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strickn last won the day on October 31 2012

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  1. Dominion Post Oak's classical villa penthouse was a far cry from 1661's. Thanks for the fine update. Do you think there might be any way to increase the colonnade's height (not necessary to increase the interior ceiling height) by 15' or so, masking more of the black box's vertical faces, so that it doesn't look undignifiedly short underneath the visual mass of the tophat?
  2. Presenting the Houston Slimes and their animatronic mascot Young Marvin Zindler
  3. Well, after twenty lost seasons, we should at least hang up the Texans moniker, and with it our unsuccessful attempt to grab some loyalty from statewide NFL fans…
  4. Kind of a waste of time trying to make your point this way, since you clearly knew enough to know that that’s not the actual upshot of the situation https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2022/01/four-seasons-to-step-away-from-las-colinas-resort/
  5. Essentially the beef is that it’s a ped tunnel with better daylight but it robs the urban street of people’s presence no less than tunnels would. However, the eye doctor doesn’t want people getting run over between the operating room and their hotel room, so it is part of the program for the hotel to be in the project (as a convenient place for patients to stay, not only the general public) that they not have to be part of the street life every time they move between buildings.
  6. Hi N De Sky, Is Superman going to be the operator in the cab of that crane?
  7. I forgive you and yes, I also agree that you went needlessly below the belt :P A self-sustaining neighborhood is not something I was trying to rant about. I simply take it to mean a neighborhood that is able to repair its building stock… — unlike a neighborhood that is losing investment via failure of its products and services; or through redlining policies that deny mortgage investment; or through a shortage of new resident replacement as neighbors age — …and also to mean a neighborhood that doesn’t export its density. For a concrete example: services provided to West U or to River Oaks homeowners, from lawn care to law and accounting, have been provided by both upper-middle-class young professionals and by the working poor who are housed in other neighborhoods; the desirable character will stop coexisting with a desirable range of local service offerings unless it either uses space within Fourth Ward, the Montrose and the Heights, and finally places like Gulfton, Denver Harbor, Eastwood and Magnolia Park, to satisfy its housing needs, or tears down parts of River Oaks and West U to invest in denser building stock. — Because it was a premise of this thread that the character of the self-sustaining neighborhood would not significantly be erased, I take that as given, and I am fine with local trade, except that to overly rely on paying other neighborhoods can include needing them to absorb things our neighborhood regards as threats to its self-sustenance. If that has to go somewhere nearby, then we cannot be a bunch of self-sustaining neighborhoods, since in this model of neighborhood investment processes, the buck is still stopping somewhere that needs to keep erasing its own sustained character qualities. It might still be a good economic model for a tournament but not for families’ place to live. Within these options, then, a neighborhood can try to attract surplus investment for as long as possible through economic success — in which case almost every building will eventually be replaced with greater density due to increasing land value — inevitably changing its character. Or the neighborhood can attempt to resist any runaway success, and in that case investment will either begin to dwindle compared to nearby neighborhoods, or it will still grow more desirable and some other neighborhoods will have to take up its slack. The successful 19th and 20th century examples you cite may have developed that way, and still be fine-grained residential/commercial neighborhoods at this time, but what paths will allow them to keep self-sustaining? Thanks for thinking about it publicly together. My essay was a point of departure to explore what that question is really asking, if you will. What actual issues are forming the levels (or limits) that in fact need to be understood before we can do something? It’s pointless to do something if we don’t know that it levels out the desired path and makes it easier to remain on such a path. Have the lessons of those 19th and 20th century successes shown us anything lasting — or mostly kicked the can down the road? Or were they offroad? That is a form of clarifying one’s understanding which my comment saw as its goal, but not a form of ranting or of salesmanship — not an essay to tell the public what idea they should now be sold on. I apologize for doing a poor job of communicating that and for making it a frustrating use of time. I do know Houston’s worth the effort to constructively converse about this, so that non-mental action is as effective as possible. To whatever extent I HAIF in the future I’ll try to do better.
  8. Once an area starts being proven up for commercial purposes, it's hard to stop the flipping of passive-income-producing residential properties to directly-income-producing business. The burn rate of viability for that ecosystem is higher but the risk/reward metabolism is higher too. So it's not just Triton who is conflating them [edit: that is, linking neighborhood 'character' redefinition to housing stock stability and tenancy] -- the free market also conflates the signals that link those processes. We don't love urban growth boundaries, but NAFTA legislation made Texas towns and smaller counties struggle to compete against Mexican labor while a few of the richest Texas cities have been able to place more economic bets and get more of them to pay off. Is that to those cities' credit? Was it their competitiveness and resilience? Or is it a steep new fiscal slope on the playing field that has funneled labor and jobs inside the metropolitan areas, just as a costly change to windstorm laws (or a hard urban growth boundary) would start to artificially funnel them away from us regardless of our fundamental business competitiveness? So in my view y'all are not talking past each other at all, because Texasota too talks about pre-WWII neighbors and blended "missing middle" housing. They then had a range of both de jure and de facto limitations on participation in the free market for real estate, limitations which mostly don't socially control our viral CRE [edit: commercial real estate and how it's financed, permitted, developed and marketed to investment managers and investors, as well as to architects] now. You each are referencing states where the market plays second fiddle to social expectations of what a city should be like. In other words, y'all agree that when the market was held in check, neighborhoods could be self-sustaining. The fact that some of those social checks were predatory and discriminatory doesn't negate the general point: outside, nonmarket checks could and did override the bidding and sale that was internal to the market forces. Compared to the participants in those prewar neighborhoods, we have relatively more red tape but less cultural legitimacy for boxing in the market forces in favor of the vernacular these days. Those we do have, we often ask to play second fiddle to the price dynamics that are given us by the market. For instance, pity even the poor preacher who shares a meal with the homeless; he's not respecting them but enabling them to avoid bettering their lot (by getting off the street and into the housing market). The example is not the point; I only illustrate my impression that Houstonians have arrived at mainstream endorsement for the theory that unfettered market math will slice up reasonable shares of a steadily expanding risk/reward pie when we allow that pie reasonable authority to stretch most other social contracts, preferences, priorities, so that it might benefit everyone as long as possible. The free market can also efficiently slice up a pie that is not changing in size. Unfortunately neither of those theoretical states exists. When factors are instead speeding up or slowing down, and additionally both affect and depend on nonmarket externalities, the price information doesn't efficiently price in those feedback loops (and therefore people's real decisionmaking priorities), which is part of why the discipline of economics has been taking such a 'psychological turn' in the past couple of generations -- to try to stop their hypotheses from generating policies that produce real-world nonsense. The bottom line is this: the question is whether self-sustaining neighborhoods are actually possible in a free market. Has it been shown that they practically exist in an unchecked market anywhere outside of the utopian test tubes of indefinite growth on the one hand and an indefinite local steady-state balance on the other? If that's where the free market allows self-sustaining neighborhood processes to continue, then that's a big oops for a city of pragmatic can-do people. If we're hitching our wagon to a longterm misconception it's not good news for Houston. thanks for reading and considering!
  9. drcross.com can put the crosseye of Sauron atop that one *rimshot* because like the song says, there's no business like strabismus business *rimshot with cymbal*
  10. Yes I can get onboard with yours and BEES' attitudes. If Houston can fill up with a wide range of people's first and second and third drafts of their favorite place to be in the world, then it will remain a tapestry that's a good deal more nuanced than some consistent idea of taste and nuance could ever become. And I'd rather live in that place, not because of or in spite of its frequent stylistic unevenness (or hamfistedness) but because of the potential for unexpectedly caring about new places and being in deliberately or accidentally profound surroundings. That beats taste, design, and fine-grained, guaranteed quality to this American, even though kitsch is not my favorite yet.
  11. But we don't even want to be a clubby insidery back-slapping shark town which is exactly the mentality that VC requires. It's not an industry, it's a network, and they often make entrepreneurs let them refuse to sign nondisclosure agreements, so they can collude (ahem, compare notes on a startup) with their network of competitors before any of them agrees to terms with a startup. Until we can build a more hospitable but not more impersonal form of participatory accountability, to support a genuinely open and quirky (in a word Houspitable) form of reputation management and risk management ecosystem, then it isn't going to be practical for us to fund the value chain locally. That is, it will either take continued imports of outside investors like we're having recently (meaning a lot more of the capital gains flow back out of the area too), or a change in our own business culture to be more insidery in its expertise and outlook like those older metro areas.
  12. You're right. AFAIK it's Page (~700 staff, most of them in other regional offices, some of their designers CRSS alumni) followed by PBK with maybe 500, and then Kirksey and Ziegler Cooper in the 100-150 staff range.
  13. Two years on, I still think it will be impossible for us to rival those regions without the financial industry legacy tailwind that made it advantageous for them to develop as clusters to begin with. And with no more backing than our area has, it might be better spent developing a cluster that is suited to our regional culture, rather than the most superheated (competitive but overpriced, where you rise the least in the rankings for the greatest table stakes) industry in the nation's economy. But when I have to eat crow, then, to quote H Town Man, it will taste just fine. And if our value play attracts a lot more people from around the world, provides careers that develop local talent without having to move away, and of course beats Dallas, then it will be hard to argue that our timing was wrong.
  14. Definitely a typo. This is a good site not only for its quiet pocket of bayou forest feel -- if the Logan Lane development had been done right, this neighborhood could feel South Boulevard already -- but also because it stands right in the middle of where Kirby Drive could have been, and so it will be the vista visible all up and down the street, tying it together from the south.
  15. The zigzag building on the north side of the site is the national corporate HQ of the Mens Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, etc. A couple of those little view corridors running north-south would be better if their sidewalks arched over the boulevard and landed in Storey Park. Wonder if the masterplanners could team up with those neighbors to make that happen.
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