July 21 2014

Farewell to The Grid from Christine Cepelak in Dallas, Texas

If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Already active in the sustainability, urban development, and poverty realms of Dallas, Texas, I consistently encountered inspiring people engaged in the complex issues of the greater metropolis. From my original interest in how poverty and marginalization could be ended for the long-term, I became unable to ignore the urban environment’s role in generating both problems and solutions. I was drawn to the collective topics being addressed on The Grid, and felt that beginning to share some of the stories I observed would begin to move my experiences towards creating change in new ways.

Blogging while starting a new job in corporate sustainability and social responsibility after graduating helped me take a significant step out of my comfort zone and move deeper into becoming a positive part of solutions.

Work Travel to Tennessee, Christine Cepelak

At the Tennessee- Mississippi State Line for Work Travel

From sustainability in higher education, to Dallas’ notorious history with cycling culture, I attempted to shed local light on topics pertinent to one of the fastest growing cities in the country. Named one of the best cities for entrepreneurs, and host to the recent international New Cities and Mayor’s Summits, Dallas is gaining notoriety, and positioned for global recognition.

My studies in International Political Economy prepared me for the extreme complexity of the social issues which communities often experience. For example, highlighting the development of areas such as the Great Trinity Forest (the largest urban hardwood forest in the country), and its decade-long battle to exist, tapped into some of my experiences in crossing various sectors to bring about change.

Dallas Area Rapid Transit, Public transportation in Dallas, Texas

In other instances, my research for blog posts inspired a deeper investigation into the authenticity of a development’s contribution to the community. For example: Dallas’ Klyde Warren highway deck park, which opened in 2013, was almost universally perceived as a positive addition to the city’s Arts District, which is the largest in the country. Without a doubt, it represented a leap towards the development of a pedestrian-friendly city; however, considering it in terms of investment and transformation of the urban fabric of immediately surrounding areas – it revealed the lack of other places to dwell nearby (ie coffee shops, bars, etc), and thus became another ‘downtown destination,’ rather than an integrated piece of Dallas urban life.

The Grid blogging partnership helped me articulate and investigate some of these stories further. You can continue following me on Twitter, as I write and delve further into sustainability, urban issues, and business’ role in alleviating social ills.

Credits: Images by Christine Cepelak and linked to source. Data linked to sources.

Christine Cepelak

Christine Cepelak is an emerging sustainability and corporate social responsibility professional in the Dallas, Texas area. Interested in how communities can facilitate connection, well-being, and equality, she has spent time serving on location in an Indian orphanage, applying community development principles in East Dallas, and investigating the cutting edge of sustainability practices in Denmark. With an academic background in International Political Economy, she hopes to bring the value of poli-economic context and social consequence to the forefront of sustainable urban development conversation.

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This entry was posted on Monday, July 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, Infrastructure, Land Use, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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