Fifth Ward / Buffalo Bayou / East End Livable Centers

July 2015   Houston, TX


  • Houston Galveston Area Council
  • Fifth Ward Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ 18)
  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  • Greater East End Management District


  • McCann Adams Studio
  • LAN
  • Marsh Darcy Partners
  • The Working Partner

A unique opportunity to bridge parts of Houston's Fifth Ward and East end by creating a unifying development around Buffalo Bayou.

Key Points

Designing a livable, mixed-use, mixed-income development around Buffalo Bayou was an opportunity to bring together the Fifth Ward and East End neighborhoods around a shared vision.

Affordable Housing

Our housing strategies seek to ensure that as residential redevelopment occurs, these neighborhoods include a variety of housing types; that housing remains affordable; and the overall character of the neighborhood is preserved.

Economic Development

Our strategies seek to support existing creative energy by providing tools that encourage entrepreneurship and the development of skills to establish strong industries and job creation, including makerspaces and business incubators.

Equity and Public Engagement

The project partners established community liaisons in the Fifth Ward and East End, who collaborated to create a social media presence, tap into existing community events, and involve local organizations in the outreach efforts. This collaboration was important to bridge the racial and economic divide between the neighboring communities.

The purpose of the Fifth Ward / Buffalo Bayou / East End Livable Center Plan was to facilitate the creation of sustainable, viable, mixed-use, and mixed-income environments. The primary stakeholders are the Fifth Ward Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (18), the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, the Greater East End Management District, and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership.

Community members who were engaged throughout the planning process stressed the need to preserve the character, history, and natural amenities for existing residents. Located east of downtown Houston, Buffalo Bayou flows through the center of the study area and is bordered by declining industrial uses. The Fifth Ward / Buffalo Bayou / East End Livable Center Plan represents a unique collaboration between neighborhoods who have not traditionally seen themselves as natural allies.

The project’s strong public engagement component utilized a consensus building approach to build connections between residents across languages and cultures. The plan framework creates interdependent improvement opportunities meant to leverage public, private and non-profit investments towards a desired community vision, and gives the community a voice in how the major redevelopment of industrial land will benefit the community’s quality of life.

Kelly Village Community Park July 2015   Houston, TX