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4 audacious projects that could transform Houston

Converting the Astrodome to an urban farm and public park is one of the proposals on the table in Houston, according to news site Houston CultureMap.

January 07, 2015 |

Houston CultureMap contributor Barbara Kuntz collected all the project proposals the website covered in 2014 and recapped four daring developments that could alter the cultural landscape in Bayou City:


A New Swimming Hot Spot

In December, three entrepreneurs proposed a natural public swimming pool in Houston, Kuntz reports. Today, the project already has more than 270 backers making pledges on the project’s Kickstarter page. The project is also receiving support from civic leaders and organizations, including the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the Greater East End District, the city of Houston Sustainability Office, and the Shell Center for Sustainability at Rice University.

Grand Texas: The Lone Star State’s New Entertainment District

Back in 2013, developer Monty Galland announced that the Grand Texas theme park is just a single component of a larger plan that involves 450,000 sf for retail, dining, an RV area, and a 6,000-seat stadium for minor league baseball games. As of last fall, bulldozers have started clearing out space on the site along Highway 59. By 2020, officials expect 4.5 million annual visitors to this theme park district.

Farming in the Astrodome

The Urban Land Institute presented what Kuntz called an “ambitious plan” to repurpose the iconic stadium after Houston voters rejected a $217 million bond to transform it into a special events center. This plan involves constructing an oak-lined promenade from the METRO light rail station to the Astrodome, where the space could be used for functions including a park, sustainable farm, farmer’s market, festivals, and museums. The dome’s top area would include a vieweing area with zip-lining, hike-and-bike trails, and indoor rock climbing.

Memorial Park Long-Range Master Plan

This April, the final design for Houston’s Memorial Park goes before the Houston city council for consideration. The so-called Long-Range Master Plan by Thomas Woltz, principal with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, highlights updates from public input, such as 8.5 miles of mountain bike trails and 17 miles of paved walkways for bikers and pedestrians.

Read the full report. 

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