Museum of Fine Arts Houston: With the largest collection of art in the Southwest, ranging from antiquities to contemporary photography, this Houston museum features kid-friendly activities and special family programming. Top off your visit with a picnic in the adjacent sculpture Garden.
Presidio La Bahia- This 18th century Goliad, Texas fortress played a significant role in the Texas Revolution- Colonel Fannin and 350 other Texians were massacred here shortly afer the fall of the Alamo. The fortress is well preserved and isolated, giving visitors the feeling of stepping back in time.
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center- Honoring the former First Lady, this Austin, Texas nature center boasts a gorgeous array of gardens featuring native plants. Its “Little House,” provides children’s activities such as drawing, puzzles, and nature exhibits. The Center’s new 5-acre Family Garden- opening in 2014- gives kids the ability for unstructured interaction with nature.
Inner-city areas with the potential to be transformed as connected places tend to be areas where the initial land use has become redundant. These areas have been through a ‘land use shock’, are economically obsolete due to the closure or shrinkage of major industry or docks, or are no longer self-sustainable. The shutting down of major employment centers also has a profound impact on local shops and services, and on neighborhood life in general. Examples are redundant industrial zones, unused rail yards, and redundant dockyards.
In the case of suburbia, traditional zone-based regulations (Talen, 2013) that have historically led to single-use and fragmented developments are under revision. They are being replaced by Form-Based Codes or Smart Codes (Parolek et al., 2008), where the emphasis is on urban form, pattern, and mixed use in an effort to retrofit and repair the low-density, single-use suburbs. The biggest challenge lies in tapping opportunities for transforming auto-oriented shopping malls, mono-zoned institutional campuses, and edge city typologies into mixed-use, compact developments with ample open spaces encouraging public transit, walking, and cycling (Kotharkar et al., 2012).
Most cities of the developed world and a few in the developing world were once important centers with a dynamic industrial and cultural character. The prosperity these cities enjoy today is a result of past industrial activities (Smith, 2008). Industries were usually located on valuable land in the city center. In the next phase-post-industrialization-the service sector emerged and manufacturing declined. Deindustrialization of the inner core led to urban decay with high unemployment, poverty, and a degraded physical environment. A number of public and private funding initiatives have been devoted to redeveloping such areas. The principles of New Urbanism (in the US and Australia) and Urban Renaissance (in Europe) have guided such urban redevelopment (Congress for the New Urbanism, 2015; Council of Europe, 1986; Duany Plater-Zyberk, 2016; Government of Western Australia, 2015; Pearson, 2012; Zetter, 1982).
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An example of an industrial ruin that once had a function is a vacant Western Electric warehouse building in Dallas, Texas. It was transformed in 1997 into Mockingbird Station, a mixed-use retail, office, and rental loft TOD. The warehouse, a concrete building of three stories with high ceilings built in 1947, was in an extreme state of disrepair (Boroski & Arrington, 2002). Architects and developers resisted pressures to demolish the historic structure, and instead mined and reused its components to house 180 dwelling types (Pitts, 2008). Renovating the structure added to the place value of the area. Most importantly, by working with the fabric of the warehouse and responding to the envisaged activities, the design aesthetics remained faithful to the former essence. Most of the old brick walls have been left exposed and the jalousie windows have been retained. The bowstring truss of the original building is remembered through a distinctive arched roof that caps the structure (Figure 4.1). This leads to a heightened sense of place that in itself acts as an attractor.
The private developer, Ken Hughes, who initiated the project, was able to take advantage of the building’s proximity to Dallas’ CBD (an eight-minute train ride) and the expanding Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) rail line (Boroski & Arrington, 2002). The project was planned to integrate with the transit system. The new pedestrian bridge to the station and the improved bus stops and new parking areas near the station have improved accessibility. The landscaped pedestrian bridge introduces the development by leading the pedestrian through a series of gardens and a public courtyard with a water feature. Public open space becomes a hub for social activities, increasing the opportunity for Mockingbird Station to be a ‘node-place’.1 Extensive landscaping, streetscaping, and use of native materials, such as Austin stone, provide connection to the context (Boroski & Arrington, 2002; Figure 4.2). By choosing the option of orienting the central plaza towards the transit line rather than placing it adjacent to the entries from the highway and arterial, the project emphasizes its preference for transit users (Creed et al., 2013).
The project has attracted tenants due to its proximity to transit, and there are strong indications from both the current and prospective tenants that there will be an increase in transit ridership in the future.