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How are we going against the grain in Houston?

Most of what gets built in Houston IS THE GRAIN.

There are two possible interpretations of "the grain". One is the grain of the market economy and the other is the grain of the popular economy, which has its roots in politics and current architectural paradigms. You should have very little trouble guessing which side I take.

The only thing that makes Houston unique is that we allow these things to be built in the CENTER of our city on property that has so much more potential.

You speak of this extraordinary potential that is being missed out on. I must disagree. In cities with strong urban planning (and there are plenty of examples), land is artificially removed from development by various ordinances and zoning policies, thus focusing all of the FINITE potentials available to that city into a relatively small area. This is done to propogate the architectural and aesthetic paradigms of this particular decade.

In Houston, our potentials are spread out. The rising tide lifts all boats. The changes to particular neighborhoods are slow and evolving even if, on the whole, the metro area is booming. From the perspective of a homeowner, I'd hate to have the City steal my appreciation potentials away to other areas that they deemed more deserving for whatever arbitrary reason. Also, if I owned a home in a neighborhood that was underserved by retail and a CVS was prevented from building on a vacant lot by way of regulation, I'd be pissed. Better a CVS in any form than dirt.

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What the hardcore urbanist needs to understand (and I'm not posting bout anyone in particular, just about a general class of individual who is becoming more obnoxious as the years come and go) is that he's not nearly as impressive as he thinks he is. He's just not. He also needs to understand that this is 2006 and not 1926. People just aren't as awed by New York anymore. They just aren't. The fact that New Yorkers--or at least a handful of them--have decided not to join the rest of the country, to isolate themselves instead, and to fawn over their compressed landscape of dated, cookie-cutter (that's right, I said it) brick buildings built two or three stories above the ground and with little landscaping or parking isn't the big deal that the coffee house crew think it is. To them, yes. To the rest of the country, no.

And the more I hear/read about this self-righteousness, the more I'm inclined to say that there's no difference between the suburban snob and the urban snob other than the latter chooses not to drive or have a yard. No real difference. Both are waaay too impressed with themselves.

But so it goes.

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Also, if I owned a home in a neighborhood that was underserved by retail and a CVS was prevented from building on a vacant lot by way of regulation, I'd be pissed. Better a CVS in any form than dirt.

I do not think anyone is complaining mostly about the CVS or any business that enters the Houston market but more of how the land is used and how the design does not service the pedestrian. There should not be a reason why someone walks three full blocks in midtown and the maximum number of businesses they pass up are three on what are suppose to be "fully developed" blocks.

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^^^

And here's another problem I have. If the pedestrian needs to be served in Houston in a better way (an idea with which I personally agree) then those who have an interest in such need to be more vocal and more proactive. I don't expect developers to develop in a way that is outside the box of what's been successful for them. The fact is that well over 75% of development in this country caters to the person who's willing to drive--even prefers to drive. Pedestrian neighborhoods are born out of a verifiable committment by those who'll choose--demand, in fact--to live there.

In Houston (in Dallas, in Atlanta, in Phoenix, in most cities, in fact), that's a small percentage but not nearly as small as the developer thinks. The developer needs to be influenced by a vocal and insistent market of buyers/renters. If the potential buyers are half-committed, then the developer isn't influenced to develop Midtown in a way that the urbanist desires. There will still be a lot of the quasi-urban or even suburban style design and development that infuriates today's urbanist.

In this, I tend to more "blame" the neighborhood groups that are supposed to be in charge of forming a vision for these near-DT communities. There seems to be only a faint level of influence on development in these communities.

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Oh, I agree, and with that I was framing my comments as the pertain to Houston, in particular. Because Houston doesn't have governmental controls for 'X' type of development, developers will continue to develop in a way that's cost effective and serves the supposed interest of their clients. If the client begins to demand different from what's being offered, the developer begins to change his tune.

The fact that 4th Ward, Midtown, the Warehouse District, Rice Military and other intown neighborhoods have seen the change in development over the last ten years that they have speaks to this. Still not 100% what the urbanist wants but certainly a change from the past.

Would this be expediated with aggressive zoning? Yes. No argument there.

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Do you realize how much NO ZONING influences how a city is built no matter how many neighborhood organizations you have? You will get a huge bite me from developers.

Nobody on this board has ever been able, or bothered to take the time, to show how much NO ZONING influences how a city is built. Personally, I think the lack of zoning has had very little effect. I will ask again, specifically, please, how has the lack of zoning caused Houston to develop differently from similarly-situated cities (e.g., Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, maybe Denver)? Just to kick things off, the presence or absence of drive-through CVS's with large parking lots is not a result of the lack of or presence of zoning. That has more to do with other land-use regulations, which Houston indeed has (e.g., parking requirements, setback requirements, etc.)

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I will ask again, specifically, please, how has the lack of zoning caused Houston to develop differently from similarly-situated cities (e.g., Dallas, Atlanta, Phoenix, maybe Denver)?

Phoenix may be the exception, but contrary to popular belief, Atlanta and Dallas does have greater control of how the core of their city is developed. I am not saying every development that has taken place has the pedestrian in mind, but what would places like the West End, Deep Ellum, Knox Henderson, Greenville Avenue, and many other places in central Dallas look like if they were located in Houston? Would plans such as the West Village or the many projects for Uptown even come to fruition if the land wasn't regulated. Intown ATL has identity. Some of those century old retail districts are still pretty lively among some of its older neighborhoods and developers respect that. I do not even think places like Denver and Portland need to be in this topic.

By the way, didn't 002 magazine have an article about the apathetic attitude when it comes to developing in this city compared to other cities such as Atlanta. I think CVS was the focus in that article.

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If you click on different areas of the aerial it shows what is going on in their core.

Am I supposed to be depressed at Denver's 8-10 partial blocks of infill versus Houston's 45 blocks since the year 2000? Is that why Denver should not be included in this topic, because downtown Houston is redeveloping at a much faster pace?

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Phoenix may be the exception, but contrary to popular belief, Atlanta and Dallas does have greater control of how the core of their city is developed. I am not saying every development that has taken place has the pedestrian in mind, but what would places like the West End, Deep Ellum, Knox Henderson, Greenville Avenue, and many other places in central Dallas look like if they were located in Houston? Would plans such as the West Village or the many projects for Uptown even come to fruition if the land wasn't regulated. Intown ATL has identity. Some of those century old retail districts are still pretty lively among some of its older neighborhoods and developers respect that. I do not even think places like Denver and Portland need to be in this topic.

By the way, didn't 002 magazine have an article about the apathetic attitude when it comes to developing in this city compared to other cities such as Atlanta. I think CVS was the focus in that article.

You are typing in very broad generalities and have shown no correlation between the different development patterns you've mentioned and zoning. What zoning do Dallas and Atlanta have in those areas that caused them to develop in such a manner? What zoning has allowed those century old retail districts to survive in Atlanta? Zoning only designates what kinds of uses a particular property may be used for. Other regulations (which, again, Houston has, but apparently the wrong kind, at least in some places) determine property setbacks, parking requirements, etc, etc.

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Do you realize how much NO ZONING influences how a city is built no matter how many neighborhood organizations you have? You will get a huge bite me from developers.

No zoning is always the easy excuse for an area not developing the way one might prefer. Their is restrictions and approvals of what and how developments are built anyways. Be honest with yourself, can you tell a difference between the way Dallas and Houston is growing? Their are huge parking lots DT and shopping centers just outside of DT in both cities.

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Sorry, if we are talking about the city of Dallas ONLY (not the burbs) then there is a BIG difference in how she is growing compared to Houston.

First and foremost, Dallas has zoning which creates clear boundaries for development. This means that most residential neighborhoods in Dallas are clearly RESIDENTIAL in nature and have nearby "main streets" that contain all of the other uses of development. People in Houston go gaga over the Rice Village, but Dallas is FULL of little Villages that serve diverse neighborhoods.

Secondly, Dallas neighborhoods have differing building code regulations that require such things as setbacks in certain neighborhoods (mainly residential) and differing codes that have to be followed in areas that are zoned for commercial use. This is why the local village centers in the Dallas area are built closer to the sidewalk with parking hidden from view in the rear of most properties.

Now, many people confuse zoning with other building regulations, but the fact of the matter is, a lack of zoning does hurt Houston. It's why we have businesses located on residential streets, self-storage units on primary boulevards, and industrial warehouses and even factories literally in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

No zoning hasn't hurt Midtown per se, but inacting a zoning law couldn't hurt it either. What midtown truly needs is a variance on the current building codes. Right now, someone who wants to build a pedestrian friendly "urban" type development has to bend over backwards to appease the city. The current laws require certain amounts of parking per square foot and setbacks that pretty much require new projects to have surface parking out front. The city has made it VERY easy to allow for suburban developers to build what they want and very difficult for someone with a different vision.

Thus, in the end, it really wouldn't matter much what a local neighborhood group in Midtown came up with unless there was enough pressure to change city codes. There was significant public backlash to the original CVS across the street from Post Properties' Midtown Square but that didn't change anything because CVS was following city guidelines!

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Sorry, if we are talking about the city of Dallas ONLY (not the burbs) then there is a BIG difference in how she is growing compared to Houston.

First and foremost, Dallas has zoning which creates clear boundaries for development. This means that most residential neighborhoods in Dallas are clearly RESIDENTIAL in nature and have nearby "main streets" that contain all of the other uses of development. People in Houston go gaga over the Rice Village, but Dallas is FULL of little Villages that serve diverse neighborhoods.

Secondly, Dallas neighborhoods have differing building code regulations that require such things as setbacks in certain neighborhoods (mainly residential) and differing codes that have to be followed in areas that are zoned for commercial use. This is why the local village centers in the Dallas area are built closer to the sidewalk with parking hidden from view in the rear of most properties.

I guess my brother lives in a different Dallas then your talking back. I visit monthly and I wish I knew what little villages your talking about. Houston has a liitle more then rice. Their is no difference in what the cities look like. Dallas has gas stations back up to residential neighborhoods as well. Dallas has a self storage unit leading on the main BLVD to my brothers building. The only difference betwwen the two is that Houston has several areas growing which I think it takes away from each neighborhood and Dallas has Midtown.

Edited by Ethanra
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Deep Ellum is one of the areas. Others include Fair Park, Lovers Lane, Mockingbird Station, Winnetka Heights, Cityplace, Lakewood, Oak Lawn, Turtle Creek, Munger Place, Lower Greenville, Victory Park, Cedars, Kessler, Knox Park, Cedar Springs, West End, Swiss Avenue, State-Thomas, M Steets, Hollywood Heights, Preston Hollow, Scyene, Throckmorton, LoMac...

West Village

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townhomes in State-Thomas...notice no forward garages and built to sidewalk

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SUBWAY

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Mockingbird Station

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Mockingbird%20Station%20Connection.jpg

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Now, many people confuse zoning with other building regulations, but the fact of the matter is, a lack of zoning does hurt Houston. It's why we have businesses located on residential streets, self-storage units on primary boulevards, and industrial warehouses and even factories literally in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

The older parts of many of our nation's larger and youger cities are like this. And zoning doesn't change what was...only what will be. And if you look at development patterns both inside the city and on the periphery, developers these days try to seperate land uses so as to eliminate the externalities of residential/industrial juxtapositions. You certainly aren't seeing new factories being built inside the loop. They're built in big industrial parks, well-seperated from anybody's home. The old Inner Loop factories and warehouses, meanwhile, are generally functionally obsolete, have a high vacancy rate, and are slowly being replaced with the next highest and best uses: housing and retail. So the markets are doing precisely what zoning boards would seek to ensure...and they're doing it efficiently with IMHO fewer errors.

Also, having businesses on residential streets isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some people work from home to keep their overhead low...they'd be put out of business or forced to raise their prices to cover costs if zoning laws were strictly enforced. Poor folks would probably be hurt the worst on that one.

Deep Ellum is one of the areas. Others include Fair Park, Lovers Lane, Mockingbird Station, Winnetka Heights, Cityplace, Lakewood, Oak Lawn, Turtle Creek, Munger Place, Lower Greenville, Victory Park, Cedars, Kessler, Knox Park, Cedar Springs, West End, Swiss Avenue, State-Thomas, M Steets, Hollywood Heights, Preston Hollow, Scyene, Throckmorton, LoMac...

That's all? As much buzz as I hear about these places, many of them seem to be pretty mundane. Especially all those apartments.

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No zoning hasn't hurt Midtown per se, but inacting a zoning law couldn't hurt it either. What midtown truly needs is a variance on the current building codes. Right now, someone who wants to build a pedestrian friendly "urban" type development has to bend over backwards to appease the city. The current laws require certain amounts of parking per square foot and setbacks that pretty much require new projects to have surface parking out front. The city has made it VERY easy to allow for suburban developers to build what they want and very difficult for someone with a different vision.

Thus, in the end, it really wouldn't matter much what a local neighborhood group in Midtown came up with unless there was enough pressure to change city codes. There was significant public backlash to the original CVS across the street from Post Properties' Midtown Square but that didn't change anything because CVS was following city guidelines!

On the topic of city codes/restrictions, please address this. I"ve read repeated here how the "city code" defines a setback of 25'. Yet there are numerous areas that are not, for instance 4th ward.

does anyone know definitively whether midtown (or portions thereof) are deed restricted? similarly for 4th ward?

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Deep Ellum is one of the areas. Others include Fair Park, Lovers Lane, Mockingbird Station, Winnetka Heights, Cityplace, Lakewood, Oak Lawn, Turtle Creek, Munger Place, Lower Greenville, Victory Park, Cedars, Kessler, Knox Park, Cedar Springs, West End, Swiss Avenue, State-Thomas, M Steets, Hollywood Heights, Preston Hollow, Scyene, Throckmorton, LoMac...

Those are the villages your talking about, your kidding me right?

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Sorry, if we are talking about the city of Dallas ONLY (not the burbs) then there is a BIG difference in how she is growing compared to Houston.

Caused by ZONING? As do most people on this topic, your postings have strayed off well beyond the topic of zoning. (For example, in your following post, you emphasize townhouses with no front-facing garages. Two things on that subject: (1) That has NOTHING to do with zoning, and (2) there are plenty of townhouses with rear-facing garages in Houston. Likewise, the fact that they were built to the sidewalk is not a zoning issue.)

First and foremost, Dallas has zoning which creates clear boundaries for development. This means that most residential neighborhoods in Dallas are clearly RESIDENTIAL in nature and have nearby "main streets" that contain all of the other uses of development. People in Houston go gaga over the Rice Village, but Dallas is FULL of little Villages that serve diverse neighborhoods.

Most residential neighborhoods in Houston are also clearly RESIDENTIAL in nature and have nearby "main streets" that contain all of the other uses of development. (And FWIW, I don't know anyone who goes "gaga" over Rice Village.)

Secondly, Dallas neighborhoods have differing building code regulations that require such things as setbacks in certain neighborhoods (mainly residential) and differing codes that have to be followed in areas that are zoned for commercial use. This is why the local village centers in the Dallas area are built closer to the sidewalk with parking hidden from view in the rear of most properties.

You MIGHT be on to something with this one, but how does that explain the townhouses built to the sidewalk? That is presumably not a commercially-zoned district. Apparently, there is a way to accomplish the different setback requirements short of a full-fledged zoning regime.

Now, many people confuse zoning with other building regulations, but the fact of the matter is, a lack of zoning does hurt Houston. It's why we have businesses located on residential streets, self-storage units on primary boulevards, and industrial warehouses and even factories literally in the middle of residential neighborhoods.

I have seen statements such as this countless times. Can you give me, oh, say, even 5 specific examples of "industrial warehouses and even factories" literally in the middle of residential neighborhoods? AND, if you can, can you also really guarantee that there are not similar juxtapositions in Dallas?

No zoning hasn't hurt Midtown per se, but inacting a zoning law couldn't hurt it either. What midtown truly needs is a variance on the current building codes. Right now, someone who wants to build a pedestrian friendly "urban" type development has to bend over backwards to appease the city. The current laws require certain amounts of parking per square foot and setbacks that pretty much require new projects to have surface parking out front. The city has made it VERY easy to allow for suburban developers to build what they want and very difficult for someone with a different vision.

It is possible that enacting a zoning law COULD hurt the development of Midtown. Is there really any doubt that bad zoning would be worse than no zoning at all? What if the zoning law made it strictly residential, or strictly multi-family residential? What if it zoned all commercial uses to Main Street. That does not get us to the vibrant mixed-use district we are hoping for...

Thus, in the end, it really wouldn't matter much what a local neighborhood group in Midtown came up with unless there was enough pressure to change city codes. There was significant public backlash to the original CVS across the street from Post Properties' Midtown Square but that didn't change anything because CVS was following city guidelines!

True enough, but again, largely irrelevant to the zoning debate. Nobody that I know of is complaining about the commercial usage of that tract of land, which, of course is what a zoning regime would address. The complaints are with the parking requirements and setback requirements, which, as you know are separate issues from zoning.

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311xInlineGallery.jpg

Well, well, well, Mr. Finger has let the cat outta the bag. Hopefully this one comes to fruition.

So any comments on the style from what we can see??

37 stories is pretty significant. Especially for a downtown residential rental tower. If the occupancy is absorbed quickly, then I think that we will see more towers sooner rather than later--and I would not be surprised if many of them were apartments with the intention of converting to condos later.

It also looks as if Finger and Turnberry could be positioning themselves to have the tallest buildings completed in Houston since ??? When was the last time Houston has a building completed of at least 38 stories??

Could be wishful thinking, but i am hoping that with the development of the new DT park, highrises will begin to surround it....sort of Chicago or NY style. They probably won't top 50 stories (we could only hope), but with a lot of midrises filling up the East side of DT, it is going to add to the density of that area. Any ideas on a date to begin construction? Are they going to have it ready or at least almost ready for the new park's opening. OR is it a matter of build the park first.......and the buildings will come?

m

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Could be wishful thinking, but i am hoping that with the development of the new DT park, highrises will begin to surround it....sort of Chicago or NY style. They probably won't top 50 stories (we could only hope), but with a lot of midrises filling up the East side of DT, it is going to add to the density of that area. Any ideas on a date to begin construction? Are they going to have it ready or at least almost ready for the new park's opening. OR is it a matter of build the park first.......and the buildings will come?

m

I think Finger has said construction on One Park Place is scheduled to start in January.

Was it rescheduled for today? I never heard for sure.

1:00 PM today

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I think Finger has said construction on One Park Place is scheduled to start in January.

1:00 PM today

That is awesome! Is it really starting construction TODAY?

Also, any news on the NAME of the new park?

m.

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That is awesome! Is it really starting construction TODAY?

Also, any news on the NAME of the new park?

m.

Just to clarify, the 1:00 PM today is when they are having the official groundbreaking and naming of the park. The One Park Place apartment building is scheduled to start in January.

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So, will this tower now be called "Discovery Tower." That actually isn't a bad name. Maybe this whole area will now have a "Discovery" theme to it. Something like Dallas' Victory.

Edited by Trae
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Not far off from H-Town Man's suggestion of Midway Green a month or so ago. Not bad. Certainly not a cookie cutter name.

I think it'll stick in a positive way. Of course, I could be wrong.

Like you, i will keep a positive attitude. I was trying to get back on (i was knocked off the internet) and disclose the new name. :(

Discovery Green. Hmmm.

How about starting a new thread..........GH???

What do we all think of the name......and its future potential?

Also, it would be interesting to know some of the other suggestions as well as the criteria for choosing.

I am so glad it did not include any type of Space City, Texas Forever, Down Home sort of stuff.

Not that i am not proud of Houston's past, or TX for that matter, i just know Houston seems to always get stuck in the rut of only two or three ways to describe her. ALSO, check out the new structure Gehry helped build in Chicago (in association with the Lake Front Park). Too bad we couldn't get something like that as a new architectural icon for Houston. Maybe a Calatrava.

m.

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From the perspective of a homeowner, I'd hate to have the City steal my appreciation potentials away to other areas that they deemed more deserving for whatever arbitrary reason.

Happens all the time, whenever they extend a freeway out to add new housing instead of letting the market compete for existing stock.

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Funny that you should mention how glad you are there wasn't a space theme.

The very first thing I thought of when I read the name was, "Oh crap, they named it after the Space Shuttle Discovery."

As for the previous tangent about Dallas, zoning, and other things...

Sorry to break off topic.

That said, I do notice a theme that the biggest foes to zoning in this thread are people who make their living off of the current environment in Houston. There's always the threat of the big bad government telling us what we can and can't build and that in the end, our growth will be compromised.

Funny thing is, EVERY other major city has zoning and yet development continues to occur in Miami, Seattle, New York, Dallas, LA, Portland, etc... It's just a better growth. Growth that emphasizes quality of life issues and sustainability. If that makes me a snob for believing such, then so be it.

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I agree that in some cases zoning can go wrong but I really do think there must be a right way to do it. The classic Houston method of suburban expansion -- declaring eminent domain and then putting in massive permanent infrastructure upgrades designed to attract development where there is little -- needs to be at least *tried* in someplace like midtown or North Main, ideally with some sort of visual standard (like you might find in the Woodlands, to use a suburban example everyone can relate to). Zoning-for-use, on the other hand, is something I don't really care for.

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Happens all the time, whenever they extend a freeway out to add new housing instead of letting the market compete for existing stock.

Yeah, but freeways and major thoroughfares have the opposite effect of artificial barriers put up by zoning.

When a neighborhood's development is forced at the expense of another's by decree of law, the higher prices of development to non-market standards cause a deadweight loss to the municipality because they're pricing some people out of the City (i.e. to unincorporated Harris County, a competing suburban municipality, or to another metro area) as a result of affordability problems. That deadweight is compounded when businesses follow those people.

With a freeway (paid for by a more general public), they're opening up a broad swath of land that was previously inaccessible to development. That doesn't mean that people are being forced to live there, just that they have the option. When people are allowed reasonable options, they will choose what is reasonable and what is not. Unless a decisive concensus can be built by means of a referendum, it is not the government's place to choose for them.

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I agree that in some cases zoning can go wrong but I really do think there must be a right way to do it. The classic Houston method of suburban expansion -- declaring eminent domain and then putting in massive permanent infrastructure upgrades designed to attract development where there is little -- needs to be at least *tried* in someplace like midtown or North Main, ideally with some sort of visual standard (like you might find in the Woodlands, to use a suburban example everyone can relate to). Zoning-for-use, on the other hand, is something I don't really care for.

Hmmmm... putting in massive permanent infrastructure upgrades designed to attract (re)development where there is little, like midtown or North Main. I have an idea! HMaybe we could try a light rail line.

Edited by Houston19514
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Yeah, but freeways and major thoroughfares have the opposite effect of artificial barriers put up by zoning.

Correct. Instead of barriers, they are subsidies. The effect is opposite.

Anyway, my point was that the end result is that the city is giving away your appreciation potentials in favor of suburban developers and rural landowners, and on your dime.

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Hmmmm... putting in massive permanent infrastructure upgrades designed to attract (re)development where there is little, like midtown or North Main. I have an idea! HMaybe we could try a light rail line.

Our starter line was a good start, but in my mind it is not nearly grand enough in scope. I can't wait for the rest of the lines to be put up.

I still like the idea of localized pseudo-zoning based on form rather than function.

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One Park Tower located overlooking Discovery Green. This definitely sounds urban to me. The park itself will be beautiful. The tower as well. And folks, please, don't compare this to Dallas' Victory or whatever. This is Houston building and adding and making itself a better city. Do not compare to Atlanta or anyplace, please. Comparisons are only opinions which are useless in my book. Apples to oranges? Doesn't work.

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Right conclusion. Wrong reason. Go back and read what I wrote.

Actually, I think I might know more about what you wrote than you do. If you still don't understand, feel free to question your initial assumption that land without eight-lane freeways is for some reason "inaccessible" to development.

Anyway, my point was that the end result is that the city is giving away your appreciation potentials in favor of suburban developers and rural landowners, and on your dime.

Edited by N Judah
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Actually, I think I know more about what you wrote than you do. If you still don't understand, feel free to question your initial assumption that land without eight-lane freeways is for some reason "inaccessible" to development.

Anyway, my point was that the end result is that the city is giving away your appreciation potentials in favor of suburban developers and rural landowners, and on your dime.

Uh, yeah, but what about all that other land that's around the eight-lane freeway? Read this, please. Now this one, on Pareto efficiency. And finally this one, on deadweight loss. Now break the assumption of the Von Thunen model and run an upgraded road out from the city toward the wilderness. Some land of initially low value is removed by the road, but everything around it just became more accessible and very much more valuable. Moreover, if the cost of laying relatively low-cost infrastructure such as roads and sacrificing a small amount of low-value land was below the amount of change of land value around the road, then that is because the project added value such that society as a whole was made better off (i.e. Pareto efficiency). That doesn't mean that there aren't winners or losers, just that society is better off if society can be viewed as a sum of its parts.

In comparison, the only effect that your policy has is to induce people to build up for lack of other options, regardless even of who provides those options. If the government is amenable to the idea of allowing private investors to completely finance transportation infrastructure, then toll roads will be built to outlying areas and the land values in suburban locations will reflect the relatively low cost of the toll, but will still fill in with housing, just as has been the typical pattern. That would be the ideal case, but it is one that can be replicated in the condition of Pareto efficiency if the government subsidy replaces private financing at the same time intervals. But then, you'd stated "Happens all the time, whenever they extend a freeway out to add new housing instead of letting the market compete for existing stock." So you would seem to be anti-freeway, altogether...a stance that is not supported in the free market.

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Subsidized freeways are not pareto efficient. Literally everyone loses except for the suburban developers and the people who are subsidized move out to these new developments. You in particular, as a homeowner, lose your "appreciation potential", and pay for the privilege. Something that makes a select few significantly better off while making everyone else much worse off cannot be said to be pareto efficient.

Being anti-freeway is completely compatible with the notion of a "free market." A truly free market is said in theory to be marked by an absence of artificial price pressures from taxes, subsidies, tariffs, or government regulation (and in practice doesn't really exist). This is different from your notion of a "free market" as simply being unregulated, which allows for a strong state, which is definitely what we have in Houston.

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I think we're missing the point here, which is that the name "Discovery Green" sucks.

Wrong (as always)... The point is that Downtown is not like Downtown Seattle. And yes, while "Discovery Green" sucks, what effect will it have on ... oh whats the name of that residential tower?

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I think we're missing the point here, which is that the name "Discovery Green" sucks.

Agreed. If we want to be sharp and on point, it may serve us all better to actually go to the thread that addresses the new park http://www.houstonarchitecture.info/haif/i...mp;#entry120820 to display our dismay at yet another 3rd rate exercise in civic branding.

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