Redefining urbanity in a city of discrete centers (Houston)
Baumann, Philippe Gerald
Master of Architecture
This thesis examines the viability of developing a localized area of high-intensity pedestrian activity for Houston--an exceptionally non-pedestrian, automobile-oriented city. I formulate one model of development in response to the unique character of Houston. This model synthesizes the energy of older city models and their compact, vital urban cores, within the constraints of a dispersed city. I study the market as an enduring example of successful urban interaction and diversity, and suggest that an equally vital center that is pedestrian in orientation can exist in Houston's neglected metropolitan core. A confluence of public and private amenities and activities should increase social interaction, causing other urban elements to proliferate. The central business district of Houston can reasonably support a denser center than those which currently predominate in peripheral locations. I attempt to resurrect a specific part of the city as a dominant center for a wide cross-section of the urban population.