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Everything posted by Simbha

  1. Agreed. I'd like it if this thread could be focused on the status of EQ. The bankruptcy of the developers is of relevance to this, but the underlying reason for that bankruptcy isn't necessarily relevant. I'm finding it difficult to wade through the 19 pages of back-and-forth. Could someone summarize what the status of this project is for me? I'm not lazy; I've just got a major headache from this thread.
  2. I certainly can't offer the sort of embedded perspective that Houstonian (N-ATL) can provide, but I will say that I have found Atlanta to be a somewhat more segregated town than Houston. Eric Fischer visualized the distribution of race/ethnicity by metro area with the following maps (other cities are available, as well): Race and Ethnicity 2010: Houston Race and Ethnicity 2010: Atlanta Red is whites; blue is blacks. You can see that Houston's diversity is largely spread out as pie slices around the city center, while Atlanta's is very much divided between north and south sections. Also, Houston's map shows quite a bit more purple (and other mixed colors - as well as more colors, generally). Houston's generally a more diverse city than Atlanta, and also has much more mixing of these groups. I live on the border between the south-central blue spoke in that image, and the red spoke that's to its left. As mentioned by Houstonian (N-ATL) above, Houston has a large number of foreign-born black people, and this is reflected in the diversity of the third ward (the center of Houston's historic black culture) itself in some ways. There are many venues I love to visit on the weekends, for example - the Reggae Hut, a variety of soul food places, and others. I recognize that black culture is far more than just my patronizing a few venues on the weekend, but this city is just too rich in culture for me to focus on just one! Anyway, to answer your question more directly -- It does appear that Houston's black culture will be quite different from that of Atlanta... but, who knows? Maybe it'll be more your thing once you're exposed to it.
  3. I won't say "impossible," but residential is pretty much out of the question. If the Dome is demolished, it'll largely be because principal stakeholders (in particular, the Rodeo) want to clear out the space to create better flow throughout the entire area. Demolishing it and then building out any sort of residential would fly in the face of this purpose. A museum is possible, but there are significant challenges to that - one of which I've just stated (stakeholders wanting more flow), but there are others. One of the biggest reasons nothing's been done with the Dome up to now is that there are just so many people/organizations with claims to this space - each of which want to do something different, and all of which wield some political clout. We'll see how things progress going forward, but any organization hoping to do something with the facility (including demo'ing it) have their work cut out for them.
  4. I'm not saying you're 'wrong', but I wonder if there's just a period of adjustment to get the climate control systems appropriately set. Plus, it's spring... I always have trouble figuring out how to set my thermostats in the springtime.
  5. It's been a LONG time since I've played one of these games. Could someone tell me... ... Can players design the elements (buildings, bridges, etc) and share them with others? ... Is the player in control of all development within the city, or does the AI 'evolve' the city based on the situation and surroundings (too)? ... Is there zoning - maybe as a toggle? Can players place a nuclear power plant next to some residential, or are some actions disallowed?
  6. Of course. It's designed so that we can see in, but they can't see out.
  7. Thanks! I'll check him out this weekend or next week. Sounds like a strong recommendation.
  8. I'm hoping someone here can help me. I'm looking for an inexpensive body shop in the area. Our early-2000's Miata was recently in an accident and the other party didn't have insurance - and we don't have an uninsured motorist policy on ours. The car's in mechanically good shape, so I want to get it fixed but I don't want to spend a lot on it. I don't know how exactly these things work, but I'm hoping there's a shop out there that does decent work with used/salvaged parts that can help save us some a good amount of money. Does anyone know of anything like this? Thanks.
  9. First, thank you. Second, I recall hearing about the Entropy Index years ago - in college. I guess I should've paid better attention. Yup, very interesting analysis. My only 'regret' is that I didn't see any charts comparing a segregation index across major metropolitan areas. I may have missed it, though; I'll check again when I haven't gone 42 hours without sleep.
  10. <cough>... I said this six months ago... <cough> But, seriously... I wonder what methodology they used. The OP's article doesn't specify, and I haven't been able to obtain a copy of the report itself yet. Does anybody know where I can get one or where it was published?
  11. Went there during the grand opening a short while back. The place was packed - not a single available seat in the house. The burgers were good, but not as good as some other places in town, in my opinion. I certainly would go back but, if I have the option and I don't mind driving a few extra miles, I'd rather go to a few other places.
  12. First, I wasn't whining. And, I don't disagree with your point that it makes being a tour guide in Houston easier. I was simply pointing out that several friends and family of my own - from around the country and the world - are hesitant to visit me in Houston for extended periods due to their perception that there's nothing to do in the city. I don't think you need to be a foodie to know that the city has great food - if you live here. But, I do think you'd need to be one if you live outside Houston. As 'evidence' of this, I'll point to the Travel+Leisure 2011 America's Favorite Cities poll. One of the major categories is Food/Drink/Restaurants, which includes subcategories such as barbecue, fine dining and pizza. In all but one subcategory (barbecue), Houston was lower-rated by visitors than residents. In fact, with the exception of barbecue (#4 rank by visitors; #4 by residents) and hamburgers (#4 and #1 respectively), Houston was rated relatively poorly by visitors/residents (ranks out of 35 cities): Cafes: #26 / #21 Coffee: #30 / #22 Ethnic food: #13 / #3 Fine dining: #19 / #11 Microbrew beer: #26 / #24 Pizza: #21 / #15 Street food: #27 / #18 In fact, across 57 subcategories across eight major categories (including food/drink), Houston was rated lower by visitors than residents in 53! (The exceptions were barbecue and three in 'best times to visit': 4th of July, Summer, and Winter.) Yes, it helps when organizations like Esquire rank Houston highly. (They ranked Houston the 7th best restaurant city in the country, above DC, Boston and Seattle). But, the perceptions of the masses - who are our friends and family members - matter more to me than some snobs at a magazine. I've visited dozens of cities in the US and around the world and, while I can't say that Houston competes with cities like NYC, Barcelona or Hong Kong for the availability of amazing cuisine, it's certainly not a middle-of-the-road US city, either.
  13. I agree... BUT... it goes to the common theme about perceptions of the city. I'm constantly amazed at friends' attitudes about Houston culture (including food) when they come to visit. I'm happy to take them around the city to various venues myself, but I think they wouldn't be so hesitant to visit in the first place if the city's reputation on the national circuit were better. I'm not looking to attract camera-toting clueless tourists, but it'd be nice if the city (collectively, although I realize that's meaningless) were better able to communicate its offerings to others so I wouldn't have to do as much of it to my friends and family.
  14. Thanks for the update... although I thought I'd read about McLane's intended gift some time before, perhaps here on the forum. Regardless, this is great news for Baylor (and, generally, for Texas). I notice that no dollar value for McLane's gift is mentioned in the article, yet the author is convinced that (i) McLane's gift doesn't cover the entire cost and (ii) Baylor is virtually guaranteed to raise the balance. In my experience, such things are never guaranteed so it makes me even more curious as to the nature/amount of McLane's gift.
  15. The 2004 Super Bowl was a strong success, but it's not likely that Houston will get another Super Bowl for some time. First, the next three Super Bowls (2013-2015) are already set, so the next available one is 2016. Super Bowls tend (but not always) to go to cities that build new stadiums. There are currently four metros with definite plans to build a new stadium: the Bay Area, Minneapolis, LA and San Diego. Beyond those, four additional teams have stadiums that are over 30 years old today: Green Bay (Lambeau), Kansas City (Arrowhead), Buffalo (Ralph Wilson) and New Orleans (Superdome). New Orleans already has the 2013 Super Bowl, so it won't be in the running again for some time, I think. That essentially leaves seven additional metros (eight teams - Oakland and SF would likely share one stadium) making a strong case to host the big game after 2016. If they all get it (unlikely, but this is all educated speculation anyway)... Houston won't really vie for a spot again until around 2020ish. At that time, Reliant Stadium will be 18+ years old, and clear decisions will have (hopefully) been made about the Dome anyway... I think this is a wonderful idea! But, it probably won't fly. The standard rhetoric today is that billionaire team owners hold the cards - and those cards spell economic impact for the region. It would take a truly visionary team owner (and city leaders) to make this happen, and I don't think that combination is likely anywhere. And, as you've said, owners have other options. Regarding the question about what to do with the Dome... I'm not at liberty to disclose too much at this time, but I'll simply state that I am involved in an effort to bring a proposal for the renovation of the Dome to county officials at this time. If our vision is realized, Houston will have something truly unique that - in our opinion and analysis - will benefit the regional population while, at the same time, elevating Houston's status as a global city. We will divulge more once we've hit a couple more milestones (or don't).
  16. My comment isn't about the rendering - but rather what should be done with the space.
  17. I'm personally opposed to this, and I live in the vicinity of this space. Tennis courts and driving ranges are only enjoyable by a relatively small proportion of people, and then only in limited numbers at a time. For example, a driving range would need to be at least 600 feet in length (probably more) - most of which is open space taken up by lawn and green... unusable by people directly. I'd rather see a plaza that can directly be utilized by relatively large groups of people simultaneously.
  18. Yeah, that sucked. I'm not against open-air performance venues AT ALL - but I wish the city maintained the existence of true plazas in its central core.
  19. Yeah, I agree with the idea of having a plaza. In fact, this could easily become a signature space for Houston, being along the rail line and in the middle of an important, developing and central area of the city. Something along the lines of a bricked space with fountains and minimal statuary. Because I visit Spain very often, and have a place in Barcelona, I'll refer to the Pla├ža de Catalunya (Plaza of Catalonia) as the archetype of is being suggested: a central space with fountains, benches, etc that has multiple uses, including the potential for small concerts/festivals. I'd think that area developers would get behind such an idea, as it would likely increase the value of their properties significantly. I don't know much about how these things work, but if someone could direct me to a meeting where I could voice my opinion on this, I'd be happy to do so.
  20. Agreed. Put slightly differently (at least, in my interpretation): More plaza, less park. I think that's a better option for this space.
  21. 1.5 acres? How can that possibly be the case? That land must be at least 200-225' by 1,000' - roughly five acres. Is the entire contiguous space not being developed into the park?
  22. Don't get me wrong - this is great news for Houston - but it seems woefully inadequate. If the city is going to rebuild its convention/tradeshow market, it needs at least 2,500 additional hotel rooms downtown - immediately. Another thing at which I take umbrage is the heading of the CultureMap piece, "[...] it's going to be Texas big." Umm... a 1,000-room hotel isn't huge. By comparison, Dallas has four 1,000+-room hotels in or near downtown - the Sheraton (1,840 rooms), the Hilton Anatole (1,608), the Hyatt Regency (1,120), and the Omni (1,001). And, including these, there are around 30 non-resort hotels nationwidewhich are larger than even the Hilton Americas. The number of very large (1,000+ room) hotels is not necessarily the best indicator - but this city needs far more hotel rooms around both the GRB and Reliant Park if we're going to be more than a mediocre convention town. The funny thing about the convention business is that organizers are looking for places like Houston! The (comparably) low room rates, rental fees, and drayage/labor rates are hugely positive factors for the city in attracting professional conferences. Plus, many meeting planners have openly voiced their concern that the 'hot' areas for meetings over the past twenty years - Anaheim, Vegas and Orlando - have too many distractions for non-leisure conventions. Houston could easily position itself, like Chicago, to attract these meetings it had adequate proximate accommodations.
  23. My understanding is that the dragon myth origin relates to one of two real creatures: dinosaur bones which were unearthed in ancient China or crocodiles which lived in the waters of major rivers. Note that Chinese ('Asian' or 'Eastern') dragons are wingless, so such mythical are not far from real creatures, living or long-gone.
  24. Figured I'd bump this, in case anyone who has information on this fascinating piece hasn't come across this post.
  25. I hadn't seen anything about this on HAIF, so I thought I'd post it... Chinese artist/political critic Ai Weiwei's newest public art display has made its way to Hermann Park. The piece, titled Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads, depicts the heads of the twelve Chinese Zodiac animals mounted on matching poles. Each is about 10 feet tall. The piece is on a tour of the US and is currently installed at Lake Plaza until June 3. Here's an image from the Chronicle's article on the installation (link is below): To be honest, when I first saw it in person, I didn't know what they were and they looked 'demonic' to me. I recognized them as Chinese Zodiac symbols, but I didn't care much for them. That being said, no piece of art appeals to everyone, and getting a Weiwei installation is a bit of a coup for Houston (especially for such an extended period of time). I think this is just one more reflection of Houston's growing importance on the international stage, which I see as a good thing. Here's a recent article from the Chronicle on the subject: http://www.chron.com/life/article/New-sculptures-create-sense-of-place-3375029.php And, the press release from the Houston Arts Alliance: http://www.houstonartsalliance.com/site/print/contemporary-arts-coup/
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