I first saw the map of Dallas neighborhoods at AIGA DFW's GOOD Ideas For Cities presentation at Lakewood Theater back in June. The silkscreen printed map had been donated for the event and propped up on a table for people to view. It was obvious that someone had spent a considerable amount of time on this map. You don't take on a project like this without having a serious passion for the city. I had to meet the guy behind this map.
David Harman met me at the Pearl Cup coffee shop on Henderson on a weekday afternoon. We talked a lot about Dallas and what makes it great and we mutually agreed it comes down to the people working to make Dallas better.
David was born and raised in Dallas. After graduating from the University of Dallas with a degree in painting, he moved to Deep Ellum to continue his work as a painter, and in Deep Ellum, he grew to love the city even more. David began creating a series of prints of historic buildings in Dallas. He started visiting new areas, meeting new people and discovering unknown, genuine neighborhood identities. He had stumbled into his next project, creating the first artistically rendered neighborhood map of the city. The map would outline all the neighborhoods within the Loop 12 boundary. When he came to a stopping point, he was surprised to find over 125 neighborhoods.
He started with the obvious neighborhoods - Downtown, Deep Ellum, Uptown, Turtle Creek, OakLawn, Greenville, and the like. As he started working his way in and around South Dallas, things weren't all that obvious where the neighborhood lines started and where they ended. Over the next 6 months, he would visit neighborhoods, talk with long time locals and spend time with local institutions like Preservation Dallas.
David says the map is not perfect and it never will be. A city's neighborhoods' will continue to evolve and re-evolve with the people who live in it.
David is now pursuing an MFA degree in Painting from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and hopes to move back to the Big D once he is finished.