During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, urban parks and greenspace provided welcome respite and recreation when people had to spend a lot of time indoors. That renewed appreciation for parks confirmed what many researchers have been pointing out for decades: They provide cities huge benefits for public health, the environment and the economy.
Back in 2021, the Houston region's governing council offered up a final resolution of support for the contentious I-45 expansion project. The measure passed 14-11, with suburban members narrowly outvoting those representing Houston and Harris County. The vote marked an episode of stark division and intense scrutiny for the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). It also raised questions about regional governance and how the Houston area’s urban and suburban populations should be represented.
If Houston took a nature-based approach to its drainage systems, it could help mitigate climate change, lessen the city’s severe heat and create job opportunities among other benefits, according to a recent report by the Rocky Mountain Institute.
A proposal to transform a former landfill in southwest Houston into a mixed-use development with a flood control component recently caught the attention of statewide planners who recognized it for its contributions to resilience.
In October 2010, city officials were poised to strengthen Houston’s historic preservation law by adding a provision that, for the first time, would empower the city to forbid the demolition of certain homes in designated historic districts. Preservationists, who referred to the concept as “no means no,” were elated. But during last-minute wrangling over details, a Heights resident named Calvin Simper urged the City Council to reject the whole idea.
A Houston-based real estate acquisition, development and management company is in the beginning phases of reshaping parts of the East End and Second Ward into a more walkable and equitable place that adds to the neighborhood’s diversity.
In August of 2020, a heat mapping campaign identified Gulfton as the hottest neighborhood in Houston. The effort, co-led by The Nature Conservancy and the Houston Advanced Research Center, indicated that the southwest Houston neighborhood was 17 degrees warmer than the coolest neighborhood measured. A community-driven plan, “Greener Gulfton,” seeks to decrease the sweltering temperature, while adding an array of benefits to the immigrant-rich area that 45,000 residents call home.
The Ten Across Summit will convene a premier group of leaders and experts to discuss important issues such as water, energy, infrastructure, equity, democracy and risk.
A new book, “Arbitrary Lines,” argues that a century of zoning has hardened racial and class segregation in cities across the U.S. and worsened the effects of inequality by making it almost impossible to build anything but single-family homes in some cities. Author and planner M. Nolan Gray says there is a better way: Just look at Houston.
As a method of community planning, and as an impetus for creative placemaking (and placekeeping), poetry can help anyone–not just writers–think about how they are situated within their local communities and urban spaces. By writing poetry, any member of the public—in particular, those who are historically underrepresented—can turn conceptions into things that can be discussed and implemented. Since poetry has dislodged itself from patrician control and has found fertile ground in the digital landscape, it can be easily shared within local contexts and beyond.
The third annual State of Housing report looks at the pandemic's impact on the local housing market. The report also sets new housing baselines on mortgage loan data, homelessness and other housing indicators.
The Rio Grande Valley (RGV), or el Valle del Rio Bravo as it is known in Mexico, is often considered a far-flung collection of small-town border communities. As such, it remains largely unknown to the rest of the U.S., except when cited as one of the poorest areas in the country alongside Middle Appalachia or the Lower Mississippi Delta.
Urban affairs journalist Scott Beyer shares how a free-market approach to housing, transportation, public administration and more can create more livable cities.
A national expert and speaker on issues related to the built environment and equity, Tamika L. Butler discusses institutional oppression, the importance of inclusive urban design, and how to make transportation and public spaces more equitable.
Leslie Kern discusses "Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World."