborhood Resource Center will support residents in their efforts to address the pressing issues they've identified in their community, such as vacancy, redevelopment pressures, and the disrepair of historic homes in the neighborhood.  

In preparation for construction activities, [bc] and community members visited the property to conduct preliminary site clean-up.  Activities included leaf-raking, trash pick-up, and bamboo and brush clearing.  Check out the photos below!

Staff benefitted from the use of coveralls, safety glasses, gloves, ear protection, and hardhats purchased through Texas Mutual's generous grant.  We're so grateful for this support!

[bc] is grateful to all those who have provided support for the Tenth Street Neighborhood Resource Center: The Real Estate Council Foundation, The Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, Inc., the Hillcrest Foundation, the Hoblitzelle Foundation, and Bank of America

Making Little Free Libraries

Read more about [bc]'s Little Free Libraries!

One year after five Dallas Police Officers were killed in Downtown Dallas, we celebrated the opening of five libraries in their memory. We hope you take a book or leave a book at one of the five locations. Read in Peace. 

Thank you to filmmaker Mark Birnbaum for volunteering his time to make this video. 

ACD40 Conference Report

Learn more about the Association for Community Design and #ACD40!

Thank you to everyone who attended the Association for Community Design annual conference in June. ACD40’s theme, CommUNITY, sought to ignite conversations about the different models of practice that the field of community-engaged design uses to operate successfully. We envisioned a conference that would connect people from across the country who are working in and around public interest practices.

You can read our ACD40 Conference Report here. It contains a recap of the schedule, speakers, and sessions. It also includes results to the ACD40 Post-Conference Survey, the ACD 2017 Questionnaire, the Fellowship Survey, the Gender Equity Survey, and the Community Design Survey.

A big thank you to all of our funders, partners and supporters that made this conference possible: 

Funders - Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. & Surdna Foundation

Supporters - UT Arlington, College of Architecture, Planning, and Public Affairs, Mallory Baches, Jessica Blanch, Thor Erickson, Gilad Meron, Nikia Hill, Theresa Hwang, Mark Matel, Kevin Singh, Edward Orlowski, Stephen Goldsmith, & Alex Salazar

Venues - AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, CallisonRTKL, Dallas Public Library, HKS, & Thanksgiving Square

Promotional Partners - AIA Austin, AIA Dallas / Dallas Center for Architecture, APA North Texas Chapter, LRGV AIA, SMU Design Council, & USGBC Texas

Volunteers - Bi’Anncha Andrews, Farida Rafique, Hannah Plate, Shani Dixon, Victoria Brown, [bc] Staff & Fellows, & Neighborhood Design Center

Equal Voice Network

Read more about our Public Design Impact Initiative!


Equal Voice Network amplifies the voices of local poor and working families, ensuring that they have a say in the decisions and discussions that affect their lives. The organization builds a network of advocates for families in the Valley from multiple partner organizations and all areas of expertise, including civic engagement, immigration, education, employment, housing, and health care. With this project, the Equal Voice Network hopes to address these issues with educational films that will be accessible to the audiences who need them most. We are excited to begin working with the Equal Voice Network and filmmaker Tony Pena in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Equal Voice Network’s beliefs include:

  • Public policies should promote everyone’s ability to reach their fullest potential and advance the common good.
  • Families should have an equal voice in shaping policies and the future of their communities.

And they are committed to:

  •  Protecting the rights and opportunities of all families
  • Holding elected officials accountable to the common good

Tony Pena is a local filmmaker who is bringing his design and film expertise to the project. His work will assist Equal Voice Network in finding creative ways to get across their message to the right audiences.

Together we will create two short videos that engage Rio Grande Valley families and residents on topics and policies that affect their everyday life. The subject of the first two videos will be Texas’ Senate Bill 4, going into effect on September 1, 2017. The videos will help residents understand and prepare for the implications of the legislation in their region. In addition to creating these videos, we hope to generate a process model for making similar informative videos as social, cultural, and political shifts occur, so that the Equal Voice Network can continue to effectively generate and distribute relevant content to residents of the Rio Grande Valley.

The aim of our PDII program is to use local design talent to increase the impact of  our peer nonprofit organizations and community groups. The 2017 PDII program selected two projects to complete in the calendar year. Read about our other project selection, Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos.

Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos

Read more about our Public Design Impact Initiative!

We are excited to begin working with Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos and local graphic designer Nayelli Bautista as a part of our Public Design Impact Initiative. Movimiento del Valle is a community organization that educates and organizes the community around human rights issues. 


Movimiento del Valle is currently teaching community members about their constitutional rights and training them in strategies to combat anti-immigration attacks at the State and National levels. The Moviemento del Valle recognizes that the Rio Grande Valley is a very vulnerable geographic area that requires thoughtful and effective educational materials on rights and immigration.  The organization seeks support in creating dynamic resources that communicate information effectively through clear and accessible design and graphics.

Through a design process that engages both community stakeholders and partner organizations, Nayelli will work with Movimiento del Valle to update their educational and organizational materials, making them relevant and accessible to the audience Movimiento del Valle would like to reach. Together, we will update and refine Movimiento del Valle’s teaching tools to meet their current needs, and we will generate an online platform to make important information accessible to organization members and the public. 

The aim of our PDII program is to use local design talent to increase the impact of our peer nonprofit organizations and community groups. The 2017 PDII program selected two projects to complete in the calendar year. Read about our other project selection, Equal Voice Network.

Remembering the Fallen Officers of July 7th, 2016

Click here to read more about Little Free Libraries!

buildingcommunityWORKSHOP hosted the official opening reception of the DPD & DART Officer Memorial Little Free Libraries last Saturday, July 22nd at South Side on Lamar

Wisconsin resident Helen Stassen, whose late son Benjamin has been commemorated through a Little Free Library in their hometown, reached out to [bc] after July 7th to initiate this endeavor and generously funded the design and construction of the five libraries. 

“We are offering a small contribution to personal and community healing in the form of Little Free Libraries as memorials to the slain Dallas Officers. Since Benjamin’s death our family has embraced the positive experience of being stewards of a Little Free Library, used by many people, that is a memorial in Benjamin’s name. This offers us an evolving and ever changing way to nurture and care for others in our community and to keep Benjamin’s memory alive. May the families, friends and community of Officers receive some of these same benefits. We hope/pray those who see and use these libraries and hear this story be moved toward helping others and sharing in peaceful nonviolent ways.“

Over the last 12 months, the five Little Free Libraries have been designed, built, and installed across the City of Dallas to commemorate the five officers who lost their lives on July 7th, 2016. This project has been an opportunity for a meaningful collaboration between [bc], the Dallas Police Department's Office of Community Affairs, a team of dedicated volunteer designers, and our library stewards: South Side on Lamar, El Centro College, N W Harllee Early Childhood Center, Our Saviour Episcopal Church, and Vickery Meadow Community Garden. To realize the libraries, a group of 6 core volunteers offered their design services with help from dozens of other volunteer professionals and students. The design of the 5 libraries is composed of 5 shapes that were fabricated by hand. The libraries work together as a group, but are arranged in different compositions in each location to preserve  a sense of individuality for each library. 

This scheme was inspired by the police officers, who were all unique individuals who came together to work as one unit.  The unique geometric qualities of each library are meant to represent this bond. Proudly painted blue and yellow, all libraries display the fallen officers’ badge numbers, the “Read in Peace” slogan, and other personal memorial items from the Stassen family that address people affected by gun violence.

The memorial libraries are part of our Little Free Library/Libros Libres program. Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres is a literacy and community based design initiative in Dallas, Texas that uses free book exchanges to build community and promote a culture of reading. Inspired by the Little Free Library movement (www.littlefreelibrary.org), these small neighborhood book shelters operate under the guiding principle of “take a book, leave a book.” The project uses community engagement and design to makes books available in a variety of publicly accessible locations, supporting the health of the neighborhoods by fostering collaboration and relationships.

We would like to thank everyone who was involved in the creation of the libraries. Over the course of the year, we had over a dozen hands involved in the design and fabrication process. The core volunteer group was led by: 
Amruta Sakalker
Kristin Henry
Haven Hardage
Oswaldo Rivera-Ortiz
Freddie Ortiz
Sonya Shah

Additional support and in-kind donations were made by:
Richardson High School’s R Studio
Dallas Metal Inc.
SMU Deacon Innovation Lab
Little Free Libraries

Little Free Libraries in the press:
Little Free Libraries will honor fallen Dallas officers, Dallas Morning News, September 9, 2016. 

Dallas Designer Social: Creating a Neighborhood Cultural Hub

Learn more about our work in Dallas!

How do you transform a shopping center into a cultural hub for it's neighborhood?

Focused on education and fostering entrepreneurship in the community, For Oak Cliff is getting its start in the Glendale Shopping Center in South Oak Cliff. Their vision is to foster a community space that inspires and energizes the residents in the area. With the goal of improving their new retail/office space to better achieve this vision, [bc] invited a group of local designers for a Designer Social event to develop concepts and schematic designs both inside For Oak Cliff's office space and around the shopping center as a whole. 

Check out these photos from the Designer Social:

PDII 2017 Project Selections

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

In January 2017, as part of a collaborative effort to extend equity in design to rural, colonia areas, a Request For Proposals was released to invite Rio Grande Valley 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 the proposals and provide their recommendations for this year's selections.

[bc] is excited to announce that the following two projects have been selected for 2017:

Movimiento del Valle por los Derechos Humanos
Movimiento del Valle is currently educating and training community members about their constitutional rights as a strategy against anti-immigration attacks at the State and National levels. Recognizing that the RGV is a very vulnerable geographical area, they seek support in creating more educational resources for the community that help them communicate information more effectively through clear and accessible design and graphics. Through PDII Movimiento wants to start a graphic campaign and an online platform in which RGV residents have access to information and messages from the group. Their proposal includes the production of designs and educational resources to better equip the community on how to defend themselves against anti-immigration laws and a state of militarization and heavy policing at the border.

Equal Voice Network
The Equal Voice Network wants to develop a demonstration project of attractive and accessible social media messages of public interest and benefit. Through PDII the nonprofit wants to create a smart-phone friendly video series (via Facebook) that targets adults who have had limited opportunity for formal education. The first product of the series will break down the very complicated education reform bill passed in 2013 by the Texas State Legislature (Foundation High School Program) to give parents an immediate sense of what they need to be aware of for their middle and high school aged children. The other subjects of the series could cover a wide range of issues that affect the residents of  colonias like health care (Zika prevention), housing (“Is your home address on the 9-1-1 list?”), education (“Will  your child graduate high school eligible for university?”).

Bridging the Gap: Connecting Nonprofits and Designers

Learn more about our Public Design Impact Initiative!

"Sometimes community groups have this need and designers want to do meaningful work and they don't know how to connect with each other."  Learn how [bc] Bridges The Gap between nonprofits and designers through our Public Design Impact Initiative.

The Public Design Impact Initiative (PDII) is a program to match nonprofit & community groups with local design professional services. This program guides selected projects through a community-engaged design process and partners communities and designers to build the knowledge and experience of both to better serve others.

The PDII 2017 Request for Proposals is OPEN! Are you a nonprofit or community group in the Rio Grande Valley in need of design? Would architecture, planning, landscape architecture, or design expertise help with a project you've had in mind but not the resources to move forward? We encourage you to submit a project proposal! Proposals are due Thursday, February 2nd, 2017.


ACD 40 Call for Sessions

The Association for Community Design has launched their Call for Sessions for their 40th Annual Conference.
Deadline for proposal submission has passed.

[bc] has been selected to host the 40th Annual Conference of the Association for Community Design in Dallas, Texas to be held June 23rd - 24th,  2017. You are invited to submit proposals to present at the conference. Proposals are due at 5pm on March 3, 2017. Selected proposals will receive free registration to the ACD Conference.  

“40 years ago, the field of Community Design grew out of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s with the intention of redistributing design resources to support under-invested neighborhoods. Looking forward another 40 years, ACD would like to invite the growing field to actively participate in the equitable development of neighborhoods and intentionally push our practice towards justice in our collective everyday lives.” - Theresa Hwang, ACD President

CommUNITY: Exchange. Explore. Envision.

As ACD turns 40, it is time to reflect back on the why ACD was formed and how it is serving its members today. This year’s conference will be hosting sessions that are centered around the many models of practice that inform how community-based design centers and practitioners operate. The conference will seek to advance the practice of Community Design by connecting and sharing this collective experience.


Exchange: What technical skills are essential to practicing community-based design? Proposals should teach these skills to attendees of all experience levels. From budgets, fundraising, and contracts to project delivery and design tools that are essential to practice, what can you teach others looking to enter or advance their community practices further?

Explore: What are key examples of best practices in the Community Design field? Proposals should go beyond case studies, clearly explaining the lessons learned and how an example project further refined the model of practice for that individual or firm. Example projects that push the boundaries of community design and do not fit traditional models of work are encouraged.

Envision: What will the next 40 years of the Community Design field look like? Proposals should present ambitious visions of the future for community-based design practice, the role of ACD and its members in that vision, and/or methodologies to create and achieve a future vision.


90 minute sessions: In-depth sessions that teach a key skill to the attendees, presents a lesson learned by experience in the Community Design field, or that engages the audience in a visioning process. These sessions must include an interactive component that engages the audience in the proposed session.

30 minute sessions: Short presentations or hands-on workshops for a small group of attendees that fits one of the three tracks described above.

5 minute sessions: Very brief presentations that tell a story that fits one of the three tracks described above.

Additional opportunities include the Pre-Conference Workshop on Racial Justice in the practice of Community Design and hosting a public event, exhibit, or tour during the conference. 

To submit a proposal and for more information, visit www.communitydesign.org!

Public Design Impact Initiative | 2017 Request for Proposals

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

Our 2017 Request for Proposals is now open!

You can now submit your Project Proposals for [bc]'s 2017 PDII program. 

Are you a nonprofit or community group in need of design? Would architecture, planning, landscape architecture, or design expertise help you with a project you've had in mind but not the resources to move forward? Read through the Request for Proposals: English | Español and submit your project idea!

In 2016/2017, as part of a collaborative effort to extend equity in design to rural, colonia areas, [bc] is seeking proposals from nonprofit organizations and community groups based in the Rio Grande Valley. More details are below.


El plazo para someter una propuesta completa es el JUEVES, 2 de FEBRERO de 2017. El formulario de la Propuesta de Proyecto puede someterse a traves de correo, email, o usando el formulario online. Puede encontrar una version editable, y impresible del Formulario de Propuestas de Proyecto

Para someter a traves del formulario online: 
Use este enlace - bcworkshop.typeform.com/to/SHMOBq

Para someter a traves de email: 
Envíe su Propuesta de Proyecto completada en formato PDF a elaine@bcworkshop.org. Escriba “PDII Project Proposal” en el título del email. 

Para someter una propuesta de proyecto por correo: 
Envíe una copia impresa de su Propuesta de Proyecto a la siguiente direccion. Se le notificará cuando su propuesta sea recibida utilizando la dirección email que provea en la primera parte de su propuesta. Las propuestas deben ser RECIBIDAS EN O ANTES DEL JUEVES, 2 de FEBRERO de 2017.    

Attn: Public Design Impact Initiative
609 E. 11th St.
Brownsville, TX 78520


Todos los groups comunitarios o sin fines de lucro en RGV (incluyendo orgnizaciones sin fines de lucro, asociaciones de vecindario, grupos PTA de escuelas, etc) son invitados a someter una Propuesta de Proyecto. Los solicitantes deben estar organizados en grupos de 3 o más indiviuos y deben estar localizados en el RGV. Los Proyectos Propuestos deben estar localizados en el RGV y atender problemas o asuntos relacionads a Colonias.

Propuestas de todos grupos y organizaciones comunitarias son bienvenidas, así sean grandes sin fines de lucro o pequeñas y menos formales, independiente de su tamaño o la escala de su trabajo.

Se le dará preferencia a:

  • Grupos comunitarios y sin fines de lucro que usualmente no pueden accesar recursos o servicios de diseño.

  • Propuestas de proyecto que atiendan directamente problemas que enfrentan las comunidades rurales y colonias.

Preguntas y comentarios relacionados al programa de Public Design Impact Initiative deben ser dirigidas a Elaine Morales, al elaine@bcworkshop.org o 347.607.2593


The deadline to submit a completed Project Proposal is THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 2017. The Project Proposal Form may be submitted through mail, email, or using the online form. Click here to download an editable, printer friendly version of the Project Proposal Form

To submit via online form: 
Use this link - bcworkshop.typeform.com/to/o41qZl

To submit via email: 
Send your completed Project Proposal Form as a PDF file to elaine@bcworkshop.org. Include “PDII Project Proposal” in the subject line.

To submit a project proposal via mail:
Send a hardcopy of your Project Proposal form to the address below. You will be notified when your submission has been received using the email address provided in your Project Proposal. Mailed copies must be RECEIVED BY THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2ND, 2017.    

Attn: Public Design Impact Initiative
609 E. 11th St.
Brownsville, TX 78520


All RGV-based community and nonprofit groups (including nonprofit organizations, neighborhood associations, school PTA groups, etc.) are invited to submit Project Proposals. Applicants must be made up of a group of three or more individuals and should be both located within the RGV area. Proposed projects must also be located in the RGV and address issues related to colonias.

Proposals are welcome from all not-for-profit groups, from large and established nonprofit organizations to small/less formal community groups, regardless of the scale or scope of work.

Preference will be given to:

  • Community and nonprofit groups that cannot typically access design resources or services.
  • Project proposals that directly address issues facing colonias and rural communities. 

Questions & comments related to the Public Design Impact Initiative should be directed to Elaine Morales, at elaine@bcworkshop.org or 347.607.2593.

PDII 2016 Project Selection

Learn more about the Public Design Impact Initiative!

Rebecca of the Hope Family Health Center and Carolina of ORANGE-MADE discuss schematic design ideas for HFHC's new facilities. The project is currently in the implementation phase and expected to be completed in the spring of 2017.

Rebecca of the Hope Family Health Center and Carolina of ORANGE-MADE discuss schematic design ideas for HFHC's new facilities. The project is currently in the implementation phase and expected to be completed in the spring of 2017.

In May 2016, as part of a collaborative effort to extend equity in design to rural, colonia areas, a Request For Proposals was released to invite Rio Grande Valley 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 July, a jury of nonprofit, community and design leaders convened to review the proposals, recommending the following project to be selected for 2016:

The Hope Family Health Center

The Hope Family Health Center (HFHC) is a primary medical and behavioral health clinic with a mission to exclusively serve the uninsured in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV). 

HFHC proposed a planning and infrastructure design project for a newly acquired 1,460 sq ft rectangle space attached to the current HFHC clinic facility in South McAllen. Due to the continued high rate of medically uninsured adults and children in the RGV and in order to meet its mission of serving the uninsured population, in the last two years, HFHC has sought and secured major grant funded projects to deliver increased quality and quantity of services. The services include medical appointments, mental health counseling, nutritional counseling, community health education classes, support groups, vision screenings, and information & referral services. All of these services have outgrown the physical space of the clinic. The additional 1,000 sq ft of space will greatly increase the number of services available on-site and on the same day knowing that patients have many challenges in arranging transportation to the clinic.

HFHC was in need of the extra space in order to house its growing programs and activities. However, the new open space requires infrastructure that could include walls to define rooms, moveable walls to keep space multi-use, interior design to maximize floor space, and use of green and sustainable materials. The board of directors and medical volunteers have many ideas and thoughts on how best to use the space; however, through PDII, HFHC seeks professional and innovate planning and design assistance to discover, design, plan and implement the optimal use of the space for use by patients, staff, volunteers, and partner organizations.

Optimal use of the new space would immediately increase the number of laughter yoga classes, nutrition classes, grief support groups, stress management groups, exercise classes, staff planning meetings, medical volunteer meetings, professional development workshops, community group meetings, partner organization workshops, and many other opportunities for individuals to gather in groups. Currently the only space available for these types of activities is the public lobby or a small meeting room that cannot hold more than 10 people comfortably. In addition to the group space, the additional space for desks or offices would give patients more opportunities to meet privately with a nutritional counselor, information and referral specialist or social worker on the same day as their medical appointment instead of having to come back on another day. HFHC expects that the new space will achieve increased quality and quantity of all the current and possibly new services for its patients.

Little Free Libraries Code Amendment Update

See more posts on Little Free Libraries!

On October 26, 2016 the Development Code Amendment regarding Little Free Libraries in the City of Dallas was heard by the Dallas City Council:

  • Item 60. A public hearing to receive comments regarding amendments to Chapter 51 and Chapter 51A of the Dallas Development Code, Section 51-4.217 and Section 51A-4.217, “Accessory Uses,” providing regulations for book exchange structures as accessory outside storage and an ordinance granting the amendments.

The adopted motion was to “treat landscaping, ornamental structures (front yard accessories) and lawn furniture by right,” meaning no new code restrictions would be placed on “book exchange structures” or Little Free Libraries.

  • Voting Yes: [14] Rawlings, Alonzo, Wilson, Griggs, Medrano, Thomas, Callahan, Young, Clayton, McGough, Kleinman, Greyson, Gates, Kingston
  • Voting No: [1] Arnold  

While the City of Dallas will not restrict the size or location of Little Free Libraries on private property, if you are considering placing a LFL on your private property, we recommend contacting you HOA (if applicable) for any restrictions that may affect your library structure.

Our thanks goes to everyone who contacted their councilperson and expressed their opinion of the Development Code Amendment!

See lfldallas.org and the links below for more resources for Little Free Libraries!

Little Free Libraries: Dallas Development Code Amendment

The proposed Dallas Development Code amendment that will affect current and future Little Free Libraries (LFL) in our community. Free outdoor little free libraries encourage vibrant, connected public spaces and help to increase access to books throughout our community. 

Here are few of the highlights on how the code amendments and how it affect current and future LFLs:

  • Proposed amendments are rigid on location and size.  Size and location requirements in the front yard limits LFL to small boxes located in very specific locations that leave no scope for creativity.
  • Under the proposed amendments, there is no possibility for the existing LFLs to be grandfathered in as the proposed requirements will be applied retroactively.
  • A survey of existing LFL in Dallas found that more than half of the LFL would become illegal if the new amendments are passed as presented. The vast majority of those are located in front of single family homes, designed and built by families.
  • It also means that out of 19 LFLs available to be purchased online on LFL National site, only 3, would be allowed under the proposed amendments.
  • No other big cities of Texas - including Houston, Austin, San Antonio, and El Paso - have any code regulations for LFLs. Other cities around Dallas - Frisco, Plano, Fort Worth, Richardson and Irving - do not have any code regulations for LFLs. Only one suburban city, Pearland has rules that disallow LFLs.

Dallas City Council will be considering the proposed amendments at the next council meeting on October 26th, 2016 at 9 am, in City Hall

CLICK HERE for a brief description of the LFL program in Dallas, research on how the
proposal affect LFLs, and a copy of the proposed amendment.

We encourage you to reach out to your council member to express your opinion on the proposed amendments and attend the council meeting on October 26th to make your voice heard during the public hearing.  

If you have any questions about the attached document, please feel free to contact us at lfldallas@gmail.com or inform@bcworkshop.org.

Press written about the code amendments include: 

Smart Growth for Dallas Community Engagement Kick-off

Learn more about Smart Growth for Dallas.

Join us on Thursday, November 10th, at Dallas Heritage Village to kick off the community engagement events for Phase II of Smart Growth for Dallas, a new initiative to help Dallas protect its most important natural places and create a city of great public spaces. Sign-in begins at 5:30pm, presentation and activities will be 6:00-7:30pm.

During this event we will present work done to date, provide an opportunity to ask questions about the project and data gathered, provide details on the 7 community engagement meetings that will be held over the next two months, and record stories about Dallasites’ favorite parks. We hope you’ll join us for this exciting event on November 10th.

RSVP for the event here

For more information about the project, read our web-post about Smart Growth for Dallas.

Smart Growth for Dallas is a partnership with The Trust for Public Land, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, The Dallas Park and Recreation Department, and The Texas Trees Foundation. Combining Geographic Information System computer modeling and on-the-ground engagement with residents and park users, Smart Growth for Dallas will create an interactive “decision support tool” to help Dallas prioritize its investments in parks based on their economic, social, and ecological benefits. Results of the program will be available to city staff, non-profit partners and the public through an interactive website.

July Designer Social Recap

Learn more about the proposed code amendments to Little Free Libraries in Dallas, and sign up to receive email updates on opportunities to get involved in your community!

Thank you for attending our 3rd Dallas Designer Social of 2016 and making it such a success! Find out how you can get involved with the projects and organizations that presented at the event below. 


Ashley Hollon and Melanie Wood shared how AIA Dallas' Young Professionals committee aims to direct young professionals to give back to the community through design. Their mission: Providing networking, professional development and opportunities to give back to the community through design for unlicensed, newly licensed and other young professionals up to 10 years after registration. 

  • Find out more about upcoming events here, get involved in current projects, or volunteer to provide technical assistance by emailing aiadallasyp@gmail.com.

Patrick Blaydes and Amruta Sakalker discussed the proposed code amendments affecting existing and future Little Free Libraries in Dallas, and how designers can become advocates for public space. Read more about Little Free Libraries / Libros Libres.

Doug Prude, of PARK(ing) Day Dallas, shared how designers can get involved in this year's event on September 16th, 2016. Anyone can register to reserve a parking space on Main Street to transform into a park for the Downtown Dallas event or sign up to assist other participants with their design or construction needs.

Our Designer Social series will continue to share local opportunities, programs, and resources in the Dallas area for designers, architects, artists, engineers, landscape architects, and other design-related professionals to get involved in community-based projects. We invite you to come learn from local efforts, expand your network of resources, and build capacity for designers in DFW to address issues in our communities. Read the recaps of the February and April Dallas Designer Socials!

If you would like to share at our next Social about a local program or project you are involved in, let us know! Email elizabeth@bcworkshop.org for more information on our Designer Social series.