According to his family, Peter Brown, a former member of Houston’s City Council, passed away earlier this week at the age of 81.
Per his memorial statement, Brown served on the council as an at-large member from 2006 to 2009. He also worked an architect and an advocate of urban planning, including plans, as featured at the end of this article, to make Houston a more “walkable” city.
During his lifetime, Brown produced a number of YouTube videos as his alter ego “Pedestrian Pete:”
A native Houstonian, Brown reportedly attended the University of Houston, where he earned his undergraduate degree in architecture.
He also received a master’s degree in French from the University of California at Berkeley.
After serving in the U.S. Army, he earned two master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, one in architecture and one in urban planning.
Houstonians remember Brown’s views on urban development, which often pitted him against the city’s commercial and residential real estate developers – a group said to be a powerful industry in the city during the “oil boom” years of the early 1980s.
According to older news articles, Brown complained about the “sterile, cookie-cutter homogenous subdivisions” and the “sprawled margins of our cities,” which he blamed on over-development.
Perhaps related to his views, Brown co-founded the Main Street Coalition in 1998, a group overseeing the redevelopment of the Main Street Corridor and led the effort to create the city’s light rail system brought to Houston in 2003.
He also established the non-profit Better Houston in 2010 with the mission of, according to its website, “promoting a more prosperous, sustainable, healthy, and livable city”.
Brown also worked on several improvement projects as an architect:
His most visible works include the fountain promenade section of Hermann Park, the Sabine Street Bridge restoration, the Hillcroft Transit Center and Dowling Middle School, among others.
Hermann Park Fountain https://t.co/BZ4sJ7WBEj
— Jane Borochoff (@janeborochoff) April 3, 2017
— Houston Informer (@houstoninformer) June 23, 2017
Developer Ed Wulfe, who worked with Brown at Main Street Coalition, remembered the architect’s commitment to improving his hometown:
“He just touched people and ferreted out their needs and their desires and their wishes,” Wulfe said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle. “He really was concerned about quality of place and the lifestyle of a city and how it is important to experience that for everyone.”
May this Houston leader Rest in Peace.