UH Students Design Potential Projects for Flood Control Waterway

As Brays Bayou empties into Buffalo Bayou it passes through Harrisburg, one Houston's oldest neighborhoods. Project Brays Bayou is Harris County Flood Control District's $450 million flood control effort along Brays. Once it's completed there will be an opportunity for private and public organizations to create amenities like trails, parks and public spaces along the waterway. Houston Public Radio's Rod Rice reports that east end residents will get a chance to see examples of what might be possible in their neighborhood.

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Those possibilities are the work of University of Houston architecture and graphic communications students who explored the waterway and designed a number of potential projects for the new green space that will exist when the work on the bayou is complete. Those designs have been on display at One Houston Center downtown. Tomorrow they will open on the east side at Ripley House Neighborhood Center at 44-10 Navigation Blvd. Professor of Architecture Patrick Peters says students came up with a number ideas.

"There are projects developed by students that look at how water can be better used as a resource, both on its way to the bayou and perhaps even as a landscape element; there's a cistern that examines that project, and could also be used to teach people about water as an important resource. There is an ecological center that takes its power from the sun. There's an amphitheater right at the confluence of Brays and Buffalo Bayous. It would be a new public space for events and to learn about the history of the east end."

But the student's work does not represent reality just yet according to Mary Margaret Hansen of the Greater East End Management District.

"They're conceptual, and once the Flood Control District has completed their work, there is the potential continuous hike and bike trails and then there is the potential for these amenities and all of it depends on funding."

For those who live in the east end the student's plans are meant to inspire. Life long east ender Cloredia Hawkins says it's working on those who've seen the student's ideas.

"You should see their faces when they see those posters that the kids from the University of Houston are doing for us. It's just beautiful."

Because projects like these are not funded by the Flood Control District, Mary Margaret Hansen and Cloredia Hawkins hope they will inspire in another way.

"We look at these projects as a way to get people excited about the potential ...our prayer is that someone who's got the money, someone who knows the value and can appreciate what we're doing and come in and give us a helping hand."

Folks in the east end who have not yet seen the design schemes will get the chance beginning tomorrow night with a reception at Ripley House beginning at six o'clock.

"We're going to try to encourage as many as possible to come and look at that and see what we're doing."

Bio photo of Rod Rice

Rod Rice

Local Anchor, Morning Edition

Rod Rice became fascinated with radio at an early age, while sitting on his Grandfather’s lap listening to his "programs" on the big Emerson Radio...