work /
Gateway Park
landscape architecture
urban design

Bringing critical public spaces and services to the residents of Gulfton.

context /

Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture

team /

Scott Liang

The Neighborhood

Gateway Park is a massive community center, park, and short-term housing solution in the Gulfton super-neighborhood of Houston, TX. Meant to be a new central hub, it provides spaces and services that are specifically tailored for the population.

Gulfton, once a primary resettlement site for newly-arrived refugees (a "gateway community"), is now one of the most dense and culturally diverse neighborhoods of Houston, TX. However, Gulfton is not without its troubles—nearly half of its households earn < $25,000 and are medically uninsured.

Moreover, the area was initially built for short-term profitability from young, white "swinging singles" and now struggles to accommodate its current demographic. Of primary concern are youths, who account for 1/3 of the population, have few outlets for activity, and are at risk of developing violent behavior.

Gateway Park's goals, then, are severalfold:

  1. ‍Provide much-needed social and recreational spaces for community members (particularly youth)
  2. Provide a centralized series of spaces for the dispersed, underutilized social service organizations to operate in (such services include child care, education, arts & film programs, health services, and labor services).
  3. Provide economical temporary housing accommodations for newly-arrived and struggling families

The Idea

The idea is simple: Create compelling recreational spaces, but then insert the social programs as a "filter" between these spaces and the residential areas.

Thus, to access the highly-coveted sports fields, playgrounds, and the like, community members must pass through beneficial services such as healthcare, career assistance, and language education. This, combined with tight integration between these services and the park, maximize their utilization.

Social programs as a "filter"

Gateway Park

5. Researcher Portal

Lastly, the third leg of the stool: the product that researchers (Vetty employees) use to actually conduct the background checks.

Product principles:

  • Speed. Make tasks easily identifiable.
  • Efficiency. Focus on minimizing redundancy; at high volumes, every redundant action is magnified (even eye movement should be considered).
  • Memory management. The UI should work to minimize information that the user has to hold in memory.
  • Power users. Due to training, higher complexity in exchange for higher power is OK.

This is a basic researcher workflow. Note that it is divided into 3 stages:

Generally, teams of researchers are assigned to different accounts, with each member taking on a specific phase. Due to Vetty's limited resources, individual researchers take on their own accounts and conduct all 3 phases.

5.1. Researcher Dashboard

The main focus of the researcher dashboard is the "Adjudication Needed" column, which uses a simple "yes" or "no" to indicate when there is a pending task. Hovering over the cell in the column brings up more detailed information.

Because researchers are trained users, the dashboard can adopt more complexity for more power. Below, custom components that allow each column to be independently searchable:

5.2. Candidate Details

Much like the client portal (for account managers), the candidate details are where most of the tasks are done:

Key items:

  • The reference panel can be brought up at any time for glanceable information (for example, the researcher may need to compare SSN trace results with national criminal results). The panel eliminates the need to scroll back and forth. Furthermore, it includes a notes section for each candidate, eliminating the "mountain of sticky notes" that researchers previously had to deal with.
  • All top-level information is easily glanceable in the left navigation panel.

The researcher portal is now undergoing a major redesign to accommodate larger teams. Stay tuned!


Whew, that's it! A complete Consumer Reporting Agency platform from scratch. As of this writing, Vetty has experienced a 10x increase in MRR and is now undergoing a serious M&A bid. If you have any questions, or would like to work together, please don't hesitate to reach out at