Bayou Greenways

Bayou Greenways

Connective Open Space Near Half of Houston’s Residents 
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"3000","speed":"300","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}

DETAILS

LocationHouston, Texas, United States
ClientHouston Parks Board
SERVICE:
Size120 miles

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.

Related Projects

Nanjing International Youth Cultural Centre

SWA was retained to design the landscape of this mixed-use development collaboratively with Zaha Hadid Architects. It contains performing arts, hotel, residential, office and retail functions. Located adjacent to SWA’s Nanjing Youth Olympic Park, the design strives to merge architecture, the park landscape, and people at this iconic focal point. Landform...

Baton Rouge Lakes

The 275-acre Baton Rouges Lakes system is a series of six lakes in central Baton Rouge adjacent to Louisiana State University, three major parks, and a diverse mix of neighborhoods. Recognizing opportunity in crisis, a newly funded master plan provides sound ecological restoration methods that will heal a dying lake system while reconnecting the region to its ...

Hermann Park

Hermann Park is one of Houston’s great civic resources containing a significant urban forest and many public venues. It is the flagship of the Houston Park system, serving the recreation needs of the City’s diverse population of some four million and welcoming over six million visitors a year. However, like many urban parks in America, much of Hermann Park has...

Ricardo Lara Park

Ricardo Lara Park is a vibrant city park and a case study in landscape infrastructure.  It demonstrates how a small investment and creative thinking about landscape can transform the very infrastructure that has long divided and isolated a community into an amenity that unites it, offering much-needed environmental and recreational benefits.

Here, more ...

Hermann Park

Hermann Park is one of Houston’s great civic resources containing a significant urban forest and many public venues. It is the flagship of the Houston Park system, serving the recreation needs of the City’s diverse population of some four million and welcoming over six million visitors a year. However, like many urban parks in America, much of Hermann Park has...

Bend of the River Botanic Garden

The Bend of the River Botanic Garden Master Plan will transform an 88-acre site in Temple, Texas, into a regional destination. Located at the southeast quadrant of the intersection of interstate I35 and the Leon River, the site is composed of two parcels separately donated to the City of Temple and consolidated into a single property.  Public engagement was cr...

Dallas Arboretum: A Tasteful Place

A year-round “food oasis” awaits visitors at A Tasteful Place, a new edible/display garden within the Dallas Arboretum. A continuation of SWA’s Arboretum work (which includes Red Maple Rill and the Children’s Garden), A Tasteful Place provides visual and hands-on education about plants and herbs that can be used in visitors’ daily cooking and explored in...

Stanford University Terman Park

The removal of an existing building adjacent to the center of Stanford’s campus provided a unique opportunity to fashion an interim park space. The project emphasizes reuse and seeks to utilize salvaged materials as well as the existing grading and fountain as key features of the park. As a multifunctional performance and recreational space, the project ...

2019-09-04T22:21:45+00:00