Born on the Bayou.

(research.)  Houston was born on the bayou – a lucky confluence of water, land, and two determined brothers. The earth in Houston is very flat, making even light rains a celebration of storm drainage design. The largest part of this system are the bayous that carry all that water slowly to the sea, and that also established Houston’s early economy. Most of them were re-engineered in the twentieth century into straightened, streamlined, lifeless versions of their formal natural beauty. Not for long. The downtown section of Buffalo Bayou set an example with improvements starting in the 1980s, and the newly rebuilt Buffalo Bayou Park is a stunning inspiration for the rest of the region. And now, following a referendum in November 2012, the good people of Houston are supporting the Bayou Greenway Initiative, a massive undertaking to reclaim ten bayous across the region and in the process, re-establish their natural, distinctive infrastructure as a signature of the city’s civic identity. >> Ryan Gravel

RG a natural bayou RG buffalo bayou 1

RG buffalo bayou 2 RG greens bayou 1

RG brays bayou RG white oak bayou

For more on the bayous, check out the Houston Parks Board, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, and the Bayou Greenways Initiative.

Map it: Buffalo Bayou in downtown, Buffalo Bayou Park, Brays Bayou at Hermann Park.

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