The Start of an Idea
What if we could turn a freeway into a park in the sky? The Pierce Elevated does not meet current design standards, so it can’t continue to be used as a highway – Tx Dot has stated they will demolish it as they plan a reroute of I-45 – but why let it be demolished? Why not convert the miles of elevated infrastructure into a sky park, with spaces to enjoy the outdoors while viewing Houston’s amazing skyline?
It’s all about quality of life, sustainability, connectivity, healthy fun, the environment. It complements Buffalo Bayou Park, provides new accessibility into downtown and forms a key connector for the city’s growing network of hike and bike trails. By planning this urban space in advance, we save tax dollars on the proposed demolition and ensure a positive community asset.
In 2018, the idea of the Pierce Skypark has become more possible than ever. For over four years we have taken the concept to our newly found friends and supporters in neighborhood groups, local organizations, stakeholders, local officials, and journalists. Each meeting has been part of our history. We look at the imagery and the progress, and we firmly see the reflection of our supporters.
“Connectivity is key, activation of the ground plane is paramount"
A Lineage of City Transformation
Great cities have a continuous fabric, authentic streets, a coherent public realm and a pattern of accessible, appropriately scaled open spaces. There is a effervescent quality to these cities because of the public realm. Those same cities have a relationship with architecture and landscape that are reinforcing, each with its own sense of material, intensity, and pragmatic roles. These descriptions conjure up a list of amazing cities, why not Houston? Our city- a beacon of diversity, economy and education could also be known for an infrastructure that connects them all- in a way that is authentic to Houston.
The Pierce Skypark, finds a kinship with a number of other infrastructure transformation projects. Endeavors like the New York Highline, The Promenade Plantee in Paris, and the Chicago's 606- all have evolved in their own way that is specific to that context. They have also grown, and evoked qualities in their cities that could have never been predicted. We look forward to a Pierce Skypark with unprecedented life of its own. We do hope that the future is holds a plural way of life for all, a variety of sites to age in place, youth to grow, economies to spark, and wildlife to prevail.