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Bringing Crowdus to Life
For four days, the Crowdus Street Pop-Up Park celebrated the long and rich heritage of Deep Ellum. The park was created for the CNU 23 Conference, held by the Congress for the New Urbanism's North Texas Chapter, through a partnership between Callison, TBG, and Ash+Lime.
The Crowdus Street Pop-Up Park fits a neighborhood that has always been a bit unorthodox.
From roots as an extremely diverse and quirky district rich in the arts, music, and culture, the Deep Ellum neighborhood in Dallas—where Crowdus Street is located—remains largely intact, saved from multiple attempts to gentrify. The newly created Crowdus Street Pop-Up Park is a tribute to Deep Ellum that celebrates the area’s long and rich heritage.
Callison, TBG, and Ash+Lime conducted a series of workshops with the Deep Ellum Community Association to ensure the park met community needs while creating a series of installations that could be repurposed throughout the neighborhood. Community feedback from these meetings led to elements that would support Deep Ellum’s longevity, ranging from Wi-Fi hotspots to a small scale theater and performance space.
The full view of the park shows the breadth of work that was done through volunteer hours and donations. Everything was confined to the street in order to showcase the artwork and facades along Crowdus Street. Most pieces are in the process of being repurposed elsewhere throughout the neighborhood.
The plan layout, between Deep Ellum’s Elm Street and Main Street, was split into thirds between the respective project teams. The lounge and recreation portion were located toward the south end of the project with programming that included a soccer-sized pool table, reading room, wi-fi lounge, shading structures and intimate performance spaces with terraced seating. At the center was a main public space for movies and music throughout the installation. The north end served as additional lounge space for visitors to enjoy a revolving selection of food trucks.
Construction of the park took place over the course of a month through countless volunteer hours. Materials were sourced from community groups and vendors resulting in a low budget project capable of remaining outdoors through the duration of the program. The bulk of the program was constructed from repurposed shipping pallets. The flexibility of these elements meant they could serve the needs of seating, shelving and partitions. Each piece was mounted atop a set of casters to allow the space to reconfigure into a number of different functions. Shipping crates spanned over the top and were tied together to form shading structures.
Materials were laid out four hours before the final construction for a preliminary sense of scale and organization. Ease of materials made a park that was quick to assemble and un-assemble.
The project proved that strong community backing, good design and initiative can go a long way in the improvement of our neighborhoods. As the area moves forward with broader plans to create a permanent park, the effort served as a means of trial and error; a real life study model. A lot of positives came out of the installation but, above all, the backing and support from the City of Dallas and community led to everyone being able to see their ideas come to life.
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