How are Dallas neighborhood boundaries determined? Curious Texas investigates

Ask two Dallas residents about where the boundaries of a neighborhood begin and end, and you may get different answers.

That’s why some readers have asked Curious Texas about where the boundaries between various neighborhoods are, such as the lowest and lowest Greenville, and where they can find an official map.

Different Dallas organizations have their own neighborhood maps. For example, the Dallas Police Department and The Dallas Morning News both use their own city maps to determine where the events took place and some residents are likely to disagree.

According to buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, a nonprofit organization that works with residents and historic associations to create a comprehensive map of Dallas communities, the city has nearly 400 neighborhoods.

So is there an official border for each neighborhood? Only for those determined by residents and registered in the city, according to the Dallas Department of Urban Planning and Design.

A neighborhood organization (a group of residents registered in the city with a neighborhood name) can determine their own boundaries and can vary greatly in size and scope, the department said.

The city also recognizes that homeowners associations have their own boundaries, although HOAs are legal entities registered in the state of Texas and that the developer typically initiates as a way to establish regulations for residents, according to Peer Chacko. , director of the planning department.

Cameras and other technology installed at traffic lights.

It’s not uncommon for these neighborhoods to overlap where certain areas have competing organizations, which is a normal part of a democratic process, Chacko said. Residents in Dallas are unlikely to find an official map of the city without soon overlapping; the city is not interested in solving them, Chacko said.

“The city is trying to stay out of these kinds of discussions,” Chacko said. “I don’t think any organization wants the city to necessarily intervene in these kinds of issues.”

That’s not to say neighborhoods aren’t important. In Houston, “super-neighborhoods” are collections of city-recognized neighborhoods that have a voice in the Houston City Council.

Scenes from Lower Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas, Saturday, July 31, 2021. (Lawrence Jenkins / Special Collaborator)
Scenes from Lower Greenville Avenue in Dallas, Texas, Saturday, July 31, 2021. (Lawrence Jenkins / Special Collaborator)(Lawrence Jenkins / Special Collaborator)

Dallas, too, does neighborhood outreach and communicates with certain groups about policies or news that may affect them, Chacko said.

While not all parts of the city are within a neighborhood organization, the city is trying to identify areas that have historically been overlooked and encourages residents in those areas to form their own community organizations, according to Chacko. West of Oak Cliff, an area that has no organizations, the city has been helping to create them. East Hampton Hills is another such area; the city realized during the area planning process that there was no official channel of communication with residents.

Creating a neighborhood organization has additional benefits. A neighborhood is often an ideal unit for organizing against unwanted land developments or advocating for a particular policy within government. Neighborhood organizations can also register for a nonprofit legal status and can manage their own funds.

“For people who have made the effort to get organized and who normally meet regularly and encourage communication, I wouldn’t be surprised if people felt like they owned it,” Chacko said.

While many people might identify Upper Greenville as one more neighborhood, the only areas that make up neighborhood organizations are Lower Greenville and Lowest Greenville West, both on opposite sides of Greenville Ave.

Depending on the city, Lower Greenville runs the length of Skillman Street from East Mockingbird Lane to Ross Avenue. Lower Greenville is bounded by Belmont, Henderson and Ross avenues. These areas are also unique, as much of them also cover businesses in addition to residential areas.

A police chaplain and out-of-state officers pray after a service at the grave for a Dallas officer killed in this 2016 photo.

Other sites, such as Preston Hollow (linked by Royal Lane, Hillcrest Road, Midway Road and West Northwest Highway) and Oak Cliff (which runs from Lyndon B. Johnson Highway to I-30), were incorporated communities that the city of Dallas annexed. When they were part of the city, they retained much of their original boundaries.

Many organizations have tried to draw their own neighborhood maps of the city. buildingcommunityWORKSHOP conducts periodic community surveys and research on Dallas neighborhoods as a way to map each neighborhood within a defined boundary.

“In Dallas, where you see so much gentrification and development going on, there’s concern for people who take away the power of residents to be able to define those boundaries themselves or assign a kind of new name to a place,” Lizzie MacWillie said. director of town planning at buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.

In some U.S. cities, the government plays a much more active role in dividing the city into official units that allow for greater location, Chacko said. MacWillie points out that Dallas is unique for its expansion and the large number of neighborhoods, which were formed organically and through the annexation of the city rather than planned development.

“There’s no fixed way to determine what makes up a neighborhood,” said John Slate, a Dallas City archivist. “Borders are mostly arbitrary and relate mostly to the people who created them.”

What should we answer next?

Tell us

What do you ask about the culture, people, and institutions of North Texas and the rest of our great state? Help us research stories that interest you.

No question is too big or too small. Let’s get started. Visit this link to ask your question and vote on which questions we should answer.