Land Use Fellowship
Houston, TX
Peer Exchange Panel

In Houston, deteriorating multifamily housing stock located along major thoroughfares are creating blight conditions in some adjacent middle-income neighborhoods. Many of these developments have exceeded the life expectancies of their construction, and the City is faced with multiple questions about how to prevent this trend of disinvestment from spreading into nearby healthy communities.

Condemnation and demolition comprise one component for addressing the threat of dangerous buildings; however this approach should be part of a larger strategy to strategically reposition relatively large vacant parcels near middle-income neighborhoods. We are looking for new tools to redevelop dilapidated multifamily structures, while also creating community development initiatives that reach within a 2- to 3-mile radius to help resuscitate middle-class neighborhoods most at risk of decline. To optimize our efforts, the City of Houston has teamed with METRO (Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Houston, Texas) to create a multi-faceted strategy to address this problem.

Houston is unique among major American cities in that it is without zoning. To create an approach that the Houston Rose Fellowship Team can replicate throughout different contexts within the City, we propose to look at two different communities with this problem. The first lies within the Golfcrest, Bellfort, Reveille Super Neighborhood (SN-73), and is defined by the Broadway corridor and Hobby Airport. This area has undergone thorough study and review by METRO and has portfolioions for multiple transit alternatives in the future.

The second includes portions of the Central Northwest Super Neighborhood (SN-12) and the Greater Inwood Super Neighborhood (SN-5). It is defined by the Antoine corridor west of the White Oak Bayou between Highway 290 and the City limit. While this area possesses high bus ridership, it is unlike the first neighborhood in many ways.

While this exploration represents classic community development work, we hope to employ an innovative toolkit. In itself, our team of Fellows represents an interdepartmental and inter-organizational approach. By addressing the problem of blight in middle-income neighborhoods caused by deteriorating multifamily structures, we hope to foster and support healthy middle-income communities throughout Houston.

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