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Houstonians Consider Master Plan For Development

The city has been without a general development plan since 1928.

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Joe Webb with Blueprint Houston
Joe Webb is the director of Blueprint Houston. He presented an update of the vision to a group gathered in downtown.

For over a decade, Blueprint Houston has been working on a vision for what the city should look like in 20 years.

The organization has hosted ongoing forums to discuss improvements they hope to see in public services. They designed a plan based in part on those ideas.

Joe Webb is the director of Blueprint Houston. He presented an update of the vision to a group gathered in downtown. Webb says adopting the plan will make government more efficient and effective.

“If we’ve got a plan that keeps all of these things in mind so everybody thinks about all of this, then you’ve got a much better chance of doing it once, doing it right,” Webb said.

The group didn’t propose specific projects. Instead, they established core values to guide development, like environmentalism, social equity and economic growth. Webb says some of the top concerns for citizens are education, safety and improving transportation systems. That’s been consistent since his organization began polling Houstonians 12 years ago.

“The response really hasn’t changed,” he said. “It is basically the same. The same trigger points, the same issues, all are there.”

Janis Scott calls herself “the bus lady.” She attended the meeting to voice her concerns about Metro.

Scott depends on public transportation to get around. What she wants out of the plan is for Metro to better accommodate elderly riders.

“We need the transportation system, and it’s very important that they hear from those who have special needs,” Scott said. “We want to have a quality of life.”

Houstonians also discussed some novel ideas for improving their quality of life through the master plan. Elizabeth Leece is a graduate student at the UT School of Public Health. She wants to see more rooftop gardens to maximize green space.

“We have so much space that’s being wasted on our roofs, and we could have vegetable gardens,” she said. “That would actually promote health as well.”

Webb says the next step is for residents to reach out to the mayor and city councilmembers to show their support for the plan.

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