While Houston does have significant park spaces and trails, the city of no zoning has historically been unable to create enough designated open spaces and the necessary connectivity between them. The key to increasing the open space network lies within the region’s floodplains. Relatively flat terrain, intense rain events, and urbanized watersheds create broad jurisdictional floodplains. With developmental restrictions and regulatory controls, vast land areas are left as unused green space or vacant lands. The Bayou Greenway plan recommends leveraging these underutilized spaces to create trail corridors, new parks, and flood mitigation facilities that will be within 1.5 miles of 6 out of 10 Houstonians. The resulting network will stretch over 300 miles and include 4,000 acres of new land connected to existing neighborhoods, schools, churches, and other community assets. The acquisition areas will allow access where physical or jurisdictional obstacles now occur, increase flood mitigation opportunities, and help reconnect currently fragmented ecologies. Resultant facilities within the greenway corridor will perform as functioning recreation space throughout the year, with just a 1% chance of experiencing a significant flood event during that time. Bayou Greenways addresses numerous health, safety, and welfare issues inherent in the daily lives of citizens in the nation’s fourth largest city. Rated as one of the unhealthiest, park-deficient, most economically divided, ethnically diverse, sprawling, and fastest-growing cities in the country, Houston faces enormous social challenges. Already five times the area of most North American cities, Houston is expected to double in population by the year 2035. The Bayou Greenways are now shaping the development fabric of the city by creating healthy connections that are in close proximity to the outdoor world and between highly diverse populations. As a comparison, Portland represents the next-largest green network in the nation, at half of Bayou Greenways’ distance, with 150 miles of multi-use trails. This is a very popular effort: in 2012, receiving the highest approval of all measures on the city ballot, Houston voters approved $100 million in public funding for the project, with a private match of $105 million.
Disney World Master Plan
Special issues in the computer-aided land analysis included depth to watertable, soils and organic mucks, and cypress groves. The analysis summary provided the basis for master planning a mixed-use community with extensive greenway conservation lands, resort development, entertainment facilities, a business park, and a residential community.
Hunter's Point South Waterfront Park
Hunter’s Point South Waterfront Park was envisioned as an international model of urban ecology and a world laboratory for innovative sustainable thinking. The project is a collaboration between Thomas Balsley Associates and WEISS/MANFREDI for the open space and park design with ARUP as the prime consultant and infrastructure designer.
What was once a ba...
South Waterfront Greenway
A bold new plan for the area along the Willamette River includes a 1-1/2 mile extension of the City’s downtown’s parks and the reclamation of the river’s edge for public recreation. Working closely with the City of Portland, developers, and natural resource advocates, the design team devised a rational plan that places access and activity in targeted nodes wit...
Shanghai EXPO UBPA (Urban Best Practice Area)
Shanghai EXPO’s Urban Best Practice Area surrounds the Plein Air Museum Park, which chronicles the unique and rich history of the site through objects of art, artifacts, and architecture. The landscape component of the museum park is expressed physically in the form of a Central Park: a gathering space and activity center for the community. The landscape was a...