A two-mile stretch of Harry Hines Boulevard in the Southwestern Medical District will become the new evidence-based design model of what a medical district can be – a reimagined, more holistic district that spurs good health, safety, calm, and a respite from stress.
DALLAS, TX (August 8, 2023) – Imagine a visit to a clinic or hospital – made a little easier – for patients, staff, and visitors, by virtue of a dedicated green space, an adjacent urban refuge for the community. Texas Trees Foundation has been hard at work in Dallas for this purpose, taking on the greening of the streetscape surrounding the Southwestern Medical District (SWMD) into a connection point for health – through nature.
The impending visionary, therapeutic landscape redesign is set to transform this primary corridor within the SWMD into a vibrant, connected, and safe multi-model linear parkway, complete with a 10-acre park. Affected areas of improvement include the antiquated Harry Hines corridor from approximately Treadway Street to Lucas Drive, with the park replacing the 1940’s cloverleaf at Inwood Road. Construction for the more iconic, people-friendly, landscaped street is set to begin as early as Fall of 2025 for Phase 1 of this innovative project.
The Southwestern Medical District is an established economic hub for the City of Dallas and delivers world renowned health care in partnership with innovative world-class research and education. Three major hospital systems, Parkland Health and Hospital System, Children’s Health Dallas and the UT Southwestern Medical Center, are surrounded by various businesses, nonprofits, and residential mixed-use projects. More than 3 million individuals experience the District annually, including an employee workforce of approximately 37,000 in the medical complex.
“We are excited about the new streetscape amenities and park expected along the Harry Hines corridor,” said David Biegler, Chairman of the SWMD Board. “The medical complex’s three major hospitals have a long history of commitment to health and healing. Having a surrounding green space that is expected to improve physical, social, and mental health for patients, visitors, and staff in the District is a welcome addition.”
The holistic restructuring of the Harry Hines corridor is a result of it being in the largest urban heat island within the City of Dallas. The implementation of the SWMD Streetscape and Park project is centered on evidence-based design (EBD) – the process of constructing a building or physical environment based on scientific research to achieve the best possible built outcomes.
This spring, microclimatic sensors were installed along the Harry Hines corridor. These sensors, every 20 minutes, send climatic data (temperature, humidity, wind, light, etc.) to a communication hub installed on the roof of Parkland. The data is then used to create simulations and models for the design team so they can redesign the Harry Hines corridor for optimal human health and thermal comfort. It’s cutting-edge environmental science, using real data in real time – allowing the SWMD Corridor and Park Project to be an industry leader.
A greenovation is no small endeavor, however. Big D’s hottest spot doesn’t get greener – and cooler - all on its own. The project is supported by top-tier collaborators including James Corner Field Operations (designers of The High Line in Manhattan); MIG, Inc.; Hyphae Design Labs; Kimley-Horn Associates. Project partners include City of Dallas; Dallas County; North Central Texas Council of Governments (NCTCOG); and the District’s three major hospitals. The project boasts 65 national experts from 50 different organizations who all give their time to support the creation of a thriving Medical District for the 21st Century.
“We are thrilled to join the Southwestern Medical District team and look forward to working closely with Texas Trees Foundation and their partners to develop an innovative, responsive, and evidence-based design for the district’s Green Spine and Green Park. 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—a verdant urban refuge for respite, rejuvenation, and healing,” said the project’s landscape architectural team from James Corner Field Operations.
“Texas Trees Foundation is honored to continue greening the Dallas community by creating a desired streetscape and park that will calm traffic while maintaining emergency access, increase tree canopy, offset the urban heat island in the SWMD, offer aesthetic enhancements, and provide a safer streetscape environment,” said Lannie McClelen, Program Manager at Texas Trees Foundation. “Our goal is to improve the area for its millions of visitors - people who walk, bike, take transit, and drive – by means of well-connected paths to adjoining hospitals, neighborhoods, and key destinations.”
Trees will cool the surfaces of the surrounding environment by providing shade and offering additional health benefits to the District. This project will transform Harry Hines within the Medical District into a living laboratory to demonstrate the interdependence of human health and nature - balancing the grey with the green to ensure the area is a desirable place to heal, work, live, and play.
What SWMD community members are saying...
"During my precious 30-minute break, I need a breather. I leave for a bit for a cup of coffee, and I just look at the sky. I try to interact with the small amount of nature that is here."
"I used to have to walk from Parkland to South Campus every day and it was really tough."
"Nothing is pedestrian friendly in the SWMD."
"I know residents who are on call and they go to multiple sites on campus during one shift – I wish it was easier to walk."
"I wish it was easier to bike to school, but I don't know if it will ever be safe to bike on Harry Hines or Inwood."
-SWMD Medical Providers