Scribbles from Switzerland: In a world of disruption, a tiny old European region has a lot of answers

As a country goes, Switzerland is relatively old, landlocked, and small. However, despite its reputation for being just about chocolate and skiing, it’s also quite diverese, both socially and economically. Gensler's Nate Cherry takes his sketchbook along for a survey of what American cities could learn from the Swiss.

Houston’s LULAC House, a symbol of Hispanic political power, beckons for renewal

The LULAC House in Houston's Midtown neighborhood has hosted presidents and has helped launch social programs that would inspire federal efforts that continue to this day. This symbol of collective Hispanic political power could be a rallying point and a shared ground for advocates for Houston and the Latinx community alike—if it can be saved, writes Jesus Davila, a member of LULAC Council 60.

The return to work will determine the fate of downtowns. Is Houston ready for what’s next?

Central Houston President Bob Eury has been tracking COVID-19 case counts since the early days of the pandemic and has the spreadsheet to prove it. It was a ritual that he says helped him stay on top of the virus and how far off “normal” might be. But there may be one number he is tracking even more closely: how many of downtown’s estimated 168,000 workers are returning to the office. 

The struggle to preserve the Black experience in Houston

In the weeks leading up to last year’s Juneteenth celebration, Tanya Debose knew she wanted to do something special to mark the date in 1865 when word of the Emancipation Proclamation reached Texas—nearly three years after President Abraham Lincoln’s executive order ended slavery in America. In the wake of the killing of George Floyd on Memorial Day 2020, Black Lives Matter protests calling for an end to police brutality and racially motivated violence against Black Americans were taking place across the nation.

Lessons from the garden city and one planner’s plot to escape London

The past few months have been terrifying, but also cathartic. The pandemic has shaken most of us from a false sense of security about our individual health, the efficacy of our cities to provide a high quality of life, and forced us to question many of our daily habits — how we live, work, travel and exercise, as well as how we source the food we eat. Our connection to nature. The primary lesson we, once again, must learn is that cities are not divorced from nature. They are a part of the larger biome in which they’re located.

Can city-owned vacant lots fill the need for park equity in Houston?

Marvin McNeese has lived in University Village for almost 20 years. And in that time, he’s thought a lot about what a park would mean to the small neighborhood in the northeast corner of Greater Third Ward.

Most importantly, a park would be a place close to home where neighborhood kids could safely get together and play after school. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s a stark contrast to where McNeese’s children and others — given no other alternative — have been forced to meet up for a game of catch or to toss a football.