Imagine a new transit-oriented community along IH-10, where people live, work and shop in a place connected to neighboring business campuses, interwoven with green infrastructure and easy access to hike and bike trails.
That’s exactly what Texas A&M (TAMU) professors and graduate students are envisioning on a mission that will be a focus of budding urban planners well into 2015.
Conceptualizing the future design of The Energy Corridor began in January, when TAMU’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning started collaborating with Clark Martinson, general manager for The Energy Corridor District, to sow the seeds of connectivity and green spaces.
The idea is bold: develop a future design for the Addicks Park & Ride and surrounding vacant lots to create a special place that can better connect employees, residents and The Energy Corridor community.
The project, led by Dr. Hwanyong Kim, was an integral part of the core curriculum this past spring for graduate students in Dr. Shannon Van Zandt’s PLAN 689 Site Planning class, part of a Master of Urban Planning.
The site planning class competed to create designs on four sites in and near one of METRO’s major commuting hubs:
- Site #1, the Addicks Park & Ride;
- Site #2, property owned by The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center;
- Site #3, property owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers;
- Site #4, BP-owned property.
The goal: develop a design proposal for a new transit-oriented community, with residential space, retail, office and work-related areas connected with neighboring parcels and using green infrastructures. Five student teams began by analyzing the complete urban environment, including buildings, public spaces, streets, transportation system and landscape design.
Team #1, “Eco-Energy Creating Diversity,” took the grand prize of $200 for its design created by Katherine Barbour, Jessica Bullock, Nakiesha Robinson and Mark Bombek.
The second place team, “Eclectic Collaborative Dynamite 5,” also earned a cash prize for members Patrick Monroe Patterson, Adam Beck, Lin Yuan, Ridvan Kirimli and Fabiana Demarie, who has since been hired as an Urban Planning Associate for The Energy Corridor District.
But the TAMU urban and landscape planners are far from done.
Another collaborative project between TAMU and The District budded in March when Dr. Jun-Hyun Kim and Dr. Hwanyong Kim began working with Martinson to develop a conceptual master plan for The ECD, one that includes a waterfront design for Terry Hershey Park, walkable streetscape designs along Park Row and a proposal for vacant lots being considered for future development.
“The project will benefit both graduate planning students and The Energy Corridor community,” explains Demarie. “Students get an educational opportunity to participate in a real world project. The Energy Corridor community will receive a preliminary design for the renovation of the built environment around the District, with recommendations to manage future growth.”
The design team will provide a basemap of The District, plus aerial photos of the study area captured by a radio-controlled helicopter video camera. Consultants and the District’s planning staff will be able to use the information for developing The District’s Area Master Plan, now in the Request for Proposal stage.
All of these efforts are part of the four-year-long undertaking by The Energy Corridor District to envision a Livable Center north of IH-10. Consultant recommendations, public comments and projected development estimates are being used to recommend a future mixed-use, transit-oriented development.
Read more here about The Energy Corridor District’s Livable Centers Study.