Downtown and its surrounding districts are not just the center of business, the central core of the city is where thousands of people spend large amounts of time living, recreating, dining, being entertained and more.
Over the years, Central Houston has led extensive planning studies beginning with the 1987 Design Plan for Downtown Houston, a detailed agenda for physical change with specific recommendations regarding the core area, bayou corridor, east side civic complex (George R. Brown), new neighborhoods and streets and public spaces. Today, planning work, including the 2004 Houston Downtown Development Framework which is currently being updated, is a roadmap for current and future development downtown and beyond. Planning is critical to Central Houston and is a collaborative process involving organizations and entities, both public and private.
Central Houston is committed to conceptual envisioning for the long term. Our organization, members and board understand the value of planning paired with patience. We strive to think ideas through, find solid, feasible ways to achieve goals and get results
In addition to planning, Central Houston considers space management, operations and programming a priority, with the Downtown District taking the lead. Streetscape amenities such as improved lighting, banners and vehicular and pedestrian wayfinding systems are not only important, but in this day and age, expected and integral in creating a quality place to live, work and visit.
Programming could be temporary art, a theater performance, an outdoor concert or a citywide civic celebration— all are major traffic drivers and are creating economic benefits with their neighborhoods and beyond. Downtown hosts thousands of events annually, both big and small. It’s always been the preferred place for Houston’s signature events and citywide celebrations. Many people may not know this, but Central Houston not only supports, but has helped facilitate many of these events including the Thanksgiving Day Parade, Freedom Over Texas, Party on the Plaza, Rendevous Houston: by John Michael Jarre and, of course, major sporting events such as All-Star games, NCAA Final Fours and Super Bowls.
Feeling safe is one of the most important qualities of a good place. Central Houston has worked diligently in minimizing crime as well as assisting with ordinance enforcement and change. In 1984, the Security Coordination Group was formed. Many successes were the result of this group including the opening of the Downtown Public Safety Center storefront, championing the Aggressive Panhandling Ordinance in 1992, initiating the Houston Police Department Mounted Patrol in 1985 and facilitating HPD’s Downtown Police Center in 1991.
Central Houston has also spent decades working to address the homeless sector. Central Houston has provided the leadership to bring agencies together and line up major grants to fund those efforts. Mass system changes have been made, and, today, Veterans homelessness has virtually ended in Houston, and strides are being made toward ending other categories of homelessness. Central Houston helped write the initial ten year plan for the Coalition of the Homeless and, more recently, has assisted in uniting more than 100 different agencies under The Way Home, a comprehensive and collaborative initiative that has transformed the homeless housing and services response system.