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 and thinking about our communities. The project, the second in our series of Initiativesgenerates a guide for change in our four partner communities―Alief, Golfcrest | Bellfort | Reveille, Greenspoint, and Mid-West―as well as pointing to potential strategies and tactics in communities across the country that are facing similar challenges.

The focus of the second initiative was on re-thinking and re-connecting islands of singular land uses and user groups.  Islands are a product of too little planning and the lack of a larger vision that could potentially guide individual development projects.  As a result, development occurs piecemeal, one parcel at a time, disconnected from the surrounding context by form, use, parking, or users.  Infrastructure contributes to this division, weaving through the city's backyard and providing little or no amenities to the adjacent landscape.  The impact is that communities become fragmented, driving becomes the only reasonable choice for moving about, and single purpose land uses dominate the landscape, minimizing the diversity of uses and users that create active and sustainable communities.       

Re-thinking islands begins by understanding the current conditions, followed by finding ways to mitigate the impact of disconnected landscapes and user groups.  This project provides a toolkit for change that seeks to address these challenges.    

The project is sponsored through generous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Houston Arts Alliance, and the Architecture Center Houston Foundation, with additional support from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation Houston, the Urban Land Institute Houston District Council, and the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture at the University of Houston. We would like to thank all of our partners and supporters.

For a PDF of Islands: Collaborative Community Design Initiative No. 2, click HERE.

Islands: Collaborative Community Design Initiative No. 2

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.

Summer 2012
Location: Alief, Golfcrest-Bellfort-Reveille, Greenspoint, Mid-West
Design Team:  Susan Rogers, Rafael Longoria, Andrea Gonzales, Alex Lara, Maria Oran
Student Team: Dennis Alvarez, Mervyn Austria, Jennifer Branham, Ross Charba, Zhu Chen, Mike Cutulle, Pratik Emon, Carolyn Glenn, Nahid Haimonty, Alejandro Lara, Kim McGrath, Janine Nunfio, Poonam Patel, Sana Rehman, John Rezsonya, Sidney San, Josh Sawyer, Jenny Seim, Courtney Widacki