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article imageThe greening of Houston: New open space project

By Tim Sandle     Dec 25, 2020 in Environment
Concern with the quality of the environment remains a major concern, especially in advanced economies like the U.S. In the inner city, open spaces have become a premium. However, some cities are putting together plans to address this.
There are several examples across the U.S. of cities putting place initiatives to boost the well-being of their citizens. The quality of the environment is often a sign of the quality of life. Two types of initiatives being undertaken is to have more open, safer and less polluted streets and to have a wider abundance of green spaces.
A prominent example of this type of initiative coming into force is with Houston. The city is about to become a lot greener with new parks and greenspace developments, including a $220 million project that will connect 150 miles of hike-and-bike trails and parks along the city’s eight bayous and convert 3,000 acres of unused land to public park space.
Once finalized, 1.5 million people or 60 percent of all Houstonians will live within 1.5 miles of a Bayou greenway. Houston already has 28.6 acres of parkland per 1,000 residents, which is well above the median of 8.1 acres per 1,000 residents for U.S. cities of similar density. The new initiative is set to make Houston one of the most open and 'green' cities in the U.S.
A second example comes from Chattanooga. The city has launched a pilot program, interestingly called SPROUTS (Streets as Places: Reimaging the Outdoors). This initiative will allow businesses to apply for: a temporary Loading Zone for pick-up and delivery services; a Curb Lane Pedestrian Zone to create wider sidewalks; or an Outdoor Expansion Zone, that temporarily allows businesses to expand their outdoor capacity to safely serve patrons. These measures will help to create a safe city and to cut down on pollution levels.
A third example lies with Tysons, VA. This city became the first locality in Fairfax County to close streets to cars and open them up for people during the pandemic. It opened a half-mile stretch of Tysons Boulevard for pedestrian recreation. Tysons is one of Fairfax County’s fastest growing business and residential communities, which made it the perfect site for this pilot program. A reduction in traffic promotes pedestrian safety and helps to achieve clean air goals.
More about Houston, Green, open space, open streets, Green Spaces
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