Our Vision

For over 30 years, Buffalo Bayou Partnership has been actively pursuing plans and programs for a 10-square mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin.

Believing that the Millennium was the opportune time to dream and think BIG, Buffalo Bayou Partnership embarked on a historic planning effort with a nationally recognized consultant team led by Jane Thompson (Thompson Design Group-Boston), a leader in waterfront development throughout the world. Buffalo Bayou and Beyond, the organization’s visionary 20-year Master Plan, was issued in 2002 and calls for Buffalo Bayou to be a central, regional amenity. We are proud that our restoration and revitalization work has adhered to this plan’s overarching goals and planning concepts by balancing conservation and development and creating projects that serve multiple purposes—recreation, flood management and ecosystem restoration. Site-specific plans also have been completed for such areas as public art, lighting and conservation management.

   View the 2002 Master Plan

Buffalo Bayou East Sector Master Plan

Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) has launched a major planning effort along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector that will continue the non-profit organization’s legacy of transformative parks, trails and open space.  In revitalizing the waterway east of downtown (from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin), BBP is seeking to establish a pioneering precedent where green space can be a catalyst for inclusive growth and community revitalization.

Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector offers distinct opportunities as well as challenges for parks and open space development.  Surrounded by economically-disadvantaged but culturally rich neighborhoods in addition to active and vacant industrial properties, the area represents a unique opportunity for development that requires both sensitivity and boldness.

The 140 acres of land owned by Buffalo Bayou Partnership and its public sector partners cannot only serve as parks and open spaces, but also be the conduit for stitching together neighborhoods to the waterfront.  By considering the needs and desires of longtime residents, inclusive development can serve as a model for creating new affordable housing– underpinned by resilient, quality urban design.  BBP land also can support replacement and relocation for Houstonians impacted by Hurricane Harvey.

East Sector Master Plan Goals

Authenticity

Establishing an identity that reflects the cultural and industrial legacy of the bayou and surrounding neighborhoods is of paramount importance.  Park development should reinforce this identity through a new aesthetic and physical vocabulary, and deliver programming that is reflective of the culture and needs of the surrounding communities.

Inclusivity

Given the socioeconomic challenges of the East Sector, BBP aims to create a model where investment in parks and open space can serve as a catalyst for inclusive growth and neighborhood revitalization.  An important objective of the East Sector Plan is to ensure growth does not come at the expense of existing residents.  Opportunities for affordable, workforce and mixed income housing adjacent to the bayou will be developed.

Connectivity

The master plan will identify planning solutions that knit together neighborhoods disconnected from the waterfront and also allow these neighborhoods to be linked together. In addition, rather than create silos for thinking about investment in parks, infrastructure and private development separately, the master plan will approach these efforts as a cohesive whole.

Resiliency

While many parts of Houston saw extensive flooding during Hurricane Harvey, the East Sector’s damage came predominately from erosion.  With devastation from major floods likely in the future, an essential goal of the master plan is to determine ways in which the bayou and surrounding communities can be protected from the threats such storms present.  A hydrological study, specially commissioned for this planning initiative, identifies the areas of the bayou most vulnerable to future storms and addresses bank edge treatments and other resiliency solutions.

East Sector Master Plan Consultant Team

BBP has assembled a high caliber group of consultants to develop this very important master plan for Houston and its East Sector neighborhoods.  Working with BBP on this initiative is a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (MVVA), an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm, and HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate, economic development and public policy firm.  Other consultants include Huitt-Zollars, formerly Houston’s Morris Architects (Architecture and Civil Engineering), Utile (Urban Planning and Design), LimnoTech (Hydrology), and Stantec (Transportation).

MVVA brings to Houston wide-ranging experience and a proven track record of success in creating acclaimed and economically viable parks and waterfronts such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hudson River Park in New York City, and Maggie Daly Park and the 606 in Chicago.  The consultants also are very familiar with Houston as they have recently completed plans for Hermann Park, The Menil, and the Beyond the Bayous plan for the Houston Parks Board.

For more than 35 years, HR&A Advisors has been working with parks throughout the United States and abroad to develop open space real estate strategies, financing plans, programming activation, and sustainable operations and maintenance programs.  The High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, Tulsa Riverfront and Dallas Trinity River are among more than 100 parks that have benefited from HR&A’s talent.

Community Engagement

BBP is committed to a strong community engagement process throughout the Buffalo Bayou East Sector planning effort.  To that end, the organization held its first public meetings on February 6 in the Fifth Ward and February 7 in the East End.  More than 300 neighborhood residents as well as people from  throughout the city attended these important gatherings.  Click the button below to read the major themes discussed at the meetings as well as detailed notes.  Please sign up for our email newsletter for future community meeting dates.

East Sector Master Plan Funders

The Buffalo Bayou East Sector Plan is generously funded by Bank of America Charitable Foundation, The Harry S. and Isabel C. Cameron Foundation, The Carruth Foundation, Inc., The Clayton Fund, Fifth Ward Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #18), The Garver Foundation, Greater East End Management District, Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #23), Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., Midway, Anne Whitlock and Michael Skelly, The Winston Charitable Foundation and The Wortham Foundation, Inc.

View the February 6 and 7 Community Meeting Presentation

View the April 25 Community Meeting Presentation

In the Works

Directed by the Master Plan, Buffalo Bayou Partnership continues to raise and leverage private and public funds for the bayou's restoration and high profile capital projects. Some of the important projects that are "in the works" are:
  • Hike and Bike Trails

    Key to Buffalo Bayou's restoration are the hike and bike trails that wind their way from Shepherd Drive through parts of Houston's East End.

    Learn More
  • Japhet Creek

    BBP has been working along Japhet Creek for over five years, purchasing more than five acres of property and securing easements that were donated to the City of Houston Parks & Recreation Department.

    Learn More

Programs

In addition to projects that are “in the works,” Buffalo Bayou Partnership works to maintain and activate Buffalo Bayou.
  • Skimmer Boat / Clean & Green Programs

    BBP operates the Skimmer Boat Program and Clean & Green, two bayou clean-up initiatives that utilize specially-designed boats and community service workers to remove trash and debris from the waterway.

    More Info
  • Trail and Park Maintenance

    Buffalo Bayou Partnership maintains and operates Buffalo Bayou Park and is also responsible for maintaining the hike and bike trails and green spaces along the waterway from Sabine to Fannin streets.

    More Info
  • Outreach and Events

    To activate and increase stewardship of Buffalo Bayou, Buffalo Bayou Partnership offers a wide-range of recreational, cultural and volunteer events. Temporary public art programming is also offered through creative partnerships. Be sure to check out all of BBP’s upcoming events!

    Calendar

Accomplishments

  • Published the commemorative book, From Rendering to Reality: The Story of Buffalo Bayou Park

    Selected Buffalo Bayou East Sector Master Plan consultant team and continued planning effort

    Began large-scale cleanup after Hurricane Harvey

  • Restoration of historic Sunset Coffee Building completed

    TIGER trail completion

    Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern opens to the public in May, and BBP launches the inaugural art installation in the space in December

    Completed Yolanda Black Navarro Buffalo Bend Nature Park

  • Completed and assumed full-scale maintenance and operation of Buffalo Bayou Park

    Began Phase II of Buffalo Bend Nature Park

    Co-sponsored Livable Centers study in the Fifth and Second Wards

  • Assumed maintenance and operation of Buffalo Bayou Park Phase I

    Sunset Coffee Building renovation begins at Allen’s Landing

    Began TIGER Trail construction (Franklin to Milam streets)

  • Awarded Houston-Galveston Area Council Livable Centers Study Grant in partnership with Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation and Greater East End Management District

    Completed construction of Buffalo Bayou Park Phase I

    Launched Buffalo Bayou mobile application

    Set attendance and fundraising records at Buffalo Bayou Ball, Buffalo Bayou Regatta and Bayou Bash

  • Buffalo Bayou Park construction begins

  • Additional Commerce Street land purchased for future flood management project

    Buffalo Bayou Park Master Plan completed

    Tri-Party agreement for Buffalo Bayou Park approved by Houston City Council and Harris County Commissioners Court

    Second Commerce Street land purchased for future flood management project

    Sandy Reed Memorial Trail reconstruction begins

  • Kinder Foundation awards catalyst $30 million gift for Buffalo Bayou Park—Shepherd to Sabine

    Texas Parks & Wildlife Department grant awarded for Buffalo Bend Nature Park Phase II

    Allen’s Landing trail extension to Milam Street completed

    Tapley Tributary enhancements completed

    First Commerce Street land purchased for future flood management project

  • Buffalo Bend Nature Park Phase I completed

  • Clean & Green bayou clean-up program begins

  • Sabine Promenade completed

    Adopt-a-Spot program begins

    Inaugural Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou held

  • Pontoon tour boat operation begins

    “Best of Buffalo Bayou” tour series begins (bat tours, history tours, birding and kayak tours)

    Inaugural Buffalo Bayou Ball held

  • Land for Buffalo Bend Nature Park acquired

  • East End trail construction begins

    Bayou Buddies young professionals group founded

  • Buffalo Bayou and Beyond Master Plan completed

    Allen’s Landing Sunset Coffee Building acquired

    Skimmer Boat clean-up program begins

  • Land acquisition program begins

    Allen’s Landing Phase II completed

    Downtown Sesquicentennial Park to UH-Downtown trail completed

  • Sesquicentennial Park Phase II completed

  • Allen’s Landing Phase I completed

  • First Buffalo Bayou Partnership Executive Director hired

  • Sesquicentennial Park Phase I completed

  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership founded under Central Houston

Awards

  • The American Architecture Prize – Landscape Architecture/Large Scale Landscape Projects

    , The American Architecture Prize

    Mayor’s Proud Partner Award (Yolanda Black Navarro Buffalo Bend Nature Park)

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

    ULI Global Awards for Excellence (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Urban Land Institute

    CODA Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , CODAworx

    2017 Grand Excalibur Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , PRSA Houston

    2017 Global Awards for Excellence Finalist

    , Urban Land Institute

    2017 Design Award

    , Texas Society of Architects

    Design Award – Renovation/Restoration (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , AIA Austin

    Landmark of Distinction in the Historic Renovation category (Sunset Coffee Building)

    , Houston Business Journal

    Honor Award in Design Realized (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , ASLA Texas Chapter

    Development of Distinction – Urban Open Space (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Urban Land Institute

    On-the-Ground Project Over $500,000 (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Houston-Galveston Area Council Parks and Natural Area

  • Excellence on the Waterfront (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Waterfront Center

    Design Award – Urban Design and Architecture Under 50,000 Square Feet (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , AIA Houston

    Mayor’s Proud Partner Award (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

    4th Annual Best of Design Award – Civic Institution Category (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Architect's Newspaper

    Arbor Award (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Trees for Houston

    Landmark Award, “Community Impact” (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Houston Business Journal

    Venues and Parks – Marketer of the Year (Buffalo Bayou Partnership)

    , American Marketing Association

    Sanctioned Event of the Year (Buffalo Bayou Partnership Regatta)

    , American Canoe Association

    Mayor’s Proud Partner Award (TIGER Trail – Smith to Milam streets)

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Silver Excalibur Award for Newsletters

    , PRSA Houston

    Community Pillar Award

    , Preservation Houston

    Wild Partners Award: Get Out Here Steering Committee

    , Houston Wilderness

    Award of Excellence in Planning and Analysis (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , ASLA Texas Chapter

    Houston Epic Award – Public Green Space Award (Buffalo Bayou Park)

    , Papercity

    Excalibur Award (Buffalo Bayou Partnership)

    , Public Relations Society of America

    ,

    Design Award – Renovation/Restoration (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , AIA Houston

    Rehab and Remodeling Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , Society of American Registered Architects (SARA)

    Chapter Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , International Interior Design Association TX/OK Chapter

    Interiors Award  (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , Contract Magazine

    4th Annual Best of Design Award – Adaptive Reuse Category (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , Architect's Newspaper

    Good Brick Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , Preservation Houston

    Best of Year Award (Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern)

    , Interior Design Magazine

  • Proud Partners Award: Planting on the Parkway

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

    Catalyst Award Finalist

    , Houston Tomorrow

  • Historic Preservation Recognition Award

    , The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution

    Best of Houston: Best Place to Canoe

    , Houston Press

  • Great Places in America: Public Spaces

    , American Planning Association

    Civic Vision Award

    , AIA Houston

  • Zone Civic Improvements Commendation

    , The Garden Club of America Zone IX

    Parks and Natural Areas Award

    , Houston-Galveston Area Council

  • Proud Partners Award: Buffalo Bend Nature Park

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Award in Excellence in General Design

    , ASLA

    Founders’ Award

    , Citizens’ Environmental Coalition

  • Development of Distinction Award

    , Urban Land Institute Houston

    Scenic Star Award

    , Scenic Houston

    Proud Partners Award: KBR Kids Day on Buffalo Bayou

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

    Proud Partners Award: Clean & Green Program

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Award for Excellence: The America’s Finalist

    , Urban Land Institute

    Award of Excellence

    , ASLA

    Landmark Award—Best Community Impact

    , Houston Business Journal

    Landmark Award—Public/Private Partnership Project

    , Houston Business Journal

    Synergy Award

    , Citizens' Environmental Coalition

    Synergy Award

    , The Park People

    Best Practice Award

    , Houston-Galveston Area Council

    Proud Partners Award: Adopt-a-Spot Program

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award

    , The Waterfront Center

    The Allen Award for Civic Enhancement

    , Central Houston, Inc.

    Quality of Life Bayou Beautification Award

    , Greater Houston Partnership

    Honor Award—Regional Best Practices for Parks and Natural Areas

    , Houston-Galveston Area Council

    Proud Partners Award: Sabine Promenade

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Proud Partners Award: Tapley Tributary Restoration

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Gulf Guardian Award

    , EPA’s Gulf of Mexico Program

    Proud Partners Award: Mighty Tidy

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Analysis & Planning Merit Award

    , ASLA

    Citation of Honor

    , Texas Society of Architects/AIA

    Citation of Honor

    , AIA Houston

    Synergy Award

    , Citizens' Environmental Coalition

    Heart of the City Award

    , Downtown Houston Association

  • Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award

    , The Waterfront Center

    Landmark Award—Quality of Life

    , Houston Business Journal and Stewart Title

  • Excellence on the Waterfront Honor Award

    , The Waterfront Center

  • Highest Honor for Enhancing Public Spaces

    , American Planning Association, Houston

    Proud Partners Award: Sesquicentennial Park Phase II

    , Keep Houston Beautiful

  • Preservation Planning Award

    , Greater Houston Preservation Alliance

  • Urban Design and Planning Honor Award

    , AIA Houston

  • Urban Design Award

    , AIA Houston

Back to Top