Establishing community branding and walkability standards to guide development and investment in the public realm and to support community-driven revitalization.
A changing historically African-American community in Houston sought to establish standards that confirm the neighborhood's identity and strengthen connections to its history.
Establishing a consistent and engaging community identity will help to propel development in the Fifth Ward. Building out a beautiful messaging method for the neighborhood also helps community members to take pride in their surroundings.
The long term goals of The Fifth Ward Pattern Book ultimately focus on preserving the community as it grows and welcomes new residents. Commemorating the history of the community while also strengthening its connection to the surrounding bayous and neighborhoods will help to solidify The Historic Fifth Ward's role in the future of Houston.
The walking conditions vary along Lyons Avenue based on the quality of the concrete, the adequacy of the lighting or shade, and the accessibility of the sidewalks. Focusing on the pedestrian scale of lighting and shade trees, widening the pathways, and improving the accessibility of each segment would greatly improve the corridor's walkability.
The Fifth Ward Pattern Book is one of a series of projects that Asakura Robinson has taken on for the Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation. Our relationship with them began during the Buffalo Bayou Livable Center Study, and has extended to include an expansion of the TIRZ and the Cultural District plan for the neighborhood. Working on so many projects together has allowed for the unique opportunity to help plan for the revitalization of a community from initial policy, to development strategies, to on-the-ground neighborhood preservation tactics, and to help them figure out how the implementation of all of these plans happens.
The Pattern Book specifically was intended to guide the Fifth Ward CRC and the local TIRZ in how to best utilize the TIRZ funding stream for neighborhood development and branding. Historically, Lyons Avenue, which runs throughout the Fifth Ward has been treated as the community’s main street. The CRC’s redevelopment vision focuses on revitalizing Lyons Avenue’s economic and cultural significance through concerted development efforts and strengthening the community brand. The Pattern Book was developed through stakeholder meetings, meetings with residents, and community surveys in order to understand where the community’s priorities intersected with Lyons Avenue. After synthesizing the community input, our suggestions focused on improving walkability, unifying the area signage and lighting, and continuing to raise the standard for urban development.