Buffalo Bayou Park

Format
Full

City
Houston

State/Province
TX

Country
USA

Metro Area
Houston

Project Type
District/Corridor/Community

Location Type
Other Central City

Land Uses
Connected Regional Bicycle Paths
Event Space
Open space
Restaurant
Visitor Center
Water Uses/Amenities
Wetland

Keywords
Adaptive reuse
Amphitheater
Dog park
Flash flood area
Linear park
Park
Park system
Playground
Public art
Public-private partnership
Resilient design
Restaurants
Stormwater management
Trails
ULI Global Awards for Excellence 2017 Winner
Visitor center
Waterways

Site Size
160 acres
acres hectares

Date Started
2010

Date Opened
2015

Buffalo Bayou Park is a 160-acre linear park stretching for 2.3 miles west of downtown Houston, along the region’s primary river. A $58 million capital campaign transformed the park from a neglected drainage ditch into a citywide showpiece. Its ten acres of trails wind past seven major public art installations, three gardens of native flora, and over four pedestrian bridges; two festival lawns, a dog park, a skate park, a nature play area, a restaurant, and an art exhibit hall draw visitors from afar. Structures were carefully sited above the path of potential floods, while park elements within the valley were designed and built to be submerged during future floods—requiring cleanup, rather than reconstruction, after the inevitable floods.

The nonprofit Buffalo Bayou Partnership orchestrated a joint effort between public sector partners and private donors: private donors funded the park, in tandem with public sector improvements to the river channel and adjacent streets, and with a plan for ongoing maintenance. The park’s completion was a milestone that launched a broader effort to reimagine the possibilities of streams across the region.

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Format
Full

City
Houston

State/Province
TX

Country
USA

Metro Area
Houston

Project Type
District/Corridor/Community

Location Type
Other Central City

Land Uses
Connected Regional Bicycle Paths
Event Space
Open space
Restaurant
Visitor Center
Water Uses/Amenities
Wetland

Keywords
Adaptive reuse
Amphitheater
Dog park
Flash flood area
Linear park
Park
Park system
Playground
Public art
Public-private partnership
Resilient design
Restaurants
Stormwater management
Trails
ULI Global Awards for Excellence 2017 Winner
Visitor center
Waterways

Site Size
160 acres
acres hectares

Date Started
2010

Date Opened
2015

Project address

105 Sabine St.
Houston, Texas 77007

Website

https://buffalobayou.org/visit/destination/buffalo-bayou-park/

Master plans: http://issuu.com/buffalobayou

Developer

Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Owner

City of Houston

Harris County Flood Control District

Financial partners

Downtown Redevelopment Authority (Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone #3)

Kinder Foundation

Landscape architect and planning

SWA Group

Architecture

Page

General contractor

Millis Development & Construction, Inc.

Other participants

ADA consultant

Advanced Design Solutions

Civil engineer

United Engineers

Traffic engineer

AIA Engineers

Geotechnical

Aviles Engineers

PSI

Irrigation

Sweeney and Associates

Lighting

L'Observatoire

Stephen Korns

MEP engineer

Hunt & Hunt Engineering

Operations and maintenance consultant

ETM Associates

Playground specialist

Natural Learning Initiative

Specialty garden design

Reed Hilderbrand

Structural engineer

RDP Engineers

Survey

McKim and Creed

Wayfinding designer

Marek Hill Design

Interviewees

Kerri da Silva, associate, SWA Group

Guy Hagstette, director of parks and civic projects, Kinder Foundation; former project manager, Buffalo Bayou Park

Anne Olson, president, Buffalo Bayou Partnership

Tim Peterson, principal, SWA Group

Michael Robinson, associate, SWA Group

ULI Staff

Billy Grayson
Executive Director
Center for Sustainability and Economic Performance

Katharine Burgess
Senior Director
Urban Resilience

Payton Chung
Director
Case Studies and Publications
Principal Author

David Kim
Executive Director
ULI Houston

Misty Loocke
Senior Manager
ULI Houston

James A. Mulligan
Senior Editor

David Rose
Copy Editor

Erica Ellis
Intern
Urban Resilience