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The Streetscape Stimulus

Updated: Sep 27, 2023

Scenic Houston is just months away from releasing its SRG 3.0 – a Streetscape Resource Guide filled with best practices for every level and layer of streetscape construction. For those in the development and planning realm, the SRG is a big deal and a testament to those that strive to get it right when it comes to beautifying our great city. But, let’s face it, it’s more than what meets the eye when we think about the roads and pedestrian and bike paths that complete our communities and connect our neighborhoods – it’s also about the investment and the stimulus it brings to our local economy. Plain and simple, streetscapes make money.

We aren’t saying the streets are paved in gold. We are saying that the studies and statistics cannot be ignored when it comes to the return on a well-planned streetscape. Here are just a few:

Trees – One of the most common streetscape features to add to any community is trees. They provide shade and reduce temperatures by up to 35 degrees (we could use more in this summer heat!). Trees also improve the economic vitality of business districts with an increase in property values and property tax income. They also lower the risk of property expenses where they serve as natural stormwater captures and retentions resources.

Pedestrian Walkways – Thoughtfully planned walkways, crosswalks, and other pedestrian spaces encourage residents and visitors to use them more frequently. This is directly linked to increasing the economic value of these communities, making it easier to walk or bike along particular streets while bolstering the economic activity for businesses and establishments nearby.

Lighting – Well-lit streetscapes elevate any public area and bring a sense of scenic pride to communities. Studies show that strategically placed lighting offers residents and travelers a safer experience, allowing them to feel more comfortable frequenting local businesses, restaurants, and public spaces.

Public Seating – Streetscapes that offer public seating provide opportunities for residents and travelers to gather. This increased use of public spaces demonstrates their value and makes these areas more attractive to potential consumers. Public seating also increases property values and is a huge asset to attract ground level retailers, therefore boosting the economic value of the neighborhood.

These are just a handful of the incredible benefits thoughtfully planned streetscapes bring to communities and neighborhoods. Scenic Houston continues to promote better streetscape design and construction through education with our SRG, advocacy for better development and design standards and the celebration and recognition of our annual Scenic Star recipients. We thank our supporters, partners, and donors for making our work possible – one streetscape at a time!

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