Park at Palm Center

April 2013   Houston, TX

Client

  • OST/ Almeda Corridors Redevelopment Authority TIRZ 7

Team

  • University of Houston

A unique and local open space that promotes active living, healthy eating, and a cohesive community. Originally constructed as an early auto-oriented retail development before the mall concept became widespread, Park at Palm Center is the City's most successful community trail facility.

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Key Points

A vacant lot becomes a beloved community space that serves its community.

Promoting Food Access

Park at Palm Center is one of the City's first urban gardens and is the first space in Houston to incorporate fruit-bearing trees, increasing access to healthy food for nearby residents and visitors. In addition to the edible landscape and community gardens, a community kitchen was designed and built by Univerisity of Houston students.

Civic Space

Park at Palm Center encourages social interaction by activating the space with a nature playground, picnic tables, splash park, and public gathering space and pavillion for local events and productions. As the space becomes more popular, volunteers are needed to provide education around healthy eating choices, garden maintenance, and food preparation of harvested fruit and vegetables.

Reinvestment

Through this project, Park at Palm Center reimagines an abandoned lot in an economically diverse neighborhood as a highly functional urban park to serve existing residents. The third phase of this project will include the installation of public art in 2020 and the addition of more functionality to the garden space for volunteers.

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Once a thriving shopping center in the heart of Southeast Houston, Palm Center is experiencing a rebirth. To support existing residents, including neighbors residing in low-income apartments adjacent to the site, our team worked with The Old Spanish Trail/Almeda Corridor Redevelopment Authority and the City of Houston to renovate an abandoned lot into a highly functional urban park.


Developed in phases as funding became available, the park includes edible landscapes that provide seasonal fruit for residents, and a walking trail to promote an active, healthy lifestyle. The second phase of improvements include a community garden, shade structures, additional play equipment, an interactive sun-dial, signage and a theater performance area. Volunteers lead after school outdoor education programs in the garden space and work with nonprofits to sell harvested produce at local farmers markets.

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Washington Avenue Livable Centers December 2012   Houston, TX