Gateway Planning Highlighted in Sustainable Communities Magazine

 

Land Planning Takes Root in Texas as Cities Strive to Remake Themselves

If you still think it’s oxymoronic to talk about planning Texas cities, you need to take another look. The days of unbridled sprawl are over. Private cars and trucks are no longer the only mode of transportation or the most important consideration in planning. Walkable town centers, new urbanist planning concepts, complete streets and public transit are all gaining ground.

 

It’s correct that Houston is the largest city with no formal zoning code, but it’s not true that development there is not planned and controlled. It’s just more likely to be done in a way that makes more sense to entrepreneurial Texans, such as by using special tax and investment districts.

 

The point is that unbridled growth is no longer the rule in the Lone Star State. Landowners and city officials throughout the state are finding that good planning is good for profits, land values and tax revenues.

 

In Dallas-Forth Worth, there are 250 incorporated areas, and many of them are trying to find ways to distinguish themselves from the overall pattern of sprawl that has enveloped them over the years, said Scott Polikov, President of Gateway Planning Group. The Forth Worth company is working with several of those towns, including Duncanville, which is trying to reinvent its Main Street as a mixed-use destination and prepare for higher density development around a planned commuter rail station.

 

A number of these towns and those in other metro areas are embracing their sometimes nearly forgotten history and reinventing their downtowns to be regional urban centers.

 

Central cities are trying to re-establish and enhance their historic character as a key part of revitalization and redevelopment.

 

Town centers and walkable urbanism are also taking hold in the suburbs and exurbs, where developers can still start from scratch on green fields.

 

The overarching trend is the growth of urban transit and regional light rail that will eventually connect regional centers with the downtown cores...

 

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