An aerial map of Dallas tells a disturbing tale: Our city today is an illogical patchwork of neighborhoods and districts, divided by highways. Where there are highways you can see dead space on either side, and when you drive these areas, you see empty bottles, trash, boarded-up shops, stray dogs.

All of this can change. Right now, there are hundreds of acres of prime land adjacent to downtown Dallas to the east and south that are underdeveloped and undervalued. It’s uncanny: wherever there are highways—such as 1-345, I-30 and the elevated portion of I-45 between downtown and the Trinity—you’ll find wasteland. And that’s where lies the opportunity. Dallas is one of the few major cities in the world where this kind of potential development exists in its urban core. The upside is huge: development of Uptown in the 2000s resulted in an additional $6.5 billion added to the city’s tax base. The total tax value of downtown Dallas is only $4.5 billion. (Without Uptown, the tax base would have declined.)

To take advantage of the opportunity, Dallas needs to elect and support city council candidates who are committed to a strong city center, and will work to reconnect long-divided neighborhoods and re-knit the fabric of daily life in East and South Dallas. The city needs to grow its tax base by laying out a new street and boulevard grid that will encourage development and increase the tax base like Uptown has done.