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Quality of Life Agreement: Northside

Centrally located just north of downtown Houston, the Northside is in close proximity to major freeways and the soon to be completed North Corridor light rail line. The North Corridor will become the spine of the community and connect us to opportunities and resources throughout the city. The community was chosen to be part of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Great Opportunities (GO) Neighborhoods pilot program in Houston. The Quality of Life Agreement Plan for the Northside community is the result of a year-long process of meetings, planning, strategizing and hard work.

The goal for creating the Quality of Life Agreement was to unite the community and form a vision built on the foundation of history and the strengths and opportunities the Northside provides. A vision that will work through the challenges of an aging housing stock, poorly maintained infrastructure, an increasing unemployment rate, and an unsuccessful educational system.

The Vision

Since January, more than 230 people representing the neighborhoods, churches, schools, institutions, organizations, businesses, and others have come together in public meetings and focus groups to plan for the future of the community. Nine areas of focus emerged: Family Income and Wealth, Mobility, Housing, Youth and Education, Health, History and Art, Connections, Safety, and Infrastructure. Working in teams, 40 strategies were developed in order to make possible the community’s vision for the Northside:

We envision a community where all ages and income levels can live well in quality housing; A place with an outstanding educational system that nurtures every child until they achieve their goals in education and life; And a neighborhood where we all work together to build on the rich cultural history of a diverse, vibrant, and connected community.
The Northside will be a safe, fun place to live. Our community will be the incubator for small, family friendly businesses that add to the character of the neighborhood, while helping to build the wealth of our families. The Northside will be a place where young people have an abundance of educational, recreational, and cultural opportunities from which to choose and all residents are able to live healthy lifestyles.

More than 230 people and dozens of organizations worked together throughout 2010 to create their vision. Hard work now looms ahead, as the planning process has ended and now it is time to take action.

Project Participants

The organizers of the Northside GO Neighborhoods process acknowledge the invaluable participation of more than 230 people representing Northside’s neighborhoods, churches, schools, institutions, organizations, businesses, elected officials, and others during planning meetings in 2009 and 2010.

Community Partners

Avenue Community Development Corporation
Mary Lawler, Executive Director
Lizbeth Mejia, Assistant Director
Jenifer Wagley, GO Neighborhood Community

LISC Greater Houston
Amanda Timm, Executive Director
Paul Wright, Senior Program Officer

Planning and Consultant Team

Odin Zackman
Mara Guccione

The Working Partner
Jessica Pugil

Community Design Resource Center
Susan Rogers, Director
Maria Oran, Publication Assistant