With more than 50,000 acres of parkland, Houston is one of many cities to notice an increase in use of natural areas. Natural Resources Manager Kelly Ondracek is drafting a plan to protect the natural lands from development.
The "Impacts of COVID-19 on American's Natural Areas," report, recently published by the Natural Areas Conservancy, shows "an observed increase, relative to previous years, in public use of urban natural areas since March 2020."
The report calls for a future in which access to natural areas in cities are supported and prioritized. Cinnamon Janzer reports that Houston, one of the cities surveyed, is taking the initiative to protect natural areas in the city's parkland from development. Officials have done so by "putting in sports fields or playgrounds or amphitheaters. Over the last year, Natural Resources Manager Kelly Ondracek and her team have been working to identify 7,000 acres of natural parkland across 25 parks that she hopes to protect through an upcoming city ordinance," says Janzer.
Ondracek noted increased support for the efforts thanks to increased natural area use since the onset of COVID-19.
"The ordinance would hopefully mark thousands acres of city parkland as nature preserves. This would mean that amenities like parking lots and buildings would be concentrated in certain areas of a park while a good portion of the rest is left undeveloped, creating natural habitat for wildlife and allowing for nature-friendly developments like bird-friendly lighting and trail signage," writes Janzer.
Ondracek is in the process of planning a green stormwater system for and is hopeful that the ordinance will be passed by the end of the year.
Planning for Congestion Relief
The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.
Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think
Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.
New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives
The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.
Proposed Transit Line Would Connect Downtown Tucson to Airport
Based on community input for a 15-mile transit line, residents want to see a focus on affordable housing development and anti-displacement measures.
Strip Malls as a Housing Solution
The American strip mall may be a dying breed of commercial development, but could the buildings serve a new use as sustainable housing?
Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’
A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.