Nearly 80 percent of Americans live in cities and metropolitan areas. Increasingly, those cities are challenged by aging water and transportation systems that are nearing or exceeding their designed capacity. A new focus on flood and other natural disaster resilience is driving city planners to leverage mixed-use infrastructure, including parks, to address civic needs while taking advantage of cost savings and other social benefits.
Houston’s most significant natural resource, Buffalo Bayou, is increasingly accessible to locals and visitors alike, thanks to the efforts of Buffalo Bayou Partnership and funding from numerous public and private entities.
With a focus on revitalizing a 10-mile stretch of the bayou over the past 30 years, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) has already transformed sections of the bayou and its banks to create parks, trails, and bridges. Most recently, BBP renovated the 160-acre green space called Buffalo Bayou Park. The park features trails, a nature play area, dog park, performance pavilions, a cafe, and two visitor centers, which offer boat and bike rentals. Planning has begun for BBP’s next big project, the equitable development of Buffalo Bayou’s eastern sector. BBP is working with local partners to revitalize neighborhoods in the area, while celebrating their rich cultural and industrial heritage.
|Infrastructure Type||Waterfront / Waterway|
|Status||Open / Ongoing|
|Size||6400 acres, 10 miles|
|Design Team||SWA, Page, Herves Descottes, Reed Hilderbrand, Lake/Flato|
Managed and operated by Buffalo Bayou Partnership in partnership with the City of Houston, Harris County, and Harris County Flood Control District
Latest News / Buffalo Bayou
During Hurricane Harvey, Buffalo Bayou Park was inundated with floodwaters. Mountains of sand and debris littered the park’s western end. Yet within a week, joggers returned to the trails and the restaurant was up and running. The relatively fast reopening signals how urban planning mitigated the damage of one of the costliest floods in U.S. history. And planners say it now holds broader lessons as the growing challenge to plan for the effects of climate change becomes a larger part of commercial development.
During the past 15 years, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership has invested or leveraged more than $144 million to compile a 70-acre patchwork of public spaces along the eastern waterfront.