Our Great Region 2040 Implementation Report

The first step in building on existing efforts is to compile an assessment of existing efforts underway in the region that relate to the plan’s Big Ideas and Priority Strategies. The Implementation Report establishes a framework for documenting the efforts in a central location. It is not intended to be a comprehensive assessment of all efforts in the region. As additional efforts are learned about they can be added to this report. Particular emphasis has been given to document regional, large-scale, or best practice initiatives. The intent is that this report will be produced annually to document the implementation progress of Our Great Region 2040.

 

 

Strengthening Our Economic Competitiveness

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Economic Development Impementation Bubble Chart

Improve the opportunities for lifelong learning by scaling up and coordinating efforts, from quality early childhood education to GED and community education programs to skills training for seniors.

Regional Initiatives

  • Workforce Solutions training programs.
  • Accelerate TEXAS training program, run by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board – local participating colleges include San Jacinto College, College of the Mainland, Houston Community College, Lone Star College District, and Wharton County Junior College
  • Greater Houston Partnership's UpSkill Houston Workforce Development Action Plan

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The City of Houston Mayor's After-School Achievement Program
  • HISD East Early College High School (Houston ISD) Program
  • San Jacinto College's Adult Learning Institute
  • Houston Community College vocational training programs
  • Spring ISD career and technology programs, industry certifications, and internships
  • Knowledge First Empowerment after-school and enrichment learning program in Fort Bend County
  • Greater Houston Partnership's UpSkill Houston Workforce Development Action Plan

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • More funding needed
  • Need better non-traditional education and increased higher education access

Capacity Level

  • High: Regional Capacity Exists, workforce board, GHP, local colleges, ISDs

Momentum Level

  • High: Local initiatives, a high-profile issues

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Expand programs to improve job and financial skills and promote self sufficiency.

Regional Initiatives

  • Workforce Solutions Education and Training Provider Network, Skill Development Seminars, and other career and skills development resources
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • University of Houston’s Program for Financial Literacy
  • Bank on Houston offers education opportunities to help Houstonians become financially stable
  • Financial Opportunity Centers, managed by the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  •  Neighborhood Centers, Inc.’s Promise Credit Union program
  • Harris County Office of Social Services offers case management to low-income and disabled adults to attain greater self-sufficiency
  • Montgomery County United Way’s Creating Independence Impact Council
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Demand is greater than the supply for some programs
  • Need more funding for self-sufficiency programs

Capacity Level

  • High: institutional capacity exists in universities, colleges, non-profit entities

Momentum Level

  • High: many current initiatives underway that are building momentum

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Increase availability of information on job skills needed by employers to educational institutions, allowing them to better tailor their course and training offerings.

Regional Initiatives

  • Workforce Solutions’ Targeting High-Skill High-Growth Jobs Initiative
  • Greater Houston Partnership’s UpSkill Houston Workforce Development Action Plan
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Bayer Material Science’s Production Technician Internship Program at its facility near the Houston Ship Channel
  • College of the Mainland and San Jacinto College have training programs in partnership with business groups and major employers
  • Spring ISD provides job shadowing, mentoring, internships, chamber of commerce relationships and industry certifications for students
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • As job skill needs shift with changing market conditions, keeping educational institutions, trainings and course offerings flexible and current.

Capacity Level

  • High: regional capacity to track and disseminate data on emerging job skills needs and gaps exists through Workforce Solutions, GHP study, other programs

Momentum Level

  • Gathering: closer coordination with the business community is still needed to make the process faster and more flexible

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Promote business attraction and retention efforts through multi-jurisdictional coordination and financial incentives.

Regional Initiatives

  • Greater Houston Partnership Economic Development Programs
  • Gulf Coast Economic Development District
  • Region has numerous Economic Development Corporations, Chambers of Commerce and Business Development groups
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Local Tax Abatement programs
  • Local showcase programs
    • City of La Marque’s Economic Development department provides grants for companies to renovate or move into the city
    • CETA (Central East Texas Alliance – Montgomery, Liberty, and Walker counties are members) helps promote businesses to locate or relocate to the region
    • Economic Alliance Houston Port Region provides expansion and retention support to the Houston Ship Channel Region

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for financial incentives
  • Having the region viewed as attractor versus individual cities/counties

Momentum Level

  • High: numerous local programs exist, incentives and supportive resources too, through EDC’s

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Increase availability of high speed data connections and broadband Internet across the region, especially in rural areas.

Regional Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston’s WeCAN (Wireless Empowered Community Access Network)
  • City of Mont Believe is exploring providing city-wide wi-fi
  • Spring ISD has a partnership with Comcast internet essentials to provide low-cost home internet to student’s families
  • City of La Marque provides multiple free wi-fi access points at parks, libraries, and other public locations

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Lack of funding/partnerships

Momentum Level

  • Low: there is a statewide initiative (Connect Texas), but no regional effort or available funding sources

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Institute a “buy local, make local, grow local” campaign to support local businesses.

Regional Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston Hire Houston First initiative
  • Various local Farmers Markets
  • Urban Harvest support for small local farmers
  • The Texas City/La Marque Chamber of Commerce sponsors small business events that encourage support for local businesses
  • The City of Willis has a Facebook campaign to promote local, buy local “Business Spotlight”

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Lack of dedicated funding sources to initiate and sustain programs

Momentum Level

  • Gathering: several local initiatives could be good templates for expansion to the regional level. There is no clear lead regional entity or funding mechanism

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1


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Securing Our Water's Future

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Environment Implementation Bubble Chart

Work together on long term structural solutions to increase water storage and distribution capacity.

Regional Initiatives

  • The Region H Water and Region K Water Planning
  • State funding available the Texas Water Development Board
Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • North Harris County Regional Water Authority
  • River Authorities, water supply and groundwater districts

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for implementation of structural solutions
  • Partnerships and coordination between agencies, local stakeholders, and private industry, which may have divergent interests

Capacity Level

  • Gathering: while there are regional level organizations with technical expertise in the subject matter of this strategy, there are significant political and financial challenges to its implementation.

Momentum Level

  • High: the drought of 2011 made the issue of water supply a high momentum strategy throughout the region.

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Create watershed protection plans to protect recharge zones, and water sources, as well as waterways and wetland buffer areas.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC and others have developed watershed protection plans in 8 watersheds in the region

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None Identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Lack of institutional capacity, regulatory tools, and funding to implement, plan recommendations
  • Coordination between agencies, local stakeholders, and private industry, which may have divergent interests

Capacity Level

  • High: several organizations currently pursuing this strategy that have successful plans that can act as models for further implementation of this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering: momentum will likely build as watershed protection plans are implemented but there is currently not an institutional framework for implementing many of the strategies at a watershed level.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Conserve natural assets through multi-benefit green infrastructure projects and designing with nature, such as Low Impact Development and expanding Our Region’s network of open space and trails along waterways.

Regional Initiatives

  • National Parks Conservation Association’s proposed Lone Star National Recreation Area
  • Several land trusts, including the Bayou Land Conservancy and the Katy Prairie Conservancy, are working to protect environmentally-sensitive lands throughout the region
  • H-GAC Low Impact Development Program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Harris County Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure Design Criteria for Stormwater Management
  • City of Sugar Land LID development criteria
  • The Bayou Greenways Initiative
  • Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition is promoting and coordinating the creation of Cypress Creek Greenway

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • There is a need to increase awareness of low-impact development and its potential benefits
  • Some municipalities have policies that make Low Impact Development and Green Infrastructure projects difficult

Capacity Level

  • High: there are several significant initiatives within this strategy underway in the region and a growing level of technical expertise in the public and private sectors.

Momentum Level

  • High: increasing interest in Low Impact Development by developers and local governments.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Increase awareness of the economic benefits of environmental systems.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Eco-Logical Project
  • The Conservation Fund’s Greater Houston-Galveston Green Infrastructure Network’s ‘Ecosystem Services Assessment for the Houston-Galveston Region’
  • The Galveston Sustainable Return on Investment Case Study (developed as a part of Our Great Region 2040)
  • Texas Coastal Exchange – a concept for a web-based system for buying and selling ecological services, being developed by Jim Blackburn.

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Creating partnerships with educational institutions, developers, local governments, and other organizations to increase awareness
  • Increasing the availability of locally and regionally relevant data

Capacity Level

  • Low: there remain significant data limitations and few ongoing initiatives.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering: Although there is momentum for individual projects to document economic benefits, there does not appear to be a high level of regional momentum for this strategy currently.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Establish alliances to coordinate water conservation and protection efforts across Our Region, including sharing data and best practices, developing financial incentives, and implementing public awareness programs.

Regional Initiatives

  • Region H and Region K Water plans
  • Houston-Galveston Region Clean Rivers Program
  • River, Lakes, Bays ‘N Bayous Trash Bash
  • Texas Stream Team
  • H-GAC’s Bacteria Implementation Group (BIG)

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston’s WaterWorks Education Center

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Lack of financial incentives
  • Reaching traditionally underserved populations in public awareness programs

Capacity Level

  • High- Several organizations in the region have existing, successful initiatives under this strategy that could be built upon to further implementation of this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • High - Participation in existing efforts, such as Trash Bash and other public events, has grown over the years, indicating a rising level of momentum for this strategy. There is increased awareness of the need for water conservation in light of recent droughts.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Develop a regional plan to conserve high quality natural areas.

Regional Initiatives

  • Houston Wilderness is leading the development of a Gulf-Houston Regional Conservation Plan.
  • National Parks Conservation Association’s proposed Lone Star National Recreation Area

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Although the technical expertise to develop a regional conservation plan exists, no regional entities have the ability to implement such a plan once developed

Capacity Level

  • High - The existing initiatives underway under this strategy may provide a solid start to the implementation of the strategy.

Momentum Level

  • High - There are already initiatives underway at the regional level to implement this strategy and strong interest across the region.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Promote efficient resource management, including energy, solid waste, and water.

Energy Regional Initiatives

  • Greater Houston Builders Association’s Green Built Gulf Coast green building program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Energy Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston Green Office Challenge
  • City of Houston’s Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP)
  • City of Houston Green Transportation Initiative

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Solid Waste Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Solid Waste Management Program provides grants and technical assistance to local governments on solid waste issues

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Solid Waste Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston Green Waste Diversion Program
  • City of Houston One Bin for All Program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  •  Need for expanded partnerships between public and private organizations
  • Demand for expansion of home recycling outpaces available funding
  • Low landfill tipping fees make it difficult for recycling services to compete financially

Capacity Level

  • High - There are many successful local and regional initiatives currently underway supporting this strategy. Organizations, including regional level organizations, have the technical expertise to further this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • High - There are existing initiatives that could be expanded through new partnerships.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

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Cultivating Healthy Places

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Healthy Communities Implementation Bubble Chart

Establish regional infrastructure and distribution mechanisms to support farmers markets and other means to provide fresh, healthy food to residents across Our Region.

Regional Initiatives

  • The Houston Food Policy Workgroup, coordinated by Houston Tomorrow
  • Healthy Living Matters assessment of food access for Harris County

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Numerous local Farmers Markets
  • Plant It Forward Farms
  • Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Centers’ Sustainable Food Initiative
  • Last Organic Outpost
  • Houston Redevelopment Authority grocery store financing

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Some municipal regulations may disallow urban agriculture or farmers markets
  • Some farmers markets do not have the capacity to accept Lone Star payments or are not located in areas that are easily accessible for individuals without a vehicle
  • Funding for projects and operating costs can be a limiting factor

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - There is an increasing number of initiatives in the region that can be successful models for future projects, as well as growing organizational capacity. Some challenges, such as funding sources, remain.

Momentum Level

  • High - There is an increasing awareness and demand for healthy local foods. Existing initiatives have had success in many communities in the region.

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Increase current funding and identify innovative funding sources to develop and maintain sidewalks, bikeways, bike-share infrastructure, and parks/open space that promote a more active lifestyle.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC Regional Pedestrian-Bicycle Plan and Livable Centers program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The City of Houston’s Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian Connections to Transit project
  • Houston B-cycle bike-sharing program
  • The Bayou Greenways Initiative
  • City of Houston Neighborhood Traffic Management Program aimed at improving the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists
  • City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department parks master plan to guide development of the park system, including identifying areas of park need
  • National Parks Conservation Association’s proposed Lone Star National Recreation Area
  • Bike Houston public awareness and advocacy programs
  • Cypress Creek Flood Control Coalition Cypress Creek Greenway project

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Need for new partnerships and funding sources
  • Help with long term funding and funding for maintenance

Capacity Level

  • High - Although existing organizations may have limited ability to increase funding, the large number of initiatives being pursued in the region and the technical expertise toward implementation give this strategy high capacity.

Momentum Level

  • High - There are many existing successful initiatives and organizations working toward bicycle/pedestrian and open space projects in the region.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Create a regional task force that works across multiple disciplines (health departments, public safety, etc.) to address mental health issues.

Regional Initiatives

  • The Harris Health System Strategic Plan 2012-2016
  • The Southeast Texas Regional Healthcare Partnership

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Houston Police Department’s Mental Health Division trains law enforcement and mental health professional across the region and nation

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Coordinating policy development across the region
  • Increasing the lines of communication between public safety, EMS, police, and those who provide care for the mentally ill
  • Incorporating into a comprehensive health wellness plan/program
  • Funding

Capacity Level

  • Low - There are few existing initiatives to build upon to implement this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • Low - There are few region-wide organizations that are currently working on this strategy that could spearhead the formation of a regional task force.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Foster neighborhoods that put an emphasis on health, incorporating elements that promote active living, social interaction, and healthy eating that allow for aging in place.

Regional Initiatives

  • Episcopal Health Foundation Grants
  • Novo Nordisk Cities Changing Diabetes
  • MIT and American Institute of Architects projects
  • Greater Houston Builder’s Association teaches aging in place techniques through the Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist designation

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The Houston Department of Health & Human Services’ Community Garden Program
  • Healthy Kids Houston community-based obesity intervention program encourages children to make healthy lifestyle choices.
  • City of Houston Urban Grows initiative
  • City of Houston General Plan
  • City of Houston Bikeway Plan update
  • Great Opportunities (GO) Neighborhoods, managed by the Houston Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
  • The Bayou Greenways Initiative
  • Harris County Public Health and Environmental Service Healthy Living Matters Initiative
  • City of Houston Community Transformation Initiative
  • Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services new Built Environment Unit
  • Clinton Foundation Health Matters Initiative Houston and Harris County Blueprint for Action
  • City of La Marque’s Carbide Park’s ‘senior citizen playground’

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Increasing awareness of the interrelationship between health and the built environment
  • Forming new partnerships between the development community, local government, advocacy organizations
  • Identifying needs of older Texans and incorporating into all elements of planning

Capacity Level

  • High – There are many successful initiatives in the region that can serve as models for additional projects. There are many organizations, both public and private, that are incorporating components of this strategy into their neighborhoods or developments.

Momentum Level

  • High – Growing interest, organizational capacity and funding.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Identify and promote existing and emerging community resources for mental health services.

Regional Initiatives

  • The Southeast Texas Regional Healthcare Partnership behavioral health cohort workgroup
  • Mental Health Sub-committee of the Greater Houston Long Term Recovery Committee

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Mental Health America of Greater Houston
  • Coalition for the Homeless Houston/Harris County

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Overcoming stigma associated with mental health services through education
  • Identifying funding sources and creating new partnerships

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - There are several existing organizations and initiatives pursuing components of this strategy that could be built upon.

Momentum Level

  • Low – other community health strategies appear to be higher priorities

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Expand availability of community health services and trauma care, particularly in low-income and rural areas.

Regional Initiatives

  • Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment (DSRIP) has a variety of proposed regional and local projects to improve health services

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Legacy Community Health Services provides no-cost or low-cost healthcare to Houstonians
  • Access Health provides services in Fort Bend and Waller Counties

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • The healthcare landscape is evolving with changing legislation/funding models
  • Transportation to community health services for those who don’t have access to vehicles

Capacity Level

  • Low - Additional partnerships are needed as much of the technical expertise needed to implement this strategy is limited to health provider organizations.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering – Growing awareness of the need to expand the availability of local health services.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

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Providing Balanced Housing Choices

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Housing Implementation Bubble Chart

Develop local housing plans to accommodate future growth.

Regional Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston, Housing and Community Development’s Consolidated Plan for 2015-2019
  • Harris County’s PY 2013-2017 Fair Housing Plan/Analysis of Impediments
  • Other local Consolidated Housing Plans

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  •  Getting community input
  • Attracting the mix of housing development needed to draw jobs
  • Ensuring mix of housing types to suite different needs
  • Low housing costs make this a lower priority

Capacity Level

  • High - Many municipalities in the region currently complete Fair Housing Plans/Analysis of Impediments, a prerequisite for being eligible to received federal entitlement grants such as Community Development Block Grant (CDBG). The expertise utilized to complete these plans could be extended to address other housing issues, such as accommodating future growth. Some municipalities in the region also address housing needs through comprehensive plans.

Momentum Level

  • Low – Limited activity beyond federally required planning programs

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Provide financial incentives for developers to build diverse housing types near jobs, transit centers, and services, including mixed-use developments and housing that has a variety of price points .

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Livable Centers program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of La Marque currently will decrease/dismiss liens on properties that have been foreclosed on due to tax levies to promote development
  • METRO is conducting a transit oriented development research
  • Rice University Shell Center for Sustainability’s Zero carbon development research project in the Fifth Ward
  • City of Houston’s Housing and Community Development Department’s Land Assemblage Redevelopment Authority (LARA) works on projects such as assembling and redeveloping properties that have been acquired through foreclosure of delinquent ad valorem taxes
  • Houston Tomorrow’s Houston Access to Urban Sustainability (HAUS) project aims to create cooperative, sustainable, affordable housing in close proximity to transit

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding to provide incentives
  • Coordination between municipalities, developers, and service providers
  • Some development requirements for parking, etc. can be a disincentive to walkable, mixed-use development
  • Mixed-income housing can sometimes encounter local resistance

Capacity Level

  • High - Several municipalities in the region are currently pursuing this strategy and there is a high level of expertise in the region. Many studies, including 18 Livable Centers studies, have examined the application of this strategy in different parts of the region.

Momentum Level

  • High – There is a high level of interest across the region in efficiently coordinating land use and transportation to help increase access to opportunity, improve mobility, and accommodate all populations.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Develop incentives and a toolkit for matching and maintaining local housing stock to meet economic development needs, bringing greater access to opportunities.

Regional Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Our Great Region 2040 case studies, including:
    • City of Houston’s “Urban Houston Framework for Urban Development”
    • City of Huntsville’s “Harnessing Huntsville’s Potential”
    • City of Bay City’s “North Downtown Plan”

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Each local community's economic development needs and housing stock will present unique specific challenges

Capacity Level

  • Low - There are not currently regional level organizations addressing local housing stock issues. Locally the capacity will vary depending on the municipality and the specifics of the housing stock and economic development need.

Momentum Level

  • Low - Local municipalities vary on their economic development needs and housing stock.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Identify gaps and opportunities of the quality and supply of the regional housing stock, including housing for seniors or aging in place.

Regional Initiatives

  • Our Great Region 2040 Fair Housing Equity Assessment (FHEA)

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston Department of Health and Human Service’s Healthy Homes Program
  • Local Consolidated Action Plans
  • The Harris County Housing Resource Center
  • The Greater Houston Builder’s Association teaches aging in place through Certified Aging in Place Specialists
  • The Houston-Galveston Area Agency on Aging provides older Texas services and assistance to help remain independent and healthy
  • Sheltering Arms Senior Services provides services to help older adults live independently in their own homes

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Many seniors do not have funding to maintain their housing
  • Increased coordination between service agencies, non-profit organizations, local governments, and developers is needed

Capacity Level

  • High - The technical expertise to achieve this strategy exists in the region, both at the local and regional level through existing organizations. Participants at the IN event identified this strategy as being the most likely housing strategy to be achieved in the next five years.

Momentum Level

  • Low – As housing is generally viewed as a local issue, there is currently a low level of momentum to pursue regional level housing strategies.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Develop and enforce local housing codes and standards to ensure owner-occupied and rental housing is safe and healthy.

Regional Initiatives

  • The Greater Houston Builder’s Association’s Stakeholders Codes Group works with local municipalities

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • City of Houston Department of Health and Human Services provides funding for training programs
  • City of Houston Department Clean Neighborhoods Campaign that sponsors cleanup and beautification projects and the Mayor’s Mow-Down Program to address the problem of over-grown lots

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Enforcing proper maintenance of rental housing
  • Funding
  • Policy development
  • Developer/owner accountability 

Capacity Level

  • Low - Counties in Texas do not have building codes and many municipalities do not have the funding to comprehensively inspect and enforce local housing codes.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering - Sub-standard housing is an issue that resonated throughout the region.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

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Achieving a World-Class Transportation Network

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Transportation Implementation Bubble Chart

Improve the efficiency of freight movement by investing in projects that improve connections between ships, trains, and trucks.

Regional Initiatives

  • The H-GAC Regional Goods Movement Study.
  • Texas Department of Transportation Houston Region Freight Study identifies improvements that could be made throughout the region to improve freight movement.

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The Economic Alliance of the Houston Port Region Transportation Task Force examines transportation issues, including freight, in the Port Region
  • H-GAC’s Subregional Plan for the East Port area

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Need to establish new partnerships between public and private freight organizations and the transportation industry
  • Funding for transportation projects is limited

Capacity Level

  • High- The technical expertise to conduct freight planning exists in the region and several organizations are pursuing initiatives related to this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • High - As the region’s ports continue to experience growth, the need for an efficient freight system has continued to grow as well.

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Optimize existing transportation network through a "Fix it First" strategy and by using technology and improved incident management to maximize system capacity.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Congestion Management Process
  • H-GAC’s Access Management Studies

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The City of Houston’s Geographic Information and Management System (GIMS) includes detailed data on the transportation network and other infrastructure throughout the city
  • The City of Houston: Consolidated Transportation Planning Tool is a web-based GIS application that allows users to view transportation data posted by various agencies working throughout the city 
  • Houston TranStar
  • City of Houston Complete Streets policy

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for planning and new initiatives
  • Documenting benefits of this strategy

Capacity Level

  • High - The technical expertise to implement this strategy is already in place in the region. There are many existing successful initiatives and organizations pursuing this strategy that can be built upon.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering - With increasingly limited transportation funding there is an interest in maximizing the efficiency of the existing system.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Create a regional framework for expanding transit across Our Region.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Regional Commuter Rail Connectivity Study is a visioning document that examines the potential development of a regional commuter rail system
  • H-GAC conducts county-level transit plans and has a Regional Transit Coordination Subcommittee (RTCS) that promotes regional coordination among transportation providers and identify opportunity for expanding transit in the region
  • Ride the Gulf Coast’s Regional Coordinated Transportation Plan identifies barriers, constraints and opportunities to improve public transportation coordination in the region
  • The Gulf Coast Rail District works with public and private partners to develop and implement a systematic approach to improve the regional rail network

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • TREK, Inc.- a public transportation provider in the region, is working to  coordinate between agencies to develop a shuttle service into the business districts between I-10 and 290

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Limited right-of-way for new rail development – use of existing rail right-of way has significant constraints
  • Need to strengthen partnerships among transit providers and the rail industry
  • Funding for new/expanded transit service is limited
  • Operational costs for transit service can be limiting

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - The technical expertise to create a framework exists in the region as there are regional level organizations currently working in the transit planning realm. However some significant challenges to developing a framework for regional transit remain, including funding.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering - Several recent transportation studies have documented a strong interest for increased transit in the region and several local communities have expressed a desire for specific transit investments. As the region continues to grow having a strong regional transit system will help provide alternatives to driving alone.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Develop and implement policies that improve transit, pedestrian and bicycle access between and within activity centers, connecting residents to job centers.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Livable Centers Program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The City of Houston “Urban Houston Framework” study (developed as part of Our Great Region 2040), describes policy and regulatory incentives to encourage the creation of walkable communities in appropriate locations
  • The City of Houston’s Urban Corridor Planning Initiative uses land use tools to encourage pedestrian-friendly development near transit corridors
  • METRO has several initiatives aimed at improving transit access within Houston and other parts of Harris County:
    • The METRO Bike & Ride Access & Implementation Plan
    • Transit System Reimagining
    • METRO Transit Academy
    • The METRO Customer Advisory Committee
  • Harris County Public Health & Environmental Service’s Healthy Living Matters Initiative

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for planning and implementation
  • Technical assistance to municipalities to implement policies
  • Development of metrics to measure benefits
  • Partnerships with development community

Capacity Level

  • High - There are many existing successful initiatives in the region that can be built upon as a model for additional initiatives. There are both local and regional level organizations with the technical expertise to implement this strategy. This strategy received the highest number of votes from IN participants as being the transportation strategy most likely to be achieved in the next 5 years.

Momentum Level

  • High - An increasing awareness of the health and mobility benefits of transportation alternatives has generated momentum for pursuit of this strategy.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Provide counties with tools to better coordinate land use and transportation planning in unincorporated areas.

Regional Initiatives

  • None currently identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None currently identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Would require new state level legislation
  • Currently lacking advocates to push through legislations
  • Lack of local/regional models of success

Capacity Level

  • Low - There are significant hurdles to the implementation of this strategy, including that it would require changes in current legislation. There are not currently local models/best practices that could be built upon.

Momentum Level

  • Low - There are not currently any organizations that are pursuing this strategy and there are not any dedicated funding sources.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Include economic, safety, and quality of life costs and benefits of transportation projects in funding prioritizations.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC Healthy Framework Study

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The Galveston Sustainable Return on Investment Case Study, developed as part of Our Great Region 2040
  • The City of Willis is implementing design standards that include quality of life improvements

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Quality of life benefits can be difficult to quantify – need more data and research

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - There are few dedicated funding sources that can address this issue, and although there are organizations that have the technical expertise to help quantify costs and benefits, there remain data gaps.

Momentum Level

  • High - There is an increasing recognition that a holistic approach to funding prioritizations may present a fuller picture of the costs and benefits of transportation projects.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

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Increasing Our Resiliency to Natural and Manmade Disasters

This chart illustrates how successful a strategy may be by delineating its potential momentum and capacity in a regional context. More details about the strategies are available in the Implementation Report and in the tabs below.

Resiliency Implementation Bubble Chart

Create public education programs on wildfire, flooding, and other risks.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Together Against the Weather program provides strategies and a toolkit of materials to increase public awareness, particularly among hard to reach populations
  • Texas A&M Forest Service Texas Firewise program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • The Harris County Flood Control District’s Flood Education Mapping
  • Ready Houston program provides emergency preparedness information
  • Ready Harris’ Harris County Regional Joint Information Center
  • SSPEED Center early warning flood alert pilot study in Clear Lake area

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Reaching underserved populations
  • Utilizing new/creative outlets to capture attention – after events perception of risk fades

Capacity Level

  • High - Many organizations in the region, both regional level and local, have expertise in education programs and campaigns. There are many existing education efforts and coordination and economies of scale may be able to be achieved through partnerships on future education programs.

Momentum Level

  • Low - As there are many existing education efforts around these topics, there does not appear to be urgency in moving forward

Potential Regional Impact

On a scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Develop an integrated regional storm defense system, which includes both structural and non-structural elements.

Regional Initiatives

  • The State of Texas Joint Committee on Coastal Barrier System is a state-appointed committee to study the potential development of a coastal barrier system
  • Gulf Coast Community Protection and Recovery District is a six county regional planning body tasked with planning and identifying implementation strategies for structural and non-structural storm defense infrastructure
  • National Parks Conservation Association- proposed Lone Star National Recreation Area includes strategies to reduce repetitive losses associated with hurricane storm surges
  • Texas A&M Galveston and Rice University SSPEED Center have proposed storm defense system concepts
  • H-GAC’s Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan identifies numerous structural and non-structural storm defense infrastructure projects

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Bay Area Coastal Protection Alliance is a volunteer-led, non-profit organization advocating for a coastal barrier system for storm surge protection for the Houston-Galveston Region
  • City of Houston's Storm Water Management Program
  • Harris County Flood Control District provides flood damage reduction projects

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for a coastal barrier system and other projects
  • Partnerships: getting support from variety of partners and organizations

Capacity Level

  • Low - Development of an integrated regional storm defense system will be a new undertaking for our region. Although there are precedents elsewhere, it will take a concerted and coordinated regional effort to achieve.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering -There is an increasing urgency, especially among coastal cities in our region to better prepare for storm events, both through structural and non-structural means. There are many municipalities and organizations in the region focused on this issue, although they are not always coordinating efforts.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Enhance coordination of evacuation planning and preparation efforts, particularly to address the needs of vulnerable populations.

Regional Initiatives

  • Houston-Galveston Region: Together Against the Weather program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Houston TranStar is a partnership responsible for coordinating the planning, design, and operations of transportation and emergency management in the greater Houston region.
  • METRO has an Emergency Management Plan, including a Bus Evacuation Plan to evacuate transit dependent citizens and to provide first level transit after a disaster
  • Harris County Community Services Department’s  Housing Resource Center provides outreach to senior communities regarding transportation during evacuations
  • City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s emergency management plan, provide community center as shelters.
  • Ready Houston
  • Ready Harris’ Harris County Regional Joint Information Center

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Reaching vulnerable populations, especially those that may not be English speakers or utilize traditional media sources in advance of emergencies, for example to register them for evacuation assistance.

Capacity Level

  • High - There are many existing agencies and partnerships, including regional level organizations that are successfully implementing emergency management operations in the region.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering - While there are many existing initiatives relating to this strategy, its priority level tends to wane in the absence of major storm events.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

Develop a rapid recovery plan to help people and businesses return as quickly as possible.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Rapid Recovery Pilot Housing Program has developed prototype housing units

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Local regulations such as planning/development regulations, and/or local home owners associations differ across the region,  resulting in difficulties in creating a standardized framework that would work across many jurisdictions in the region
  • Funding resources for deployment/implementation

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - The Rapid Recovery Pilot Housing Program will provide a strong template for the region to implement. The program is fostering new partnerships and generating the expertise to implement this strategy.

Momentum Level

  • Low – as yet, there appears to be limited momentum on moving this forward on a large scale.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 1

Improve regional air quality and reduce regional greenhouse gas emissions by offering alternative modes of transportation, improving energy efficiency, and effectively managing resources.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Commute Solutions Program
  • H-GAC’s Air Check Texas Program
  • H-GAC Drayage Loan Program
  • H-GAC Vehicle Replacement Program
  • Nu-Ride
  • METRO Star Vanpool Program

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • Houston’s Green Office Challenge
  • The Green Houston Emissions Reduction Plan
  • City of Houston Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP)
  • City of Houston Green Transportation Initiative has been purchasing plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV) for its municipal fleet
  • Numerous programs to encourage walking and bicycling

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding for alternative modes of transportation
  • Providing alternatives to driving in rural areas where alternative modes are sometimes less feasible

Capacity Level

  • High - There are many existing initiatives and organizations, including regional-level organizations, currently pursuing elements of this strategy. There are successful initiatives that can be built upon for other areas of the region.

Momentum Level

  • High - There is a high level of momentum for this strategy as alternative modes of transportation gain traction in the region, building on successful existing initiatives.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 3

Support innovative adaptation strategies that help communities prepare for potential environmental changes, such as sea level rise and severe weather events.

Regional Initiatives

  • H-GAC’s Foresight Panel on Environmental Effects presents recommendations for local governments to adapt to potential changes in the region’s climate and associated environmental effects
  • Rice University Shell Center for Sustainability research projects, including “The Stress Nexus of Coastlines”,  “Zero Carbon Redevelopment”, and the Gulf Coastal Science Consortium
  • Rice University SSPEED center conducts research to better prepare the region from future storm surge and flooding

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Local Initiatives

  • None identified

Does your organization have an initiative supporting this strategy that is not currently listed? Add it to the list.

Challenges Identified

  • Funding – especially for implementation
  • Development of partnerships

Capacity Level

  • Gathering - There are technical experts in the region that have the expertise to further implementation of this strategy if successful partnerships can be developed.

Momentum Level

  • Gathering - There is not consistent support for the strategy among other potential partners. There are few existing successful initiatives and partnerships to build upon.

Potential Regional Impact

On scale of 1-3 with 3 being highest potential impact: 2

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Our Great Region 2040
Houston-Galveston Area Council

DISCLAIMER: The work provided for the basis for this website was supported by funding under an award with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The substance and findings of the work are dedicated to the public. The author and publisher are solely responsible for the accuracy of the statement and interpretations contained in this website. Such interpretations do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Government
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