VicMan Posted October 16, 2011 Share Posted October 16, 2011 (edited) 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 October 16, 2011 by VicMan Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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