Buffalo Bayou, Downtown Houston
September 24, 2021
FuturArc conducted an interview with Sacha Schwarzkopf about blue-green initiatives that can be transformative strategies for city regeneration. Here is one of the projects that was presented as an example.
SS: Back in, say, the 1990s or even up until maybe 2005, the edge of Downtown Houston next to the Buffalo Bayou was really a non-place. The Bayou has always been there. It is basically where all the water comes from the east, floods to the west, and then it passes through. It is not a very significant place, but a significant piece of the green and blue infrastructure for Houston.
And then they formed the Buffalo Bayou partnership. It was trying to amalgamise the business interests of all of the major property owners of Downtown Houston, and trying to do two things. One was called Making Mainstreet Happen, which was the implementation of the first light rail, a project I worked on. That connected Downtown Houston to the medical centre, the university and all the way down through Midtown and to Astrodome. So, Downtown Houston is sort of the one end of the MRT, coupled by this.
Those blue-green initiatives are certainly transformative strategies for cities that are in desperate need of regeneration, or even reinterpretation.
Next, to make the waterfront better and in order to incentivise things commercially, in terms of the real estate in the property, they changed their zoning laws.