Although I think I was included in the credits on the last issue, this is the first real issue out since I joined the editorial committee. I’m also briefly interviewed in the Westheimer article. More about the issue (including where to get it) here.
One of the biggest projects we’ve been working on over the last 7 months is the Washington Avenue Livable Centers Plan, a neighborhood driven plan for a community of 20,000 directly to the west of downtown Houston. The image below has a link to download the boards of our team’s recommendations. Our hope is that many of the recommendations will help serve as a framework for how the City can think about the future development of its inner-urban neighborhoods.
After a two year hiatus during which I’ve been writing primarily at other sources, including Plurale Tantum, Cite Magazine and for my firm’s blog, I’ve decided it’s time to revamp and reactivate this site as an outlet for writing more about project work, general thoughts on Houston and other things.
So, what have I been up to? I started working for a small planning and design firm in Houston called Asakura Robinson about a year and a half ago. I’ve been lucky to have a supportive environment to develop my own interests. Within the planning work, we’ve had a focus on bicycle and pedestrian work including the recently completed Clear Lake Bicycle and Pedestrian Study (Houston, TX 2011) and East End Mobility Study (Houston, TX 2012) and on neighborhood scale planning work, such as the Washington Avenue Livable Centers Plan and recent work helping the City of Houston identify communities for investment using Hurricane Ike recovery funds.
Last year, I co-founded a small design collaborative called Social Agency Lab along with a bunch of friends that I wanted to work more with. We’ve done a few design competitions, including a third place finish in Pruitt-Igoe Now and a publication in the Atlas of Possibility for the Future of New York (more about both these projects and others are up at Plurale Tantum).
I’ve also been teaching a course a semester at Texas Southern University in the planning department, including a course on the Theory of Urban Form and a one week joint studio with Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.
Perhaps the most exciting news is the new baby we have on the way, due in September. Though I promise this won’t turn into a baby blog, I’m already noticing how thinking from the perspective of having a child changes some views of the built environment, transportation and so on. Where I do reference the kid, I’m sure it’ll be through that perspective, especially thinking about how it applies to practice and theory. One sort of crazy thing that’s already been coming up is how difficult being a car-free parent in Houston may be, not because it’s actually tough to get around, but because of the amount that having a vehicle is institutionalized here. For example, we choose a hospital and doctor right on the light rail line for convenience, but found out later on that the hospital has a policy (which may or may not be Texas state law) that they don’t release the baby from the hospital without a car seat. Which basically means an expensive purchase of something we don’t need. For us, its only a frustration, for someone who doesn’t drive because they can’t afford to, it’s got to be a major challenge.
So, that’s it. We’re back. Lots more to come.