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.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency this month began designating certain communities at high risk for natural disasters as “disaster resilience zones,” and Harris County — with 14 — has more than any other county in the United States.
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.
Researchers and policymakers trying to study Harris County have a daunting task before them. It is the third-most populous county in the United States; if it were its own state, it would be bigger than Rhode Island in land area and would be ranked 25th in population. At this size, a single Houston neighborhood could have a population exceeding that of many Texas counties.
The residents of University Village in Greater Third Ward made a very strong case for turning a vacant lot into a pocket park in their neighborhood — and the city listened.
Since 1983, the innovative SPARK parks program has taken a multi-use, community-based approach to increasing park acreage by turning school playgrounds into community parks. The effort has helped put many Houstonians within walking distance of active green space.
Under Texas law, drivers are required to yield the right of way to people in a crosswalk, marked or unmarked. But for the most part, Houston drivers ignore the rules. In the end, the driving laws in the state are not protecting vulnerable road users.
For those who haven’t completed the ongoing 2020 Census, an important reason to respond online, by phone or by mail to the nine-question survey is the neighbor next door, two doors down or down the street.
As a stay-at-home order takes effect for residents of Houston and Harris County, the importance of social solidarity and working together for the common good become even more crucial to protecting our most vulnerable neighbors.
The “Urban Edge explains …” series explores issues and concepts that are important to urban planning and policy experts. Today, we look at the power of tactical urbanism to demonstrate effective solutions to long-term goals using short-term, inexpensive examples.
Transit equity benefits all of society — both those who use it and those who don’t. It provides access to jobs, schools and other opportunities to underserved communities, people who can’t afford the costs related to owning a car as well as those who use it because of convenience or to limit their contribution to the problems of congestion and pollution. In turn, the reductions in traffic and emissions they represent benefit those who drive. But we should also consider the equity of infrastructure such as sidewalks, crosswalks and drainage, all of which affect connectivity, accessibility and safety for people who walk, roll and ride bikes in Houston.
How much do you know about the 45-year-old federal housing assistance program that was created to help those with the nation’s lowest incomes access better opportunities and escape poverty?
In a city notorious for rain, heat and humidity (and often all three at once), shade is a highly-coveted, heat-reprieving resource for all Houstonians. And yet, the presence of shade at times feels unequal depending on where you are in the city.
Developers say as projects take hold in the suburbs, the term may need an updated definition.