New Life for an Urban Texas Park


From a children’s garden and elevated boardwalk to space for a farmers market and gaming areas, Levy Park in Houston now includes spaces for a multitude of residents and uses.

The 5.9-acre park in the Upper Kirby District, reopened in February, was redesigned by OJB Landscape Architecture. Keeping in mind pedestrian and vehicular activity, as well as higher-level views from surrounding buildings, the project employed innovative environmental practices to help foster continued economic growth in the neighborhood.

“The park’s design highlights cutting-edge sustainability practices while offering visitors various opportunities to reconnect with nature and replenish the spirit,” said OJB Principal Chip Trageser. “The park’s modern, eco-conscious design, comprehensive and accessible programming and unique appointments make Levy Park a must-see destination for locals and visitors.”

Included in the park is a 7,500-square-foot rain garden that resuses stormwater, which is plentiful due to frequent flooding in Houston. The park also hosts live oaks ranging from 40 to 70 years old that are key components of an elevated boardwalk and 150-foot, ADA-accessible treehouse in the children’s garden. The area for kids also includes a rain shower interactive fountain, a berm slide and a rock climbing wall.

The Office of James Burnett, founded in 1989, received the 2015 ASLA Firm Award and has earned other awards for its creative public park spaces, including Klyde Warren Park in Dallas and Myriad Gardens in Oklahoma City.

Additional areas in the redesigned Levy Park include a restaurant, pop-up farmers markets, gaming and reading areas that include ping-pong, foosball, a putting green and more.

Doug Overman, executive director of the Levy Park Conservancy, says: “We see tremendous potential for Levy Park as an urban commons — a place people of all ages and backgrounds come to experience community, to eat, cultivate, play, be inspired by art and performance, and escape the frenetic nature of urban life.”

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