‘Equipping Communities for Action’: Zakcq presents at APA National Conference

In April, over 6,000 planners from around the country converged in Seattle for the American Planning Association’s national conference. Zakcq Lockrem, our director of planning, presented at a packed panel entitled Equipping Communities for Action along with Alexandra Miller from Miller Urban Consulting, Jeffrey Goodman from Social Agency Lab, and Kathleen Onufer from the City of Richmond, Virginia. The panel focused on projects that were designed to build the capacity of community members to better participate in planning and design decisions for their communities. These projects included the Community Transformation Workshops that we designed for the Houston Department of Health...
Read more

Community creates ‘urban playground’ through volunteerism and public art

Houston is transforming on many fronts. Our demographics are changing. New development is widespread. All you have to do is take a short drive within the inner loop (or out of it) and you will see new offices, apartments, and shopping centers. Few places are transforming though like our neighbors here along the Washington Avenue corridor. The First Ward and Washington Avenue Arts District are undergoing a revitalization. Buildings that once had an important place in the city’s industrial sector now house the largest working artist community in the state. Artists are tucked away in old warehouses and nondescript storage...
Read more

Two years later: How the Washington Avenue Livable Centers Plan is making a difference on the ground

Planning is a field in which seeing the changes on the ground can take a long time. In most of our planning projects, we work with short, medium, and long range recommendations, some of which take 10 to 15 years to achieve the vision that the community has articulated. In our planning practice, we work hard to develop recommendations that are spread out over time and have a variety of potential implementers. In a comprehensive neighborhood scaled study, such as the Washington Avenue Livable Centers Plan, we often have a variety of key stakeholders, which include non-profits, the City, developers,...
Read more

Heritage Museum explores Texas past, plans for the future

This month, Asakura Robinson’s Austin office wraps up work on a Master Plan for the Heritage Museum of the Texas Hill Country in Canyon Lake, Texas. The Heritage Museum was established in 1995 and in 2002 acquired a property containing 350 Cretaceous Period dinosaur tracks preserved in limestone on the site. In 2013, the Museum embarked on a strategic planning effort to identify needs, future facility expansion, and donor and fundraising outreach. Asakura Robinson was tasked with the creation of a Master Plan for the 26-acre site that would create a physical framework for the programs and operations of the...
Read more

Houston Bike Plan in full gear

It’s been over 20 years since the City of Houston last went through a comprehensive bike planning effort. We’re excited to be working with Traffic Engineers, Inc., and Morris Architects on the new Houston Bike Plan, and from what we’ve seen so far, Houstonians are excited too. Saturday, May 30th, was the first of five initial public meetings. Over 100 people attended, and many joined us in a bike ride to discuss the existing cycling conditions that people experience regularly. There are many enjoyable places to bike in Houston, such as the Lamar Street protected bike lane or the shared-use...
Read more

Houston’s first ‘woonerf’ streetscape opens in Energy Corridor

With construction recently completed on enhancements to Fortsmith Street in Houston’s Energy Corridor, people in the area have added a new word to their vocabulary. The new word on the street is the Dutch term “woonerf,” pronounced voo-nerf, which is used to describe a type of “complete” or shared street that acommodates all types of users. A woonerf is a street not just for automobiles, but for pedestrians, bicyclists, and even social gathering. The term literally means “street for living” or “shared street.” These streets are inviting curbless corridors that are typically narrow to encourage slower traffic speeds and direct...
Read more

Sunday Streets relaunches, adds events for fall

After helping to launch Sunday Streets HTX in 2014, Asakura Robinson was proud to recently be involved in the relaunch of the popular monthly event now called Cigna Sunday Streets after the City of Houston insurance provider, Cigna, became the lead sponsor of the event. In less than 18 months, the initiative has evolved from a minimally-funded pilot project organized by a loose alliance of volunteers, spearheaded by staff from Houston’s Health and Human Services Department, to becoming a fully funded mayor’s initiative operating under the Go Healthy Houston program. Asakura Robinson has been along for the whole ride, providing...
Read more

Reflections on Brazil: A memoir by Genevieve Buentello

My lifelong desire to travel to Brazil was something that constantly pulled at my heart strings.  I first became interested in going when I was a child, while living in south Texas. Via old maps and encyclopedias, I became fascinated with Brazil’s people, flora and fauna. I finally mustered up the courage to go in 2011, at a point when everything in my life was leading me towards fulfilling this experience. I had very effortlessly arranged a place to stay, an internship, friends, and help to get me settled into the 20-million person metropolis of São Paulo. My job here in...
Read more