YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas

We are publishing a collection of reports and documents prepared by bcANALYTICS to help nonprofit and community-based organizations serve their clients and communities through data-driven research and analysis. Check out more bcANALYTICS reports here.


The YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas (YW) is moving from operating as a virtual organization with dispersed services to opening the YW Women’s Center Ebby’s Place located at 2603 Inwood Road in Dallas, increasing its public presence and ability to offer wrap-around services. As YW prepares for this shift, the organization is considering how to sustain its current clients, how existing and new clients access the Center, and opportunities for outreach and programming to neighborhoods and organizations nearby.

This study provides contextual data on low-income women and families and the difficulty of making ends meet, local data on YW’s target clientele, visualization of YW’s current service delivery, and information on the neighborhoods, resources, and transit access near the new YW Women’s Center. The goal of this report is to aid YW in informed decision-making on their outreach and service delivery as they work to guide women toward self sufficiency.

Below is an excerpt from the YWCA report. Read the full report here!

As the largest community foundation in Texas and one of the largest in the nation, Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) works with families, companies and nonprofits to strengthen our community through a variety of charitable funds and strategic grantmaking initiatives. The foundation professionally manages more than 900 charitable funds and has awarded more than $1.3 billion in grants since its founding in 1953. Increasing financial stability of working families is one of the two key focus areas of CFT’s community impact funds. To support this area, CFT has launched the Data Driven Decision-Making (D3) Institute. The D3 Institute is designed to provide organizations that offer programs and services for low-income working families the power to accelerate their development of enduring solutions to the social and economic problems facing this population. www.cftexas.org/D3

Libros Libres wins SXSW Eco Place by Design Community Impact Award!

Read the rest of our Little Free Libraries/Libres Libros posts.

On behalf of all of the project partners, library stewards, hosts, and designers, team members Isaac Cohen and Philomena Jones were on hand to accept the award. We were incredibly honored to be named one of 15 finalist for the award and excited that we had the opportunity to share the project with all of the attendees at the SXSW Eco Conference in Austin.  You can see all of the award finalists here and learn about some great place making efforts from around the world: http://sxsweco.com/placebydesign

We look forward to capitalizing on this award and to building more Libros Libres in Dallas!

Libros Libres a Finalist for SXSW Eco's Place by Design

Read other Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres posts.

We're excited to announce that Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres, our collaboration with Big Thought and Dallas Public Library, has been named a finalist for SXSW Eco's Place By Design competition! We'll see you in Austin this October 6-8.

Be sure to check out the other great finalists as well!

Library Build Day

Read other Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres posts.

On May 17th, community members, library hosts and stewards, volunteer designers, and project partners gathered at the Lakewest YMCA in West Dallas and the Full City Rooster in the Cedars to build and install their Little Free Libraries. After many weeks of work and much anticipation everyone was excited to finally get to building and reading! It was a beautiful day and much fun was had by all. See for yourself:

Take a Book, Leave a Book

This is the first post in a series about the Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres project.

Little Free Libraries/Libros Libres is a literacy and community design initiative in Dallas, TX that pairs neighborhood residents and organizations with local designers to build small book shelters, creating new gathering spaces that promote literacy and community building. Part of the Little Free Library movement, started by Todd Bol and Rick Brooks, this project promotes community ownership, encourages frequent use, and ensures the longevity of each library, improving the built environment alongside literacy in urban areas.

The project was initiated as a collaboration between bcWORKSHOP, Big Thought, and the Dallas Public Library. Between now and May 2014, designers will be paired with neighborhood stewards to build up to 20 Little Free Libraries in neighborhoods in the Lincoln and Madison (South Dallas/Fair Park) and Pinkston (West Dallas) high school feeder patterns. Using a $100 budget, community members will work with volunteer designers and artists to design and build the libraries. Free books will be supplied to stock the libraries, which are located in public places chosen by community members.

Learn more at lfldallas.org

Neighborhood Stories SEED Awards Honorable Mention

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

POP Neighborhood Stories has been recognized as a 2014 SEED Award for Excellence in Public Interest Design Honorable Mention! Winning projects span the globe from Peru, Brazil, India, Israel, Mozambique, China, and the United States. We are very proud to have our work recognized along side so many great projects.

2014 SEED Award Winners: Comunidad Ecologica Saludable, Puenta Piedra, Lima Peru Can City, Sao Paulo, Brazil The Potty Project, New Delhi, India Towns Association for Environmental Quality Green Building Headquarters, Sakhnin, Israel Community How-To-Guides, Detroit, Michigan, United States Manica Football for Hope Centre, Bairro Vumba, Manica, Mozambique

Honorable Mentions:Dime Kam Minority Cultural Heritage in China, Dimen, China Walk [Your City], Raleigh, North Carolina, United States POP Neighborhood Stories, Dallas, Texas, United States

The fourth annual SEED Awards received applications from 28 countries. The SEED Award recognizes designs that address the critical social, economic, and environmental issues in the world. Winners were selected by an esteemed jury based on the following criteria: Effectiveness, Excellence, Inclusiveness, Impactful, and Systemic and Participatory. The jury members were: William Morrish, Jury Chair, of Parsons The New School of Design; Cara McCarty of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; Andres Lepik of the Architekturmuseum der Technischen Universität München; Esther Yang of the Max Bond Center for Design for the Just City; and Christopher London of The New School.

bcWORKSHOP's past SEED Award winning projects include the Congo Street Initiative (Winner, 2011); Gurley Place at Jubilee Park (Honorable Mention, 2012); and Colonias Planning & Implementation (Honorable Mention, 2013).

Dallas Heroes

Learn more about our Informing work.

Dallas Heroes was initiated by bcWORKSHOP in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s incredible legacy of service. Dr. King challenged us to build a more perfect union and taught us that everyone has a role to play. With the Dallas Heroes project, on January 20th we honored some of those who serve or have served locally by distributing "Dallas Heroes" trading cards across the city of Dallas. Our hope is that this advocacy will encourage you to honor your heroes and to engage the causes that you care about.

How were the 25 heroes chosen? For the First Edition we nominated our own local heroes, the people that have inspired us by striving to bring greater economic, social, and environmental justice to Dallas. They come from a wide range of causes, including civil rights, environmental justice, and the arts. There are many more heroes to honor - now we welcome your submissions for the Second Edition.

Why trading cards? They’re tangible, portable, collectible, and fun. We were inspired by vintage sports cards, and we believe our heroes can be celebrated in this form as well.

Where can I get a pack? This is a limited edition of 1,000 packs, distributed across the city. You can find locations posted on Twitter and Instagram (#dallasheroes). The cards will not be reprinted!

What can I do? Submit and share your Dallas heroes, either through the website www.dallasheroes.org, or through Twitter or Instagram  (#dallasheroes). On the website you can also connect to the causes or organizations associated with some of the 25 heroes in this pack. We encourage you to find other local opportunities for volunteerism, advocacy, or donations.

When will the Second Edition come out? That all depends on you and the submissions we receive. Submit your heroes through www.dallasheroes.org for a chance to win a t-shirt featuring your Dallas Hero!

More questions? Give us a call at 214-252-2900, e-mail us at inform@bcworkshop.org or drop by our office at 416 S. Ervay Street!


Read more about the Dallas Heroes project in the local Dallas media:

Dallas Morning News

D Magazine

POP Neighborhood Stories a Place by Design Finalist!

The POP Neighborhood Stories initiative was recognized this past week by SXSW Eco in Austin, TX as one of 15 finalists from 75 applicants in the Place by Design competition. The competition honors good design “having the ability to reflect a community’s culture and values and compels people to engage with their everyday surroundings.” See all of the Place by Design finalists here, and congratulations to the four great winning projects: Ballroom Luminoso, From Blight to BrightINSITU, and The Looper.

Over the last year, POP Neighborhood Stories has hosted six celebratory events in the Dallas neighborhoods of La BajadaDolphin HeightsWynnewood NorthTenth StreetMount Auburn, and the Dallas Arts District, reaching over 1,400 total participants. Each event temporarily transforms space in historic neighborhoods into a celebration of each neighborhood's unique culture and development and provides a platform for dialogue about the history and future. This series of events was made possible in part by funding from the National Endowment for the Arts.

We would like to extend our thanks to all of the community members and volunteers that participated in and contributed to these efforts and who make this work possible.

Mount Auburn Stories

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On Saturday, August 17th Neighborhood Stories celebrated the community of Mount Auburn. Since the start of its development in 1907, Mount Auburn has remained a stronghold for East Dallas’ working class residents who have consistently campaigned for the retention and betterment of single-family homes, streets, and parks. Culturally and economically diverse, Mount Auburn’s population has gradually shifted from predominantly Anglo to predominantly Latino. This shift has brought change to the historic neighborhood, with renovated homes and businesses expressing the culture of its current residents. Not immune to inner city problems, the neighborhood has rebounded from the city’s suburban migration in the 1960s and the subsequent increase in crime in order to emerge as a stable, active neighborhood. Though not a historic or conservation district itself, Mount Auburn has certainly benefitted from city ordinances that protect the character of the surrounding areas; however, its success can mainly be attributed to its residents. The strong advocates of years past established, protected, and improved the parks, schools, and quiet connectivity that lend Mount Auburn the peaceful vibrancy it enjoys today.

As part of the Neighborhood Stories series, activities included a bike/walk paseo through the neighborhood, exploring exhibit stations that showcase the physical and social history of Mount Auburn; a community meal with food from local residents; and a sunset screening of the neighborhood film. 

Watch the Mount Auburn film.

Tenth Street Stories

Read more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

On Saturday evening, June 15th, the bcWORKSHOP team got together with the Tenth Street community for the fourth Neighborhood Stories event. We partnered with two churches founded in the neighborhood, Greater El Bethel Missionary Baptist and Elizabeth Chapel CME Church, for a choir performance. Neighbors and visitors enjoyed a potluck BBQ dinner, followed by a sunset screening of a film featuring interviews with current and former residents and those who have been involved with the neighborhood over the years. A gallery exhibit and booklet communicated Tenth Street's rich history and strong culture through photos and maps. Approximately 150 people attended the event, sharing their memories and dreams for the neighborhood on an interactive map and a rope line that stretched across the site.

Watch the Tenth Street film.

SMU deploys POP Toolkit

Learn more about POP Dallas.

testing sensors
testing sensors
creating power source for sensor node
creating power source for sensor node

In February 2013, Southern Methodist University’s Innovation Gymnasium and bcWORKSHOP began talks about a partnership to bring engineering students into neighborhoods to develop socially engaged technology solutions. The Innovation Gymnasium regularly runs Immersion Design Experiences (IDEs), intensive ten-day interdisciplinary engineering design projects for real clients that allow students to build skills with client relations, research, prototyping, finance, and marketing. During the last week of May 2013, the IDE began work within Dolphin Heights. Seven engineering students were presented with an unwieldy problem: how can you measure healthy living environment, connectivity, and cohesion, three of the Measures contained in the POP Toolkit? They brainstormed a number of possible solutions including: a wireless sensor network that could detect noise, light, weather, and air quality and relay the information to a website to host and display collected data; an interactive Neighborhood Board to display sensor-gathered data and also collect qualitative data; and a Wi-Fi bench to serve as a gathering place for the community while providing Wi-Fi to the neighborhood. Due to the budget and time constraints, the students decided to focus on producing the wireless sensor network and the website to display the collected data.

By tracking levels of sound intensity at sensors scattered throughout the neighborhood, students hypothesized that they could map movement and pinpoint circulation patterns (connectivity), gathering places (cohesion), as well as ambient noise (healthy living environment). Tracking light with photosensors at night and during the day would identify light pollution and available shade, two more components of a healthy living environment. An additional single sensor recording weather and air quality would help understand pollution (healthy living environment).

presentation of prototype to bcWORKSHOP and Ms Hill
presentation of prototype to bcWORKSHOP and Ms Hill

The students did a commendable job working hard under pressure with a great deal of sensitivity to the neighborhood’s interests and perceptions. Their technical success compares with their enthusiasm to extend their short-term solution into a long-term project complementing the POP Toolkit’s mission: assisting grassroots planning by preparing the community as advocates for change.

Many thanks to engineering students Kate, Greg, Elizabeth, Eric, Jeff, Lauren, Matt, Austin, and Alex! We are already looking forward to future collaboration!

POP Measures & Tools

Learn more about POP Dallas.

The last POP Toolkit post, in March, mentioned we were looking for a neighborhood to partner with us to Pilot the Toolkit. We found that partner in the Mill City neighborhood, but what has happened in the meantime? Making that announcement revealed to us how much more work still needed to be done -- refining our product and engagement, yes, but also our project definitions.

We had figured out what the Toolkit was and how it worked, but not how to explain it. Our (self-described) “fun and engaging process” was clumsy and awkward to explain or facilitate. We had to go back to the drawing board, where we had long ago stated that the POP Toolkit would structure, visualize, and organize grassroots planning. These principles neatly organize the pieces and parts that make up the Toolkit Process.

The Toolkit structures change by challenging stakeholders to declare a scale of intervention, whether it be the house, the street, the neighborhood or the city. This identifies expectations, a potential audience, and stakeholders.

Livability Measures and Engagement Tools

The Toolkit visualizes change by establishing baseline conditions, contributing factors, and possible solutions to neighborhood concerns. These neighborhood concerns helped us filter global livability research into eight Measures of Livability. The Measures are Density, Form, Use vs. Entitlement, Ownership, Healthy Living Environment, Connectivity, Safety and Cohesion.

Finally, the Toolkit organizes change through twelve Engagement Tools: strategies to convert everyday activities into activism. These are split into three Methods which provide a flexible guide to planning Workshops. The Walk, Meter, List or Web lend themselves to discovering Connections. The Messenger, Gallery, Performance or Meeting are good strategies to share those discoveries. The Act, Garden, Dinner and Plan make a difference. All of the Tools should be used with reflection to deepen the impact and understanding of each step.

The POP Toolkit is, at it's simplest, a way to deploy design thinking as a community organizing Tool. It reflects the process we at bcWORKSHOP use in all our design and making, and puts those skills in neighbor's hands to expand the impact we can make together.

Designing a New UTB

Read more about our work in the RGV.

A Victory for the Public’s Interest

In the summer of 2012, uncertainty surrounded the announced divorce of Texas Southmost College (TSC) and the University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB). City of Brownsville long-term strategic plans for the future economic vitality and success of its greater downtown core included anchor academic institutions, namely the existing TSC-UTB partnership and shared facilities. The separation of these two institutions had serious long-term economic and social implications for the health of the greater downtown area. An early study commissioned by UT Regents recommended a relocation of the UT Brownsville campus to a site north of the city, a plan generated without community engagement or input.

In an effort to influence the UT Board of Regents’ upcoming decision regarding the future location of UTB, bcWORKSHOP organized and facilitated a design charrette during which participants shared their vision for a new UTB and greater Downtown. The charrette paired local stakeholders with national experts in urban design, engineering, institutional development and city shaping. Public Architecture secured technical expertise in Cannon Design and Sam Schwartz Engineering and engaged U3 Ventures to assist with economic development. Participants, including academic administrators, faculty, students, business owners, developers, city staff, political leaders, and residents, numbered more than 75 during the July 25-28, 2012 charrette process.

bcWORKSHOP packaged the ideas generated at the design charrette and presented them in collaboration with the City of Brownsville to the Board of Regents. As a result, the UT system issued (1) a competitive Request for Qualifications for comprehensive architectural services concerning the design of a 21st century campus that was subsequently awarded to Cannon Design and (2) a Request for Proposals (RFP) for land acquisitions concerning the future location of UTB’s campus. Continuing planning efforts, the City of Brownsville asked bcWORKSHOP to assist in preparing a response to the RFP. The proposal created by bcWORKSHOP was a collection of privately and publicly owned land in the greater downtown and highlighted strengths of an urban campus as a place where:

  • synergies exist to positively shape the multi-faceted student experience
  • new development leverages existing UTB physical assets
  • flexibility enables the new 21st century education model

The urban campus proposal was submitted in October 2012. On May 9, 2013 the University of Texas Board of Regents voted to pass a motion confirming Downtown Brownsville as the future location of UTB. The vote authorized negotiations for lease of property from Texas Southmost College and to continue discussions with the City of Brownsville regarding purchase of land for future development. The Board’s decision is a victory for UTB students, faculty, and the greater Brownsville community. The downtown campus decision is seen as a culmination of community engagement efforts to ensure that the long-term plan reflects a thoughtful investment in the vitality of the campus, the downtown area, and their users.

UTB 2.0: Proposal for a Knowledge Community was prepared following the Community charrette.

Wynnewood North Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

As part of the bcWORKSHOP’s POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative, Dallas Neighborhood Stories will produce a series of events that engage Dallas’s diverse communities in an active dialogue about the history and future of the city. 

On the afternoon of Saturday, May 11th, the third exhibit in the Neighborhood Stories series was held in Wynnewood North, a neighborhood in Oak Cliff. Conceived, constructed, and marketed as part of Angus Wynne, Jr.’s groundbreaking high-design, midcentury development, Wynnewood North combines single-family homes, apartments, and a retail core to function as a “city within a city” that has maintained its character over the years and is making strides towards re-imagining itself for the future.

The history and evolution of the neighborhood were displayed in a gallery exhibit that included a “mock up” living room featuring midcentury modern furniture on loan from Collage 20th Century Furniture. Event visitors stopped by for movie snacks before heading into a screening of a short film featuring interviews with local residents Janice Coffee, Joseph Hernandez, Anita Johnson, Steve Johnson, Silver Poteete, Ruby Sam, and Reverend Johnny Flowers. Attendees had the opportunity to contribute their own personal stories and memories about the neighborhood as well as play “So You Want to Build...Wynnewood Village”, an interactive game that generated ideas for the future development of Wynnewood Village Shopping Center.

Watch the Wynnewood North film.

The next event will be held in the Tenth Street Historic District - please contact us if you'd like to get involved!

Dallas Public Agenda

Learn more about POP Dallas.

As part of our POP [People Organizing Place] initiative, bcWORKSHOP announces the launch of The Public Agenda, a digital tool that maps the voting agenda of the Dallas City Council by neighborhoods.

Under a council-manager form of government, the City Council is responsible for the legislative function of the city, including establishing policy, passing local ordinances, voting appropriations, and developing an overall vision. In Dallas, the Council convenes on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month to consider action on the voting agenda.

The Public Agenda uses the POP City Map as a framework for understanding the geography of the decisions that come before the Council. By reformatting the published Council agenda, bcWORKSHOP hopes to enhance opportunities for citizen engagement. Healthy and vibrant neighborhoods are the foundation of a successful city, and every citizen should be empowered as a neighborhood and city advocate.

In announcing the launch of an Open Data Portal this fall, the City of Dallas has issued a Press Release that includes The Public Agenda as an example of products that can be created with open access to data.

Activity Book Launch

Learn more about POP Dallas.

The POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas Toolkit is an ongoing initiative that provides citizens with a common language and set of tools to gather neighborhoods around creating a vision & organizing community change. bcWORKSHOP is excited to announce the POP Toolkit Activity Book coming soon to a neighborhood near you! To participate in the pilot, you will need to gather an inclusive group of neighborhood stakeholders that will commit to seeking positive change guided by four meetings with bcWORKSHOP.

During the first meeting, bcWORKSHOP will help you collectively map and prioritize the issues and assets that sustain your neighborhood. This is used in the second meeting to generate a prioritized list of goals, which you will discover more about by building a Workshop around a Tool. The third meeting with bcWORKSHOP moves from reflection on discoveries to identifying partners and an audience to help reach your goal. You will build a second workshop around another Tool to share your goal with this audience. The last meeting with bcWORKSHOP helps identify and plan how a change will be made once the issue is understood and partners are gathered.

The Toolkit is a resource for neighborhoods in Dallas (and potentially beyond)! It teaches design thinking in the form of Tools that engage creative problem solving and Metrics that identify and compare outcomes. If your neighborhood is interested in exploring your assets and issues through the Toolkit, please be in touch!

Dolphin Heights Stories

Learn more about Neighborhood Stories and POP Dallas.

As part of the bcWORKSHOP’s POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative, Dallas Neighborhood Stories will produce a series of six events that engage Dallas’s diverse communities in an active dialogue about the history and future of the city.

See more photos on our Facebook page. 

On the afternoon of Saturday, March 16th, the second exhibit in the Neighborhood Stories series was held in Dolphin Heights, a neighborhood in East Dallas. Home to one of the oldest inhabited sites in Dallas, Dolphin Heights has transformed over the past 170 years from a pioneer homestead to a resilient, though isolated, single-family neighborhood punctuated by a diverse set of land uses.

The history and evolution of the community was displayed in an exhibit and a short film featured interviews with current and former neighborhood residents Anna Hill, Ollie Lyons, George Collins, Carolyn Elliot, Walter Isler, and Laura Watson, as well as SMU professor of anthropology Dr. Caroline Brettell. Attendees had opportunities to contribute their own personal stories and memories about the neighborhood and enjoyed food from local restaurants and businesses including Luna's, Schepps Dairy, and RC Cola. In a nod to the circus that used stop in the neighborhood, kids played a selection of carnival games and faced off in an epic cornhole battle.

Watch the Dolphin Heights film.

Upcoming events will be held in Wynnewood North, Tenth Street, and Mount Auburn - please contact us if you'd like to get involved!

Take Reading Public

Learn more about POP Dallas.

To support the Big Read Dallas, bcWORKSHOP was approached to create a graphic that maps the locations of spaces in Dallas good for reading. We took that one step further, and created an interactive web tool called Take Reading Public that shares public spaces friendly to reading in the city. By mapping the hundreds of parks, libraries, bookstores, and coffee shops in Dallas, we hope to reinforce a culture of reading by bringing it to the streets. This visual representation of local assets aims to bring positive activity to public spaces in Dallas and empower people through one of the best ways to build knowledge: reading. We also encourage users to share a message or photo about where they're reading with Twitter and Instagram, using #BigReadDallas.

The Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, designed to restore reading to the center of American culture and encourage reading for pleasure and enlightenment. A partnership of D Magazine and Friends of the Dallas Public Library were awarded a grant to bring the Big Read to Dallas, and during the month of April the city will be engaged in reading one book together, Ray Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451 about a dystopian future in which books are banned. Over 20,000 copies are being distributed to Dallas ISD high school students this week.

Join us and thousands of other Dallas citizens by getting outside and reading!

Dallas' Neighborhood Map

Learn more about POP Dallas.

Active and resilient neighborhoods are the foundation of a successful city. POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas is the bcWORKSHOP public design effort to strengthen the social, economic, and physical health of Dallas’s neighborhoods. The POP City Map is a new tool that frames how we naturally organize our communities: as neighborhoods. The City Map builds awareness of our city, celebrates the diverse places that give it character and texture, shares critical data on a local scale, and creates a platform for dialogue about its history and future. Filling a void among the city’s existing local resources, the map will serve as a valuable resource for residents, planners, developers, government and other organizations planning the future of our city. Strengthening the identities of Dallas’s neighborhoods, and lessening the reliance on directional references (e.g., North Dallas), enables Dallasites to reconnect more personally and purposefully with place.

TEDx SMU + TEDx Kids

Learn more about POP Dallas.

On November 30 and December 1, 2012, bcWORKSHOP was invited to participate in the TEDxKids @ SMU (a special TED event for local middle school students) and TEDxSMU conferences to showcase our POP [People Organizing Place] Dallas initiative. Now in its fourth year, TEDxSMU brought a multitude of creative thinkers to the City Performance Hall in the Arts District to share and discover innovative ideas in technology, entertainment and design.

Following the conference's theme of re:TH!NK, over 400 attendees on both days shared their ideas for re-thinking the neighborhoods where they live, learn, work and play through activity cards, video interviews and good old-fashioned conversation. During the day, bcWORKSHOP created a compilation of Neighborhood Stories collected throughout the conference as well as a map of representing attendees' neighborhoods, which was screened at the end of the conference.

Conference participants were eager to share ideas for their own neighborhoods and absorb the ideas shared by others from around the city. With the POP City Map as a guide, attendees left armed with a strengthened understanding and commitment to place-making in Dallas.