Editor’s Note

When the Allen Brother laid out Downtown Houston, they made half of it public property. That’s not counting parks or stadiums or convention centers or theaters—those are recent developments. That 50 percent is what’s in between all those places: the public street. And since 1835, we’ve been trying to figure out who owns it. A street isn’t just lanes for cars. It’s a transit route, a bikeway, a pedestrian path, a parking lot, a park, a utility easement, and a venue for public expression. Fitting all of those uses into an 80- or 100-foot strip isn’t easy.

In 1835, the streets were up for grabs. You walked wherever was least muddy, rode where you had room, parked anywhere there was space for your wagon. Since then, the trend has been toward more order: first wood plank sidewalks, then trolley tracks, utility franchises, traffic lights, and parking signs...

Christof Spieler


David Crossley; Julie Sinclair Eakin; Eric Hester; Ben Koush; Anna Mod; Christopher Olivier ; PH Design Shop; Marci Perry; Tom Rusteberg; Susan Rogers; Michelangelo Sabatino; and Christof Spieler.