The Collaborative Community Design Initiative is founded on interdisciplinary problem-solving, community engagement, and broad-based partnerships that provide a model for new ways of acting in and thinking about our communities.


Collaborative Community Design Initiative No. 1

The Collaborative Community Design Initiative is a program founded on interdisciplinary problem-solving, community engagement, partnerships, and broad-based participation that provides one model for new ways of acting in and thinking about our communities. The pilot program of the Initiative created a guide for change in our four partner communities―Greater Heights, Greater Third Ward, Harrisburg, and Independence Heights―as well as pointing to potential strategies and tactics in communities across the country that are facing similar challenges.

The focus of the pilot initiative was on once-thriving commercial corridors and the adjacent communities. Corridors are the spines of communities.  Corridors move people, provide a framework for development, and serve as anchors for commercial, cultural and civic spaces. Throughout our cities disinvestment has eroded many once thriving corridors, and for others the predominant focus on moving traffic or parking cars over the creation of place has had a similar effect. Re-thinking corridors begins with an understanding of the current conditions, including the opportunities and constraints, finding elements to build on, and creating the vision and partnerships to make it a reality.

Each community and corridor has different strengths and weaknesses. Airline, a thriving commercial and market corridor, is at risk of becoming obsolete if new strategies are not developed to achieve a greater balance between automobiles and pedestrians. The Broadway Corridor, at the confluence of two major bayous, has likely reached the peak of its disinvestment and has the potential to emerge as one of the most unique places in the city. The Holman Corridor, sandwiched strategically between major educational institutions, is an opportunity to think big based on the opportunities of the surrounding anchors. Finally, the North Main Corridor, in the heart of a historic African-American community, has the potential for great change based on the shear commitment and strength of its residents.

The project was sponsored through generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Urban Land Institute, and Capital One, with additional support from Greater Houston LISC, ULI Houston District Council, the Southeast Houston Community Development Corporation, and the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.  We would like to thank all of our partners and supporters.

Summer 2010
Location: Greater Heights, Greater Third Ward, Harrisburg, Independence Heights

Design Team:  Susan Rogers, Rafael Longoria, Maria Oran, Natasha Ostaszewski, and Jay Taylor

Student Teams: Eric Arnold, Johanna Brustmeyer, Jessica Barnett, Miriam Cardenas, Ethan Dehaini, Kiza Forgie, Lianka Gallegos, Aaron Grant, Christopher Hopkins, Mireille Kameni, Ran Li, Jenna McPhail, Robert Mercado, Amanda Neve, Maria Oran, Allison Parrott, Stefano Poisl, Jennifer Reyes, Matthew Rose, Mauricio Suarez, Xiaowen Shi, Ruqiya Imtiaz-uddin, Sanja Zilic