We started on September 24, 1998. That day, at a luncheon event, we heard David Crockett, founder of the Chattanooga Institute for Sustainability and great-great-great-great nephew of Davy Crockett, say this:
“We were one of the most polluted cities in America. It was like we had a heart attack. We had to address everything that was wrong with the city: the economy, environment, social problems. When you start working on everything, you begin to intuitively understand what sustainability means. All of these things—energy, transportation, storm water, pollution, education, housing, economic development— are connected, and they all affect each other. You have to look at each of the strategies in the context of everything.”
Houston Tomorrow was born in that moment when we realized he was also talking about Houston. So here we are, 17 years later, still plugging away for sustainability and quality of life in the Houston region, still telling the story that all the issues are connected, they all affect each other, and you have to look at all strategies in the context of everything.
Who would have thought in 1998 that the major topics in thinking about Houston’s future would be transit-oriented development, walkable urbanism, low-carbon living, Complete Streets that are safe for all users, and a whole host of public plans that envision sustainable development, smart growth, and livable centers?
The board, staff, and partners of Houston Tomorrow did, and now we see all of these now-popular concepts driving the civic conversation. Houston is a different place today. It is the fastest growing metro region in the US in terms of both population and job growth. With this success, and with the likelihood of more growth, the Kinder Institute’s Stephen Klineberg says “Suddenly, quality of life is central to Houston’s future.”
Houston Tomorrow began with the mission of improving the quality of life for all the people in the Houston region, even when that goal was seen as intangible to many people. Now it is at the center of the discussion about how to create a thriving city.
Houston Tomorrow Board of Directors
William L. Peel, Jr. (Chairman),Daniel B. Barnum, Jody Blazek, Peter H. Brown, Filo Castore, David Crossley, R. Kent Dussair, Trey Fleming, Barry Goodman, David Gresham, Winifred J. Hamilton, Ana G. Hargrove, Robert Heineman, Carol Lewis, Miki Milovanovic, Mark Nitcholas, Janet Redeker, Fabené Welch