Creating Civic Destinations

Focus Area Urban Spaces

A woman walks past an elevated glass and concrete form building designed to withstand flooding by allowing water to pass below the floor.

Designing public spaces that inspire since the 1900s

Page’s history of civic projects began in the early 1900s while designing courthouses across the state of Texas. Since then, the firm has amassed an unparalleled portfolio of public architecture that includes new construction and renovations.

We are dedicated to supporting the ongoing evolution of our urban areas through civic destinations, encouraging appropriate development and redevelopment suited to the particular conditions and character of each place. Our planning experience allows us to focus on the unique needs of each community, its mission, and the physical and cultural context of the project’s location.

Our teams integrate the building blocks of community, sustainability, and resilience into innovative solutions. And, our design approach is informed by research, cutting-edge technology tools, and appreciation for the unique culture of each place.


  • Architecture
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Building Sciences
  • Civic / Government
  • Engineering
  • Interiors
  • Planning / Urban Design
  • Strategies / Analytics

Creating great "third places"

Urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg defined third places as the “buff on neutral ground where people can gather and interact” as opposed to home and work. Examples range from programmed urban spaces to civic destinations to mixed-use districts. Page’s goal for these places, regardless of their nature, is to create a user experience that is positive, distinctive and inspirational.

A plan for the "Beautiful Way"

The Alameda historical corridor has now been re-established as a grand boulevard and retail destination through unifying place-making elements. The planning team identified concerns and issues during an extensive community outreach program and site analysis, resulting in a concept design that reinforces and emphasizes the legacy of the area, its mansions and historic businesses.

Rendering of people in an outdoor shopping district enjoying the landscaping, seating amenities and weather.
© Page
Diagram of street planning that includes elements such as landscaping, lighting, seating, bus shelters, etc.

The urban design portion of the plan identified the means to transform The Alameda into an attractive and active “main street,” the focus for adjacent neighborhoods with amenities and services for residents, commuters and visitors. Accessibility and ease of movement were critical planning elements.

Urban connectivity

Not long ago, a stretch of Houston’s main drainage waterway, Buffalo Bayou, was known as an illegal dumping ground. Today, it is the focal point of an award-winning linear urban park that connects downtown Houston with western neighborhoods, offering recreation and points of interest such as an underground arts space, hike and bike trails, public art, a dog park, canoe and bicycle rentals, event venues and a restaurant.

A jogger passes a shade pavilion along a bayou with an urban skyline in the background.
© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

The park’s 20 miles of hike and bike trails on both sides of the bayou are part of a citywide system intended to connect 150 miles of trails. The Visitor Center, which offers bicycle rentals, is located in a walkable residential neighborhood and has a Walk Score of 67. Strategically located trail entry points allow visitors to safely access several perpendicular thoroughfares as well as downtown Houston.

Unexpected destination

The Cistern underneath Buffalo Bayou Park offers visitors an altogether different experience. Originally constructed in 1926 as the city’s first underground drinking water reservoir, the city had already solicited bids for its demolition when the design team flagged its value as an architectural treasure. Today, the repurposed subterranean space is a visitor destination that can accommodate installation art – particularly light and sound.

© Albert Večerka / ESTO Photographics

Civic spaces as economic engines

In 2007, a 12-acre site on the edge of downtown Houston was dominated by parking lots. Less than ten years later, an urban park there attracts 1.5 million people annually and multiple hotel and office buildings have opened along its perimeter. Over $1.2 billion of new development is estimated to have happened as a result of Discovery Green Park’s presence – and success. Discovery Green Park President Barry Mandel explained, “All of a sudden there was a neighborhood and there was a sense of place and destination because of this park.”

Woman pushing a baby stroller down a park pathway shaded by live oak trees on either side.
© Hargreaves Jones by John Gollings

The Hargreaves Jones park and landscape designs in conjunction with Page’s LEED Gold architectural designs created a tactile and natural character for the park, indoors and out, that attracts visitors for multiple reasons. The sustainable, landscape-oriented buildings blend seamlessly with the outdoor environment, providing as much outdoor as indoor space. Tourists, local families, downtown denizens and business people all take advantage of the park’s diverse programming on a daily basis.

Scale, scope and statistics



Urban fabric should have the expectation of great design

“Urban projects are lasting, oftentimes beyond an individual building. I really would like to see our cities embed that same level of design excellence into every project they do, whether it’s a bike lane, a bus shelter or a building.”

Wendy Dunnam Tita, FAIA

Page Principal

Discovery Green Urban Park

  • SARA (Society of American Registered Architects) Design Award
  • Business Week/Architectural Record Award of Excellence
  • America's Greatest Places Winner
  • WAN (World Architecture News) Effectiveness Award

Buffalo Bayou Park and The Cistern

  • Rudy Bruner Award for Urban Excellence Medalist
  • ULI Global Award of Excellence
  • Society of American Registered Architects (SARA) Design Awards of Honor
  • Interior Design Best Of Year Award, Shining Moment category

Downtown South San Francisco Station Area Specific Plan and Environmental Impact Report

  • American Planning Association, California Chapter, Comprehensive Plan Small Jurisdiction Award of Merit

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