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Houston second in population growth for 2008


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Texas counties and metropolitan areas continued to attract strong population growth last year as the state added jobs while most of the country was shedding them, the Census Bureau reported today.

The Houston metropolitan area added more than 130,000 residents between July 1, 2007 and July 1, 2008, the second-highest number in the country after Dallas-Fort Worth, the bureau said. Among counties, Harris County added more than 72,000 people, trailing only Maricopa County, Ariz., in growth in sheer numbers.

In percentage terms, the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan area posted 3.8 percent growth, the nation

Edited by Trae
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I think I am starting to like the days when Texas was not as populous. I don't want our great state to end up like Cali - Too Expensive and Broke.

Population of Texas since 1990 below:

2008 - 24,326,974

2000 - 20,851,820

1990 - 16,986,510

http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFP...n&pctxt=fph

No way... Texas has way more room to grow.. Up & out. And our taxes are to our advantage.

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No way... Texas has way more room to grow.. Up & out. And our taxes are to our advantage.

True, we don't have as many physical barriers as California. But I think we can reach a point where the sprawl is just overwhelming to the environment and to our natural sense of well being. I don't want to have to drive two or three hours just to get out of the sprawl and traffic jams. Slow, steady growth is a good thing for the economy and job opportunities, but I think fast and unplanned growth could have the opposite effect (look at the economy in Las Vegas). Growth needs to be weighed with other factors and values.

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I think that Barracuda and Montrose and Banking are all talking about very different aspects of growth. I don't think that any of them is actually responding to the others.

Montrose commented on how Texas has way more room to grow. I assume he meant more land to sprawl upon.

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True, we don't have as many physical barriers as California. But I think we can reach a point where the sprawl is just overwhelming to the environment and to our natural sense of well being. I don't want to have to drive two or three hours just to get out of the sprawl and traffic jams. Slow, steady growth is a good thing for the economy and job opportunities, but I think fast and unplanned growth could have the opposite effect (look at the economy in Las Vegas). Growth needs to be weighed with other factors and values.

Well there will always be sprawl. Hopefully Houston will densify, leading to the suburbs now eventually becoming their own job & urban centers... if we have smart growth. This is of course, my prediction, and assumption that our leaders & planners will do so in a sufficent way.

I think that Barracuda and Montrose and Banking are all talking about very different aspects of growth. I don't think that any of them is actually responding to the others.

I thought Banking was talking about the land values, in which case Texas has more liveable land then California.

Montrose commented on how Texas has way more room to grow. I assume he meant more land to sprawl upon.

I said "Up & Out". Not just out. But we do have room to grow out. My history Teacher once said "Texas has enough room to house the entire population of the World... of course, it would look like Downtown Hong Kong from border to border."

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Well there will always be sprawl. Hopefully Houston will densify, leading to the suburbs now eventually becoming their own job & urban centers...

Houston is becoming more dense. If Harris County is adding 73,000 people to a county whose borders did not change, it has to densify.

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Houston is becoming more dense. If Harris County is adding 73,000 people to a county whose borders did not change, it has to densify.

It's still sprawl when much of that density goes into previously undeveloped areas in Harris County.

Well there will always be sprawl. Hopefully Houston will densify, leading to the suburbs now eventually becoming their own job & urban centers... if we have smart growth. This is of course, my prediction, and assumption that our leaders & planners will do so in a sufficent way.

Definitely. I can see this happening every day just by driving around the city. I think it's pretty obvious that higher-density development is the only way Houston and suburban centers can keep growing in the long term.

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Definitely. I can see this happening every day just by driving around the city. I think it's pretty obvious that higher-density development is the only way Houston and suburban centers can keep growing in the long term.

It isn't obvious to me. I think parts of Houston and the surrounding area will densify and others will sparsify. And remember, sprawl increases population density in rural and exurban areas.

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Definitely. I can see this happening every day just by driving around the city. I think it's pretty obvious that higher-density development is the only way Houston and suburban centers can keep growing in the long term.

I'm pretty sure that there was supposed to be a "not" in that sentence somewhere, but I'm not sure whether it belongs one the one place or the other.

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It isn't obvious to me. I think parts of Houston and the surrounding area will densify and others will sparsify. And remember, sprawl increases population density in rural and exurban areas.
I'm pretty sure that there was supposed to be a "not" in that sentence somewhere, but I'm not sure whether it belongs one the one place or the other.

I'm not implying that all surrounding areas in fact will grow. I'm simply saying that, if they are going to grow, which is what this study indicates, they will have to include more dense development as available land is developed. Otherwise, the growth has no choice but to sprawl outward to the next exurb until that area fills up.

For Houston in particular, I don't see how it can increase in population over the long term when the undeveloped land is becoming scarce or is simply unavailable for development. Unless you're referring to annexation, which you didn't mention.

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Actually, I am not sure what I was trying to convey.

I am not opposed to growth, but would like to see it done the right way. I don't think that sprawl helps a city at all. What we are seeing now, the urban core being developed and filled in is the right kind of growth. Unfortunately, not every person can afford to live in these areas and many are displaced. This is something that needs to be addressed as Houston continues to grow.

From an economic point of view, cities like more people (homeowners especially) and jobs. This just adds more money to city and county coffers. However, too much growth can be a burden on a cities infrastructure if not adequately prepared for said growth.

I am a Texan to the heart and love this state. With new people moving to Texas from all over the country and world, I hope they take pride in the fact that they are now Texans as well.

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More at the link: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/front/6320050.html

Houston was the only metropolitan area to actually increase it's population growth over the year before.

That is what the numbers show, but that is (at least largely) an anomaly produced by Katrina. 2005-2006 Houston posted a HUGE increase because of Katrina refugees relocating to Houston. Then in 2006-2007 Houston showed relatively slower growth (compared to both the prior year and to this year and to what the sans-Katrina trend line would have been) because of the number of Katrina refugees who returned to Louisiana.

Now, the 2007-2008 numbers are back on the "normal" trend line (which, for Houston, means phenomenal growth).

Edited by Houston19514
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Houston is becoming more dense. If Harris County is adding 73,000 people to a county whose borders did not change, it has to densify.

Well there is still plenty of room in Harris County. Empty lots-a-plenty...

Which is good, in a way. I am still surprised when I go into Houston how different things have become since the last time I've seen certain areas (which can be anywhere from 4 months to 3 years).

I don't want every neighborhood to "densify" like 4-7 story buildings on every corner... but a lot of the developing neighborhoods in the loop have done a great job with 2-3 story town houses on tiny lots.

Although, I do like the complexes on Dallas, east of Montrose, & a lot of the newer buildings along Buffalo Bayou on Allen & Memorial.

But I honestly think Westheimer should be widened from Midtown to the Loop. A lot of the roads in Houston are too narrow, we need more Boulevards, more traffic lanes & sidewalks.

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But I honestly think Westheimer should be widened from Midtown to the Loop. A lot of the roads in Houston are too narrow, we need more Boulevards, more traffic lanes & sidewalks.

I agree, parts of that section of Westheimer are narrow, but I'd hate to see it widened. Westheimer is a walkable street for much of that area. There just isn't much room for widening without taking up sidewalk space and leaving some business with very little frontage.

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Growth is not always a good thing.

The traffic increase is a visible downside, but the invisible upside from various studies is that larger cities generate more wealth, productivity, and innovation per capita. Growth always seems painful at the time, but I don't think many people would want to go back to the Houston of 1975 or 1950...

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The traffic increase is a visible downside, but the invisible upside from various studies is that larger cities generate more wealth, productivity, and innovation per capita. Growth always seems painful at the time, but I don't think many people would want to go back to the Houston of 1975 or 1950...

But what about quality of life. Some places (cities) have a fraction of Houston's population, but are far more livable. I want quality over size.

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But what about quality of life. Some places (cities) have a fraction of Houston's population, but are far more livable. I want quality over size.

That all depends on your definition of quality of life. For a lot of people, that includes maximum career, social, and educational opportunities while being affordable - as well as access to a wide variety of amenities (like restaurants, sports, arts, culture, shopping, nonstop flights, etc.) that are only available in a large, growing, wealthy, internationally diverse city.

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But what about quality of life. Some places (cities) have a fraction of Houston's population, but are far more livable. I want quality over size.

Growth is itself an indicator of quality of life. Houston is no utopia, nor is any city. But people have to live somewhere, and clearly we are preferred by a great many when you weigh all the various factors against one another.

I'd agree with you that the categorical nature of Tory's statement makes it false, however it is very interesting that so many people who live in Houston say that it is less livable than other places, yet do not live in those places or have any intention of moving there.

But discussion of what is livable is confounding. Clearly people are able to live here, even the cynics. They live here, and are able to. Live. Able. Houston is livable. Insofar as those two conditions are satisfied, any place with people currently living there has to be considered livable. It isn't an especially high threshold. Trying to pay the resident of a city a compliment by saying that their city is livable is in my mind akin to complimenting a girlfriend/boyfriend on account of that they don't have AIDS.

Edited by TheNiche
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I agree, parts of that section of Westheimer are narrow, but I'd hate to see it widened. Westheimer is a walkable street for much of that area. There just isn't much room for widening without taking up sidewalk space and leaving some business with very little frontage.

But parking is usually a nightmare, spilling into the surrrounding neighborhoods. It cannot stay that way... it needs to be redone, in a way that caters to the pedestrian as well as the automobile.

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But parking is usually a nightmare, spilling into the surrrounding neighborhoods. It cannot stay that way... it needs to be redone, in a way that caters to the pedestrian as well as the automobile.

Why does that stretch of Westheimer need to cater to automobiles at all? I think keeping it narrow helps prevent it from turning into this:

2767203360_764926a17f_b.jpg

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But parking is usually a nightmare, spilling into the surrrounding neighborhoods. It cannot stay that way... it needs to be redone, in a way that caters to the pedestrian as well as the automobile.

But how can you cater to both pedestrians and cars at the same time? I'm not saying all of Houston needs to be turned into some urban village, but keeping some areas walkable is going to mean that they are less car-friendly. Having to walk a couple of blocks to park is hardly the end of the world.

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Why does that stretch of Westheimer need to cater to automobiles at all? I think keeping it narrow helps prevent it from turning into this:

2767203360_764926a17f_b.jpg

Exactly. Widening roads is all Houston has ever done to address increasing traffic, which has resulted in roads like the above too wide to cross on foot safely (I know from experience). Houston needs to focus on public transportation in the core, not wider roads. It would completely change the character of these neighborhoods and make them even less pedestrian-friendly and more auto-oriented than they already are. There are enough areas in Houston with wide roads and mammoth freeways... we don't need them in the core.

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But how can you cater to both pedestrians and cars at the same time? I'm not saying all of Houston needs to be turned into some urban village, but keeping some areas walkable is going to mean that they are less car-friendly. Having to walk a couple of blocks to park is hardly the end of the world.

but car parking in adjoining neighborhoods lowers the quality of life for homeowners. there are several neighborhoods that worked to prevent parking such as this.

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but car parking in adjoining neighborhoods lowers the quality of life for homeowners. there are several neighborhoods that worked to prevent parking such as this.

That's always been the case. Some neighborhoods in the area have permit-only parking to handle this.

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Why does that stretch of Westheimer need to cater to automobiles at all? I think keeping it narrow helps prevent it from turning into this:

Because people still drive cars, and that road is horrible to drive on... it too narrow, and not only is the street full of potholes, but the sidewalk is bumpy too.

Eventually, something must be done to adress both issues. I'm saying to turn it into a 1960, hell you could even keep it at 4 lanes with no turning lane. But the current lanes need to be wider, and the side walks need to be wider. This stretch is too busy to be kept at its current suburban layout.

But how can you cater to both pedestrians and cars at the same time? I'm not saying all of Houston needs to be turned into some urban village, but keeping some areas walkable is going to mean that they are less car-friendly. Having to walk a couple of blocks to park is hardly the end of the world.

You can have both. And as mentioned before, the residents must find it annoying to have their streets stuffed with cars.

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Street widening is a short term solution. Eventually these residents will have to face the fact that people will have to park their cars somewhere. If the "free market" is capable of solving problems it should be able to solve this one pretty easily, without relying on government $.

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Because people still drive cars, and that road is horrible to drive on... it too narrow, and not only is the street full of potholes, but the sidewalk is bumpy too.

I drive a car, but I don't drive on Westheimer. Keeping it small and bumpy discourages car traffic, which seems like a good solution to me.

Eventually, something must be done to adress both issues. I'm saying to turn it into a 1960, hell you could even keep it at 4 lanes with no turning lane. But the current lanes need to be wider, and the side walks need to be wider. This stretch is too busy to be kept at its current suburban layout.

No, we don't have to address both issues. We could decide to make it a pedestrian zone. Park someplace else and walk. There's no law that says people have to be able to drive everywhere on wide, smooth streets.

You can have both. And as mentioned before, the residents must find it annoying to have their streets stuffed with cars.

If you widen Westheimer, you have to tear down a lot of businesses. If you tear down those businesses, there's no point in widening Westheimer, since there are faster ways to get through that area.

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Exactly. Widening roads is all Houston has ever done to address increasing traffic, which has resulted in roads like the above too wide to cross on foot safely (I know from experience). Houston needs to focus on public transportation in the core, not wider roads. It would completely change the character of these neighborhoods and make them even less pedestrian-friendly and more auto-oriented than they already are. There are enough areas in Houston with wide roads and mammoth freeways... we don't need them in the core.

It's a catch-22. If you can't accommodate increased accessibility to a neighborhood, not enough people can get there to justify the kind of critical mass that supports the density to justify pedestrian use or transit in the very first place. So you have to serve cars first, and that's a given. The real world isn't at all like Sim City. There's more than one way to skin a cat, though, and I'm not sure that widening Westheimer is the optimal solution.

As a solution for the parking problem, I'd suggest parking garages, either sponsored by the City of Houston, by a special district, or by a consortium of businesses that validate parking there. This could be a way to get around parking ordinances for some kinds of new development, as well. Or perhaps the City could provide tax incentives or matching funds; clearly these are something that would encourage development and increase the tax base after all.

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LOL, we need to start a HAIF drinking game. Every time Niche says "The real world isn't like Sim City", we should all take a shot.

;)

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DFW will always be ahead of Houston in MSA population. I don't see it changing. We might can close the gap a little, but I doubt it.

Yeah, our best bet for passing them would be if the Census decided to split their MSA in two, just like they did for San Francisco vs. San Jose. They're 49 miles apart vs. 33 miles for Dallas and FW. Possible, but not likely.

On the other hand, setting aside MSAs, we're solidly the 4th largest city in the country, with little risk of being displaced.

Edited by ToryGattis
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So Dallas grew by 146,000 and we grew by 130,000. I guess if we can't outgrow them with a spike in oil prices we never will outgrow them. I don't suppose people returning to New Orleans from Katrina could still be a factor?

Dallas & Fort Worth are the largest metro in Texas. 4th in the U.S. I believe. So Dallas & Fort Worth grew by 146,000. While Houston's metro is only what, 8th or something?

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Yeah, our best bet for passing them would be if the Census decided to split their MSA in two, just like they did for San Francisco vs. San Jose. They're 49 miles apart vs. 33 miles for Dallas and FW. Possible, but not likely.

On the other hand, setting aside MSAs, we're solidly the 4th largest city in the country, with little risk of being displaced.

Baltimore and Washington D.C. are only 35 miles away from one another, share a major airport, have crossed commuter patterns, and together would have a population of 8 million, yet they are treated as different metro areas.

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Dallas & Fort Worth are the largest metro in Texas. 4th in the U.S. I believe. So Dallas & Fort Worth grew by 146,000. While Houston's metro is only what, 8th or something?

6th behind Philly, but only because the Census added counties to Philly's metro area a year or so ago. We'll surpass them very soon, if we haven't already, and that makes us 5th in the nation right behind Dallas/FW.

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What bothers me is that in the long run, Houston will likely have to fight harder and harder just to keep up with the likes of Dallas and Atlanta. We are heavily dependent on one industry and that industry seems destined to be a much weaker foundation for our economy than it was in the late twentieth century, with the increasing willingness of the public to punish carbon and with the diffusion of talent around the world (the fact that we are still the nexus of energy know-how is a relic of our giant mid-twentieth century lead over the rest of the world in education and industry; we no longer have that lead and thus we cannot expect to remain for long the place that everyone turns to for expertise).

We are barely keeping up with Dallas and Atlanta in the midst of an oil boom; what happens if there is a bust? I can't think of any major industry where a bust could greatly hurt either of those two cities but if there is a bust (or gradual long-term decline) in the energy industry, Houston is in trouble. Atlanta has positioned itself as the corporate capital of the Southeast just as Chicago is for the Midwest, the city where big companies cluster, slowly sucking everything from other cities. Dallas seems to be doing this for the South Central region: if you take away energy, what corporate relocations has Houston been able to attract in the last few years? What has Dallas attracted?

If the domestic energy industry slowly dies (as every other heavy industry in America seems to be dying) and Dallas consolidates its position as regional capital, Houston could end up seeing the fate of other industrial cities that were not the capital of their region: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. I'm hoping one of you can convince me that I'm wrong.

Edited by H-Town Man
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What bothers me is that in the long run, Houston will likely have to fight harder and harder just to keep up with the likes of Dallas and Atlanta. We are heavily dependent on one industry and that industry seems destined to be a much weaker foundation for our economy than it was in the late twentieth century, with the increasing willingness of the public to punish carbon and with the diffusion of talent around the world (the fact that we are still the nexus of energy know-how is a relic of our giant mid-twentieth century lead over the rest of the world in education and industry; we no longer have that lead and thus we cannot expect to remain for long the place that everyone turns to for expertise).

We are barely keeping up with Dallas and Atlanta in the midst of an oil boom; what happens if there is a bust? I can't think of any major industry where a bust could greatly hurt either of those two cities but if there is a bust (or gradual long-term decline) in the energy industry, Houston is in trouble. Atlanta has positioned itself as the corporate capital of the Southeast just as Chicago is for the Midwest, the city where big companies cluster, slowly sucking everything from other cities. Dallas seems to be doing this for the South Central region: if you take away energy, what corporate relocations has Houston been able to attract in the last few years? What has Dallas attracted?

If the domestic energy industry slowly dies (as every other heavy industry in America seems to be dying) and Dallas consolidates its position as regional capital, Houston could end up seeing the fate of other industrial cities that were not the capital of their region: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. I'm hoping one of you can convince me that I'm wrong.

A decline of the energy industry would be offset by economic diversification, just like occurred during the 1990's. We are a large coastal port city with a nice climate and very little influence from labor unions. For now, we aren't in danger of going the way of the rust belt cities. Growth would be much slower, more similar I think to San Antonio in character.

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What bothers me is that in the long run, Houston will likely have to fight harder and harder just to keep up with the likes of Dallas and Atlanta. We are heavily dependent on one industry and that industry seems destined to be a much weaker foundation for our economy than it was in the late twentieth century, with the increasing willingness of the public to punish carbon and with the diffusion of talent around the world (the fact that we are still the nexus of energy know-how is a relic of our giant mid-twentieth century lead over the rest of the world in education and industry; we no longer have that lead and thus we cannot expect to remain for long the place that everyone turns to for expertise).

We are barely keeping up with Dallas and Atlanta in the midst of an oil boom; what happens if there is a bust? I can't think of any major industry where a bust could greatly hurt either of those two cities but if there is a bust (or gradual long-term decline) in the energy industry, Houston is in trouble. Atlanta has positioned itself as the corporate capital of the Southeast just as Chicago is for the Midwest, the city where big companies cluster, slowly sucking everything from other cities. Dallas seems to be doing this for the South Central region: if you take away energy, what corporate relocations has Houston been able to attract in the last few years? What has Dallas attracted?

If the domestic energy industry slowly dies (as every other heavy industry in America seems to be dying) and Dallas consolidates its position as regional capital, Houston could end up seeing the fate of other industrial cities that were not the capital of their region: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. I'm hoping one of you can convince me that I'm wrong.

Not a single fact to back up this woe is me post. Why should anyone convince you that you are wrong when you haven't convinced anyone to even suspect that you are right? This post might have carried a tiny bit of weight a year ago, but the recession has hit Atlanta's consumer based corporations in the head with a 2x4. Show us some stats that say Houston is losing ground, and we might look into it. A Census estimate that Houston is 2nd in population growth isn't making anyone break out the razor blades yet.

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A decline of the energy industry would be offset by economic diversification, just like occurred during the 1990's. We are a large coastal port city with a nice climate and very little influence from labor unions. For now, we aren't in danger of going the way of the rust belt cities. Growth would be much slower, more similar I think to San Antonio in character.

Yeah, I can see the San Antonio comparison. I guess the main problem I see is in our ability to attract corporations unrelated to energy. In recent years Dallas has brought in AT&T and Comerica, as well as smaller companies like Brach's - all companies that didn't have to be in a particular place, but chose Dallas because of its high profile as a corporate center. It seems that in most regions, in the long run, a certain city tends to become preeminent and the other cities become subordinate. As long as the energy industry stays strong we're fine, but I worry that it will shrink here over time.

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Yeah, I can see the San Antonio comparison. I guess the main problem I see is in our ability to attract corporations unrelated to energy. In recent years Dallas has brought in AT&T and Comerica, as well as smaller companies like Brach's - all companies that didn't have to be in a particular place, but chose Dallas because of its high profile as a corporate center. It seems that in most regions, in the long run, a certain city tends to become preeminent and the other cities become subordinate. As long as the energy industry stays strong we're fine, but I worry that it will shrink here over time.

So, which is better, to have a high profile as a corporate center, or to actually HAVE more corporate headquarters in your corporate center? Seems to me that image is more important to you than substance, since Houston actually is home to more Fortune 500 headquarters than Dallas, but Dallas claims to be "high profile". And, those "high profile" relocations you mentioned brought fewer than 1,000 jobs to Dallas. You might check who created more jobs than any city in the country the last few years before you plant a tombstone in downtown Houston.

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What bothers me is that in the long run, Houston will likely have to fight harder and harder just to keep up with the likes of Dallas and Atlanta. We are heavily dependent on one industry and that industry seems destined to be a much weaker foundation for our economy than it was in the late twentieth century, with the increasing willingness of the public to punish carbon and with the diffusion of talent around the world (the fact that we are still the nexus of energy know-how is a relic of our giant mid-twentieth century lead over the rest of the world in education and industry; we no longer have that lead and thus we cannot expect to remain for long the place that everyone turns to for expertise).

We are barely keeping up with Dallas and Atlanta in the midst of an oil boom; what happens if there is a bust? I can't think of any major industry where a bust could greatly hurt either of those two cities but if there is a bust (or gradual long-term decline) in the energy industry, Houston is in trouble. Atlanta has positioned itself as the corporate capital of the Southeast just as Chicago is for the Midwest, the city where big companies cluster, slowly sucking everything from other cities. Dallas seems to be doing this for the South Central region: if you take away energy, what corporate relocations has Houston been able to attract in the last few years? What has Dallas attracted?

If the domestic energy industry slowly dies (as every other heavy industry in America seems to be dying) and Dallas consolidates its position as regional capital, Houston could end up seeing the fate of other industrial cities that were not the capital of their region: Philadelphia, Cleveland, Detroit, etc. I'm hoping one of you can convince me that I'm wrong.

Do you not know what's going on in the world? Oil dropped to $45, and now it's rising about $50. That's no boom.

And Houston is a regional capital. We have a port. Does Atlanta or Dallas? That alone will help us "in the long run". And FYI, energy companies don't only deal in Oil.

Yeah, I can see the San Antonio comparison. I guess the main problem I see is in our ability to attract corporations unrelated to energy. In recent years Dallas has brought in AT&T and Comerica, as well as smaller companies like Brach's - all companies that didn't have to be in a particular place, but chose Dallas because of its high profile as a corporate center. It seems that in most regions, in the long run, a certain city tends to become preeminent and the other cities become subordinate. As long as the energy industry stays strong we're fine, but I worry that it will shrink here over time.

Why? We are the Energy Capital for a reason, and unless the world decides to go hippie and live in the forest, we'll always need some form of Energy.

Don't be so gloomy.

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