Douglas Newby’s passion for and success in contributing to Dallas had been propelled academically, vocationally, and professionally through a series of achievements. Every project reflects a keen understanding of people, the environment, and the community.
An innate desire to redirect a neighborhood from disaster to delight spurred the academic genesis of his master’s thesis, “Economic Incentives to Reverse Migration in an Inner City Neighborhood.” The established economic argument of the thesis won the day when multi-family property owners actually petitioned the city to rezone their apartments to single-family zoning in this redlined area. Douglas’s efforts, garnering widespread support from the property owners, lenders, businesses, schools and the developer/pro property rights mayor, resulted in the largest multi-family, zoned area to be rezoned single-family in the country and the first single-family zoned historic district with historic guidelines in Dallas.
In the heart of this rezoned area, Douglas co-founded the revolving fund for the Historic Preservation League. The goal was to secure 23 options on divided up rent houses that could be purchased over a two-year period and resold to homeowners.
There was still a missing ingredient for the neighborhood to be revitalized: a real-estate agent to negotiate these options contracts and to make a market for slum landlords to sell to artists and urban pioneers who could convert these divided up rent houses into single-family homes.
Douglas Newby solved this problem by becoming a real estate agent. The Federal National Mortgage Association (FNMA) solved the redline problem of no home loans here by selecting the rezoned single-family restoration area for their first National Inner City Lending Demonstration Project.
However, the question remained, how does one restore a home to live in? Douglas addressed the problem by founding the Restoration House of the Year Award, the first in the nation. To attract a successful critical mass of homeowners, though, a neighborhood needs to have a sense of place. Understanding this need, Douglas wrote the first book on Dallas neighborhoods. This Dallas best-selling book, A guide to the Older Neighborhoods of Dallas, was published when only few neighborhoods in Dallas were previously recognized. Now Dallas has hundreds of neighborhoods that have a strong identity.
Those passionate about preservation in the restoration area recognized the importance of history and architecture. To entice and educate the rest of Dallas, Douglas initiated and coordinated the first community survey of architect-designed homes in Dallas which, in turn, was the first community-based survey of architect-designed home in the country.
The culmination of successful endeavors in revitalization, rezoning, restoration, real estate, neighborhood and architecturally significant homes have resulted in Douglas Newby’s triumphant understanding of homes that makes us happy.