Thursday, March 8, 2012

Residence Analysis of Deep Ellum

There is a subtle underlying context to the way that Deep Ellum has developed over the years.  Long story short, the neighborhood is divided in half by Hall St.  Essentially, the west side is mainly businesses with a few residences, but the east side is mainly residences with a couple few businesses.

Blue = West, Green = East, Bubble = < 3 tenants, Pin = > 3 tenants
In an urban context*, it's important to look for density and concentrations of people.  While there are a good number of living spaces in the west side of Deep Ellum, there are much fewer multi-residence buildings than in the east side.  In other words, the west is dense with commercial space but sparse in residential.

The east, on the other hand, is replete with multi-tenant buildings and consequently have larger concentrations of people.  By the way, there are no parking meters on the east side.  In a comfortable, walkable community, people have all the amenities they need within a 5 minute walking distance.  A 5 minute walk to the west from the Futura lofts on Commerce barely gets you to Walton St.

One of the biggest difficulties of local businesses is getting the area residences to patronize their establishments.  If the businesses are outside the universal preferred walking distance of where people live, those people will most likely jump into the car.  If they get into the car, they might as well go to Mockingbird lane, Greenville Ave, McKinney Ave, or Lakewood to shop, eat, or drink.

The bane of the modern city is zoning laws, which assist in the development of suburbs.  Everywhere in Dallas, with the exception of Downtown and Uptown, takes pains to separate homes from businesses.  It turns out, this goes against millennia of city development patterns all over the world.

*The Marquis on Gaston (pin in the top left corner) is not considered part of the urban context because it is based on the suburban fortress model of residential development and impermeable to city life. 

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