Houston Endowment's Environment Program is centered on environmental challenges that impact the people of greater Houston, seeking to preserve valuable natural resources and cultivate healthy urban environments so that all residents can thrive as the region grows.

The eight-county area encompassing greater Houston is home to approximately six million people and sits at the confluence of a number of distinct ecosystems, including the Piney Woods to the northeast, the Columbia Bottomlands to the southwest, the Galveston Bay estuary system across the south, and prairie systems and ribbons of bayous throughout the region. Each provides benefits that impact health, quality of life and economic outcomes for the people of greater Houston, including reducing urban flooding, improving air and water quality, providing recreation opportunities and sustaining wildlife.

With a broad footprint, large industrial complex, few zoning restrictions and an automobile-centered culture, the region's built environment also influences life in greater Houston – often impacting low-income and minority communities disproportionately – as do the area's geography, climate and the proximity to the Gulf of Mexico. However, coupled with the region's growth and development is an evolving sense of place, with an increasing focus on quality of life issues such as parks and greenspace as a means to achieving urban prosperity.

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