How Public Is Your Favorite Public Park?

From New York’s High Line to Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park, Wealthy Foundations Are Making Lovely Spaces That Lead to Less Equal Cities

Who owns your favorite park?

That might seem like a strange question. Many people assume that “we”—the public, the people—do. But from New York’s High Line to Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Park, parks in U.S. cities are increasingly managed, financed, and policed by private groups that have little accountability to the public. Just as many other services once seen as public goods—such as healthcare, schools, and water utilities—have increasingly become the property of corporations and wealthy financiers, public space, too, has been privatized.

Historians locate the origins of urban park privatization in 1970s …

Turning Low-Income Housing into Art

In Houston's Third Ward, 'Shotgun' Houses Provide Homes for Artists, Mothers, and Anyone with a Vision

Project Row Houses is an art space in Houston’s historically black Third Ward. Its success, going on a quarter of a century, is a powerful argument for committing first to …

Journalist Macarena Hernandez

Secret Sunday School Teacher

Macarena Hernandez is a journalist and professor of humanities at the University of Houston-Victoria. Before participating in a panel on what immigration reform would mean for Houston, she talked in …

Neighborhood Centers CEO Angela Blanchard

An Emotional Gardener and a Janis Joplin Karaoke Acolyte

Angela Blanchard is CEO of Neighborhood Centers Inc., a nonprofit that works to rebuild Houston communities. Before participating in a panel on how immigration reform could affect life in Houston, …

Writer Claudia Kolker

I’ll Have Anything But That Tofu

Claudia Kolker is the author of The Immigrant Advantage: What We Can Learn from Newcomers to America about Health, Happiness, and Hope; currently she is also a contributing editor at …

Political Scientist Tony Payan

The Workaholic Who Doesn’t Need An Alarm Clock

Political scientist Tony Payan is the fellow in Mexico studies and the director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute at Rice University in Houston. Before participating in a …