Connective Open Space Near Half of Houston’s Residents 
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","arrows":"true","dots":"false","loop":"true","nav_slide_column":5,"rtl":"false"}
{"autoplay":"true","autoplay_speed":"8000","speed":"1000","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

Xingfa Cement Plant Quarry Park Masterplan

Beijing Xingfa Cement Plant Quarry, founded in early 1990s, an exposed scar of rocks locates between the Great Wall and Yanqi Lake, is being reconsidered into an ecological and picturesque rural park in relationship with the adjacent regenerating cement plant. Established around the contextural culture, research, and technology oriented position, the design fo...

Ichigaya Forest

“Ichigaya Forest” is the privately owned, publicly accessible, major open space on Dai Nippon Printing Company’s 5.4-hectare new world headquarters in the Shinjuku Ward. Vertical development and production modernization that extends underground was made possible the creation of this 3.2-hectare open space. Over half the site is now planted wi...

Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan

Identified by the City as one of its “Big Five” open space projects, the conceptual master plan for Nelson Mandela Park will create a much-needed central open space for the city’s south district, an industrial area along the waterfront that is home to a growing and increasingly diverse population. Here the city seeks to transcend its current park paradigm of l...

Fort Wayne Riverfront

As a city that was built and thrived because of its location as a crossroads between wilderness and city, farm and market, the realities of infrastructure both natural and man-made are at the heart of Fort Wayne’s history. We consider waterways as an integral part of open spaces of the City, forming a series of infrastructural systems that affect the dynamics ...

Jeffrey Open Space Park

The Jeffrey Open Space Park represents approximately 96 acres of park and trails, with an average width of 265 ft. The three-mile long spine is designed for passive uses with a network of trails that connect to residential neighborhoods and active recreation parks.

The design process included a series of community workshops to solicit community’s commen...

Nelson Mandela Park Master Plan

Identified by the City as one of its “Big Five” open space projects, the conceptual master plan for Nelson Mandela Park will create a much-needed central open space for the city’s south district, an industrial area along the waterfront that is home to a growing and increasingly diverse population. Here the city seeks to transcend its current park paradigm of l...

Moji Mountain Park Master Plan

Moji Mountain, one of the most distinctive symbols of Yichang, now boasts the city’s largest public open space. The 120-hectare park is located along the banks of the Yangtze River, and has a rich historical connection to both the river and the city. De-forested in the past for agricultural uses, the mountain’s slopes have been replanted and now support a new ...

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 ...