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Houston And The Future Of Oil


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America's famed love affair with the car is spending more and more time at marriage counselling. By the time of his or her death, the average adult in America will have spent several years of his or her life in a car.

And the residents of Houston, Texas, spend considerably more time driving than the average American.

I was there for two days this week to host a BBC World debate on the future of oil.

It was the perfect place to confront some of the crude truths about crude and its most famous by-product, the motorcar.

Houston would probably not even exist without the car.

The city of 2.8 million people - in the next few years it is set to overtake Chicago as America's third largest city - is really a rosetta of suburbs and exurbs stretching between downtown and the airport.

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The dreaming corporate spires of Big Oil, a dozen high-rise car parks - in other cities the space might have been used for department stores or cinemas - and an alarming number of high-rise jails next to high-rise courthouses.

Here, the only people walking on the street are the homeless.

Most people stay in their cars or in their offices with the air conditioning turned down to arctic levels.

The population darts from furnace heat to freezing cold.

Not surprisingly, a disproportionate number of people seem to be suffering from snivelling colds in the middle of summer. Houston is not so much a city but a climatic disaster masquerading as one.

Just feel the love.

I agree that we dart from furnace heat to cold... and while we are used to our high-rise courthouses next to our high-rise jails... it is interesting to hear others' viewpoint on that observation... I would have never thought that as being a negative for the city... Jails and courthouses have to be downtown, otherwise police couldn't say, "We're taking you downtown, buddy" when they arrest you.

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Here, the only people walking on the street are the homeless.

I was also taken aback by how few people were on the streets in downtown during the workday when I started my first job here. Then during lunch that same day I was shown the tunnel system and I understood. Lots of people are moving around downtown, including powerwalkers, it's just that they are out of sight from visitors on the surface. A little more in depth investigation would have been in order from this reporter.

Houston is not so much a city but a climatic disaster masquerading as one.

I'll turn off the air conditioner as soon as the reporter turns off the hyperbole.

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articles like this are a blessing for Houston....it keeps the totally ignorant and stupid that get their entire world view from the news from moving to Houston

I still tell people we ride horses in Houston.....keeps their dumbass where they belong instead of moving to Houston and crapping it out like where they are from

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articles like this are a blessing for Houston....it keeps the totally ignorant and stupid that get their entire world view from the news from moving to Houston

I still tell people we ride horses in Houston.....

And they believe it, too.

Yeah, whoever said the article was hyperbole was right.

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I did not like some of the things they said about Houston, but we do need to find something other than oil to make up Houston economy. If oil falls whats Houston going to do?

Oil/energy is only like 43% of Houston's economy now, and dropping every year.

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Most people stay in their cars or in their offices with the air conditioning turned down to arctic levels.

The population darts from furnace heat to freezing cold.

Not surprisingly, a disproportionate number of people seem to be suffering from snivelling colds in the middle of summer. Houston is not so much a city but a climatic disaster masquerading as one.

Uh, this coming from someone who spends half the year darting in and out of the rain in London.....?

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Yeah. I wonder if TMC will eventually spread southward (south of the 610) or will they trend more to skyscrapers?

More skyscrapers and building over surface lots. A lot of the buildings in the TMC were designed to be able to be built upon. Some are going through that right now. Adding seven or so floors to a building.

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I agree, this was a bad article. So, the Metro Rail was mainly empty when the author was there to see it, but what does that prove? Was it a sunday morning or something? I'm often surprised at the number of people riding the rail when I take it downtown or to the TMC. He could have done some research and mentioned the ridership numbers, or the growth in ridership, both which are impressive considering this is a car centric city.

I've got a bunch more criticisms of this article, but it isn't not worth my time.

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I agree, this was a bad article. So, the Metro Rail was mainly empty when the author was there to see it, but what does that prove? Was it a sunday morning or something? I'm often surprised at the number of people riding the rail when I take it downtown or to the TMC. He could have done some research and mentioned the ridership numbers, or the growth in ridership, both which are impressive considering this is a car centric city.

he was in the vicinity of the corinthian which is in the northern part of downtown. ridership is less. i've been on it at 6pm during the week and i'm the lone person from main street square to preston.

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