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.
Hangzhou, an important tourist destination in China, is 180 kilometers (112 mi.) southwest of Shanghai. It has served ancient emperors as a capital city and is still a cultural center. To the Chinese, Hangzhou’s West Lake is as familiar an icon as the Great Wall or the Forbidden City. Marco Polo visited Hangzhou in the late 13th century and called the city “beyond dispute the ﬁnest and the noblest in the world.” For the Chinese, a pilgrimage to Hangzhou is an essential life experience. Of the 30 million tourists who visit West Lake each year, 2 million are foreigners.
Seeking to create a town center, the city of St. Louis Park, Minnesota, entered into a public/private partnership with TOLD Development Company to develop Excelsior and Grand, a $150 million mixed-use project on 16 acres (6.5 hectares) that contains apartments, condominiums, retail space, and a town green that links to an existing city park. Designed by Elness Swenson Graham Architects, Inc. (ESG), this four-phase project will consist of 86,000 square feet (7,990 square meters) of retail space, 337 apartments, and approximately 330 for-sale units. Already completed, the first two phases comprise all of the aforementioned apartments, 124 condominiums, and over 65,000 square feet (6,093 square meters) of retail space. Furthermore, it provides the city of St. Louis Park, a first-ring suburb west of Minneapolis, with a pedestrian-friendly downtown.
Built around the old Fahaheel fishing harbor, Al Kout-Fahaheel Waterfront is a 24-hectare (59-ac) retail and entertainment center that has transformed the waterfront into an accessible, vibrant, and public space that draws visitors from all over Kuwait. The product of a public/private partnership, the project comprises more than 17,000 square meters (182,986 sq ft) of retail space along two piers, two marinas, and a beachfront promenade with public amenities. The Al Kout-Fahaheel Waterfront is the first phase of Madinat Al Fahaheel, a 300,000-square-meter (3.2 million-sq-ft) mixed-use development.