Midtown Park

The Midtown Redevelopment Authority did not like their mini-park’s redo and so they took the brave stance to acknowledge that problem and redo it again. This time they “hit a home run”. The images speak for themselves.

The new park has a small privately operated concession stand with outdoor seating where the fees help defray the cost of park maintenance. Click here for a location map.


The fountains.


The no-leash dog area.


The New Library Plaza

Library Plaza3.jpgThe Houston Public Central Library in downtown was always a wonderful modern facility with great windows and views in a modern multi-story brick building with escalators. That is a long way from the one where I grew up. But time past and it needed to be updated–particularly to serve the internet connected world.  Along with the inside improvements the outside plaza area was overhauled. Continue reading

Bull Rock Under a Bridge

CIMG6777.JPGBridges have a way of attracting an element of society that is unfortunately something we must deal with — the homeless. This post is  not to propose making their lives harder but rather to share a solution for controlling public space under bridges.

I came across a solution that seems to be almost perfect as it is cheap, no one will steal it, you cannot sleep on it and it should age and discolor evenly and look like other aging concrete structures that are not considered unsightly. Continue reading

Layers in Downtown

An aspect about downtown Houston, and likely your city, that many mCIMG1695.JPGay not consider when rushing to work, the theater, a ball game or out to dinner is that there are layers that go beyond the streets, sidewalks and many floors of the buildings; even beyond the pedestrian tunnels here in Houston. Admittedly downtown Houston is flat–or seems to be–until you approach Buffalo Bayou on the north and west side of the Theater District.  The varying levels of public space provides an aspect of letting one “escape” that, for me, takes the space to another dimension. Continue reading

Benches below the traffic

Buffalo Bayou under Smith St.The two benches in this photo are below Smith St. and on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The concrete walkway was one of the initial pathways along the bayou that winds through the north end of Downtown Houston. In very heavy rains the water can rise almost to the bottom of the bridge. When it recedes the next day the benches have a small collection of debris and the trees look like they have been in a washing machine. Continue reading

Victory Gardens for Sustainability

SDC10341.JPGThe City of Houston is working to encourage sustainable aspects of life in the big city and one is to show how “victory gardens” can easily be started and enjoyed. In the case of the latest demo the garden adds a new dimension and reason for enjoying a great public space–Tranquility Park.

The first area created for container gardens is at the corner of Walker and Smith Streets in front of the City’s building known as 611 Walker. The latest location is in Tranquility Park across the street from the first. Click for Map. Continue reading

Lauren’s Garden at the new Market Square Park

Lau<SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA>ren’s Garden is a memorial to Lauren Catuzzi Grandcolas, a Houstonian killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She was a passenger on United Flight 93, the hijacked airplane that crashed in the Pennsylvania countryside.  The garden includes a fountain and a memorial to all victims of the 2001 tragedy. It is another of the destinations inside the one-acre park that has a sense of place all to itself. Certainly the memory of that horrific day and the deaths of so many like Lauren brings a much deserved respectful quiet and peace to the small area. Continue reading

Root Memorial Square – aka Root Park

Photo of Root Memorial Park, Houston TXRoot Memorial Square – commonly call Root Park – is in downtown Houston across LaBranch Street from the Toyota Center; home of the Rockets Basketball team. The square was rebuilt in 2004 into a park that commemorated the history of the area and the fans of the basketball team across the street. Originally the block contained the mansion of Alexander Porter Root and his wife, Laura Shepherd Root. The land was donated in their memory by their descendants in 1923. Continue reading

Market Square Park’s Re-opening

CIMG3954.JPGThe contractor’s fence came down as the last minute touches were made getting ready for the opening Saturday. But, for those looking for a place to eat lunch, walk the dog or curious to see the changes the park was “open”.

The concept of the new park, as opposed to the previous concept of an art and historic park, is leading to far more usage. There are the usual benches and stone walkways, fountains, color flower beds, great lighting at night and, in a couple of weeks, a local favorite eatery selling Greek fast food. There was unfettered green space for the dogs but they made that space unappealing to the non-dogs. The new park has a great dog area-the best I have seen-with plastic bag dispensers. Continue reading

Pedestrian Spaces at Washington Ave. Roundabout

CIMG1547_20100619 PGR.jpgI have driven through roundabouts in England but do not recall how the pedestrian space around them was used. In the case of one of the new roundabouts here in Houston the design provided great garden-like open spaces with benches and large plants. This space is part of the Washington on Westcott Roundabout Initiative, Inc.–a non-profit organization of neighborhood associations and community leaders donating their time. Continue reading