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Turning a Landfill
into a Town Center

What does Houston do with a defunct landfill that is a flood risk for the Beltway 8 and 1-69 intersection? Bruce Race, a UH architecture professor, wants to position a detention pond and community there. In doing so, the multi-partner project would create 1,800 jobs and provide housing for 6,700 residents. The Town Center at Five Ponds is positioned to include bike trails, community and commercial real estate, as well as the aforementioned detention for the oft-flooded area.

Photos Courtesy of Bruce Race

“The Ruffino Hills Landfill: Resilient Redevelopment and Detention Strategy” is an integrated economic and environmental resilience project. Spearheaded by Race and community partner, Houston One Voice, Ruffino Hills will become Town Center at Five Ponds. It will be the first instance in the region to demonstrate the feasibility of balancing goals for large-scale detention, economic development and community recreation.

Photos Courtesy of Bruce Race

Key agency partners are needed to complete the development of a sustainable community at this site, including TIRZ20, Brays Oaks Management District, Harris County Flood Control District and the City of Houston, with leadership and coordination by Houston One Voice.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Race

The concept plan for the Town Center at Five Ponds features net zero energy and greenhouse gas strategies. This demonstrates that new investment can meet and exceed Houston’s environmental goals in the City’s Climate Action Plan and Resilience Plan.

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Ruffino Hills, the future Town Center at Five Ponds, is a lynchpin site for southwest Houston. It represents a generational opportunity to reposition the I-69 and Sam Houston Parkway intersection as an important address and will be a catalyst for future investment. This project illuminates how UH is working with communities to develop environmentally and economically resilient strategies that capture their aspirations.

See more stories about UH research impacting the city of Houston.

Photo Courtesy of Bruce Race