The Trinity : myth, vision, and form in Dallas's River
Author(s)Seltzer, Callahan Pauline
Myth, vision, and form in Dallas's River
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Anne Whiston Spirn.
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The thesis explores the planning history of the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas. It examines the dramatic physical changes that have occurred in a particular area of the river adjacent to downtown, referred to as the Trinity Banks District (TBD), between the years 1840 and 2015. The thesis explores how the TBD has occupied a place of the "frontier" in the minds of Dallasites for over 175 years. The thesis finds that the visions and physical form of the TBD during these years derive from a collectively held urban myth-the frontier as a "tabula rasa." This myth repeatedly allows city builders to accept visions for the Trinity River that are untethered to reality of the alluvial river. The thesis argues that urban planning in the TBD repeats a cycle, which begins with the collectively held myth of the frontier; the creation of physical plans by outside experts; incomplete implementation of those plans; physical stagnation of the TBD; and finally, a remythicizing and re-visioning among civic elite. In light of the most recent controversy regarding the Trinity River Toll Road through the TBD, the thesis concludes that both the myth and this cycle persist in planning the Trinity Banks District in the contemporary era. Research was carried out at the Dallas Public Library History and Archives Division and interviews were conducted with stewards of the Trinity River, city planners, architects, and urban designers.
Thesis: M.C.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Urban Studies and Planning, 2015.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 60-64).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Urban Studies and Planning
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Urban Studies and Planning.