Buffalo Bayou Park

Case Study | Community Benefits
Buffalo Bayou Park

Fast Facts

  • The $58 million park covers 160 acres around a 2.3-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou west of Downtown Houston.
  • Today, there is approximately $2 billion in development taking place in neighborhoods adjacent to the park.
  • The park is easily accessed by public transportation, including light rail; and approximately 44,000 households are located within a 10-minute walk and approximately 500,000 people within a 30-minute bike ride.
  • Large event lawns, public art, perennial gardens, and festival lawns support all types of year-round activities.

Buffalo Bayou Park links a network of trails, open space, public art, and other amenities for its residents to enjoy, while at the same time helps the city manage its stormwater runoff.

The 160-acre linear park stretches for 2.3 miles west of Downtown Houston along the region’s most historic waterway. While preserving the corridor’s sensitive ecology, the park serves as critical infrastructure for recreation and cultural venues. A $58 million capital campaign transformed the park from a neglected drainage ditch to a citywide showpiece. Four bridges and more than 15 miles of multi-use trails and footpaths promote a healthy lifestyle for Houston’s growing population.

Careful attention was paid to the design of the park’s components to ensure they are able to withstand the destructive forces of the bayou’s flooding. The planting of 14,000 native trees, especially bald cypress, helps prevent erosion along the bayou’s banks, and slopes are angled to convey additional flood water. Two visitor centers were strategically sited at the only two park locations above the base-flood elevation.

Buffalo Bayou Park has breathed new life into a long-neglected area, and, most importantly, changed how Houstonians from all walks of life view their city.


  • Agreement

    Partnership Agreement of Portland Parks & Recreation and The Forest Park Conservancy

    Forest Park Conservancy

    Key assumptions outlined for how Forest Park Conservancy works cooperatively with city agency to care for a 5,000+ acre park with 70+ miles of trails.

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    City Parks Alliance

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