The Third Ward-Cuney Homes Choice Neighborhood Plan will build on the strong foundation of visioning and planning efforts for our historic community that go back well over 25 years ago. From the Greater Third Ward Community Plan, completed in 1995, to the more recent Emancipation Park Neighborhood Plan and Third Ward Complete Communities Action Plan, this plan aims to integrate and expand on the tireless efforts of the neighborhood’s early champions, visionaries, and devoted advocates.
Emancipation Park Neighborhood Plan
Completion Date: June 2016
Partners: Emancipation Economic Development Council, MIT CoLab & Department of Urban Studies and Planning (DUSP)
Summary: In response to growing concerns over gentrification and displacement of long-time residents near the newly revitalized Emancipation Park, city planning students worked with Third Ward community leaders from the Emancipation Economic Development Council (EEDC) to develop a plan for the surrounding neighborhood. The plan centered on the historical significance of this neighborhood to Black American history in Texas, and beyond. The planning process included organizing working groups with EEDC members to discuss political engagement, wealth building, community partnerships, and the development of new businesses and housing along the Dowling Street corridor.
- Establish a community land trust.
- Support “responsible” mixed-use development.
- Activate vacant lots for community use.
- Create “people-centered” green infrastructure.
Link to Plan: MIT-Report_June_2016_0.pdf (houstontx.gov)
Northern Third Ward: Neighborhood Planning Project
Completion Date: August 2017
Partners: Spackman Mossop & Michaels; Community Design Resource Center, University of Houston
Summary: The Northern Third Ward Consortium (a business or institutional association) was created in 2015 to lead a community-driven planning effort to address development pressures and critical issues of long-time Third Ward residents. Funded by the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, this study expands the study area of the Emancipation Park Neighborhood study to the entire northern tip of the Third Ward. The 10-month process identified several top priorities including empowering renters, saving historical components of the community, and seeding new worker or community-owned cooperatives.
- Preserve existing housing and develop new housing that meets current needs.
- Build political power through leadership capacity building and political engagement activities.
- Make neighborhood improvements, such as restoring historic sites, modernizing streets, and programming vacant lots.
- Improve access to support services and healthcare in the Third Ward.
Link to Plan: 16072_NTWNPP Book.indb (houstontx.gov)
Third Ward Complete Communities Action Plan
Completion Date: July 2018
Partners: City of Houston Planning and Development Department
Summary: The goals of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Complete Communities initiative is to improve neighborhoods so that all of Houston’s residents and business owners can have access to quality services and amenities. This plan for the Third Ward incorporates recommendations from recent plans and studies for the Third Ward as well as newly identified projects, actions, priorities, and partners. The highest priority in the community is affordable housing policies and projects, followed by education, and economic opportunities and jobs. Additional focus areas include civic engagement, health, safety, neighborhood character, parks and community amenities, and mobility and infrastructure.
- Build housing for all.
- Grow the local economy by seeding new businesses and supporting small businesses.
- Expand opportunities for youth by strengthening schools and institutions that support young people, including mentorship and leadership opportunities.
- Build community capacity and expand civic engagement.
- Improve neighborhood mobility and build great streets.
- Preserve the neighborhood’s history and character.
Historic Third Ward Strategic Implementation Framework
Completion Date: April 2019
Partners: ADP Urban Planning Management, Emancipation Community Development Partnership, Emancipation Economic Development Council, Houston Endowment, Kinder Foundation, Project Row Houses
Summary: This document was developed to inform policy and program decision making at the neighborhood level to support equitable community redevelopment in the Third Ward. It functions as both a resource toolkit and recommendations guide to implementation for use by Third Ward residents, community developers and non-profits, private/public funders and investors, and public officials. Synthesizing previous plans, the Framework establishes an overarching vision that focuses on celebrating and preserving history, culture, and people; creating innovative and sustainable economic development opportunities; developing appropriate housing; establishing a world class health and educational system; and minimizing displacement of existing residents.
- Create a Development Framework this will set design guidelines to make up for Houston’s lack of zoning (framework must set targets for affordability, address land-use compatibility, identify a review process and more).
- Consider a Land Bank to maintain affordability and to purchase blighted property.
- Create a rental registration to monitor and track “problem properties” that may benefit from funding support for rehabilitation or need legal defense for the tenants.
- Use affordable housing tax cuts to rehab NOAH properties.
Third Ward Comprehensive Needs Assessment Data Report
Completion Date: October 2019
Partners & Authors: Sankofa Research Institute; Center for Health & Biosciences, Rice University; Houston Endowment
Summary: This report summarizes the findings of a comprehensive neighborhood survey, completed by over 1600 Third Ward residents, including 202 Cuney Homes households. Data was collected in three phases between April 2017 – August 2018. The intent is to support the development of data-driven strategies, policies, and investments in the Third Ward.
- There is a strong sense of community that can serve as the basis for positive neighborhood change. Collective efficacy, which measures individuals’ willingness to help one another in times of need, was notably high across the Third Ward.
- Nearly 80% of respondents were somewhat or very satisfied with living in the Third Ward.
- Two-thirds of respondents were concerned by the loss of Black culture & presence in the neighborhood.
- There is a significant population of 23.5% of respondents living in severely inadequate housing (vs. the 2% national rate reported by HUD).
- There is concern by many that they will have to leave the neighborhood – 22.5% worried about having to move the following year.
- 68% report having access to health insurance while the national average in 91%