Houston Tomorrow’s mission for 15 years has been to improve the quality of life for all the people of the Houston region through research, education, and discussion. Our vision is that, on its 200th birthday in 2036, the Houston region will be home to the healthiest, happiest, most prosperous people in the United States.
Houston Tomorrow is a small, efficient nonprofit uniquely positioned and managed to bring about real benefits to the people of the Houston region, focused on changing the dominant paradigms about our built environment, transportation options, regional food system, health, safety, and environment. Here are some of the things we are working on every day.
Providing you ideas, understanding, and tools
Our ongoing or recurrent and special events, newsletters, website, and other communications are designed to keep you informed, connected, and empowered to work toward a better quality of life for all the people of the Houston region. We have organized the free, monthly Livable Houston Initiative meetings hosted at the Houston-Galveston Area Council for 15 years, where the Houston region’s thinkers and doers explain, propose, and discuss options and strategies. My Houston 2040 is a collaboration with several other nonprofits modeled after the Livable Houston Initiative, but intended for younger crowds and with a focus on visions for the region in 2040. The Houston Green Film Series, our Ask The Experts breakfast series, the Houston Tomorrow Distinguished Speaker Series, and our daily work to provide news, commentary, and ideas on our website all give you unparalleled access to the best thinking on Houston’s future available.
Supporting the 13-County Houston Regional Plan for Sustainable Development
Houston Tomorrow helped build the coalition and get funding for the three-year 13-county effort to create a Regional Plan for Sustainable Development and helps lead the ongoing process. This plan has already brought a greater depth of understanding to our major regional decision making processes, such as the revelation in one of the largest online surveys of Houstonians across the region, that there is almost unanimous support for conserving ecological assets of the region and that Houstonians want balanced spending between transit, pedestrian, bicycle, planning, and automobile transportation infrastructure.
Facilitating the Houston Coalition for Complete Streets
Houston Tomorrow began the Petition for Complete Streets for the Houston region in May 2011. Soon, we joined together with AARP Texas to begin building the Houston Coalition for Complete Streets, now a coalition of 33 organizations dedicated to the vision that all Houston streets should be safer for all users.
This movement appears to be in the initial stages of success, with the passage of the City of Houston Safe Passing Ordinance, one of the fifteen suggestions the Coalition gave to the City of Houston on how to make Houston’s streets safer for all users. Mayor Annise Parker has committed to issuing a Complete Streets Executive Order this Spring. These two actions will be a great beginning in what we believe will be a process of several years of transforming how we address street design and safety, not just in the City of Houston, but across the region.
Hosting the Houston Food Policy Workgroup
Houston Tomorrow has hosted the Houston Food Policy Workgroup for four years, following the Food & Sustainable Prosperity Conference we co-hosted with H-GAC, Texas Sea Grant, and Urban Harvest. The mission of the Houston Food Policy Workgroup is to nurture the growth of a sustainable local food system, accessible to all, through education, collaboration, communication, and creation of a food policy council for the Houston region. The many government, nonprofit, and private partners in the workgroup seek to bring a broad representation of the actors in the Houston food system together through this work and arm the region with the information necessary to better target services, and break down silos between programs.
Our research on regional food policy will empower public employees at health departments in local governments with better information and access to best practices. Our coordination of regional cooperation will help economic development efforts in the region’s rural help neighborhoods have access to fresh healthy produce. Making regional food policy a serious issue for our local governments to address will result in better policies on the ground, a stronger Houston region, and better meals on tables across the region.
Conducting independent research
The Houston region is now home to one of the largest groups of people in North America. We need unbiased data collection, mapping, and research to help guide decision makers and citizens in charting the course for our growing metropolis. Our research on understanding Houston’s population and job growth, our analysis (pdf) of proposed transportation spending in the region, and our simplified visual portrayal of the City of Houston budget are examples of how independent research can provide you with a better understanding of growth, sustainability, and quality of life in the Houston region.
Please help Houston Tomorrow continue to provide independent research, education, and discussion about key issues such as walkable urbanism, quality of life, transit, and sustainability. Donate today and have your gift matched one for one by the George and Cynthia Mitchell Foundation.
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