Every year I really look forward to the TX APA conference. It’s a time when planners from across the state get together to discuss current planning issues and share their experiences and expertise. This year the conference will be Galveston, a magical place I visited on family vacations every summer when I was a kid. I remember going to The Strand, a very walkable area, lots of history, lots of “place”….and La Kings….I loooove La Kings! Join us at TX APA in Galveston. It’s going to be a great conference. For more information, visit www.txplanning.org/2013-galveston-conference.
The City of Houston has a revolutionary idea they call One Bin for All, which allows residents to discard all materials in one bin, treating “trash” as valuable assets, dramatically increasing recycling using game changing technologies. The City would create a public-private partnership to construct and operate a high-tech recycling and sorting facility, diverting up to 75 percent of the material residents discard (up from Houston’s current 14 percent) – using technology from the mining and refining industries, not individuals. Residents will be able to place all discarded materials in one bin and technology will do the rest. The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. To view the ideas from the 20 finalists, click the grid below — and then vote for your favorite here!
This is a little park area by a trail along a river in Vilnius, Lithuania (which, by the way, was #24 on the New York Times Top 46 Places to Visit in 2013 - and Houston was #7). When I see places like this, I think of what Houston could be like if we took full advantage of our bayous. The economic development opportunities and health benefits of amenities like these are endless. The good news is that the Bayou Greenway bond passed! The Houston Parks Board is working to maintain support for the Bayou Greenways Initiative and needs your help. Join CNU Houston members and friends on January 23rd for the Houston Parks Board Spring Kick Off meeting…more details available on our events page here….
This image reminds me of a lot of places in Houston. It’s in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where former City Planning Director Peter Park proposed demolishing the freeway, which carried a low volume of only 35,000 vehicles per day. The stars aligned and the freeway was demolished. Replacing the elevated freeway with an at-grade street eliminated a major barrier between downtown neighborhoods, provided better connectivity of the street grid, stimulated private investment, and increased property values. Click here to read more.
I wonder if we’ll ever stop building new freeways in the Houston area….
Join Peter Park and CNU members on January 14, 2013 at 6pm at Rice University’s Chao Center for Asian Studies. Click here for more details.
Our very own CNU Board Member Peter Brown was interviewed for the Chronicle on the challenges to walkability in Houston, including electrical infrastructure like messy power lines and power poles in the sidewalk.
The CNU Charter reads: 23) Streets and squares should be safe, comfortable, and interesting to the pedestrian. Properly configured, they encourage walking and enable neighbors to know each other and protect their communities.
I’d be delighted to see a future for Houston where most streets are safe, comfortable, and interesting for pedestrians! Visit www.pedestrianpete.com for more from Pedestrian Pete.
The Charter says that a range of parks should be distributed within neighborhoods. Linear parks within a street’s median are a great option that take only a small area to create a valuable neighborhood asset. It’s a traffic calming solution and provides a premium value for adjacent lots. Human comfort is key and provided here by the attractively paved path, appropriately-scaled pedestrian lighting, and shady oak trees. Every time I head out on North and South Boulevards, the path is filled with people walking, jogging, or posing for this year’s holiday card. While this example is located in a wealthy area of Houston, it’s a relatively low cost option for a new neighborhood or retrofitting an existing street with excess capacity.
Did you know that the Congress for the New Urbanism co-authored the LEED for Neighborhood Development Rating System with the U.S. Green Building Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council? CNU Houston co-sponsored the 3rd Annual LEED for Neighborhood Development Symposium held on October 30th at the City of Houston’s Green Resource Center.
If you walk around Downtown Houston much, one thing you’ll notice is bikes lashed on to any kind of grate, fence, pole, etc. For instance, here’s a bike hooked up to a fence in front of the Episcopal Cathedral downtown:
Meanwhile, there’s plenty of room for a proper bike rack on this block:
So why don’t we have have one?