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Fast Cities: Houston

Discovery Green

A street, a few gray parking lots, and a little patch of unused green. Dreary. When the property in downtown Houston came up for sale, city leaders knew they could find a better use for it than yet another condo/office building or a parking garage. They proposed Discovery Green, a 12-acre, $122 million park in the heart of downtown that has reminded urban planners of the power and potential of green space. Year-round programming — exercise classes, concerts, films, festivals, a farmers' market — have helped Discovery Green beat attendance forecasts. "Downtown hasn't been known as a place to come on the weekends, but now you see thousands of people, families, and kids from all parts of the city," says park director Guy Hagstette. Despite a weakening real-estate market, development around Discovery Green is still strong. And, of course, the park is appropriately earth-loving, recycling its water and waste and drawing 100% of its power from renewable sources. Yes, we agree: much better than a parking garage.

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  • Bill Dykes

    It's great to see Houston begin to come out of the shadows of other US and world cities. Not only is it deserving as a "Fast City" for the criteria it met, it's the energy capital of the world, a leader in renewable energy usage,recycling,technology and a model for all major cities in the area of urban redevelopment and becoming a leader in sustainable building practices. Houston is also one of the, if not the most culturally diverse cities in the world where all residents work to continue to elevate Houston to the position of the world's Fastest City as Houstonians and Texans.

  • Toni Nelson

    I have always thought Houston was one of the most creative cities in the world and the article in Fast Company supports it. Discovery Green is just one example of the massive creativity and ingenuity that Houstonians have been developing since its inception.