Scenic Citizen: University of Houston, Perspectives art project

This month’s Scenic Citizen recognizes the Perspectives beautification art project displayed at the busy I-45/Cullen underpass near the University of Houston (UH). Designed by students in the Graphic Design program, the Perspectives mural depicts the history and character of four neighboring communities.

GONZO247, a Houston graffiti artist, collaborated with the students to produce a design that would communicate a vivid story to the public. The students presented the concept to a committee of stakeholders interested in boosting the underpass’s visual appeal, including the East Downtown Management District, the Texas Department of Transportation, and Sherwin Williams, which donated all 55 gallons of paint for the project. With the UH students as his assistants, GONZO247 installed the mural across the 22 columns of the underpass.

Brushstrokes of orange imitate EaDo’s Dynamo Stadium; a red beehive pattern represents the UH community; a blue circular pattern echoes the soulful musical background of Third Ward; and Eastwood is portrayed with a structured green pattern inspired by its history as one of Houston’s first master-planned subdivisions. Additionally, LED lighting was installed to illuminate the underpass at night, resulting in a safer, pedestrian-friendly environment.

Through deliberate color choices and dynamic storytelling, Perspectives illustrates the rich history and character of the neighboring communities. GONZO247 sees the mural as a perfect example of how art can enhance the visual character of a public space. “I see Houston starting to become known for its murals and public art,” he said. “Perspectives fits perfectly by adding to the visual landscape of the city.”

Scenic Houston is impressed with the collaborative efforts involved in this project.  With Perspectives, the mural demonstrates how art can enhance the visual character of Houston one brushstroke at a time.

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Scenic Citizen – ULI – Houston

Scenic Houston is proud to name the Urban Land Institute – Houston as this month’s Scenic Citizen.

Working through its membership of real estate and land use professionals, ULI-Houston encourages and rewards best practices in urban development.

“Our members strive to create beautiful spaces that have great visual appeal, plus make economic sense and have proof in value,” says David Kim, Executive Director of ULI-Houston.

Through networking, continuing education, and annual awards the organization has helped foster a professional appreciation for the value of good placemaking in Houston.

At ULI-Houston’s Leadership Luncheons members learn of emerging trends and new ideas. Some recent forward-thinking topics include tackling parking requirements with beauty and designing communities specifically for creative types. Attendees often spark creative discussions themselves as the luncheons provide a venue for dialogue among citizens, the city and developers.

Beyond education, ULI-Houston recognizes best practices through its Development of Distinction Awards recognizing open space, not-for-profit, and for-profit projects. By highlighting compelling developments, the organization seeks to reinforce the value of good design and encourage more projects of similar quality.

For example, David hopes engaging public spaces will become a more common focus for developers in Houston. He currently oversees the Houston District Council of the ULI organization where he executes strategies to strengthen ULI’s brand at a local level. ULI-Houston is the local arm of the Urban Land Institute, the national organization dedicated to “leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide.”

Both Scenic Houston and ULI-Houston are devoted to enhancing the quality of life for all Houstonians. As Houston’s development landscape evolves, ULI-Houston will rely on the expertise of its members to keep smart planning and thinking in its creative process. “Our development community does a good job responding to customer demand,” David says, “They respond to the growing change of population. They want people to be happy and use their spaces.”