June 6, 2023

Unique Houston management district raises its game

Municipal management districts, known in government lingo as improvement districts or MMDs, have been active in the Houston area since the 1980’s to allow commercial property owners to work together to supplement city and county government services and improvements.

There are now about 67 such districts in the Houston area, authorized by the state legislature to promote neighborhood revitalization along commercial corridors through extra police patrols, business roundtables; landscaping and beautification, banners and signs, sidewalks, lighting and more.

The Greater Southeast Management District, branded as Houston Southeast, encompasses some of the most vibrant neighborhoods in the city, Hermann Park, the Texas Medical Center, the historic Texas Southern University, the University of Houston, Old Spanish Trail, Historic Third Ward, MacGregor and Museum Park. It has been active since 2001. And it does more than just public safety and signage.

Core projects include business and economic development, marketing and public relations, enhanced public safety, transportation and mobility, and even addressing environmental concerns.


“Our primary constituent base is commercial property owners,” District Program Manager Nikki Knight explained. “The property owners make our work possible through a supplemental assessment (on the value of their properties) that allows us to enhance and maintain communal spaces and public right-of-way above city standards.

“We get to bring the master-planned amenities to the urban built environment and create equitable spaces to attract tourism, commerce and improve the overall quality of life for those who live, work, and play in our district.”

It isn’t just those who live and work in the area who benefit from Houston Southeast’s improvements; visitors include local visitors to parks and museums, tourists, medical patients and others.

“Our district is rich with history, culture, innovation, technology, and wonder,” Knight said. “We encourage visits to the museums, Houston Zoo, Children’s Museum Houston, Hermann Park, Emancipation Park, Project Row Houses, SHAPE Community Center, Texas Medical Center, University of Houston, Texas Southern University, MacGregor Park, art galleries, and not to mention some world-renowned eateries and restaurants.

“Our district has something for everyone, and we’re honored to be stewards of an integral part of our city’s lifeblood.”


— by Marene Gustin