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Everything posted by Simbha

  1. Next January is the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster. This being 'Mission Control' and all, I thought there might be big plans for this anniversary as a memorial but I haven't heard of anything. I may just be out of the loop (likely). I wasn't in the city in 1986, but I've heard of Jean Michael Jarre's concert, Rendez-Vous, held in April of that year. While not originally intended as a memorial, it's my understanding that this was considered to be one as it happened shortly after and was originally intended to feature Ron McNair playing sax from space. I was kind of thinking that it might be interesting to see another concert like this happen either on January 28 or April 5 (my vote would be for the former). It also happens that January 28, 2011 is a Friday so that makes it more likely (I think) that more people from the area would attend or watch. I think it shouldn't be a 'celebration' but rather a large-scale solemn event (or, maybe not). Does anyone know of anything going on, and what do you all think of this idea?
  2. Looks like an excellent idea, in my opinion. I've not been there (having only been to Philly once as a teenager); the description seems to imply that it's for prepared foods (as opposed to, say, raw meats and veggies). I wonder if this could be combined with some local crafts. Also, I love the idea of that Philbert the Pig sculpture acting as a depository for loose change for charities.
  3. I think the closest you may get is a 'dome with some snowy slopes.
  4. I was kind of thinking of something like a very tall, stylized oil derrick. Perhaps something with girders that 'twist' upwards - definitely NOT a standard oil derrick, but instead something very tasteful and artistic but that is still rooted in the city's history. The San Jacinto monument's good in this regard - with the exception of its location. Actually, I kind of had the idea of first starting a massive parade (a la NYC's Thanksgiving Day Parade) with a theme of energy. I think that would bring a lot of local (read: multinational) oil companies to sponsor floats, etc. Then, maybe use that as a way to begin an organization with the express intent of building a monument to the city's energy heritage. Yeah, obviously an issue. But, I think that more can be done along the sides of Memorial/Allen Parkway which in turn could be more connected through pedestrian (and vehicular) bridges. One of the most interesting things I saw in Valencia was the Turia Gardens. These are actually built in the dry riverbed of the Turia river, which was diverted in the 1960s. The gardens, particularly near the Calatrava-designed Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias, have multiple beautiful vehicular and pedestrian bridges that cross overhead. For example, one is called (I believe) the Puente de Flores and has many flowers adorning its median. Something like that would do really well to connect the two sides of the Bayou in that area - and, I think, really enhance local property values. I can't actually argue with that. I guess I should have put "milder summers" on my list.
  5. Agreed. I'd only like to see it more connected. Better mass transit can help; 'more' of it can help, too.
  6. Forbes has an article dated February 1 that discusses a ranking of places based on their average income growth in the previous year. Fort Bend County tops the list this year with nearly 10% average income growth between 2007 and 2008. You can find the full article here. Not a bad shot of downtown and Buffalo Bayou on that page, either. Simbha Edit: I should've said that it's a nice perspective in that shot, but it does make Houston look hazy.
  7. I just got back from a month-long trip to Spain and had a blast. I spent a good bit of time in Valencia and Barcelona - two nice cities (I particularly enjoyed the latter). The trip got me thinking about what I enjoy about some cities over others, and my wife and I have even decided in the last weeks to move inside the loop (museum district) to be a little closer to what we like. ... but it's not enough! I love Houston, but there are things about the city that, if changed, could make it 'better' (at least for me). I was just wondering what other people's thoughts were. Here are some of my thoughts (in most cases, very generic). 1. Make the city (really, what I'd call the Golden Triangle of - roughly - DT, UT, and TMC/Hermann Park and areas in-between) more walkable. 2. Make the Golden Triangle more connected - both in terms of skyline/development (more midrises) and transportation. 3. More public art/fountains (yes, I'm aware of the theft problems) and more visibility of what's in place. 4. Development of a grand, central plaza (not a park). 5. More trees/foliage. I've often heard people say that Houston doesn't have "natural beauty" but it's one of the greenest cities I've seen. I think more of this would be a great step forward. 6. Development of Buffalo Bayou around downtown as a denser urban park with shops, cafes, entertainment venues. 7. Make uptown (in particular) more pedestrian-friendly. 8. Development of a massive monument to serve as a center point for the city (a la Eiffel Tower). I know a lot of people don't care for these sorts of things, but I think they're great for bringing notoriety to a city. My two suggestions in this regard are a significantly larger Sam Houston sculpture on the roundabout in Hermann Park or a steel sculpture celebrating the city's oil heritage (perhaps with an energy-focused museum at ground level). I'm thinking something on the order of 30+ meters. Having said that, I never cared for The Spirit of Houston's design. 9. Make the city more bike-friendly. 10. Rename the UH branch campuses so they're not "UH-X." A silly thing, probably, but I've always felt that Houston gets a bad rep for not having enough colleges/universities. Maybe a bit true, but I think one thing that contributes to this is the perception that there is one "UH." I suggest the following names: Houston College (UHD), Clear Lake University (UHCL), University of Victoria (UHV). 11. A central transportation hub. I know that there were plans for one (I think, north of downtown near the Hardy rail yards) but I don't know the status of this. 12. Edit: Forgot to add... A central market (not 'Central Market'). Probably not a great list. I'm not a developer/architect/etc (just a schmuck who works in the oil patch) but these are my thoughts, nonetheless. Just curious what others' are. Also, if you know of initiatives similar to the above, please let me know... I'd be interested in involving myself if I could. Simbha If you know of some of these happening, I'd like to know more.
  8. I can't comment on how feasible it is to buy a decent house for this price in the area your brother-in-law is looking, and I don't know the area at all; however, I do know that you can do fairly comprehensive searches on HAR.com. Click Find A Home, then go to Single Family. Then, just choose the criteria that you/he want. I'd suggest starting with HAR MLS Area code 30, as this is the Fort Bend county area - where Sugarland is located. You don't have to choose something for all fields - and, in fact, I'd recommend against doing so as it'll limit your search (perhaps too much). Once the search results pop up, you can click on each for more details, including (in most cases) pictures of the exterior and interior. You can also find a map to get an idea of the location. Finally, you can locate the listing agent's information if you want to set up a visit. A preliminary search that I conducted using MLS Area 30 and a price range of between 90k and 110k turned up 34 homes. From the pictures, at least, some look fairly decent. I have no idea in which areas these are located (or whether to his liking), but that's probably a good list from which to narrow down his search. I hope this helps. Best. Simbha
  9. Thanks for all the replies! (Sorry I've been negligent for a couple of days... internet's been wonky.) If we do purchase, we'll probably live there a while (5+ years). My wife and I don't care too much for communities that are wholly townhome-ified. We chose this location over a similar unit closer to downtown for precisely that reason. The mix of newer townhomes and older properties around our new place really gives it an eclectic feel that we like. I sure hope that there isn't too much similar development in the area in the coming years. Regardless, it'll be nice to live near the museums and park. We've lived in Meyerland for about seven years so we're really looking forward to getting into a more central location. Thanks again, all. Best. Simbha
  10. Hi all. I'm looking to lease a townhome located on Wheeler near La Branch. The builder wants to sell and I'm able to lock in a buying price (now) at a level that seems reasonable today - and will be good for the next year. This will be an option. I think the price is good - as of today. My chief concern is what the effect of the proposed University line of the light rail system might be. I've searched on Google and can't seem to find a straight answer - except for those properties that are within a stone's throw of a station (which this unit is not). I'm not too concerned if it won't enhance the value greatly, but is there any good reason to believe that it will reduce the value of the property. The complex's driveway exits to a side street so I'm not worried about the short-term effects of construction; rather, I'd like to know what people's belief/knowledge about the long-term effects of adjacent light rail is on this type of property. On a side note, does anyone know much about the area and its development - and the further effects of this development of expected property values? It seems that the area south of Wheeler is undergoing some redevelopment but the area just north is not (yet). I'm not sure if I'm being clear here. I hope I've given enough information for people to provide their opinions. Thanks in advance.
  11. Not sure if this had been posted already so I thought I would. Feel free to kill or merge. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071106/ap_on_..._suit_architect
  12. No, this isn't a bash Dallas or Houston thread. I was on skyscraperpage.com looking at some drawings and for the first time I realized you could see diagrams including visionary and fantasy projects, etc. So I threw in a few city names (Houston first, of course) and when I arrived at Dallas I noticed that it didn't have any really tall visionary or fantasy designs. I also noticed this in other cities such as San Francisco and Boston but I sorta understand those cities' culture a bit more. Even so, Dallas struck me as the kind of place that would have something like this - I perceive it to be comparable to Houston in this regard. Why is this? Is it simply a lack of data on that website or is it true that fantasy proposals do not really germinate in or for Dallas? BTW, I didn't know where to post this so I figured here was best.
  13. I've come to this forum irregularly for some months and just automatically went to "General". I'll look there for my info. Thanks!
  14. Hi all. I'm not really up-to-date on all that Metro is doing currently. I've heard of the proposed intermodal hub north of downtown (Hardy railyards, right?) and some of the proposals for light rail. Could someone just give me a rundown of what's under construction, what's being proposed, what is likely (and not), etc? Or, please point me to a summary link. While I consider myself intelligent I find it hard to sort through all the news articles and metro press releases to know what's actually happening and what's not. Sorry for my ignorance and thanks in advance for the help. (Oh, and sorry if "Going Up" is the wrong place for this. Just couldn't think of a better category to post.) Edit: Oh, and I said "Metro" but if you have info on tollroads and other things, I'd appreciate that too. I just like to keep up with this so I know what's going on around me.
  15. For my taste, I'd rather see Houston build some greater density, at least inside the loop. If the guy wants to build an ultratall, I can't stop him but I'd rather see someone like that build an entire midrise district. We can even name it after him.
  16. I'm posting this as a new topic despite marc's wonderful "Houston Icon" topic. That topic seemed more about what *existing* buildings/monuments might be considered representative of the city although there were certainly a few original ideas as well. If the great and powerful mods choose to consolidate, so be it. Here I'm looking for ideas on what you would "create" to be a new Houston icon. I've come up with two ideas, below. The Petroleum Monument: This is a derrick-shaped large-scale monument dedicated to Houston's history as one of the most active energy cities in the world. I'm thinking 250'+ although a structure 500'+ might be appropriate (a la Tour Eiffel or the Gateway Arch) depending on its geographic placement. One thought I had was to build a Museum of Energy (perhaps a replacement for/expansion of the Weiss Energy Hall at HMNS at its base), owned by the HMNS itself. It could stand somewhere near the Museum district (perhaps on the south end closer to TMC) so as to not "stand out" too much - at 400-500 ft I believe it would be just over 100' taller than many of the TMC tallest. Replacement for the Sam Houston Monument in Hermann Park: I'm thinking of a monument with the same basic style as the existing (mounted) monument on the green adjacent to HMNS. It would, however, take the entire green space (at least in width) and be proportionally as tall which (my calculations are VERY rough) would put it around 250' tall. Roughly, the Arch de Triomphe with a statue of Sammy-boy leading the troops to San Jacinto. Other thoughts: I like the idea of a rocket garden in the city proper... perhaps somewhere near Sam Houston Park in downtown. This would IMO contrast nicely with the historic character of that park. I also like the idea of building a (smaller) monument to Houston's history as the first capital of the Republic of Texas, but this would not become a national or international icon IMO. If you've got ideas, please let them flow. I'm just curious what others can think of. (PS. I, for one, don't care for the "Spirit of Houston" concept proposed some years back. I felt it was monstrous but then again, some people didn't and that's OK.)
  17. Hi all! I'm new here (sorta -- just "registered"). Anyway, I was at a meeting on the 10th floor of the 840 Gessner building (one of the glass bldg's behind Memorial City Mall) a few weeks ago. The conference room faced westward and to me it was the most incredible view of (part of) the Houston skyline I'd ever seen. The trees in the area just spread in front of me like an immense garden and in the distance I saw Uptown with Downtown behind it (and to the left). Does anyone have any photos like that which capture multiple skylines in a nice even shot, or maybe a link? Thanks. PS. I love this forum
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