Gene Green Beltway 8 Park. Image: Asakura Robinson

Gene Green Beltway 8 Park. Image: Asakura Robinson

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of Park-Smart Precinct One?

This project will improve community health, build stronger social ties, and meet environmental challenges through determining the best, most equitable, most strategic ways to increase access to parks and trails for all residents of Precinct One.

How will the project work?

The Park-Smart Precinct One team will:

  • Evaluate Precinct One’s current park and trail resources to identify and prioritize gaps in access, especially for vulnerable communities
  • Identify barriers to using local parks and trails for underserved populations, and identify key areas to enhance active transit routes
  • Convene diverse local partners, foster deep community engagement, and help build consensus through developing shared priorities, vision, and strategies
  • Assess existing green infrastructure resources in Precinct One and identify high priority areas for future investments
  • Identify ways to integrate arts and culture into parks and greenways to engage local communities and reflect their unique stories
  • Develop a web-based decision-support tool to support strategic identification of park priorities through advanced query and state-of-the-art geographic analysis

What is Precinct One?

Precinct One is one of four precincts that make up Harris County. The Precinct covers 375 square miles, an area larger than all of New York City. It has 1.1 million residents—a population larger than all but the nine biggest cities in the United States. Precinct One includes portions of urban Houston and rural reaches of Harris County. It is home to universities, large corporations and small businesses, unique neighborhoods, and cultural centers that support a diverse population. Precinct One has the highest percentage of black residents, the highest percentage of people living below the poverty line, and lowest rate of home ownership of the four precincts.

Who is Commissioner Rodney Ellis?

Commissioner Rodney Ellis was elected Commissioner for Precinct One in November 2016. Previously, he represented a Houston district in the Texas Senate for more than 25 years, earning widespread praise as a leader on economic development, education, civil rights, budget issues, responsible environmental policy, tax cuts for the middle class, criminal justice, and workforce development.  

How can I get involved?

First, you can join our contact list here to get regular updates on the progress of the project and opportunities to get involved. Please take our community survey  as well and attend one of our community workshops. The first set of community workshops will be in early December 2017; you can find more details on the project calendar [hyperlink].

How long will this project take?

This project began in August 2017 and will be completed in early 2019. The first phases of the project will focus on community engagement, including steering committee meetings, interviews and focus groups, speak-out events, a precinct-wide telephone poll, and community workshops. Following community engagement, the focus will be on park and trail evaluations, green infrastructure assessment, and an active transportation study.

Who is leading this project?

This is a collaboration of The Trust for Public Land  and Precinct One. This is the first time that The Trust for Public Land has been able to bring together its community-based park planning, Climate-Smart Cities, Healthy Communities, Creative Placemaking, and Center for City Parks Excellence programs into one project. Houston Parks Board is a partner in this effort, and Asakura Robinson , a local planning and urban design firm, is supporting community engagement and providing additional local expertise. Representatives of local agencies and community groups will participate as members of a Steering Committee. This project is being funded by Precinct One and by a generous grant from the Houston Endowment.

What is community resilience?

A resilient community has a sustained ability to use its resources to withstand and recover from adversity, as well as adapt to changing conditions. In an exceptionally resilient community, even the most vulnerable community members are resilient in the face of challenging environmental and social circumstances.

How many parks are in Precinct One?

The Precinct itself owns and manages 22 parks. Overall, there are nearly 290 parks, including 44 schoolyard parks, in Harris County. Many of these are owned and managed by the City of Houston, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and Harris County Flood Control District.

Why is Park-Smart Precinct One important?

This unique project will advance equitable access to quality parks and green spaces for all Precinct One communities. The plan will create tools to improve the health and quality of life for residents, expand environmental safeguards, and help build long-term community resilience for all residents and neighborhoods in and near Precinct One.