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Collaborative Community Design Initiative: Corridors

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. Partnerships between communities, faculty and students, and professionals in the fields of design, planning, real estate, and community development as a means to work towards sustainable and comprehensive community change. Working across different scales and issues—ranging from ecology, to economics, to the arts and culture—the goal of the program is to collaboratively generate design strategies that build on existing resources and the strengths of our communities. The program demonstrates that through collaboration between public and private interests, professionals, citizens and decision makers new innovative and flexible design practices and processes can emerge.

Four of Houston’s most stressed neighborhoods were selected for the pilot version of the Initiative, which focused on once-thriving commercial corridors. The efforts of the first Initiative amounted to over 12,000 hours of in-kind services provided to our community partners, or nearly 1.5 full-time employees for each community. In addition, twenty-five architecture students participated by working directly with our community partners. Four-dozen architecture, design, planning, development, and financing professionals shared their expertise at two workshops. And over one hundred community leaders and stakeholders brought their visions and passions to all aspects of the program.

CCDI will continue selecting four additional neighborhoods each year, framed around a topic, until we have partnered with organizations representing all of Houston’s 88 official super neighborhoods that need assistance.

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Above: CCDI Timeline

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Above: Context analysis of Houston

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Above: Eight strategies were developed through the Initiative: Mix, Thread, Patch, Fill, Frame, Anchor, Spark, Sow

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Eight strategies were developed that focus on the existing physical, economic, and cultural landscape of the four communities and their corridors (Airline, Broadway, Holman, and North Main). The strategies progressively build on the existing foundations, including bringing the strengths and resources of the neighborhoods to the surface, while providing for flexibility and the possibility of continued transformation over time in order to become increasingly durable. While each corridor has its own character and particular circumstances, there are enough shared conditions that these strategies can be applied to multiple neighborhoods, and some to the entire city.

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Project completed and published in 2010.

Project Team:

Project Directors: Susan Rogers and Rafael Longoria; CDRC

Research Assistants:  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; LISC Houston:  Amanda Timm and Paul Wright; and ULI Houston:  Gary Altergott and Ann Taylor.

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Related:

UH Moment: Design For Change [KUHFM radio]

Houston Neighborhood Focus on New Book by UH Architecture Professor [UH News]

UH Professors Champion Revitalization of Neighborhoods [Houston Business Journal]

Viva Houston, December 19th 2010 [ABC 13]

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