Scenic Houston works with partner organizations on streetscape issues.

photo of metro busScenic Houston is busy at work with several area organizations on issues that support the Scenic Houston mission to preserve and enhance the visual character of Houston. In July, Scenic Houston Executive Director Anne Culver met with the board of directors of the Downtown Super Neighborhood to discuss METRO’s review of new methods to generate revenue, including selling ad space on the sides of its transit vehicles.

Because this will effectively turn METRO buses into rolling billboards, Scenic Houston has asked the Downtown Super Neighborhood as well as other neighborhood groups and area management districts to join Scenic Houston in expressing opposition to METRO.

Scenic Houston is collecting information and coordinating opposition to the proposal to turn METRO buses into rolling billboards. Organizations interested in learning more, or adding their voice to this effort, can email Scenic Houston at:  info@dev.scenictexas.org:8888

Scenic Houston, our predecessors and our partners have worked since 1980, with great success, to improve the visual aspects of Houston’s streets and public spaces. Our efforts have moved Houston from “billboard capital of the world” in 1980, with over 10,000 billboards to fewer than 1500 today, and we will not accept a proposal that adds 2400 new billboards to the streets of Houston.

Also in July, Culver met with the board of directors of the Alliance of North Houston Chambers of Commerce (ANHOC). ANHOC is developing its legislative agenda to include support for scenic issues, including opposition to any legislation that would mandate digital changing-message billboards without local control or decision-making.

Scenic Houston is partnering with the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce to encourage Harris County to bring its sign regulations for on-premise changing message signs in line with City of Houston standards.

A new website provides an interesting tool for gathering community support for neighborhood improvement

A website called Neighborland.com, a social media tool for sharing ideas to make your neighborhood better, is part of a new genre of websites and apps designed to democratize what shows up in our communities. The project is currently active in several U.S. cities, including Houston, Chicago, Las Vegas, and New York.

The site provides a new way to share your ideas, support your neighbors’ insights and ideas, and connect with people who share your issues. No issue is too big or too small to bring up on Neighborland. If it matters to you, then it matters.

photo of neighborland.com houston pageHouston Section of Neighborland.com

There are already several hundred ideas in the Houston section, with the Washington Ave area a center of a tremendous amount of activity.

The site is very simple to use.  After signing in to Neighborland, you can find your neighborhood and post your idea. The posts all start with “I want,” and you fill in the rest.  Describe your idea, add pictures or video, suggest a location, and share it. What would make your block better? What businesses do you think could thrive in your neighborhood? What issue do you care about?

For more information, and to get started go to www.neighborland.com

Kay B. Crooker passes away at 78, former Scenic Houston Board President and longest-serving member of the city’s planning commission.

photo of Kay B. Crooker
Kay B. Crooker, 1933 - 2012

Throughout her extraordinary volunteer career, Kay Crooker was a driving force for preserving and enhancing the visual character of Houston.  Appointed to the City of Houston’s Planning Commission by five consecutive mayors, and the longest-serving member of the city’s planning commission, Kay ensured that Houston’s development rules and the application of those rules support sustainable development and a greener Houston.

As chairman of the Neighborhood Preservation Committee, she made it easier for established neighborhoods to preserve existing lot sizes. As chairman of the Task Force that created the City of Houston’s Tree and Shrub Ordinance, Kay employed grit, charm, intelligence and a laser focus to successfully bring a committee of divergent interests together to enhance Houston’s urban forest.

Beyond the Planning Commission, Kay devoted her valuable time to Scenic Houston, the Houston Botanical Garden, The Park People, Trees for Houston, and Katy Prairie Conservancy.

You can read more about Kay and her remarkable life of service in the Houston Chronicle.

Through her words and deeds, Kay B. Crooker created a better Houston for all and demonstrated that she was a true hero in this community.  We will miss her.