Texas Trees Foundation and Southwestern Medical District Reveal Design & Launch

Urban Streetscape Project to Transform Largest "Heat Island" in Dallas into Green Oasis for 3.4 Million Patients, Healthcare Workers, Residents

Data-driven effort, design aims to become national model for healthy, green communities

DALLAS, May 14, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- Leadership from Texas Trees Foundation (TTF) and the Dallas-based Southwestern Medical District (SWMD), home to three, world-class healthcare institutions, today announced they have unveiled the design and launched the Urban Streetscape and Park Transformation Project. The evidence-based design project aims to augment this critical area – which is also the largest "heat island" in the City of Dallas – into a healthy, cool oasis that unites the community, promotes health, healing, and safety, and acts as an 'intersection of health and nature' – one that supports the quality of the healthcare provided within the hospital walls.

Made possible through a partnership with the City of Dallas, Dallas County, the North Central Texas Council of Governments and foundations and donors, which have already secured $28.9 million, the project aims to address the negative ambient heat impact on more than 42,000 Medical District employees and 3.4 million healthcare patients and visitors.

Results of the 2017 Dallas Urban Heat Island Study by TTF revealed that Dallas "must take action" to reduce the ambient heat impact on the SMWD area and the people working and visiting it – especially as Dallas is projected to get hotter and hotter.

Additionally, TTF conducted specific research and modeling that determined this project can capture additional environmental challenges beyond urban heat – such as air quality, water quality and conditions that exacerbate health issues – that affect human health. (See Birds Eye View detailed graphic)

"Research shows that healthy environments improve health outcomes. The Medical District and Texas Trees Foundation leadership believe Dallas deserves a better place to work, visit and live – a place meant for healing and health beyond the footprint of the buildings," says Janette Monear, president and chief executive officer of TTF.

Texas Trees Foundation Chairman Dan Patterson adds: "This project will be the new model for what a medical district should be: a more holistic, green campus that unites the community, promotes health, healing, and safety, and acts as an 'intersection of health and nature'."

At its center, the project will increase the Medical District's tree canopy to up 37 percent and will transform the streetscapes within the Medical District from car-centric to people-centric, by greening two miles of public right-of-way and transforming the aging concrete "clover leaf" area into a 10-acre park. The canopy currently covers less than 7 percent, which is well below Dallas' Comprehensive Environmental Climate Action Plan (CECAP) goal to reduce ambient heat.

"The Southwestern Medical District Board, in partnership with the Texas Trees Foundation and our stakeholders, is transforming the streetscape of Harry Hines into a green, healthy, connected, and safe linear parkway with a central park. Completion of this project will have an impact on every medical professional, student, patient, and visitor in this critically important Medical District," says David Biegler, chairman of the SWMD Board of Directors.

According to Field Operations, the landscape architects partnering in the project, the unique evidence-based design will be a rich and complex landscape environment lifted over Inwood Dr. and fronting either side of Harry Hines Blvd. – dubbed the "Green Spine." The surrounding Green Park will include pedestrian pathways, gathering plazas and spaces, sensory gardens, vantage points, and food truck services – all under continuous shade coverage provided by tree plantings. Additional key project team members include DRW Planning, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Inc., Hyphae Design Laboratory, MIG, Inc., and Rise360.

"We are inspired by TTF's ambition to rethink the role of infrastructure in our cities, and aim to create a connected, healthy, and safe place—an urban oasis for respite, rejuvenation, and healing in the Southwestern Medical District," says James Corner, founding partner and chief executive officer of Field Operations.

The multi-year project kicks off in late 2025, starting with the Green Spine from northwest of Bulter St. to southeast of Medical District Dr.

Click here for renderings of the SWMD Urban Streetscape & Park Transformation Project and a Birds Eye View of the project in detail.

About Texas Trees Foundation

With more than 40 years of urban forestry impact in Texas, the Texas Trees Foundation serves as a catalyst in creating a new green legacy for North Texas through transformational, research-based plans that educate and mobilize the public to activate the social, economic, environmental, and health benefits that trees and urban forestry provide for a better quality of life. Visit texastrees.org and SWMDTransformation.com.

About Southwestern Medical District

Located northwest of downtown Dallas between Interstate 35E and the Dallas North Tollway, the 1,000-acre area interconnects medical providers, researchers, and scholars from three world-class health care institutions – UT Southwestern Medical Center, Parkland and Children's Health, to deliver renowned health care, innovative and cutting-edge research, and nationally ranked biomedical education. Visit swmeddistrict.org.

Media Contact

Melissa Flynn, APR
Melissa Flynn PR & Marketing
843.817.7653 (cell)

"Research shows that healthy environments improve health outcomes. We believe Dallas deserves a better place to work, visit and live – a place meant for healing and health beyond the footprint of the buildings."

Janette Monear, president and chief executive officer of TTF.
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