ASLA 2012 Professional Awards
Analysis and Planning Category
Descriptive Data Summary
Page | 1
Entry Number: PA-400
Project Title: Springwoods Village
Project Location: Houston, Texas
Project Type: Analysis + Planning
Occupying 1,800 acres of undeveloped forested land just outside of Houston, TX, Springwoods Village will represent the next
generation of sustainable communities – promoting mixed uses, density, public transit, forest preservation, wetland
enhancement, renewable energy harvesting, ecological restoration, green building, social equity and economic prosperity.
One of the world’s largest companies, Exxon Mobil, needed a new home in order to consolidate its corporate operations. After
looking at several sites in the Houston metropolitan region, it selected Springwoods Village to be its new world-class campus
for 8,000 employees because the vision and mission of this new sustainable community closely aligned with Exxon’s own
corporate values, workforce needs and sustainability objectives. Combined at build out, the Exxon campus and Springwoods
Village will bring 50,000 people to the site and help to re-define the term “company town” in the 21st century.
SUSTAINABLE GOALS BASED ON LEED AND SUSTAINABLE SITES AS DEVELOPMENT GUIDELINES
The landscape architect was the lead consultant in developing the master plan; conceptual design for streets, neighborhoods,
districts and public spaces; and the sustainability program (which is the under-pinning of this new sustainable development).
Starting with a sustainability charrette at the beginning of the planning process, Springwoods Village defined its own
sustainability strategies and performance guidelines, blending sustainability criteria from LEED®, Sustainable Sites, etc. The
final outcome of the program is a set of sustainability guidelines that require a LEED® gold standard for commercial
development and LEED® gold standard or NGBS gold standard and Energy Star for residential development.
A differentiating factor that makes Springwoods Village unique is that it will be significantly denser and more urban than its
neighbor, the celebrated The Woodlands community. At build out, it will accommodate approximately 82 percent more people
per square mile, while still being able to preserve its loblolly pine forest, enhance its wetlands and provide valuable habitat and
open space for the region. Springwoods Village will preserve 8 percent more forested land than typical urbanized area in
Houston and guidelines have been written that require forest preserve zones along all major and minor streets as well as along
park and open-space corridors.
Since the built environment consumes a lot of energy and produce airborne pollutants, the orientation of streets, buildings and
public spaces at Springwoods Village was guided by climatic analysis of wind and solar access. The grid system of streets and
major public spaces is oriented towards the prevailing wind. The shorter end of the urban blocks will generally face southwest
to reduce potential heat gain of buildings but to also reduce the heat island effect by shading the ground-level areas. Tree
preserve zones have been identified for specific streets within the densest areas of the plan to provide further shading, cooling
and air scrubbing.
RE-CONNECTING THE DISCONNECTED HIDROLOGY SYSTEMS ON THE SITE
Another important attribute of the project is restoring the site’s original hydrological features and network. Years ago
pipelines, wells and a railroad corridor were constructed on the site, severing drainage corridors and isolating wetlands.
Through re-grading and re-connect the degraded drainage corridors and wetlands, the project will create new and improved
wetlands, savannah prairie landscapes and mixed forested ecologies in its linear parks and open spaces. Ultimately, urban run-off
and storm water from the developed urban lands will flow through and be cleansed by the new bioswales, rain gardens,
native prairies and wetland areas in these drainage corridors/linear parks that connect to a major drainage corridor called
COMMUNITY PARKS AND NATURE PRESERVE WITH REGIONAL CONNECTIONS
Spring Creek is a major watershed and recreational corridor that borders the site. As a major watershed that conveys water to
Lake Houston, one of the metropolitan area’s primary water-supply reservoirs, Spring Creek has been, and will continue to be
a significant ecosystem and natural resource for Houston. It is Springwoods Village’s responsibility to ensure that the water it
deposits into Spring Creek exceeds the highest environmental requirement. To that end, plans have been prepared to ensure
ASLA 2012 Professional Awards
Analysis and Planning Category
Descriptive Data Summary
Page | 2
that pre-development flow is maintained and that water quality performance exceeds current standards. With the aid of key
State and County decision makers, Springwoods Village will have two storm-water monitoring stations, the first of their kind,
enabling officials to confirm that the Low Impact Development and other sustainability improvements are working and to
establish a baseline condition so performance goals can be adjusted in the future.
Because of its environmental, recreational and economic value, neighboring counties have established the Spring Creek
Greenway which will provide passive parks, conservation areas and trails over a 33-mile-long area. With its nearly one mile of
frontage, Springwoods Village will contribute to the greenway by gifting a 150-acre nature preserve and by promising that
significant setbacks and transitions zones are provided between the urbanized areas and this important regional watershed. The
nature center will preserve high-grade wetlands while also creating newly constructed wetlands that will become an outdoor
learning opportunity and demonstration area for people in North Houston. Trails, board walks, bird blinds and a canoe launch
will be available for people’s education and enjoyment.
MANAGING THE FOREST TO REDUCE THE PROBABILITY OF PINE BEETLE INFESTATION AND WILDFIRES
Additionally, plans have been established to manage the forested lands that are within the flood plain and fringes of this
community. To sustain itself, the loblolly pine forest must be managed, otherwise it becomes prone to pine beetle infestation
and the growth of noxious understory plants like Tallow. The property owner is committed to help manage and maintain the
forest which gives Springwoods Village its unique character by providing low-impact tree removal and manual brush removal
within the naturalized and developed open spaces and parks.
DRAINAGE CORRIDORS AS ARMATURE OF PARKS AND OPEN SPACES
The armature of this sustainable community is the linear parks, drainage corridors and greenways that will connect the
urbanized areas to Spring Creek. To help minimize the displacement of natural wildlife due to development, these corridors
have been designed with widths ranging from 300’ to 900’. A bio-blast survey of the land by the biologist enabled the planner
to design these areas with specific landscape habitats and wildlife species in mind. Additionally, it is important to note that
because of the LID standards required for all streets, streetscapes, parks and development parcels, the community will be able
to provide 8 percent more land area for parks than would have otherwise been needed for storm-water detention. Moreover,
initial engineering of the first major street revealed that it could reduce the size of storm-water piping by 30 percent through
the use of bio-swales and rain gardens along its streetscape and forest preservation zones. Finally, Springwoods Village’s
parks and open spaces will be programmed for passive activities so the users of these spaces do not adversely affect the
environment and animal life. Wind turbines and solar panels will help provide energy for the lighting and other electrical
systems within the linear parks.
TRANSECT PLANNING MODEL SUPPORTED BY REGIONAL METRO AND DISTRICT TRANSIT NETWORKS
Being adjacent to Interstate 45 and the future Grand Parkway, Houston’s third outer toll road, the site will play an important
role in regional transportation. First, it will provide a new northern regional arterial road that will parallel I-45 and cross the
Springwood Village property to connect the new Grand Parkway with the Woodlands community to the north. State and
County transportation officials believe this new connection will reduce some congestion on I-45. Second, a transit study was
completed which identified opportunity for regional, community and local bus service within the community and the location
of a multi-modal transit center which will be in the heart of the town center. Busses, community shuttles and a potential
commuter rail line will provide maximum public transit options for people. Finally, the transit study identified other forms of
transportation including a comprehensive bike network and other forms of personal transportation such as electric carts which
have been accommodated in the master plan.
SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY THAT BALANCES DEVELOPMENT USES AND CAPACITIES
Fundamental to achieving a sustainable community is the balances of jobs and housing and “right sizing” the development
uses and capacities. The landscape architect designed a mixed-use development that balances the demand for jobs and housing
to help reduce automobile dependency. The development anticipates uses such as corporate employment, health care/regional
hospital, regional and community shopping, two-four hotels, multi-family housing, urban townhomes, single-family lots and
estates, an elementary school, a community recreation center, a nature center, transit center and a civic facility in the town
center. At build out, the environment has the capacity for 9,000,000 square feet of development capacity or approximately
50,000 residents or workers on the land. The construction of this development is currently underway and it has garnered local
publicity and interest given its promise to be the most sustainable new community in America.
ASLA 2012 Professional and Student Awards Program
Concealed Identification and Credit Form
This information is concealed from the jury during consideration of submissions, but will be used
to contact you and in all promotions if the entry is selected to receive an award, so please be
specific, check your spelling, and attach additional pages if necessary. Submit a hard copy of this
completed form along with the official entry binder and CD-ROM. Remember to save a copy of
this form on the CD-ROM in a word-processing application (rich text format, Word, WordPerfect,
etc.). NOTE: failure to submit this form will lead to disqualification of entry.
Entry Number: 400
Project Title: Springwoods Village
Official Entrant: Design Workshop
Lead Designer (if applicable): Todd Johnson, Design Workshop
Landscape Architect of Record/Firm (if applicable): Jim MacRae, Design Workshop
Client/Owner (if applicable): Coventry Development Corporation
Please indicate if you wish client name to be kept confidential: X yes ___no
Image 1: Illustrative Master Plan (Site Plan) Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 2 Project Vision Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 3 Urbanization Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 4 Forest Preservation Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 5 Forest Preservation Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 6 Storm Water Best Practice Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 7 Storm Water Best Practice Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 8 Storm Water Best Practice Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 9 Storm Water Best Practice Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 10 Open Space Strategy Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 11 Nature Conservancy Strategy - Design Workshop, Inc. and Berg & Oliver Assoc.
Image 12 Springwoods Park and Drainage Corridor Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 13 Springwoods Park and Drainage Corridor Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 14 Urban Ecology Concept Design Workshop, Inc.
Image 15 Community Vignette Design Workshop, Inc.
For Students, please list full name(s) of faculty advisor(s): NA
For Student Team entries, please list the full names of all team members: NA
Additional Project Credits:
Design Workshop Team Members: Managing Principal: Todd Johnson, FASLA
Design Principal: Jim MacRae, RLA
Project Planner: Amanda Steinle
Project Designer: Kartika Rachmawati, RLA
Project Landscape Architect: Jason Ferster
Project Assistant: Hillary Barrett-Osborne
Sustainability Lead: Heather Henry
Environmental Graphic Designer : Kelan Smith
Graphic Designer: Nino Pero
Editor: Natalie Grillo
Consultants (direct to the client):
Walter P Moore – Civil and Traffic Engineer
Berg & Oliver Associates – Environmental Consultant
Lone Star Forestry – Forest Management
Sweeney & Consultants – Irrigation Planning
Image Description Sheet
Springwoods 400-01 | Master Plan: Springwoods is a 1,800 acre sustainable master-planned
community located 25 miles north of downtown Houston with access from I-45, Bush International Airport,
The Woodlands, and Spring Creek regional greenway.
Springwoods 400-02 | Project Vision: Springwoods community design capitalizes on the property’s
mature forest and riparian landscape, offering a sustainable lifestyle benefitted from environmental assets
of woods and water.
Springwoods 400-03 | Urbanization Strategy: Springwoods is envisioned to create a sustainable
community with higher density through developing dense and compact districts and neighborhoods with
an affordable and diverse community
Springwoods 400-04 | Forest Preservation Strategy: Preservation of forest incorporating 75’ buffers
along highways, 50’ buffers along major streets, 30’ buffers along minor streets, and within drainage
corridors, provides more in tree cover to other Houston urban areas.
Springwoods 400-05 | Forest Preservation Strategy: The 300’ Drainage Corridor and Springwoods
Parkway, are envisioned to save existing trees, to create a gradation of basal density of trees thereby
reducing the potential beetle infestation, and to enable the native savannah landscape to flourish.
Springwoods 400-06 | Storm Water Best Practice Strategy: Storm Water BMP incorporating
inundation of forest buffers and bio-swales along streets have reduced detention area requirement from
28% down to 19% of the site, allows for reduction of storm water piping on key streets.
Springwoods 400-07 | Storm Water Best Practice Strategy: The 300’ Drainage Corridor and
Springwoods Village Parkway are envisioned to conserve water, implement storm water best practice,
restore wildlife habitat, and increase the diversity of forest, prairie and avian species.
Springwoods 400-08 | Storm Water Best Practice Strategy:
The entry from I-45 along Springwoods Village Parkway establishes community identity by preserving
existing pines and showcasing sustainable practices, such as bio-swales, porous paving and inundated
forest, alleviating the need for curb and piping.
Springwoods 400-09 | Storm Water Best Practice Strategy:
The residential roads will prioritize for pedestrian safety and sustainable drainage techniques like rain
gardens with wetland plants, segmented curbs and porous paving, for drainage cleansing and irrigating
the plants using primarily urban run-off.
Springwoods 400-10 | Open Space Strategy: Springwoods open space will accommodate 3%
increased environmental value of the wetland, forest preservation areas integration, new native savannah
landscapes, and wildlife zones, to enhance ecological impacts and reconnects the former isolated
wetlands with Spring Creek watershed.
Springwoods 400-11 | Nature Conservancy Strategy: Set within Spring Creek Greenway, the future
Nature Preserve will provide a demonstration area and outdoor learning for the region.
Springwoods 400-12 | Springwoods Park and Drainage Corridor: Springwoods Park corridor
functions as storm water storage and an amenity for the community. The park will accommodate
community programs including an amphitheater, pavilion, recreational area, community garden, children
playground and multipurpose trail.
Springwoods 400-13 | Springwoods Park and Drainage Corridor
A closer view of environmental concept at a park corridor shows how the BMP for the hydrologic system
and native landscapes will look.
Springwoods 400-14 | Urban Ecology Concept: An aerial view of a mixed use center adjacent to a park
with community amphitheater, savannah wetlands, overlooks, children playground, and community
Springwoods 400-15 | Community Vignette: An aerial view of the 1,800 acre site that balances
urbanism with forest, wetlands and drainage areas.
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