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Promoting Transformative Community Design Projects in Houston

Plan to Action

The University of Houston’s Community Design Resource Center works with local partners to establish revitalized design strategies for the purpose of creating a more equitable city. With their “Moving from Plan to Action” project, the CDRC will identify priority projects and promote their work.

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Community Projects

In 2020, the CDRC received a $30,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for the “Moving from Plan to Action” project. “The project leverages the impact of community visioning and planning completed through the Collaborative Community Design Initiative, further develops community-identified priority projects and challenges the traditional top-down decision-making process into a more equitable and just model,” said Susan Rogers, associate professor in the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design, and director of the CDRC.

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

The Purpose

With the Moving from Plan to Action project, the CDRC strives to identify priority projects to further develop, organize a series of workshops and surveys to further refine projects, bring together design and development experts with community leaders to define strategies for project implementation, develop community toolkits and prospectus documents, and to facilitate meetings with elected officials and their representatives to share the work.

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Support

“The large body of work completed for the Moving from Plan to Action project, including community data and mapping, survey summaries, precedent analysis, prospectus documents and toolkits, have been published and shared with our community partners,” Roger said.

This project’s purpose is to “support community leaders in their efforts to create positive change, leverage public and private funding, and move closer to equity.”

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Equity and Justice

Equity and justice in Houston’s communities are the values that Moving from Plan to Action was created on. Rogers said these values will require that all research projects are equally shared and produced with their community partners.

“It is through strong partnerships and human relationships, built on trust and reciprocity, that community-based research creates real change and builds powerful bridges between the academy and the community,” Rogers said.

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design

Strategy For Change

The CDRC team believes that design “is a strategy for change. Justice and equity are at the core of all that the CDRC does and we believe that place-based design and research should amplify the voices of community members, engage students and transform possibilities. Our work is focused on our communities because place and design matter,” Rogers said.

Photo Courtesy of Susan Roberts, UH Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design