The Mid-West neighborhood in Houston is just north of Gulfton and Sharpstown and just east of the Galleria and the 610 Loop. It is an extremely diverse neighborhood, home to nice single-family neighborhoods, thousands of multi-family apartments, the South Asian shopping district, a giant flea market, and restaurants from around the world, including the Halal Wok which begins to speak to the hybrid quality of the community. UH College of Architecture students Dennis Alvarez, Nahid S. Haimonty, Alex Lara, Janine Nunfio, and Sana Rehman spent the Spring collecting data, pounding the pavement, researching precedents, and developing design strategies for the Mid-West Super Neighborhood, what they came up with is nothing short of SUPER. As the team states:
By introducing links and social hubs that address the strengths of the community, the vibrancy of the neighborhood becomes prominent in Houston. By embracing the culture of the neighborhood and providing an economic boost for local entrepreneurs, the community is bound to prosper. The social hubs that occur near Westpark Tollway will draw from certain aspects of the community and its needs, but will serve both Mid-West and Houston as a whole.
Concentrating on removing both physical and social barriers, four major interventions are introduced.
GREEN FUSE: Programming the path along the drainage ditch through the community, a link is made from Westheimer to the transit center. This linear path also provides access to local activity hubs, both existing and proposed.
WESTPARK PLAZA: Utilizing the open space below the Westpark overpass, the plaza becomes a social hub. The hubs have the potential to boost economic growth through ethnic food trucks and markets, and also create a gathering place that could hold events such as concerts and dancing.
HILLCROFT PARK + PLAY: While the METRO is widely used in the area, the park and ride lot is underused. In the proposed intervention, the large parking area of the transit center becomes a recreational complex.
URBAN FARMING LINE: A multi-purpose community space will serve as a means of social interaction. The linear park will allow for a place for urban farming as well, making use of the undeveloped land below the utility lines.