“If you’re an ‘urbanite,’ where do you live?” Jacquielynn Floyd asked readers of The Dallas Morning News on April 29 in her column entitled, Study shows Dallas-area ‘urbanites’ a diaspora.
“The answer,” she warned, “is not necessarily ‘in the shadow of downtown Dallas,’ as I would have expected.”
Floyd’s column focused on one of the surprising findings in the 13-part series “Best Neighborhoods in the City,” but she makes the point that such surprising findings can have important implications.
The stories below may shake up your perceptions of N. Texas neighborhoods.
While the series of stories may be aimed at home buyers, it offers lessons for any forward-looking developer, municipal official, or homeowner in North Texas.
The exhaustive methodology — a combination of surveys, census data, and serious analysis — gives the findings in this series more credence than those annual beauty contests of the “best suburbs” to which we have grown accustomed.
So where do “urbanites” live these days?
“In fact, a lot of ‘urbanites’ in these parts apparently live — hang on to something if you feel faint,” Floyd told her readers, “in the suburbs.”
Floyd pointed readers to the April 28 installment in the series (“Valley Ranch one-ups Uptown for sophisticated urban living“) by Marc Ramirez.
The story studied the rankings of neighborhoods favored by the market segment they call “urban sophisticates,” those desiring neighborhoods that offer entertainment and dining options within a walkable distance.
As the story’s headline suggests, Valley Ranch trumped Uptown (not to mentio the Henderson-Knox area, Oaklawn, etc.) in the minds of most urban buyers by virtue of its affordability. (Note that only 64 of the 1,200 census tracts in the Dallas area were classified as urban, defined as a minimum of 10,000 housing units per square mile).
This finding isn’t just a curiosity, Floyd suggests.
What if, she asked, urban isn’t a “thinly veiled doublespeak for poor, minority, crime-plagued neighborhood?”
And what if suburban isn’t “an insult that describes selfish, conformist commuters who drive everywhere in super-sized SUVs?”
“The truth,” Floyd insisted, “is that the places we live are as individual as we are, and we choose them based on our individual priorities — entertainment, safety, good schools, friendly neighbors, what we can afford, what we want to see when we look out the window.”
An understanding of the market’s true, ever-changing realities lie at the foundation of sound decisions for the future.
At Lakeside DFW, we’ll do our best to stay abreast of them.