Plan Downtown

November 2017   Houston, TX


  • Houston Downtown Management District


  • Sasaki
  • TEI
  • HR&A

The development framework for Downtown Houston, Converging Culture, Lifestyle, & Commerce, focused on ideas from 30,000 feet in the air to thoughtful conversations from a street level point of view, recommending both large and small projects that will transform Downtown for the next five, ten, and twenty years.

Key Points

Downtown Houston had experienced decades of compounding success. Plan Downtown asked what’s next?


Downtown can support resiliency goals by creating guidelines for development within the floodplain, strengthening the flood readiness of government facilities through new master plans for the City and County campuses, continued attention to “smart” technologies, and improvements to vital infrastructure.

Deep Engagement

Our team managed a 16-person Leadership Committee of project implementers; a 166-member steering committee of elected officials, community leaders, and area residents; as well as thoroughly engaged the public through public workshops, online surveys and text campaigns.

Neighbrhood Connections

Downtown can become better connected to its adjacent neighborhoods; better connected to nature through the Green Loop; better connected to enhanced activities, attractions, and engaging places; and better connected through mobility innovation and great streets.

This 20-year vision plan outlines recommendations for both short-term and long-term planning, development and design that will improve the visitor appeal, business climate, livability and connectivity within and around Downtown Houston leading up to the city’s bicentennial in 2036.

Developed over 12 months, our team engaged stakeholders in a series of topic-focused meetings, public workshops, online surveys and text campaigns. Public input and expert analysis led to a detailed and adaptable roadmap that identifies stakeholders’ areas of responsibility, designates a phasing strategy and pinpoints funding opportunities for projects and concepts. The plan centers on ten key recommendations that are grouped within four “pillars” that define the next twenty years of Downtown’s development. Each pillar is a declarative statement which positions Downtown Houston both within the region and nationally as an urban leader.

Downtown is Houston’s greatest place to be defines placemaking activities and attractions and proposes the Green Loop, a five mile circular trail which takes advantage of abandoned highway right of way to provide access to downtown and establish new connections with adjacent neighborhoods. Downtown is the premier business and government location solidifies Downtown as the preeminent office location while encouraging the innovation ecosystem to move Downtown into the next century. Downtown is the standard for urban living sets new, aggressive goals for residential development and provides support for a collaborative approach to housing with the adjacent central city neighborhoods. Finally, Downtown is the innovative leader in connectivity positions Downtown to take advantage of innovative transportation technologies. Taken together, the plan recommendations provide a roadmap for Downtown Houston’s future.

San Felipe de Austin Visitor Center November 2017   San Felipe, TX