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Double L

Houstons Inner Loop Getting Denser

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I think it has to be b/c he has a Houston Identity video, and started the Houston Identity thread...

So that is him?

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Great video Double L! I agree that the inner loop is getting more dense, but just because it is getting that way doesn't mean it is ideal. Its not the uniform density you see in other cities that have zoning. For example, you are in a nice new mix use development, but you walk across the street and their is an empty lot, next to an abandon house, next to an old run down house (that people live in), ditch streets, leaning powerlines, skinny sidewalks (if any), maybe a dirt path instead, a 1980s METRO bus stop and no uniform vision for the future.

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Great video Double L! I agree that the inner loop is getting more dense, but just because it is getting that way doesn't mean it is ideal. Its not the uniform density you see in other cities that have zoning. For example, you are in a nice new mix use development, but you walk across the street and their is an empty lot, next to an abandon house, next to an old run down house (that people live in), ditch streets, leaning powerlines, skinny sidewalks (if any), maybe a dirt path instead, a 1980s METRO bus stop and no uniform vision for the future.

I mentioned on the other thread that I think that you're confusing some concept of 'world class' with a concentration of wealth, and I stand by that remark. By and large, Houston is not a wealthy city. How we live reflects that (in most neighborhoods). Its nothing to be ashamed of; actually, I'm quite proud of it. Where else can a poor man with a work ethic live so comfortably, inclusively and with so many civic amenities? Mind you, it doesn't mean that he wears deodorant...

Edited by TheNiche

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I mentioned on the other thread that I think that you're confusing some concept of 'world class' with a concentration of wealth, and I stand by that remark. By and large, Houston is not a wealthy city. How we live reflects that (in most neighborhoods). Its nothing to be ashamed of; actually, I'm quite proud of it. Where else can a poor man with a work ethic live so comfortably, inclusively and with so many civic amenities? Mind you, it doesn't mean that he wears deodorant...

Houston is a city that has no reason to be poor. It has one of the highest city GDPs in the world. A large concentration of millionaires and a hand full of billionaires. But it also has a large poor population. I believe it has more uninsured children than any other city in the nation. How can a city so rich be so poor at the same time?

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Houston is a city that has no reason to be poor. It has one of the highest city GDPs in the world. A large concentration of millionaires and a hand full of billionaires. But it also has a large poor population. I believe it has more uninsured children than any other city in the nation. How can a city so rich be so poor at the same time?

*cough*illegalimmigrants*cough*

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Houston is a city that has no reason to be poor. It has one of the highest city GDPs in the world.

The 'D' stands for "Domestic". GDP doesn't equal aggregate income at the municipal level.

Houston's petrochemical complex is very capital-intensive per unit of output. It was financed and is owned by global capital, so the facilities aren't ours and neither are the profits.

A large concentration of millionaires and a hand full of billionaires. But it also has a large poor population. I believe it has more uninsured children than any other city in the nation. How can a city so rich be so poor at the same time?

Poor people can afford to live here and take risks here, and so they move here from places that aren't as easy to live. Many of them start businesses; most hang on by a shoestring or go bust, but a few do exceedingly well. Its actually very inspiring.

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The 'D' stands for "Domestic". GDP doesn't equal aggregate income at the municipal level.

Houston's petrochemical complex is very capital-intensive per unit of output. It was financed and is owned by global capital, so the facilities aren't ours and neither are the profits.

Poor people can afford to live here and take risks here, and so they move here from places that aren't as easy to live. Many of them start businesses; most hang on by a shoestring or go bust, but a few do exceedingly well. Its actually very inspiring.

Great post niche! And I know what the "D" in GDP stands for, I just didn't know what to call it for the city or metro level.

So how does Houston's aggregate income at the municipal level rank among other cities?

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At the city level it's called Gross "Metropolitan" Product (GMP) of which Houston is in the top 5 of all U.S. MSAs, but Niche is right it doesn't necessarily mean the money stays here.

Houston as a whole is comparably wealthier than most areas of the country and there's no reason for us not to get our act together in terms of development. Cities like Atlanta can zone even the poorest of areas to make them look planned and organized (decent). Without zoning, or at least more strict development codes, the only way the "free market" will develop more sophisticated areas in Houston is to do it voluntarily to attract the middle class to wealthy folks. That's why I'm all for more wealth in Houston.. it's our form of zoning!

There's also a misconception that zoning only decides land uses such as residential, commercial, or light industrial and not other things like architectural styles, development orientation, landscaping requirements or sidewalk widths. However when an area is zoned for say light industrial and a developer wants to build multi-family residential on a particular lot, he/she applies for a zoning change. The city then uses their authority to approve or disapprove the zoning request as leverage to require all sorts of other stipulations before they will re-zone the property and allow the developer to start building.

This is similar to the City of Houston's Planning Dept.'s "Request for Variance" process but zoning has more teeth because if the developer does not agree to the city's stipulations to put a spire on a building or add more brick to the facade then they risk not being able to build the multi-family units ALTOGETHER, whereas in Houston the developer could simply say "to hell with it, we'll stick to your parking and setback requirements, but we're still building the units". The 360 agreement approval for the new Heights area Walmart will act similar to zoning in that the city has required certain architectural stipulations before approving reimbursing the developer for planned infrastructure improvements. Walmart might have proceeded with construction regardless, but a developer with less-deep pockets might have had to abandoned the project altogether.

Niche is cut from a different cloth than myself and I can respect that, but there's very few unplanned areas of Houston that I actually enjoy visiting. I get so tired of looking at rural, culverted ditches on the sides of raggedy, pot-hole filled roads with 3 ft sidewalks one mile from downtown Houston and seas of asphalt parking lots without a tree or bush in sight to break up the monotony!

I can't wait til zoning comes up for a vote again. I'm hoping enough yuppies have moved to Houston over the past 10-20 years at least make it a close vote this time! :)

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