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Scenic Houston

Houston History Archives, In the News

Scenic HoustonLast month Houston, along with six other Texas cities, were awarded the Scenic City Certification by the Scenic City Certification Program of Scenic Texas.  Houston, Kennedale, McKinney, Rockwall, Seabrook, and West University Place, Texas will hold the certification through 2018 indicating that citizens in these cities, “through implementation of strong scenic standards… can enjoy an improved quality of life and businesses find it easier to attract customers and employees.”  A reception honoring the cities will take place this evening at the Hilton Austin Hotel in conjunction with the annual conference of the Texas Municipal League.

Specifically, the Scenic City Certification Program commended Houston for the following:

  • Strong standards to enhance the visual character of its streetscapes including sign regulation and landscaping
  • Emphasis on establishing and protecting parks, trails and open spaces
  • Clearly-stated unity of design standards
  • Firm prohibition on the conversion of existing non-electronic billboards to digital format

Here at the University of Houston Special Collections, we preserve and make available for study the records of Scenic Houston, a chapter of Scenic Texas, Inc.  Anyone who has driven around Houston over the years will find it no surprise that much of Scenic Houston’s work has centered around efforts to reduce the blight of billboard signage around the city (a fact underscored in the commendation above).  Records available for study include a history of much of that work but are not limited to strictly local efforts.  As the title of the collection would indicate, the Scenic Houston – Scenic Texas records include primary sources related to other local chapters and state & national chapters as well.  Also included are records relevant to the Greater Houston Partnership, the Quality of Life Coalition, and the Scenic Conservation Advisory Council.

As Houston and the other cities receive their recognition this evening, it marks another step forward in a long environmental struggle outlined by other collections in our Houston History Archives.  We invite you to reacquaint yourself with Houston’s environmental history in our Reading Room at your earliest convenience.

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