Place-making on an urban scale
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DETAILS

LocationHouston, Texas, United States
ClientHarris County Flood Control District
Size35-mile corridor

Stretching 35 miles from the mouth of the Houston Ship Channel westward through residential, commercial and institutional developments, Brays Bayou is one of the most important waterways in Harris County, and a critical link in the area’s watershed. The $450-million project was first established in the early 2000s, with the goal of mitigating flood damage. Initially, SWA was charged with increasing the existing channel’s capacity and developing design guidelines for architectural and open space character throughout the corridor.

The initial Brays Greenway Framework identified a broad set of recreational and open-space opportunities for target programs from its mouth at Buffalo Bayou (the Ship Channel) to the Barker Reservoir (George Bush Park) in the west. Comprehensive implementation of program elements eventually led to a vision for the greenway that moved beyond its individual components toward the creation of a cherished regional waterway that also acts as a flood-damage-reduction project, protecting homes, businesses, and institutions. Strategies included channel widening and regional detention basins, which laid the groundwork for recreation improvements within the channel’s right-of-way. SWA’s recommendations encompassed land acquisition strategies, bridge constructions/enhancements, trail construction, landscaping, and other amenities.

SWA worked with a large team of specialists researching funding mechanisms, organizational structures, community coalitions, design concepts, property acquisition, and surplus property, among other strategies. Partners included universities, parks departments, green space advocacy groups, and private companies, with whom SWA worked in concert toward providing access, recreation, and connection for the entire length of the Bayou.

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