Buffalo Bayou’s transformation from a murky, yuck-inducing stream to a recreation destination earned Houston’s iconic natural resource a top honor from a national organization Wednesday.
The American Planning Association named Buffalo Bayou one of the nation’s 10 “great public spaces,” recognizing decades of efforts to turn the waterway into a vital urban amenity.
“A lot of people from other parts of the country don’t recognize how Houston is a city of people who love to be outdoors and it is a city in which you can be outdoors almost all year ’round,” Mayor Annise Parker said at a news conference outside City Hall, overlooking the weekly farmers market.
“Sometimes you might sweat a little bit, but it is an outdoor city and we are drawn to vibrant, interesting outdoor places,” Parker said.
The APA, the nation’s primary urban planning organization, annually recognizes great neighborhoods, streets and public spaces in cities around the country. It named Montrose one of the nation’s 10 great neighborhoods in 2009.
This year’s award singled out a nine-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou between Shepherd Drive and Turning Basin Overlook Park, highlighting the “distinctive design, amenities and public art; high level of public and private support; and ecological restoration and protection efforts.”
You can see the APA’s full list of Great Public Spaces here, and their other Great Places here. It’s a nice bit of recognition to get, and with the parks bond issue on the ballot it’s nicely timed as well. See the Mayor’s press release for more.
UPDATE: Apparently, Mayor Parker has dissed the Riverwalk in talking up Buffalo Bayou. Oops!