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Coalition for New Dallas

Working to remove the physical and economic barriers that have divided our neighborhoods, reinforced segregation, and stifled economic opportunity.
Fri, April 24
Fair Park, Dallas, Texas, USA

Symposium Agenda


Time Activity Panelist
1:30 PM

Welcome remarks by Lynn McBee
Co-Chair of the Coalition for a New Dallas


Cities around the globe are realizing the existential nature of the climate crisis they find themselves in; Many have begun to take action to remediate the effects. Dallas’ mantra of “doing things big” is true in many ways, but in the case of climate action, our city is behind the proverbial eight ball. This said, city government leaders and outside partners have taken steps to create a Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP) which it hopes to be approved in April 2020.

CECAP has the potential to transform the way Dallas acts on many different levels, including the future planning of the city. How might the impending plan determine what Dallas looks like beyond today? “Dallas: From Climate Action to Actuality” seeks to uncover potential answers to this question. The Coalition for a New Dallas will convene thought leaders and decision makers to discuss the tenets of CECAP and how the plan could inform the concept of removing Interstate 345 and beyond.

1:35 PM

The Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan:
Dallas’ Roadmap to Reduction

As a response to the United States’ action to remove itself from the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement, former Dallas Mayor Michael S. Rawlings took the bold step of signing onto the Mayor’s National Climate Agreement. This step catalyzed a set of events leading to the adoption of the first ever Comprehensive Environmental and Climate Action Plan (CECAP). This roadmap is slated to outline specific activities that the City can undertake to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve environmental quality. More specifically, CECAP will focus on activities that can achieve the greatest emission reductions and deliver the most benefits to communities most affected by climate change. As Dallas comes to the conclusion of its planning stage, this panel will provide attendees with an understanding of what has been accomplished, what work remains, and how the current urban planning philosophy of Dallas must change to better match the ambitious goals of CECAP.

James McGuire, City of Dallas Office of Environmental Quality &Sustainability

Liz Cedillo-Periera, City of Dallas Chief of Equity and Inclusion

Hon. Mike Rawlings, 61st Mayor of the City of Dallas

2:15 PM

Discussion Two

Trading Concrete for Climate:
The Green Case for Removing Interstate 345

Upon final adoption, Dallas’ CECAP has the potential to redefine the urban planning paradigm. However, any urbanologist will tell you that old planning habits die hard. Dallas is on the verge of a monumental decision- will it remove Interstate 345 (I-345), the concrete barrier cutting off Deep Ellum and Baylor from downtown Dallas? For years, the concept has been debated but as of early 2020, real planning is finally underway. Certain concepts would see the highway stay, others would have it go. What do these plans suggest would change and even more important, what environmental impact would removing the freeway have on Dallas’ path to meeting the goals of CECAP? This discussion will provide attendees with an update on I-345 planning and its environmental consequences.

Patrick Kennedy, Co-Founder of Coalition for a New Dallas

Ian Lockwood, Toole Design Group

3:15 PM

Discussion Three

What Comes After Highways?:
Planning Environmentally Friendly Public Spaces

Tearing things down is often the simplest stage of the urban development process. What’s more difficult is planning the things that replace what once was. The Coalition for a New Dallas formed in an effort to tear-down I-345 with the belief that Dallas can transform the surrounding 245 acres largely defined by empty parking lots and undeveloped land. The Texas Department of Transportation’s City Center Master Assessment Process (CityMAP) document, adopted in 2016, ultimately concluded that tearing down I-345 would not only have a negligible effect on traffic, but it would create more than 20,000 jobs, 12,000 residential units and generate $5 billion worth of development for project costs under $500 million improving the quality of life for all of Dallas’ residents. As CECAP reaches its conclusion, how can it inform the findings of CityMAP to ensure whatever is planned in the absence of the concrete highway is environmentally friendly? This discussion seeks to better understand these possibilities and more.

Gary Toth, Project for Public Space

Matt Tranchin, President of the Coalition for a New Dallas

Amber Sims, Imagining Freedom Institute

3:55 PM

Closing remarks by Miguel Solis
Executive Director of the Coalition for a New Dallas


Coalition for a New Dallas

750 N. St. Paul St.
Suite 2100
Dallas, TX 75201