Houston Development Aims to Create Hyper-Walkable, Micro-Living Neighborhood

The 17-acre Second Ward project has spurred both optimism for a more walkable city and concerns about displacement and gentrification.

2 minute read

November 21, 2022, 9:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Musician playing guitar in front of outdoor seating and sidewalk vendors in Houston, Texas

Concept Neighborhood / Second Ward, Houston

A proposed Houston development could achieve some ambitious firsts for the historically sprawling city: “a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood of adaptive reuse buildings where low- and middle-income residents can live affordably, and where owning a car would be optional.”

As Marissa Luck explains in the Houston Chronicle, “Houston real estate firm Concept Neighborhood — a group of entrepreneurs that include some of founders of the Axelrad beer garden — previously unveiled plans to convert the former W-K-M warehouse complex in the East End into a mixed-use destination with hyperlocal businesses and walkable streets.” The 17-acre project will have up to 1,000 mixed-income housing units and 250,000 square feet of retail and office space, as well as a rails-to-trails conversion.

While the developers promise to “devise strategies for assisting small business tenants,” current tenants worry that rent increases will push them out of the area. Concept Neighborhood also plans to keep apartments affordable by opting out of high-end amenities and designing ‘micro units’ at around 400 square feet.

The project is still a long way from reality as Concept seeks financing and retail partners, as well as cooperation from adjacent property owners, whose own designs will influence the walkability of the area. “Walkability also will be influenced by what entities, such as the city of Houston and East End District, can accomplish in upgrading streets to make the pedestrian experience safer.”

Friday, November 18, 2022 in Houston Chronicle

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

View of 110 freeway with downtown Los Angeles buildings in background.

LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’

A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.

February 29, 2024 - Streetsblog LA

Blue and white Pittsburgh bike share bikes lined up at a station with a red city bus on street in background.

Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit

For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.

3 hours ago - GovTech

New York MTA Bus

Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages

An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.

4 hours ago - Streetsblog California

View of Hollywood Reservoir with palm trees in foreground and Los Angeles neighobrhoods in background.

California's Stormwater Potential

A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.

6 hours ago - Cal Matters

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

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.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.