Houston Beats The Odds For Scenic City Designation

Houston is the first and only major metropolitan city in the state to get a certification from the group Scenic Texas.

When you think of scenic cities in Texas, you might picture Austin’s craggy hills and great views, or San Antonio’s historic missions and  Old West charm.

But it’s Houston’s public spaces that won recognition from Scenic Texas.

The scenic city certification program examines municipalities on their policies for things like public landscaping, billboard and sign permitting, graffiti and litter, and parks and trails.

Anne Culver is executive director of the program and says Houston won a silver certification for its public spaces.

“For the City of Houston to come in at silver, Scenic Texas and its partners think that is excellent. It shines a light on what local decision-makers, local government is doing to shore up the infrastructure standards of this city. And the City of Houston is now in a position to be an example.”

Cities are measured against a standard and have to meet minimum requirements to be considered for the certification.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says it’s an honor for a city with no zoning to be recognized for urban planning.

“The city is proud to earn this designation. It validates the work we’ve done over the years to strengthen our ordinances and invest in our public spaces and infrastructure.”

Other metro areas in Texas don’t even qualify for the scenic city certification because, unlike Houston, they don’t have prohibitions on new billboards.


Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson


Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. Laurie has covered a wide variety of topics for HPM, including the crash of the Space Shuttle Columbia, Hurricanes Katrina and Ike, and numerous elections. She is a frequent contributor to NPR and has been...

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