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citykid09

How Houston’s Missing Media Gene Hobbles Its Global City Ambitions

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citykid09    146

How Houston’s Missing Media Gene Hobbles Its Global City Ambitions

http://www.newgeography.com/content/004137-how-houston-s-missing-media-gene-hobbles-its-global-city-ambitions

houston-bayou_1_0.jpg

 

 

This mindset explains why the city has a blind spot, a missing gene if you will, that keeps it from understanding the necessity of having a robust media presence as part of its ambition to become a true global city.

I have been saying this since I joined HAIF about 11 years ago. Houston really has no media presence. So much so that we get exited just when we hear Houston mentioned in a TV show or in the news. To other cities its just an everyday occurrence.

Edited by citykid09
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citykid09    146
Houston is absolute nowhere when it comes to media or thought leadership, and seems indifferent to the fact.

 

 

I have been saying this since I joined HAIF about 11 years ago. Houston really has no media presence. So much so that we get exited just when we hear Houston mentioned in a TV show or in the news. To other cities its just an everyday occurrence.

 

 

Houston can brag all its wants about its legitimate accomplishments in important areas like job and population growth and in providing middle-class opportunity. But if it wants to claim the mantle of global city, or even just head off threats to its way of doing business, it needs, like the Bay Area, to self-consciously stake out the role of leader.  For starters, that means putting its bigtime financial and intellectual muscle behind getting its message out. That means, like it or not, investing not only in oil wells, but inkwells.

Sorry for all the edits, I am having a hard time adding quotes.

Edited by citykid09

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Specwriter    191

quote from one of the comments in the newgeography article: Far better to remain a "best kept secret" among the right kind of people. They will find out and come anyway. I tend to agree.

 

I've been to San Francisco (including other parts of the Bay Area) many times and I think it is a great place to visit. I'm glad I don't have to "live" there though (earthquakes notwithstanding).

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arche_757    669

Excellent find!

 

I think the comment "...Houston will just keep chugging along, warts and all..." sums up our city perfectly.  We're far from perfect - and hardly the perfect example of what a city should be.  However, we don't seem to care.  While we are staring at numerous problems, some day perhaps we will address transit (be it bus, rail, portals etc) and also public spaces (bayou's, Galveston Bay, Katy Prairie etc) we have time  - and importantly space - to address these issues.

 

All said, we do indeed need a stronger local media.

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livincinco    559

Having lived in both Houston and the Bay Area, I have to say that the lack of willingness to promote itself is one of the things that I have found refreshing about Houston.  In general, my take on the Bay Area was that people were generally very conscious of their image and the perception of others.  By comparison, I have found Houston to be much more conscious of actions and results. 

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Ross    694

Image matters

 

Only for narcissists, and Houston doesn't suffer from that. It's a "take us as we are kind of place.

 

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lockmat    1,898

good for discussion, but this article was posted a few months ago. but apparently many missed it. continue...

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arche_757    669

Image does matter.  If the idea got out that Houston - despite our flaws - is actually a nice town, we would see benefits to that message.

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Specwriter    191

While we are staring at numerous problems, some day perhaps we will address transit (be it bus, rail, portals etc) and also public spaces (bayou's, Galveston Bay, Katy Prairie etc) we have time  - and importantly space - to address these issues.

 

All said, we do indeed need a stronger local media.

 

Houston's public spaces are quite the item these days. Think Discovery Green, Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and the recent and current improvements to Hermann Park as well as the expansion of hike and bike trails along Braes Bayou and other places. I believe soon we will be getting more widespread (positive) media attention weather we want it or not.

 

Yeah, I know I'm a booster. I'm a native (born at Hermann Hospital) and have lived in this city all my life except for 7 years in San Antonio. I wonder if any other city in the U.S. could handle as well the immense growth and cultural change Houston has experienced in past half century.

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Metro West    14

If everyone knew how great Houston was, this city would have the best economy in America and the fastest population growth in the country.

 

Wait. We already do. 

 

I don't understand how image promotion is going to make Houston more successful. We are already successful. I think the city should concentrate on quality of life issues like improving parks, beautifying the overall landscape and improving mass transit.

 

I can see how it would be fun to brag about how great we are, but I don't see how a greater media presence or improving our image would actually improve Houston or get us anywhere. 

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IronTiger    799

Another stupid article that wishes Houston was more like San Francisco in terms of art/culture/architecture/laws/whatever. Admittedly, when you look at Houston, it isn't particularly iconic if you were to set something in Houston.

 

San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, those trolleys, and lots of hills.

New York has the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, as well as skyscrapers everywhere (at least in Manhattan).

 

A popular reason why LA (and by extension, California) is so popular is because that's where everything is (media companies). Trying to compete with that is a fool's game.

 

However, I read a better article that explains how Houston is becoming the indie film choice, partly because it's so diverse (here). And it is: you could find both pine trees, oak trees, and palm trees all in the area. It wouldn't be difficult to, depending on the neighborhood, to convince an audience that the characters are in Mexico, Southern California, or New Orleans.

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arche_757    669

If everyone knew how great Houston was, this city would have the best economy in America and the fastest population growth in the country.

 

Wait. We already do. 

 

I don't understand how image promotion is going to make Houston more successful. We are already successful. I think the city should concentrate on quality of life issues like improving parks, beautifying the overall landscape and improving mass transit.

 

I can see how it would be fun to brag about how great we are, but I don't see how a greater media presence or improving our image would actually improve Houston or get us anywhere. 

 

The point of the article (old or not) was that globably people view SF as an innovator, home to creative people and a city you would want to live in despite how expensive it is.  Houston on the other hand, while also innovative and home to creative people is viewed as dirty/polluting/ugly and far less desireable.  Fair or unfair, Houston is viewed globably - and more so nationally - as a backwards town with a dirty/everyone hates oil economy.  People HATE the oil business.  Universally.  Except of course the people who make a living through the oil business.  People LOVE tech companies even though businesses like Twitter and facebook don't better our lives in any way - plastic/oil/petroleum products make our day better and even make it possible in some instances.  Tech companies are purely extravagance.

 

Houston has the best economy now.  Yet how long will that last?  We're successful, yes, but everyone can always be more successful.  Why not!  If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

 

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Metro West    14

If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

 

 

How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion? 

Tourism? More super bowls? Maybe. As someone who loves Houston, improving Houston's image through promotion might make me feel better, but I don't see how it would make the city better or more successful.

 

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

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arche_757    669

How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion?

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

 

To your first point... yes, additional tourism and visitors from out of town will be great.  Think of needing an additional 5,000 hotel rooms in downtown and midtown.  That's more development; so for me - an architect - that's great!

 

Second point:  Yep.  There is an image of a wrecking ball I posted on one of the Downtown residential threads... we could use something like that.

 

Obviously an improved self image might make potential start-up companies want to locate here for the pro-business climate and the quality of the city (as a whole), more small businesses equals more taxable incomes, equals more taxpayers, equals more money for the city.  I don't want Houston to cost as much as San Francisco, but I do want it to have a better self-image to the average guest or average American looking here be it for a place to live, work, visit... whatever I just want them to spend money.  More money = a good thing.

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IronTiger    799

The point of the article (old or not) was that globably people view SF as an innovator, home to creative people and a city you would want to live in despite how expensive it is. Houston on the other hand, while also innovative and home to creative people is viewed as dirty/polluting/ugly and far less desireable. Fair or unfair, Houston is viewed globably - and more so nationally - as a backwards town with a dirty/everyone hates oil economy. People HATE the oil business. Universally. Except of course the people who make a living through the oil business. People LOVE tech companies even though businesses like Twitter and facebook don't better our lives in any way - plastic/oil/petroleum products make our day better and even make it possible in some instances. Tech companies are purely extravagance.

Houston has the best economy now. Yet how long will that last? We're successful, yes, but everyone can always be more successful. Why not! If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

San Francisco has a good "reputation", but a large part of it is a facade, the crime and homeless population is still very high, and it's expensive to live. In the meantime, Houston is becoming better. The bayous are no longer polluted drainage ditches (or at least on the way to going away from that). All we can do is just hope that it remains together--Detroit went from a model city to a hellhole in two decades, for instance...

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citykid09    146

How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion? 

Tourism? More super bowls? Maybe. As someone who loves Houston, improving Houston's image through promotion might make me feel better, but I don't see how it would make the city better or more successful.

 

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

 

At first I didn't like where your post was going, but then I began to like it. I agree demolish all the trash shopping centers and billboards along ALL of the freeways especially I-45 and line the freeways with trees. My favorite freeways and tollway areas in Houston are surrounded by trees or submerged. For instants coming in to the West Loop from 290/I-10 area and the Beltway 8 from the City Centre are on south through the forested area.

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Timoric    902

Houston has a lot more convenient places to shop, eat, worship,play sports...do just about anything than where I live outside DC. I miss all that goodness even if it is ugly in some parts.

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Slick Vik    449

Only for narcissists, and Houston doesn't suffer from that. It's a "take us as we are kind of place.

Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

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IronTiger    799

Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

It's better than carpetbagger types that want Houston to be exactly like New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco.

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arche_757    669

It's better than carpetbagger types that want Houston to be exactly like New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco.

 

That's silly.  Houston was founded by Northern Businessmen.

 

Houston will never by like NYC, Chicago or SF.  The same way those cities will never by like Houston, or any others listed.

 

Right now - all we have is the oil boom and we're cheap.  Oil has done wonders for this town - yes - no doubt about that!  However, it hasn't done enough to nix the perception that we are a backwards, dirty, sprawling, ugly city.

 

We all know about all the "cool" little places to eat, shop, shows to see, parks to visit, nice parts of town et cetera ...ad nauseam.  We all know about what makes this an interesting and dynamic place to live, but a lot of other people (who have money and I sure wouldn't mind if they came down here and spent the heck out of it) don't know those things.  The article (old as it is) clearly states that a town like SF (with all its problems) is light years ahead of Houston in the perception people have of it and the pedestal they place it on.

 

There's an old saying "Toot your own horn, because there's no one around that will do it for you."

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Metro West    14

Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

 

SF is the poster child for stubborn elitists who are stuck in their own ways. SF didn't get where they are today by allowing 'anything' to happen. That is what Houston is famous for, remember? 

 

SF is so regulated and restricted that the middle class can't even exist there. People go there to spend money. People come here to make money. 

Edited by Metro West

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livincinco    559

Right now - all we have is the oil boom and we're cheap.  Oil has done wonders for this town - yes - no doubt about that!  However, it hasn't done enough to nix the perception that we are a backwards, dirty, sprawling, ugly city.

 

The article (old as it is) clearly states that a town like SF (with all its problems) is light years ahead of Houston in the perception people have of it and the pedestal they place it on.

 

There's an old saying "Toot your own horn, because there's no one around that will do it for you."

 

I somewhat agree with your comments, but I do think that Houston's image has improved significantly in the last 5-10 years and expect that it will continue to do so.  I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's.  The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance.  Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

 

There are certain elements of the perception gap between SF and Houston that just can't be addressed.  SF has natural beauty that Houston will never have.  SF has an anchor industry (technology) that is way more appealing than energy is.  SF is an international tourism hub in way that Houston will probably never be.

 

Just keep in mind, that we kick SF's a** when it comes to GDP.  :)

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arche_757    669

I somewhat agree with your comments, but I do think that Houston's image has improved significantly in the last 5-10 years and expect that it will continue to do so.  I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's.  The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance.  Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

Our current economic boom, a large percentage of the ship channel imports/exports and the rapidly growing manufacturing base are all due to oil.

 

I'm not complaining about Houston or saying oil is bad.  Far from it.  I just want our national image to improve - and like you said - it has improved over the past 5-10 years.  Though there is still plenty of room for improvement.

 

Edited by arche_757

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mollusk    1,663

That's silly.  Houston was founded by Northern Businessmen.

 

Would it not be more accurate to say that Houston was founded by Slick Northern Land Promoters?

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