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Future of the northern Third Ward


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I'd like to talk about the Third Ward. Particularly the northern part.

The northern half is dominated by shotgun shacks and has a very low income, poor population. The northern half is roughly bounded by Truxillo, I-45, 288, and Cullen. This contrasts with the southern half, along the Brays Bayou. The southern half is majority African-American, as is the northern half, but the southern half is wealthier. The northern Third Ward has faced continuing problems with crime. It mainly consists of low income shotgun shacks owned by absentee landlords.

Area politicians took notice when many of the rental housing units of the Fourth Ward were sold to create new upper class housing, displacing poor people living in the units. Representative Garnet Coleman wants to keep the Third Ward the way it is, and he's tried to stop gentrification.

While I understand why Coleman is acting that way (nostalgia for the neighborhood, desire to protect voting base), I do not agree with him and believe that it is for the best to gentrify the area and to remove low income housing units. In the wider schemes of things, neighborhoods change over time. Also, having low density low income rental housing is not an efficient use of land that close to Downtown Houston or UH. Business leaders made the same argument regarding the Fourth Ward, and I agree. I believe that Houston's model should begin to resemble less the models of traditional US metropolitan areas (poor people in inner city, wealthier people and middle class in suburbs) and more like continental European metropolitan areas (wealthier people in innermost city, poor people in inner suburbs, middle class and wealthier people in outermost suburbs).

The Houston Housing Authority should sell Cuney Homes to a private university developer (American Campus Communities or Campus Living Villages) and/or to a retail developer company. To compensate, the housing authority should construct (a) new housing unit(s) in the Sunnyside and/or Hiram Clark areas of town. Every former Cuney Homes resident should be guaranteed space at the new southern Houston housing units. As for Cuney Homes, it could become housing for students, or it could be redeveloped into retail.

Some (perhaps the best preserved) shotgun shacks may be preserved to be rental housing for university students and/or as low income housing controlled by the Housing Authority. The majority of the land needs to be dedicated to retail, high-rise student housing (think around UT Austin), and/or housing for higher income residents. The authorities should take great care to ensure that historic African-American cultural institutions (churches, schools, etc.) remain preserved. It may be possible to market new housing units for wealthier individuals to African-American professionals so that the area retains an African American character, even when the economic demographics change. In the wider scheme of things, it is best served housing students and wealthier DINK/Yuppy residents.

The authorities should aim to make portions of the new Third Ward more like Westwood in Los Angeles, or "the Drag" outside of the University of Texas at Austin. As the University of Houston aims to become more of a residential university, the infrastructure for businesses catering to university students needs to be made available. The institutions can also serve Texas Southern University (also in the Third Ward) students. In addition HCC Central (Midtown) and UH Downtown (Downtown) are nearby.

Since enrollment in the northern Third Ward will decrease, Ryan Middle School should become a K-8. Blackshear can become an early childhood center (ages 3-4) or a magnet school. Dodson Elementary may have to be closed. To help the enrollment of Yates High School, HISD should rezone the apartments at the land bounded by Old Spanish Trail, Fannin, 610, and Almeda (currently zoned to Bellaire and Lamar) to Yates. This will be especially important when the northern Third Ward's rental housing is sold off. Also, HISD should prepare for influxes of students at Worthing High School and/or at Madison High School. In addition, HISD should seek to acquire the portion of Houston that contains Willowridge High School and its feeder schools (currently Ford Bend ISD) to accommodate new students in the Hiram Clarke area.

Another thing is that Dodson, instead of closing altogether, could also become a magnet school and/or an early childhood center, instead of or along with Blackshear. Either Blackshear or Dodson could be sold to a private school (like Douglass in the Third Ward was sold).

Edited by VicMan
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I think that you place too much emphasis on Cuney Homes as being the problem. Other city-sponsored low-income housing projects don't generate meaningful amounts of civic angst. Fourth Ward redeveloped in spite of Allen Parkway Village. Clayton Homes does not appear to have materially impeded nearby regentrification. And even for Third Ward, Dowling seems to be the new boundary for townhomes; it will be crossed far more easily than was the 288/59 trench. The responsible management of that apartment community is all that is necessary.

Otherwise, we simply need to disallow the kinds of intervention carried out by people like Garnet Coleman and allow market forces to do the dirty work (within a limited framework of thoughtful guidance). That...and UH and TSU might collaborate to sponsor beautification efforts right up along Scott Street, since that is a gateway to each of their institutions.

Edited by TheNiche
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I think the way to stop Coleman's intervention is to rally the other Midtown TIRZ board members to undo or obstruct any further anti-gentrification moves.

I know Allen Parkway Village was heavily redeveloped, so it was a compromise between removing it entirely and keeping it the way it is. Before then I heard Allen Parkway Village did have severe crime issues.

Otherwise, we simply need to disallow the kinds of intervention carried out by people like Garnet Coleman and allow market forces to do the dirty work (within a limited framework of thoughtful guidance). That...and UH and TSU might collaborate to sponsor beautification efforts right up along Scott Street, since that is a gateway to each of their institutions.

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I know Allen Parkway Village was heavily redeveloped, so it was a compromise between removing it entirely and keeping it the way it is. Before then I heard Allen Parkway Village did have severe crime issues.

It did. But times were different and it was also poorly managed and in horrible shape.

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Interesting, the various type of verbal masturbation that is used in some of the more poignant descriptions by us Haifers. Understanding my home may be on the small side, I've never really considered it to be a "shack" though. Cidade de Deus remixed for Houston, ah joy. We certainly wouldn't want our "maids" living any where near us. Destroy the only homes they know, so our eyes are no longer offended!

Allen Parkway Village may have an approachable facade now versus the old hood it was, it is still one of le'Trose's better crack stores in the hood. :wacko:

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1. "Interesting, the various type of verbal masturbation that is used in some of the more poignant descriptions by us Haifers." - Well, verbal masturbation is the best thing since sliced bread, right? :)

2. "Understanding my home may be on the small side, I've never really considered it to be a "shack" though. Cidade de Deus remixed for Houston, ah joy." - That shotgun shack's mighty beautiful. Anyway, "shotgun shack" is actually a pretty common name for that type of house. Just because I call a place a "shotgun shack" doesn't mean it's actually in bad condition. But many of the ones in the Third Ward are owned by absentee landlords. They aren't that pretty or that well maintained.

3. "We certainly wouldn't want our "maids" living any where near us." - But having thousands of low income workers living in an area consisting of absentee landlord housing (NOT of the same caliber as homeowner housing) which could be instead university housing/businesses/upper class housing is not an efficient use of the land. Again, business leaders said the same thing about the Fourth Ward. And lo and behold, it got gentrified.

* But there will still be low income apartments in the southern Third Ward (some low income apartments are on the south) and/or the apartments and houses on the other side of the Brays Bayou. Isn't that still "nearby"?

4. "Destroy the only homes they know, so our eyes are no longer offended!" - That development happens throughout history. Remember Hell's Kitchen or Five Points.

* And they don't own the homes. When one decides to rent long term in the same place, he/she essentially pays the landlord for housing that he/she could have paid if he/she became a homeowner. It's not fair to use that as a rationale to hold back on development that would benefit UH, TSU, and the entire city.

5. "Allen Parkway Village may have an approachable facade now versus the old hood it was, it is still one of le'Trose's better crack stores in the hood." - Erm, considering that it appears to be gated, there must be some schemes used to let visitors in. I am curious on how that would work.

Interesting, the various type of verbal masturbation that is used in some of the more poignant descriptions by us Haifers. Understanding my home may be on the small side, I've never really considered it to be a "shack" though. Cidade de Deus remixed for Houston, ah joy. We certainly wouldn't want our "maids" living any where near us. Destroy the only homes they know, so our eyes are no longer offended!

Allen Parkway Village may have an approachable facade now versus the old hood it was, it is still one of le'Trose's better crack stores in the hood. :wacko:

Edited by VicMan
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"Well, verbal masturbation is the best thing since sliced bread, right?"

Used in the 'right' hand yes! :rolleyes:

"shotgun shack" is actually a pretty common name for that type of house"

There are lots of names that are 'common' let us not be "common" in our usage of antiquated terms though. A home is not a shack. IMO

"which could be instead university housing/businesses/upper class housing, is not an efficient use of the land."

No more verbish needed by me!

"they don't own the homes."

True.That is the correct problem we should address.

It's not fair to use that as a rationale to hold back on development that would benefit UH, TSU, and the entire city."

Life is an unfair game, I'm well aware of that. It doesn't justify our greed nor hamper ones ability to help our fellow man/woman.

"Erm, considering that it appears to be gated, there must be some schemes used to let visitors in. I am curious on how that would work."

Appearances can be deceiving, my friend. Should you need to "shop" I would be happy to show you how it "works." :ph34r:

Edited by Utinga
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1. "Shotgun shack" doesn't seem particularly antiquated to me. I haven't heard of a mass movement to stop using that dreaded word. Until that happens, "shotgun shack" is a normal word to me.

2. "No more verbish needed by me!" - I have no apologies for advocating replacing lower class absentee landlord housing with upper class housing close to the CBD. The market forces would do that in a heartbeat.

3. "True. That that is the correct problem we should address." Already are schemes to do that. Heard of Corinthian Pointe? Its a neighborhood to the southwest where homes were sold to low income families at below market rates.

But the property values are getting or would get so high in the Third Ward area that it's not efficient to try to buy up all of the absentee housing to then sell them back to the former tenants. It's cheaper to build new houses in the inner-ring suburban areas. And that is precisely what happened with Corinthian Pointe; it's in the inner suburbs, built on formerly vacant land.

Business owners would pay more anyway. They want their stuff near the CBD. UH and TSU need to have their student housing and university-oriented businesses near the campuses. Dinks and yuppies want to live near the CBD and are willing to pay out of their noses for it. The absentee landlords would rather pay 5 million to sell to a business/yuppie developer/college developer than 1 million to sell to a group trying to give ownership to the tenant.

* So actually you made a good point. One could entice some people formerly living in the Third Ward to move into tract housing sold at below market rates in areas zoned to Madison High School, Worthing High School, or Sterling High School, or what will become former North Forest ISD land.

If you wanted to help people in the Third Ward get home ownership, it's easier and cheaper to build new housing in the older suburbs than to try to convert the Third Ward absentee landlord shotgun housing into owned housing.

"Well, verbal masturbation is the best thing since sliced bread, right?"

Used in the 'right' hand yes! :rolleyes:

"shotgun shack" is actually a pretty common name for that type of house"

There are lots of names that are 'common' let us not be "common in our usage of antiquated terms though. A home is not a shack. IMO

"upper class housing is not an efficient use of the land."

No more verbish needed by me!

"they don't own the homes."

True. That that is the correct problem we should address.

Edited by VicMan
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Houston is a city built on commerce and business. Improving the environment around the universities (to help convince grads to stay behind) and changing the economic demographics of the upper Third Ward (from low income to a mix of high income and students, with some low income remaining), while at the same time retaining the historic African American character (keeping the churches, schools, and other historic buildings intact) and architecture (keeping a number of the best shotgun shacks) would help the city overall.

"The market forces would do that in a heartbeat."

This says all I need to say. Sad as it may be.

BTW, aren't most of the houses in the Northside (where you are) owned by the owners? It probably helps with increased pride in the neighborhood, and other ways (resident are not as transient).

Edited by VicMan
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In the Fourth Ward there still are some shotguns remaining. I'm not sure what the percentage is, though.

"with some low income remaining"

"keeping a number of the best shotgun shacks"

This is all I wish/hope for. You and I both know this 'ain't gonna happen'though.

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Houston is a city built on commerce and business. Improving the environment around the universities (to help convince grads to stay behind) and changing the economic demographics of the upper Third Ward (from low income to a mix of high income and students, with some low income remaining), while at the same time retaining the historic African American character (keeping the churches, schools, and other historic buildings intact) and architecture (keeping a number of the best shotgun shacks) would help the city overall.

BTW, aren't most of the houses in the Northside (where you are) owned by the owners? It probably helps with increased pride in the neighborhood, and other ways (resident are not as transient).

Sad to say, nope. Far too may absentee slumlords over here as well.I'm doing my best to contribute to "renter" pride at least. Wish that could be a city wide effort. haha

http://go-neighborhoods.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=48&Itemid=49

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In the Fourth Ward there still are some shotguns remaining. I'm not sure what the percentage is, though.

Sadly, very few, on the West side at least. Lots and lots of empty lots, waiting for the market to turn I'm sure. Perhaps the Metro train will turn this side "around" faster than I believe, then I too will be "priced-out." :(

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Too funny.

My bad. Can't seem to get the street views to load properly. But if interested, go to google and street view both "gated" interances to Parkway. The rear intrance makes a great statement. :unsure:

Edited by Utinga
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The way to share Google street views is to, after getting the view you want, clicking the "link" button (it looks like a chain link - it's next to the letter icon) and it will give you the URL for sharing.

* Front entrance of APV: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Allen+Parkway+Village,+Houston,+TX&hl=en&ll=29.761061,-95.379716&spn=0.010897,0.01929&sll=29.760193,-95.36939&sspn=1.394805,2.469177&vpsrc=6&gl=us&hnear=Allen+Pkwy,+Houston,+Texas&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=29.761061,-95.379716&panoid=I8qRPQ5ZIKd0dLl37yA7Mg&cbp=12,162.18,,1,-0.5

* Back entrance: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Allen+Parkway+Village,+Houston,+TX&hl=en&ll=29.758491,-95.376284&spn=0.004955,0.01929&sll=29.760193,-95.36939&sspn=1.394805,2.469177&vpsrc=6&gl=us&hnear=Allen+Pkwy,+Houston,+Texas&t=m&layer=c&cbll=29.758487,-95.376293&panoid=YT9ghU4rLjOiQHc2lfh9uQ&cbp=11,299.03,,0,2.9&z=16 -- Nice cop car :)

Too funny.

My bad. Can't seem to get the street views to load properly. But if interested, go to google and street view both "gated" interances to Parkway. The rear intrance makes a great statement. :unsure:

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The way to share Google street views is to, after getting the view you want, clicking the "link" button (it looks like a chain link - it's next to the letter icon) and it will give you the URL for sharing.

* Front entrance of APV: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Allen+Parkway+Village,+Houston,+TX&hl=en&ll=29.761061,-95.379716&spn=0.010897,0.01929&sll=29.760193,-95.36939&sspn=1.394805,2.469177&vpsrc=6&gl=us&hnear=Allen+Pkwy,+Houston,+Texas&t=m&z=16&layer=c&cbll=29.761061,-95.379716&panoid=I8qRPQ5ZIKd0dLl37yA7Mg&cbp=12,162.18,,1,-0.5

* Back entrance: http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Allen+Parkway+Village,+Houston,+TX&hl=en&ll=29.758491,-95.376284&spn=0.004955,0.01929&sll=29.760193,-95.36939&sspn=1.394805,2.469177&vpsrc=6&gl=us&hnear=Allen+Pkwy,+Houston,+Texas&t=m&layer=c&cbll=29.758487,-95.376293&panoid=YT9ghU4rLjOiQHc2lfh9uQ&cbp=11,299.03,,0,2.9&z=16 -- Nice cop car :)

Ah, Thank you for the info. I've done it before, but I believe it was due to the fact I was using the stupid iPad it went all haywire. :blink:

But, more importantly you can see how people come and go through this "gated" community. The police car in the rear view had to put a smile on your face, no? Also the walk-through "gates" in the rear facing Dallas are almost alway open too. :ph34r:

"Just Say No!" You go Nancy, right next to "War On Poverty" Mr. LBJ

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Ah, Thank you for the info. I've done it before, but I believe it was due to the fact I was using the stupid iPad it went all haywire. :blink:

But, more importantly you can see how people come and go through this "gated" community. The police car in the rear view had to put a smile on your face, no? Also the walk-through "gates" in the rear facing Dallas are almost alway open too. :ph34r:

"Just Say No!" You go Nancy, right next to "War On Poverty" Mr. LBJ

That's interesting! You'd think that they'd have the gates shut 24/7.

Suppose HHA decides to erect new housing complexes in the Madison HS, Sterling HS, Worthing HS, and/or North Forest HS zones. Do you think they should be gated? How do you think they should be designed?

As an FYI, here are the boundaries of three of them:

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/MadisonHS.pdf

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/SterlingHS.pdf

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/WorthingHS.pdf

There are undeveloped parcels in those areas

Edited by VicMan
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That's interesting! You'd think that they'd have the gates shut 24/7.

Some residents really try to, but like so many gated HHA communities throughout Houston the residents first need to 'take pride'. I feel when we warehouse the underprivileged in such large complexes that just ain't gonna' happen'. It would be sweet if there were somehow a program where the residents could put a small amount towards purchasing their units, down the line perhaps. Even if it were a work program within. In these mega complexes that would be next to impossible though. I must add though, Parkway does still have a nice 'facade' for all to view.

Suppose HHA decides to erect new housing complexes in the Madison HS, Sterling HS, Worthing HS, and/or North Forest HS zones. Do you think they should be gated? How do you think they should be designed?

Smaller brownstone type units and shotgun homes would be ideal in my humble opinion. The 99K home (http://www.the99khouse.com/) could possibly work out nicely on quite a few of the lots in that area. Two and even up to four per. Some of them could even be built as up and down duplexes. All facing a public street. Even if that means cutting smaller type streets throughout these areas. Fourth ward is a small example of shotguns rebuilt like I wish. I almost bought one on Robin St for 79,000 (a tad expensive for size, but look how close to town) There are still too many crack homes in there for it to 'clean-up'. So this white trash dude would have had a heck of a time living there. lol Again with the caveat they could be purchased in the future. Non-gated would be best for all housing stock in America also. But as long as we have the class warfare we have (I mean this with tongue in cheek) that to ain't gonna'happen'. Sad but true, utopia is an impossible dream, no? Don't you feel that if you lived in an area where the majority of your neighbors took pride in their homes, owned or rented, the overall look would improve? We will always have the River Oaks of the world shutting out the rest of us though. Even in the suburbs there are blocks within areas that are not well maintained. Too many rentals I suppose. A home needn't be large for someone to care about keeping it clean and maintained. But if very few of their neighbors do, then they too fall in to that same pattern, and down the family line it follows. :huh:

As an FYI, here are the boundaries of three of them:

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/MadisonHS.pdf

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/SterlingHS.pdf

*http://dept.houstonisd.org/ab/schoolboundarymaps/WorthingHS.pdf

There are undeveloped parcels in those areas

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