The past decade has brought new parks, transit, hotels, office buildings, restaurants and residential developments that have transformed the character of Downtown, but what's next?


In the summer of 2016, the Houston Downtown Management District, and the partnering organizations listed below, identified the need to prepare and issue a new development framework or plan for Downtown Houston:

  • Houston First Corporation
  • Central Houston, Inc.
  • Downtown Redevelopment Authority / TIRZ No.3
  • Buffalo Bayou Partnership
  • City of Houston
  • Harris County
  • Theater District Houston
Board Members from these organizations and from neighboring Management Districts — East Downtown, Greater East End, Greater Northside and Midtown — comprise a Leadership Group who will guide the Framework process from inception to final delivery. In addition to the Leadership Group, there is a 150-member Steering Committee comprised of leaders from Downtown, adjacent neighborhoods and the Houston region — elected officials, governmental staff, business executives, private developers, social and non-profit organizations, residents and emerging millennials — all of whom will inform Plan Downtown and serve as its future champions. Plan Downtown will serve these the sponsoring and neighboring organizations and a broad range of stakeholders as a 20-year “vision plan.” This new framework will lead towards development recommendations and implementation of public and private improvements or initiatives for Downtown. The geographic area for planning consideration is generally bounded by Interstate 10, 45 and 69 with stakeholder collaboration for connections to adjacent neighborhoods

With the advancements made since the 2004 Houston Downtown Development Framework (See Resources), the goal of the Leadership Group is to develop a new plan that positions Downtown at the forefront in leading Houston’s advancement as a great global city.


Plan Downtown will develop broad and far-reaching strategies with a visionary mindset to transform Downtown Houston for a competitive and enriched future. Plan Downtown will build upon the goals and core strategies in Plan Houston, the new General Plan adopted by City Council in fall 2015. A broad range of engagement activities will allow the public to participate in the process and inform the plan.

Plan Downtown will address “the big questions” within these interrelated topics:

  • Build Downtown: What are the competitive advantages of Downtown, and how do we build on those in the future?
  • Green Downtown: How do we take advantage of and extend networks of green space?
  • Connect Downtown: How can Downtown better connect to its adjacent neighborhoods?
  • Move Downtown: How do we balance the needs of commuters with the desire for more livable streets?
  • Work Downtown: How does Downtown attract the future workforce?
  • Visit Downtown: What makes Downtown a competitive destination for regional, national, and international visitors?
  • Live Downtown: Who are Downtown’s residents, and who are we trying to attract in the future?
  • Play Downtown: How can we complement and replicate the success of existing public spaces?
  • Learn Downtown: How does Downtown leverage schools and universities to foster innovation and attract new office and residential populations?

Plan Downtown will offer a variety of methods for public involvement, including text and online surveys, public workshops, tours, topical focus groups and neighborhood connection charrettes.