Snapshot taken of Houston just before pandemic shows the inequalities COVID-19 would exploit

What’s the biggest problem facing people in the Houston area today?

If asked that question in the past month and a half, it seems like easy money to bet every response would involve the economy or health.

But back in late January and early March of this year, when interviews for the 2020 Kinder Houston Area Survey were conducted, congestion on the city’s streets and freeways was the most-common concern. (It was the top response in the previous three years as well.)

Dear cities: Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to remake and retake streets

As businesses begin to reopen and more and more people leave their homes more often, we’ll have to continue to be vigilant about good hygiene and physical distance. Guidelines for grocery stores can include signage and announcements reminding shoppers to avoid touching their faces and leaving space between themselves and others as well as sneeze-guards at the checkouts.

Here’s what our cities will look like after the coronavirus pandemic

Part two looks at changes such as an increase in remote work arrangements, which will lead to more activity in neighborhoods, more flexibility in public transit options and a renewed appreciation for taking a walk. Read part two here.

A few weeks ago — before all of our everyday assumptions about travel and social interaction were blown to bits — I attended the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi.

A vacant lot in Third Ward is filled with life after chess-park transformation

When Ed Pettitt learned that the lot on the southwest corner of Sauer and Tuam streets in the Third Ward had been sold, he wasn’t surprised. For a couple of years, Pettitt, who lives nearby, occasionally would drop by the vacant property where people — mostly older men — in the neighborhood got together to play chess, dominoes, cards and socialize in the shade of a tallow tree.badge for Urban Edge explains series

A rush to map freedom colonies before a crucial part of history is lost

Andrea Roberts became interested in uncovering and preserving the history of freedom colonies during a visit to Shankleville, an unincorporated community on the most eastern edge of Texas that was founded in 1867 as a Freedmen’s town — communities built by former slaves following the end of the Civil War. Roberts was there for a heritage and homecoming festival honoring the founders of the settlement.