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Published on Apr 25, 2016
The Leading with Landscape II: The Houston Transformation conference explored how ambitious, large-scale landscape-architectural projects are taking the lead in shaping the nation’s 4th largest city. Held at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Brown Auditorium on March 11, 2016, the conference brought together some of the leading thinkers and landscape architects who presented nationally significant projects. To learn more about the conference: http://tclf.org/sites/default/files/m...
Panelists, Chapter One: The Foundations
Kinder Baumgardner, RLA, ASLA, Managing Principal, SWA Group Scott McCready, RLA, ASLA, Principal, SWA Group Buffalo Bayou Park: Marking a return of the ‘Bayou City’
The dream of Houston, a city of economic opportunity, was born on waters of Buffalo Bayou. Fueled by unrestricted growth and a diverse economy, Houston has blossomed into one of the country’s most socially and economically diverse urban regions. Like many cities, however, decades of sprawling development and automobile-centric infrastructure have severed Houston’s connection with its waterfront. Once proudly referred to as the “Bayou City,” Houstonians relationship and understanding of their most dynamic ecological and cultural resource has been reduced to an afterthought. Buffalo Bayou Park represents a confluence of issues facing Houston today; neighborhoods with limited access to open space, pressures of development on fragile urban ecologies and the negative impacts of storm water management on the massive bayou network which defines the city.
Spearheaded by the non-profit Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the redevelopment of Buffalo Bayou Park represents a collective effort by the city to establish a path forward in re-thinking the city’s connection to its waterfront. Along its 2.5 mile length, the park both reconnects neighborhoods to the bayou and enhances ecological vitality within the core of the city. Through diversification of programming and enhanced pedestrian connectivity, SWA’s design for the park seeks to broaden access to a larger cross section of Houstonians while building-in the ecological and storm water resiliency required for long-term success. In the process the park serves to educate the public to the importance of preserving its most important ecological and cultural asset and re-establish Houston’s identity as “The Bayou City.”