Bull Rock Under a Bridge

June 14th, 2011

CIMG6777.JPGBridges have a way of attracting an element of society that is unfortunately something we must deal with — the homeless. This post is  not to propose making their lives harder but rather to share a solution for controlling public space under bridges.

I came across a solution that seems to be almost perfect as it is cheap, no one will steal it, you cannot sleep on it and it should age and discolor evenly and look like other aging concrete structures that are not considered unsightly. (more…)

Layers in Downtown

June 8th, 2011

An aspect about downtown Houston, and likely your city, that many mCIMG1695.JPGay not consider when rushing to work, the theater, a ball game or out to dinner is that there are layers that go beyond the streets, sidewalks and many floors of the buildings; even beyond the pedestrian tunnels here in Houston. Admittedly downtown Houston is flat–or seems to be–until you approach Buffalo Bayou on the north and west side of the Theater District.  The varying levels of public space provides an aspect of letting one “escape” that, for me, takes the space to another dimension. (more…)

A Quiet Place under an Oak Tree

May 18th, 2011

CIMG5870.JPGThis small space on the edge of the much larger Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston is not one you can plan ahead unless someone began 100+ years ago by planting the oak tree.  The space gives me the feeling I think a rabbit would have when scurrying out of site under a bush.  The rabbit would look up through the stems and leaves to see if the humans were still there.

The rabbit and I have that in common as while sitting on the bench and looking past the tree’s canopy to the skyscrapers on the other side of the street and beyond I realize the giants are not going away and I have to go back to work. (more…)

Benches below the traffic

April 23rd, 2011

The two benches in this photo are below Smith St. and on the banks of Buffalo Bayou. The concrete walkway was one of the initial pathways along the bayou that winds through the north end of Downtown Houston. In very heavy rains the water can rise almost to the bottom of the bridge. When it recedes the next day the benches have a small collection of debris and the trees look like they have been in a washing machine.Buffalo Bayou under Smith St.


The trail is used often by joggers and bike riders. The interesting part to me is how different the city seems from down below. Of course it depends on when one as during morning rush cars and buses race by as Smith is a heavily used route. You are only one block from the end of the IH-10 Eastbound exit ramp from the Katy Freeway.

When the water recedes the big issue is removal of the silt and sand that washes onto the walkway and the grass. The areas where the grass is not solid is actually silt that filled in the sod. As you can see the wall that holds back the street is lush.

An interesting thing about the area, as evidenced by the wall, is that downtown was once at the bayou level when cotton was put on barges and other freight was shipped out on sailing ships from this same location. Someone then surely sat on the docks where this bench is and saw a very different view than one does today.

Victory Gardens for Sustainability

October 6th, 2010

SDC10341.JPGThe City of Houston is working to encourage sustainable aspects of life in the big city and one is to show how “victory gardens” can easily be started and enjoyed. In the case of the latest demo the garden adds a new dimension and reason for enjoying a great public space–Tranquility Park.

The first area created for container gardens is at the corner of Walker and Smith Streets in front of the City’s building known as 611 Walker. The latest location is in Tranquility Park across the street from the first. Click for Map. (more…)

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