Washington Avenue Livable Centers

December 2012   Houston, TX

Client

  • Houston-Galveston Area Council

Team

  • Arup
  • Morris Architects
  • SWA Group
  • TEI
  • RCLCO

A study with a goal to create walkable, mixed-use places that provide multi-modal transportation, improve environmental quality, and promote economic development.

Image
Key Points

Asakura Robinson provided neighborhood and community organizers with professional expertise in developing strategies to attract, support, and retain local businesses.

Capacity Building

Neighborhood and community organizers along the corridor got together to make community changes before seeking professional expertise. While the corridor already had investment from city and local developers, the organizers needed professional expertise to help bring their ideas to fruition.

Public Art

Asakura Robinson engaged local artists to guide public engagement and development of strategies for bringing new commercial uses to the area. Asakura Robinson worked directly with graffiti artists and developers to identify walls people could use for branding and messaging.

Implementation

Asakura Robinson led market research and analysis to help stakeholders along the corridor decide the types of commercial uses and businesses to attract, support, and retain. Asakura Robinson also encouraged neighborhood consciousness and collaboration with local nonprofits to ensure that recommendations were easy to understand and communicate.

Image

The historic Washington Avenue corridor is truly one of Houston’s most unique places. The corridor has experienced significant growth, benefiting from a large influx of new residents, businesses, restaurants and bars, and artists, but has also felt stresses to the area’s transportation and open space networks and housing affordability. The Washington Avenue Livable Centers project goals were to create walkable, mixed-use places that provide multi-modal transportation, improve environmental quality and promote economic development. Asakura Robinson Company led public engagement efforts and developed 12 recommendations relating to circulation and connectivity, development standards, affordable housing, public art, branding, district management, parks and open space, bicycle and pedestrian amenities and economic development.


Throughout this project, Asakura Robinson used public engagement to balance different—and at times competing—needs to ensure that the Washington Avenue Corridor stayed unique but also fit into the surrounding neighborhood context. These efforts were important so that everyone along the Washington Avenue Corridor and in the surrounding community benefited from improvements. Asakura Robinson’s office, which is located in the study area, was the community design center for this project. Members of the community had a convenient space to gather and discuss planning and design processes. The team hosted open house meetings and workshops, and working groups were able to become deeply involved and invested in the project. Members of the focus groups came directly from the community. Topics for focus groups included Placemaking, Wayfinding & Branding; Circulation & Connectivity; Housing Choice & Buildings; Economic Development; and Sustainability & Open Space.

Image
Image
Image
Carnegie Vanguard High School October 2012   Houston, TX