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