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How Houston’s Missing Media Gene Hobbles Its Global City Ambitions

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How Houston’s Missing Media Gene Hobbles Its Global City Ambitions

http://www.newgeography.com/content/004137-how-houston-s-missing-media-gene-hobbles-its-global-city-ambitions

houston-bayou_1_0.jpg

 

 

This mindset explains why the city has a blind spot, a missing gene if you will, that keeps it from understanding the necessity of having a robust media presence as part of its ambition to become a true global city.

I have been saying this since I joined HAIF about 11 years ago. Houston really has no media presence. So much so that we get exited just when we hear Houston mentioned in a TV show or in the news. To other cities its just an everyday occurrence.

Edited by citykid09
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Houston is absolute nowhere when it comes to media or thought leadership, and seems indifferent to the fact.

 

 

I have been saying this since I joined HAIF about 11 years ago. Houston really has no media presence. So much so that we get exited just when we hear Houston mentioned in a TV show or in the news. To other cities its just an everyday occurrence.

 

 

Houston can brag all its wants about its legitimate accomplishments in important areas like job and population growth and in providing middle-class opportunity. But if it wants to claim the mantle of global city, or even just head off threats to its way of doing business, it needs, like the Bay Area, to self-consciously stake out the role of leader.  For starters, that means putting its bigtime financial and intellectual muscle behind getting its message out. That means, like it or not, investing not only in oil wells, but inkwells.

Sorry for all the edits, I am having a hard time adding quotes.

Edited by citykid09

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quote from one of the comments in the newgeography article: Far better to remain a "best kept secret" among the right kind of people. They will find out and come anyway. I tend to agree.

 

I've been to San Francisco (including other parts of the Bay Area) many times and I think it is a great place to visit. I'm glad I don't have to "live" there though (earthquakes notwithstanding).

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Excellent find!

 

I think the comment "...Houston will just keep chugging along, warts and all..." sums up our city perfectly.  We're far from perfect - and hardly the perfect example of what a city should be.  However, we don't seem to care.  While we are staring at numerous problems, some day perhaps we will address transit (be it bus, rail, portals etc) and also public spaces (bayou's, Galveston Bay, Katy Prairie etc) we have time  - and importantly space - to address these issues.

 

All said, we do indeed need a stronger local media.

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Having lived in both Houston and the Bay Area, I have to say that the lack of willingness to promote itself is one of the things that I have found refreshing about Houston.  In general, my take on the Bay Area was that people were generally very conscious of their image and the perception of others.  By comparison, I have found Houston to be much more conscious of actions and results. 

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Image matters

 

Only for narcissists, and Houston doesn't suffer from that. It's a "take us as we are kind of place.

 

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good for discussion, but this article was posted a few months ago. but apparently many missed it. continue...

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Image does matter.  If the idea got out that Houston - despite our flaws - is actually a nice town, we would see benefits to that message.

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While we are staring at numerous problems, some day perhaps we will address transit (be it bus, rail, portals etc) and also public spaces (bayou's, Galveston Bay, Katy Prairie etc) we have time  - and importantly space - to address these issues.

 

All said, we do indeed need a stronger local media.

 

Houston's public spaces are quite the item these days. Think Discovery Green, Market Square Park, Buffalo Bayou Park, and the recent and current improvements to Hermann Park as well as the expansion of hike and bike trails along Braes Bayou and other places. I believe soon we will be getting more widespread (positive) media attention weather we want it or not.

 

Yeah, I know I'm a booster. I'm a native (born at Hermann Hospital) and have lived in this city all my life except for 7 years in San Antonio. I wonder if any other city in the U.S. could handle as well the immense growth and cultural change Houston has experienced in past half century.

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If everyone knew how great Houston was, this city would have the best economy in America and the fastest population growth in the country.

 

Wait. We already do. 

 

I don't understand how image promotion is going to make Houston more successful. We are already successful. I think the city should concentrate on quality of life issues like improving parks, beautifying the overall landscape and improving mass transit.

 

I can see how it would be fun to brag about how great we are, but I don't see how a greater media presence or improving our image would actually improve Houston or get us anywhere. 

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Another stupid article that wishes Houston was more like San Francisco in terms of art/culture/architecture/laws/whatever. Admittedly, when you look at Houston, it isn't particularly iconic if you were to set something in Houston.

 

San Francisco has the Golden Gate Bridge, those trolleys, and lots of hills.

New York has the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty, as well as skyscrapers everywhere (at least in Manhattan).

 

A popular reason why LA (and by extension, California) is so popular is because that's where everything is (media companies). Trying to compete with that is a fool's game.

 

However, I read a better article that explains how Houston is becoming the indie film choice, partly because it's so diverse (here). And it is: you could find both pine trees, oak trees, and palm trees all in the area. It wouldn't be difficult to, depending on the neighborhood, to convince an audience that the characters are in Mexico, Southern California, or New Orleans.

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If everyone knew how great Houston was, this city would have the best economy in America and the fastest population growth in the country.

 

Wait. We already do. 

 

I don't understand how image promotion is going to make Houston more successful. We are already successful. I think the city should concentrate on quality of life issues like improving parks, beautifying the overall landscape and improving mass transit.

 

I can see how it would be fun to brag about how great we are, but I don't see how a greater media presence or improving our image would actually improve Houston or get us anywhere. 

 

The point of the article (old or not) was that globably people view SF as an innovator, home to creative people and a city you would want to live in despite how expensive it is.  Houston on the other hand, while also innovative and home to creative people is viewed as dirty/polluting/ugly and far less desireable.  Fair or unfair, Houston is viewed globably - and more so nationally - as a backwards town with a dirty/everyone hates oil economy.  People HATE the oil business.  Universally.  Except of course the people who make a living through the oil business.  People LOVE tech companies even though businesses like Twitter and facebook don't better our lives in any way - plastic/oil/petroleum products make our day better and even make it possible in some instances.  Tech companies are purely extravagance.

 

Houston has the best economy now.  Yet how long will that last?  We're successful, yes, but everyone can always be more successful.  Why not!  If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

 

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If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

 

 

How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion? 

Tourism? More super bowls? Maybe. As someone who loves Houston, improving Houston's image through promotion might make me feel better, but I don't see how it would make the city better or more successful.

 

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

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How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion?

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

 

To your first point... yes, additional tourism and visitors from out of town will be great.  Think of needing an additional 5,000 hotel rooms in downtown and midtown.  That's more development; so for me - an architect - that's great!

 

Second point:  Yep.  There is an image of a wrecking ball I posted on one of the Downtown residential threads... we could use something like that.

 

Obviously an improved self image might make potential start-up companies want to locate here for the pro-business climate and the quality of the city (as a whole), more small businesses equals more taxable incomes, equals more taxpayers, equals more money for the city.  I don't want Houston to cost as much as San Francisco, but I do want it to have a better self-image to the average guest or average American looking here be it for a place to live, work, visit... whatever I just want them to spend money.  More money = a good thing.

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The point of the article (old or not) was that globably people view SF as an innovator, home to creative people and a city you would want to live in despite how expensive it is. Houston on the other hand, while also innovative and home to creative people is viewed as dirty/polluting/ugly and far less desireable. Fair or unfair, Houston is viewed globably - and more so nationally - as a backwards town with a dirty/everyone hates oil economy. People HATE the oil business. Universally. Except of course the people who make a living through the oil business. People LOVE tech companies even though businesses like Twitter and facebook don't better our lives in any way - plastic/oil/petroleum products make our day better and even make it possible in some instances. Tech companies are purely extravagance.

Houston has the best economy now. Yet how long will that last? We're successful, yes, but everyone can always be more successful. Why not! If Houston's image is improved nationally then it will be to the cities benefit.

San Francisco has a good "reputation", but a large part of it is a facade, the crime and homeless population is still very high, and it's expensive to live. In the meantime, Houston is becoming better. The bayous are no longer polluted drainage ditches (or at least on the way to going away from that). All we can do is just hope that it remains together--Detroit went from a model city to a hellhole in two decades, for instance...

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How exactly? What tangible things will we get that we don't already have? What specifically do we need as a city that can only be gained through self promotion? 

Tourism? More super bowls? Maybe. As someone who loves Houston, improving Houston's image through promotion might make me feel better, but I don't see how it would make the city better or more successful.

 

I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

 

At first I didn't like where your post was going, but then I began to like it. I agree demolish all the trash shopping centers and billboards along ALL of the freeways especially I-45 and line the freeways with trees. My favorite freeways and tollway areas in Houston are surrounded by trees or submerged. For instants coming in to the West Loop from 290/I-10 area and the Beltway 8 from the City Centre are on south through the forested area.

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Only for narcissists, and Houston doesn't suffer from that. It's a "take us as we are kind of place.

Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

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Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

It's better than carpetbagger types that want Houston to be exactly like New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco.

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It's better than carpetbagger types that want Houston to be exactly like New York City, Chicago, or San Francisco.

 

That's silly.  Houston was founded by Northern Businessmen.

 

Houston will never by like NYC, Chicago or SF.  The same way those cities will never by like Houston, or any others listed.

 

Right now - all we have is the oil boom and we're cheap.  Oil has done wonders for this town - yes - no doubt about that!  However, it hasn't done enough to nix the perception that we are a backwards, dirty, sprawling, ugly city.

 

We all know about all the "cool" little places to eat, shop, shows to see, parks to visit, nice parts of town et cetera ...ad nauseam.  We all know about what makes this an interesting and dynamic place to live, but a lot of other people (who have money and I sure wouldn't mind if they came down here and spent the heck out of it) don't know those things.  The article (old as it is) clearly states that a town like SF (with all its problems) is light years ahead of Houston in the perception people have of it and the pedestal they place it on.

 

There's an old saying "Toot your own horn, because there's no one around that will do it for you."

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Sounds like stubbornness and people stuck in their ways to me.

 

SF is the poster child for stubborn elitists who are stuck in their own ways. SF didn't get where they are today by allowing 'anything' to happen. That is what Houston is famous for, remember? 

 

SF is so regulated and restricted that the middle class can't even exist there. People go there to spend money. People come here to make money. 

Edited by Metro West

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Right now - all we have is the oil boom and we're cheap.  Oil has done wonders for this town - yes - no doubt about that!  However, it hasn't done enough to nix the perception that we are a backwards, dirty, sprawling, ugly city.

 

The article (old as it is) clearly states that a town like SF (with all its problems) is light years ahead of Houston in the perception people have of it and the pedestal they place it on.

 

There's an old saying "Toot your own horn, because there's no one around that will do it for you."

 

I somewhat agree with your comments, but I do think that Houston's image has improved significantly in the last 5-10 years and expect that it will continue to do so.  I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's.  The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance.  Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

 

There are certain elements of the perception gap between SF and Houston that just can't be addressed.  SF has natural beauty that Houston will never have.  SF has an anchor industry (technology) that is way more appealing than energy is.  SF is an international tourism hub in way that Houston will probably never be.

 

Just keep in mind, that we kick SF's a** when it comes to GDP.  :)

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I somewhat agree with your comments, but I do think that Houston's image has improved significantly in the last 5-10 years and expect that it will continue to do so.  I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's.  The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance.  Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

Our current economic boom, a large percentage of the ship channel imports/exports and the rapidly growing manufacturing base are all due to oil.

 

I'm not complaining about Houston or saying oil is bad.  Far from it.  I just want our national image to improve - and like you said - it has improved over the past 5-10 years.  Though there is still plenty of room for improvement.

 

Edited by arche_757

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That's silly.  Houston was founded by Northern Businessmen.

 

Would it not be more accurate to say that Houston was founded by Slick Northern Land Promoters?

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Our current economic boom, a large percentage of the ship channel imports/exports and the rapidly growing manufacturing base are all due to oil.

 

I'm not complaining about Houston or saying oil is bad.  Far from it.  I just want our national image to improve - and like you said - it has improved over the past 5-10 years.  Though there is still plenty of room for improvement.

 

 

I'm really curious to see how it plays out as renewables start to become more cost-effective.  Houston is extremely well positioned to grab a large portion of that industry mainly because we have such a high concentration of engineering talent related to the energy industry.  (Not to mention that I think the oil companies are going to start acquiring a lot of renewable companies as soon as that starts to happen).  The city is clearly aiming that direction as well.

 

That would be a huge step towards improving the cities' image.

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I'm really curious to see how it plays out as renewables start to become more cost-effective.  Houston is extremely well positioned to grab a large portion of that industry mainly because we have such a high concentration of engineering talent related to the energy industry.  (Not to mention that I think the oil companies are going to start acquiring a lot of renewable companies as soon as that starts to happen).  The city is clearly aiming that direction as well.

 

That would be a huge step towards improving the cities' image.

 

That sort of foresight would really be great.

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Would it not be more accurate to say that Houston was founded by Slick Northern Land Promoters?

 

Slick as pig in puddle.

 

I love the old illustrations of Houston with the mountains depicted in the background that were promoted back in the North East and even in Europe.  The Allen brothers were smart.  I wonder what they would think of the city they founded if they could see it today 177 years later...?

 

Edited by Subdude

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I think we should concentrate on improving the visual landscape before we start promoting ourselves. Otherwise, it just might backfire. Let's start with demolishing everything that exist along the freeways from the airports to downtown. It makes me ill when I think what people who have never been to Houston before must think of Houston while driving down 45, Hardy or 59.

 

Improve that and Houston's image improves with it - so does the quality of life for the residents.

 

Regarding the rather constant complaint about the drive from Bush Airport to downtown Houston:

 

1.  I-45 is far better than it used to be.  59/69 is also better than it used to be.

 

2.  It's not as though there are significantly more-appealing drives from many other cities' airports to their downtowns.  Where are all of these glamorous and beautiful airport-to-downtown drives that I have apparently been missing out on?

Edited by Houston19514
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Slick as pig sh** in puddle.

 

I love the old illustrations of Houston with the mountains depicted in the background that were promoted back in the North East and even in Europe.  The Allen brothers were smart.  I wonder what they would think of the city they founded if they could see it today 177 years later...?

 

 

Hard to say - we're still infested with ants and Methodists, as one early critic put it (if you insert megachurches in place of Methodists)

 

Regarding the rather constant complaint about the drive from Bush Airport to downtown Houston:

 

1.  I-45 is far better than it used to be.  59/69 is also better than it used to be.

 

 

Is losing the gigantic "OWNER HAS BRAIN DAMAGE" car lot sign that much of an improvement?  I kinda miss it

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I somewhat agree with your comments, but I do think that Houston's image has improved significantly in the last 5-10 years and expect that it will continue to do so. I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's. The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance. Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

There are certain elements of the perception gap between SF and Houston that just can't be addressed. SF has natural beauty that Houston will never have. SF has an anchor industry (technology) that is way more appealing than energy is. SF is an international tourism hub in way that Houston will probably never be.

Just keep in mind, that we kick SF's a** when it comes to GDP. :)

And sf kills us in tourism and perception, which is what this thread is about.

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I recently had an old friend come into town who hadn't been here in a bit over 30 years.  

 

What initially blew her away was just how much bigger downtown has gotten.  Then, after a couple days, it was seeing what's going to be in place on Buffalo Bayou before long, trying to play "stump the host" on dining options and losing (she and her husband both have well stamped passports), seeing how walkable downtown has gotten around Market Square, and the museums.  They will be back, much sooner than in another 30 years.

 

As we gain convention capacity, and as we have a ton of people come in for things like the Super Bowl (I'm not holding my breath for a World Series, dangit), word will get around.

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And sf kills us in tourism and perception, which is what this thread is about.

Perception is a very difficult thing to change, for sure: but seeing that Houston is currently successful, it boils down to two things: do you want a great city or a city that's perceived to be great?

Don't pick the latter.

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And sf kills us in tourism and perception, which is what this thread is about.

You apparently missed the part of my post where I discussed those things. SF will always kill Houston in tourism and nothing will change that. SF has a natural setting that is matched by only a couple of cities in the world.

Houston is handcuffed in perception by its close ties to the oil industry. A negative that is outweighed by the huge economic benefits that the region gains from that industry. The comparison is pointless.

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I also think that you're underestimating the diversification of the economy that has happened since the 80's.  The Ship Channel and Texas Medical Center are both major economic players and are rapidly growing in national importance.  Houston is also rapidly growing its manufacturing sector (although a lot of that is tied to oil).

 

There are certain elements of the perception gap between SF and Houston that just can't be addressed.  SF has natural beauty that Houston will never have.  SF has an anchor industry (technology) that is way more appealing than energy is.  SF is an international tourism hub in way that Houston will probably never be.

 

 

The Ship Channel (other than importing cars and furniture), is completely centered around the petro-chemical industry (Oil). Our biggest import/export is Chemicals.

 

But I do agree on the second half. Our landscape is not something unique or that people would flock to from around the globe (our summers are grueling). A lot of Europeans like it though. Weirdos.

 

I kind of like that we don't have any major world famous landmarks. Houston is such an odd city, and I'm increasingly looking forward to see how the city develops and what changes come into place. My father says Houston will become more like a city in the north east.

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FIFY   ;-)

 

The Ship Channel (other than importing cars and furniture and coffe and other food and drink, and consumer goods and apparel, and fabrics and iron and steel products etc etc)  (and other than exporting food and drink, automotive, fabrics, consumer goods, apparel, and furniture, and cereals, and iron and steel products etc etc) , is completely centered around the petro-chemical industry (Oil). Our biggest import/export is Chemicals.

 

 

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^Primary imports/exports are chemicals related to - or - including petroleum products.  Yes of coure the Ship Channel has more than just those single materials coming in.  Port of Galveston is one of the biggest importers of Wind Turbines (different port but part of the region).  Houston is a pretty big coffee port, and is some how certified in some rather important way that I'm simply too lazy to look up right now.  I also think all of the imported Volkswagon autos come into Port of Houston?

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A recent publication (a Christian-based news magazine, of all things) hailed Houston as the next global city because of its can-do attitude, partly because it's so diverse (both people-wise and space-wise). And it is. It can fulfill the role of blue-collar shipping town, big-city metropolis, cultural anchor (Houston food is getting more renowned), or quiet subdivisions. You can live near trees and lakes, or you can live a life of urban density. You can afford to live relatively close to downtown (at least were, that may be changing) without living in a slum.

Take it or leave it.

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Is losing the gigantic "OWNER HAS BRAIN DAMAGE" car lot sign that much of an improvement?  I kinda miss it

 

I miss it greatly. If you are going to have a big, ugly sign blocking my view of the trees at least have it so it makes me smile. By the way, the OWNER HAS BRAIN DAMAGE sign was at the back of a car lot and it only blocked the view into someone's questionably landscaped back yard.

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A lot of People say Houston is ugly. In my opinion Houston was made ugly by its leaders, it doesn't have to be ugly just because their are no hills. I think the Woodlands is a beautiful area. It was beautifully developed and the forest is a big plus. If Houston has a whole had the right leadership from the beginning it would not have to be the endless development,  none walkable place that it is.

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A lot of People say Houston is ugly. In my opinion Houston was made ugly by its leaders, it doesn't have to be ugly just because their are no hills. I think the Woodlands is a beautiful area. It was beautifully developed and the forest is a big plus. If Houston has a whole had the right leadership from the beginning it would not have to be the endless development,  none walkable place that it is.

 

I don't agree.  The city proper - inner city (the old part of town) is not ugly.  The unmitigated sprawl from outside of the Loop is pretty narly (in places).

 

Houston's setting isn't ugly.  If flat coastal planes aren't to everyone's liking so be it, but there is a natural beauty to be found in the coastal areas.  The Katy Prairie is pretty too, as are the formerly old growth Piney Woods.  Houston is fortunate that it is at the crossroads of those three zones and not stuck in just one.

 

We just need to make sure that beautification of the major roads in and around town happens, and that more parks are constructed for the residents of this area.  If say the Big Thicket were to triple in size that would hardly be a bad thing.  Granted its not really close, but still, you can see my point.

 

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I should add that I agree there should have been better control particularly of the areas outside the Loop from city leaders, but I wouldn't say they "made it" ugly.  More like they simply let things go.

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A lot of People say Houston is ugly. In my opinion Houston was made ugly by its leaders, it doesn't have to be ugly just because their are no hills. I think the Woodlands is a beautiful area. It was beautifully developed and the forest is a big plus. If Houston has a whole had the right leadership from the beginning it would not have to be the endless development,  none walkable place that it is.

No one "made" it ugly. Some of it was a bit undermaintained, but for every "ugly" place in Houston, I can counter with an "ugly" shot of San Francisco or New York City or Vancouver or Portland or Seattle.

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A lot of People say Houston is ugly. In my opinion Houston was made ugly by its leaders, it doesn't have to be ugly just because their are no hills. I think the Woodlands is a beautiful area. It was beautifully developed and the forest is a big plus. If Houston has a whole had the right leadership from the beginning it would not have to be the endless development, none walkable place that it is.

I wasn't trying to imply that Houston was ugly and I don't think it is. It was to point out that SF has a huge advantage based on its natural setting. The natural environment of Houston does not provide it any advantage related to tourism, it is similar to any number of other Midwestern cities. However, SF has one of the most unique locations/settings in the world. There is nothing that city planning could have done or can do to change that.

I don't agree with your comments about Houston's growth though. The objectives of Houston's leadership were to turn it into a global economic powerhouse, not to make it a "walkable place". That growth was in large part based on offering companies and immigrants low land prices, housing costs, and minimal government intervention. None of those things are conducive to the city that you envision.

If you read up on how Chicago developed, you'll see that Houston is following a very similar pattern. Both cities grew economically first and the "quality of life" came later.

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You guys sound so ignorant sometimes.that " SF will always be more popular for tourists because of the hills" crap is just bull.

SF is more popular because of what they have done not because of no stupid hills.

Las Vegas is flat as a pancake and undoubtedly has the most boring setting of any major city in the US BUT IT IS TOP THREE FOR TOURISM and it is above SF.

Orlando is top three too, and it too is flat. Miami and NY are also flat. So is London, Paris and a host of European cities.

Houston with its waterways and trees look far better than Vegas so the look of the area has nothing to do with tourism. Its what you do with it.

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Anyway why is houston so against change?

I like Houston how it is but adding things doesn't mean subtracting others.

Whats good for tourists are good for us. We use the parks too, beautification is good fit everybody. Improving transportation is good for both tourists and residents. Why can't we have a nice theme park, aquarium and gardens?

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You guys sound so ignorant sometimes.that " SF will always be more popular for tourists because of the hills" crap is just bull.

SF is more popular because of what they have done not because of no stupid hills.

Las Vegas is flat as a pancake and undoubtedly has the most boring setting of any major city in the US BUT IT IS TOP THREE FOR TOURISM and it is above SF.

Orlando is top three too, and it too is flat. Miami and NY are also flat. So is London, Paris and a host of European cities.

Houston with its waterways and trees look far better than Vegas so the look of the area has nothing to do with tourism. Its what you do with it.

The surroundings do have to do with it. People look at Vancouver, see its majestic bay, mountains, and forests surrounding it, and are tricked into thinking its a beautiful city. If you take out those elements, it's a rather average-looking city.

Orlando is popular because Disney pioneered essentially a new industry by reinventing the theme park. Remove Disney World and the myriad of hotels and theme parks that followed and you'll get nothing.

Las Vegas has casinos. We (being Houston, that is) are not Las Vegas or Orlando.

Furthermore, your question, "Anyway why is houston so against change?" is nonsense because it contradicts everything else talked about and happening. People have complained on HAIF about the loss of buildings and the need for preservation, and have been saddened as their neighborhoods gentrify. The change the Heights and Montrose have gone through in the last 5-6 years alone, much less the last decade, is enormous.

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You guys sound so ignorant sometimes.that " SF will always be more popular for tourists because of the hills" crap is just bull.

SF is more popular because of what they have done not because of no stupid hills.

Las Vegas is flat as a pancake and undoubtedly has the most boring setting of any major city in the US BUT IT IS TOP THREE FOR TOURISM and it is above SF.

Orlando is top three too, and it too is flat. Miami and NY are also flat. So is London, Paris and a host of European cities.

Houston with its waterways and trees look far better than Vegas so the look of the area has nothing to do with tourism. Its what you do with it.

 

You've got to be joking.  My comment was that SF has a natural advantage in tourism because it has a very unique setting that most people find extremely beautiful.  Saying that's not a factor is about the same as denying that Miami draws a lot of its tourism from its natural surroundings (oh wait, you said that too).

 

I didn't say it was the only factor, I said it was an advantage.  By the way, I hear that Hawaii's tourist numbers are good because of "what they have done", not the stupid beaches and volcanos.

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I think the Woodlands is a beautiful area. It was beautifully developed and the forest is a big plus. If Houston has a whole had the right leadership from the beginning it would not have to be the endless development,  none walkable place that it is.

 

The Woodlands is a master planned community, drawn up by developers to artificially create a new city from scratch. That said, it's nice that you recognized that, as (and this has been stated) many say they want this idealistic, walkable urban paradise, but what they want is some of New Urbanism-style master planned community.

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