As Houston rebuilds, we need amenities, not eyesores

Houston Chronicle: History provides a guide for how Houston can rebuild after the devastation of Harvey.

In the wake of destructive floods in the early 20th century, both Los Angeles and San Antonio undertook significant flood control projects to mitigate future flood risk. However, the forms those projects took differed drastically.

In Los Angeles, the Army Corps of Engineers channelized the L.A. River with concrete and created an urban eyesore that has lasted for nearly a century.

In San Antonio, the local community strongly advocated a flood control project that not only provided protection, but also served as an amenity for the city. An architect, Robert H. Hugman, developed a plan that would ultimately become the Riverwalk, drawing tourists from across the globe with an estimated $13 billion annual impact.

Meanwhile, nearly a century later, Los Angeles has realized the potential of the L.A. River as an amenity rather than a blight and has engaged a design team led by architect Frank Gehry to reimagine it.

In anticipation of the federal and state moneys that will start flowing into the Houston region in the wake of Harvey's devastation, local officials are already identifying major infrastructure projects that help protect the area from future disasters. Continue reading>>

Michael Maltzan Architecture