City of Dallas (TX) – Economic Element of Comprehensive Plan

ChallengeLike many maturing cities nationwide, the City of Dallas has been eclipsed to some extent by the explosive growth of its suburbs. Although the metropolitan region has been successful in attracting talent and investment, the central city has stagnated because the former drivers of private-sector investment—banking, real estate, and oil & gas—were not replaced by new ones when these sectors faltered due to economic restructuring or deregulation. The dramatic restructuring of the regional economy that followed focused on an array of new companies and new industries that were much more likely to prefer suburban locations. As a result, employment and income growth have been stagnant in recent years throughout the city, a problem that is even more pronounced in the city’s southern sector. To help address these challenges, the City engaged a consulting team led by Fregonese Calthorpe Associates (now Fregonese Associates) to develop the City’s first comprehensive plan. The planning effort, ForwardDallas, resulted in a land use plan that reflects the values of the community and facilitates the economic goals of the city.

ApproachThe vision for the city outlined in ForwardDallas has been developed with extensive input from the community, including a series of neighborhood workshops, two citywide workshops, as well as meetings and interviews with community and industry leaders. Scenario modeling was used to evaluate the impact of alternative development patterns leading to the selection of a preferred scenario. The economic element drafted by TIP Strategies focuses on five specific areas and the organizational changes required to accomplish them: 1) positioning the city’s retention and recruitment efforts in the context of suburban competition, 2) capitalizing on the city’s many development opportunities and expanding their impact into the southern sector, 3) improving the city’s ability to capture retail sales tax currently leaking to surrounding communities, 4) restoring the Dallas “brand” through a focused image and marketing effort, and 5) recognizing the importance of land use planning to economic growth.

OutcomeThe economic element of the ForwardDallas plan provides a candid appraisal of the opportunities available to Dallas and a practical guide for long-term economic development efforts. The strategies seek to re-define Dallas in the minds of businesses and residents throughout the region and enhance the city’s ability to capture a larger share of regional job growth and business expansion. While the element provides guidance for the city as a whole, there is a recognition that the future of Dallas rests in the creation of economic opportunities in the southern sector.

TIP Contact Jon Roberts

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