Brady’s Island is easy to miss. The spot formerly known as Old Harrisburg is nestled between working-class neighborhoods and tankers heading to the ship channel. It also marks the spot where Buffalo and Brays bayous meet. Early visionaries saw the importance of the area to what would become Houston. The same is true for new visionaries.
“I see kayaks leaving from the docks. I see the Sam Houston ferry picking up people and taking them on a tour of the bayou. I see picnics. I see small cafes and taquerias where people can get a little bite to eat,” said Susan Rogers, visiting assistant professor at the University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture.
Rogers also is director of the UH Community Design Resource Center (CDRC), whose East End Project aims to recover Brady’s Island as a recreational space and as a Houston landmark. The CDRC collaborates with residents and community and nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance for neighborhood revitalization projects, designs and affordable housing plans.
Her students are enlisted to work with the projects. She says the experience is a valuable way for them to understand the importance of history and their role in preserving it.
“Getting students out into the community to actually make proposals for what’s possible builds their skills in architecture to make our cities better.”