Larry Good: Dallas Is Changing
GFF Architect founding principal Larry Good was recently honored with NTCAR’s Michael McAuley Lifetime Achievement Award for his decades of influence in Dallas. His game-changing projects include Klyde Warren Park, the Bishop Arts District and the Trinity River. We caught up with Larry to say congrats and talk about his favorite subject: Dallas.
Dallas is undergoing a metamorphosis, Larry (here with his NTCAR award) says. Some areas are changing faster than others but there is progress everywhere you look: newly walkable areas of town are linked by public transportation, and even city roads are improving to allow a better quality of life. East Dallas is an emerging area with redevelopments cropping up here and there. Pockets of Deep Ellum have been lovingly restored.
As evidence of the dramatic change Dallas is going through, Larry cites the Trinity River project, something he’s been interested in for 25 years. For as long as anyone could remember, the Trinity River had been an undesirable industrial area, full of the things that didn’t make it into the tourist ads: ugly warehouses, garbage everywhere, dilapidated old buildings. But slowly it has been cleaned up and beautified, and now it has such immense potential, Larry says. In the future it will be a swath of green space comparable to Central Park.
In both Uptown and Downtown, the shift on everyone’s mind is walkability—and that’s happening at a blistering speed. But why? What is the objective good of walkability? Here in Texas, we love our cars. Don’t we?
European cities pre-date the automobile and rely on mass transit, Larry says. So you get the experience of walking from place to place, even if it is just from your metro stop to home, and you experience the city in a first-person way, as opposed to just seeing it from the window of a passing car. In the past, we had malls, Larry says, but now we yearn for the Main Street experience, where we can walk in the open air from one place to the next, socializing, shopping, enjoying the sunshine and really being a part of the city.
A well-designed city pays attention to the public realm, Larry says. The spaces between buildings are the most important. Those squares and parks are vital to a healthy, functioning city.