Thursday, 22 October 2015

The importance of place

Personally,  the planning in Texas is neither completely innovative or complete anarchy. Austin as a planned city capital works well, especially with the grid layout, which makes it easy to navigate around on foot. The way they create places out of old under-utilised spaces is unique and brings life into the city. This was evident in the old residential area turned into live music venues, and the old warehouse district turned into night clubs. Compared to in Australia where this would never happen due to music restrictions and land use controls. Not only do these districts  now have new purposes, they create these mix use places where people want to go..


Houston on the other hand with no previous plans or planning regulations, also functions well as a city. With the wealth in the city, continuous development and construction is occurring. It is surprising how well the city is developing with no planning guidance.  One aspect of Houston that has not been planned well, in my opinion, is placing all the retail shops underground. This creates a city that lacks character and atmosphere. However, Houston makes up for their concrete jungle with vibrant parks and well designed open spaces, making their parks destinations. Midtown is innovative for Houston with their  implementation of the ‘Tax Incremented Reinvestment Zone,’which  allows for redevelopment of an area by injecting the sales tax back into the local area, rather than going to the city. Midtown has created this vibrant park, which has two major pull factors to the area, a burger shop and a dog park. Good planning not only allows for public open space but creates a sense of place.

San Antonio as another example is interesting from a planning perspective. There is vast commercialised tourist areas juxtaposed to abandoned derelict developments, tied together with rich cultural historical buildings. As a city, it felt very disjointed and hard to navigate.

Verity Bright