Buffalo Bayou Park
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Showplace Public Park Revitalizes Degraded Bayou, Offers Health and Recreation

Location Houston, Texas, United States

Client Buffalo Bayou Partnership; Harris County Flood Control District

Scope Planning, Landscape Architecture

Size 160 acres


160 acres of revitalized parkland

Corrects erosion, pollution, and damage by invasive species

Naturalized banks support maximum flood control capacity

Accessibility to more surrounding neighborhoods vastly improved

Native perennials and indigenous trees throughout

Winner 2016 Houston Business Journal award for Community Impact and 2015 Best of Urban Design, from The Architect's Newspaper

This thoroughly renovated, 160-acre public space deploys a vigorous agenda of urban ecological services and improved pedestrian accessibility, with two new bridges connecting surrounding neighborhoods. The design utilizes channel stabilization techniques, enhancing the bayou’s natural meanders and offering increased resiliency against floodwaters while preserving the beauty of this culturally significant waterway. The planting strategy reduced mowed turf by half, replacing it with riparian woodlands and naturalized meadows featuring native species. This further stabilizes the landscape, provides habitat, and uses Texan species to return a sense of place to the city. All lighting, plantings and walkways are designed to withstand the natural, periodic flooding of the bayou. The project provides continuous pedestrian and bike trails, public art, and special maintenance and safety provisions. The formerly trash-strewn waterway along the Promenade now teems with ducks, herons, turtles and fish. The Corps of Engineer’s existing HEC model was used to ensure that floodwater conveyance would not be compromised by the improvements.

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