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Lets start a "Camp fire chat" about what it would take to help Houston grow even more.

I think there should be proposals for more Natural Gas Refinaries, and way less restrictions, and built up the Houston Ship Channel. I think the more Natural Gas (and oil) Refinaries would benefit not only the Houston economy, but also the Nation's economy, to keep the prices at the pumps down.

I also think Houston should invest in more Nuclear Power. There will always be nuclear waste, but the technology has changed since Chernobyl and High Island.

Thats a start.

*Also, I still believe we need Monorail to connect the suburbs to the city's core. I mean, how long would it take to build a concrete track & beams? and how little room it could take.

Edited by Montrose1100
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I think Houston's City Council and city leaders could make more proposals to bring different types of business headquarters into Houston that don't pertain directly to energy. In another thread, it was talking about an LA Times article on Houston. Within that article, it was mentioned that 2 out of every 5 jobs in Houston have to do with the energy market. Houston should stay strong on the energy market, but needs to do more to become diverse in the international market so we're not so dependant on one source the way Detroit was with automobiles back in the day.

I'd also like to see more high-scale development between Houston and Galveston to the scale of Sugarland or Woodland's Town Centers, Meyerland Plaza, or MidTown's redevelopments, particularly across from freeway from MMP. Some upscale lofts have popped up. At least make that area more loft friendly with the same amenities as Midtown has. It could be another pedestrian nightlife-type area.

We should also have a few street festivals per year on Main Street Square at night similar to The Main Event back in Super Bowl 2004. Have it last from 9pm to 3 or 4am with no alcohol served except in the clubs. It's an area with great potential, and has a great vibe to it. Perhaps doing something like that with big name artists and sponsors like HoustonPress and MX/Sirus radio, and who knows.

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I'm not sure a monorail is the right way to go, but some kind of commuter rail is a no-brainer.

I think Houston would also make a great hub for a regional rail system with spokes going out to Galveston, Beaumont, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio.

And I think Houston needs to develop something entirely of its own. I'm not sure what. Maybe something artsy. The arts community in Houston is very active, but the quality of work is really poor, especially considering how many artists there are. I think the problem there is that Houston artists take themselves too seriously and think more of themselves than they really are. For a brief time I was in a position where I was reviewing the resumes of Houston artists, and they were pretty lame.

So maybe Houston needs to develop its own special style of food. Separate from the whole boring "Tex-Mex" thing that you can get at any chain restaurant from Beaumont to Bangkok. Something original. Something creative. But broad enough to be more than one dish.

I also think Houston should leverage the presence of NASA more. In most of the country, people think Florida when they think of NASA because they see the shuttle launches on TV. Houston has never properly capitalized on this great asset. Yes, the official NASA tour is pretty lame, so maybe private industry should make up for it. There could be a NASA-themed theme park. Or a hotel. Or a neighborhood. Imagine if everyone's mailboxes in Clear Lake were rockets. Something different, but large scale to draw attention. Heck, if Florida can create an industry around a cartoon mouse, certainly Houston can do something with space ships and astronauts.

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Houston should also become a fashion mecca. So many creative and marketable designers are in Houston, but have to do their work and their shows in NYC, LA, Miami, Aspen etc. to be showcased. Maybe Houston should work on developing a world-class fashion week for all the big name fashion companies.

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I also think Houston should leverage the presence of NASA more. In most of the country, people think Florida when they think of NASA because they see the shuttle launches on TV. Houston has never properly capitalized on this great asset. Yes, the official NASA tour is pretty lame, so maybe private industry should make up for it. There could be a NASA-themed theme park. Or a hotel. Or a neighborhood. Imagine if everyone's mailboxes in Clear Lake were rockets. Something different, but large scale to draw attention. Heck, if Florida can create an industry around a cartoon mouse, certainly Houston can do something with space ships and astronauts.

I like this idea the best. I think there is plenty of land close to the Johnson Space Center, so why not create a futuristic theme park for Houston. It could be like an Epcot. They have all those space rides there, so why not have them where the Space industry is located. I wish there was some Houston high powered official who ran across your post editor. I think the part I quoted needs to happen.

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I sure the hell hope so. Those things are ageing and not in a good way. Its time for something new, the next generation. Build those and test them here. That would get a lot of press ;)

Much, if not most, of the work on the shuttle's replacement vehicle is being done in Houston.

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Lets start a "Camp fire chat" about what it would take to help Houston grow even more.

I think there should be proposals for more Natural Gas Refinaries, and way less restrictions, and built up the Houston Ship Channel. I think the more Natural Gas (and oil) Refinaries would benefit not only the Houston economy, but also the Nation's economy, to keep the prices at the pumps down.

I also think Houston should invest in more Nuclear Power. There will always be nuclear waste, but the technology has changed since Chernobyl and High Island.

Thats a start.

*Also, I still believe we need Monorail to connect the suburbs to the city's core. I mean, how long would it take to build a concrete track & beams? and how little room it could take.

Houston's downstream energy sector, comprised primarily of chemicals and refining, has been a pretty stagnant employment driver for a long while, now. The most critical reason is that there is a lot of red tape involved in expanding or especially building new domestic facilities. And although capacity has been expanded at many facilities in spite of the red tape, technological improvements have led to less labor-intensive production processes. It's great as a tax base, but as an employment base, growth potentials are severely limited. Btw, natural gas isn't a refined product.

We can best leverage the strength of our ports by expanding container terminal capacity and relieving freight rail congestion. Right now, our intermodal terminals and rail yards are among the least efficient in the nation. In many cases, containers are hauled from the Port of Houston to San Antonio by truck before being loaded onto railcars headed west. It's just that bad, and UP has a difficult enough time maintaining the infrastructure they've got, much less upgrading it.

As I recall, there is a proposal to add another reactor to the South Texas Project or some other plant that is reasonably close. There are also the 16 coal plants and a few wind farms that have been proposed. These power plants will all help make electricity more affordable and will diversify the sources of our energy so that spikes in the price of oil and especially natural gas don't drastically affect electricity prices as they have in past years. Maintaining our low cost of living and doing business is extremely important if we wish to continue to grow as we have in the past.

As for monorail, screw that. Look at my maglev post from a ways back. It's very similar to what Editor suggests.

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Lots of good ideas here.

I agree that Houston missed the boat on private space exploration. Why is the spaceport being built in New Mexico anyway? In any event, that probably wouldn't have a huge economic impact, but you never know.

Niche makes a good point about terminal and rail capacity. One of Houston's best advantages is a central location coupled with the proximity of a large port, rail lines, major highways, and air cargo facilities at IAH. We should be the major shipping/logistics/air freight center for the central US and northern Mexico. The Walmart distribution center east of the city is an example of this.

I think one of the best things we can do to continue to grow the economy is to encourage entrepreneurs, both domestic and immigrants. I haven't seen recent statistics, but in the 1990s Houston led the country in new business formation. That helped pull the economy out of the bust of the 1980s. I would like to see Houston supplant LA or NYC as destinations for entrepreneurial immigrants. I want kids in China and India all thinking "I want to go to Houston, because there I can start a business and get rich." Try advertising to them, rather than toss away city marketing money on "Expect the Unexpected" nonsense.

Nuclear plants? I'm all for them, since with the current stack and deregulation we're just been messed over with high electricity prices.

Refineries? I think we already have our share, thanks. Polluting industries can hurt our image. Sure they will bring in some low-paying jobs, but they might backfire when companies consider quality of life issues. If anything, I would like to see Houston work to be recognized as a leader in energy efficiency - LEED-certified buildings, tree-planting, things like that. Nothing rocket science there.

Things like fashion and arts would be great, but I'm not sure what how you can kickstart them as major growth areas. In those areas it would be really tough to compete with the big guys.

I like the idea of some kind of local cuisine. Tex-Mex seems like it would be obvious, but editor is right that is has lost its local stamp. Viet-Mex fusion perhaps? :D

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Why is the spaceport being built in New Mexico anyway?

I think its got to do with safety you notice that Florida launches the shuttle off to the East of the United States if something happens it will be over the open waters. but that's just my opinion

Edited by Marty
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Btw, natural gas isn't a refined product.

As for monorail, screw that. Look at my maglev post from a ways back. It's very similar to what Editor suggests.

Smart a**... I meant Natural gas to be refined into gasoline. :P

I only suggested Monorail because it may be cheaper. Besides, goes with the whole epcot theme ;).

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I think its got to do with safety you notice that Florida launches the shuttle off to the East of the United States if something happens it will be over the open waters. but that's just my opinion

This is true. NASA uses the Earth's rotation as a factor in Shuttle launches so launches tend to head eastward. There is/was another launch faciility in California however it was mothballed.

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private space - what about that proposed launch facility in Brazoria Co.?

If they can launch rockets out of Maryland (the first one went off a couple of weeks ago), I don't see the problem with doing it from Texas.

Houston should also become a fashion mecca. So many creative and marketable designers are in Houston, but have to do their work and their shows in NYC, LA, Miami, Aspen etc. to be showcased. Maybe Houston should work on developing a world-class fashion week for all the big name fashion companies.

Another good idea. A lot of second-tier cities are doing this. It's kind of trendy these days, just like every town seems to have a film festival.

But it would be nice to see Houston come up with an original idea, instead of copying something from another city and always being considered followers.

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One thing I would love to see happen is for grade schools in the Houston area to educate at least a little on things going on in Houston; improvments, opporunities etc.

If we could stir up kids and get them thinking early for visions of Houston I think we'll be able to keep our top talent here and they will in return implement those visions.

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If they can launch rockets out of Maryland (the first one went off a couple of weeks ago), I don't see the problem with doing it from Texas.

Rockets are no problem, but something heavy as a Shuttle is another story. The closer to the equator you are, the less thrust and weight you need to get the vehicle up into orbit. This makes the cost cheaper. Florida is the chosen site for the Shuttle because of its mild climate year round and its location on the Earths surface in relation to the USA. Remember rockets are diff. from a Shuttle vehicle. We have had large rockets based in many US states with our nuclear forces and they are much cheaper to launch than a Shuttle or Shuttle type vehicle. ;)

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I wanna see Houston get more main events in boxing and mixed martial arts like Pride, K-1, and UFC. I'd LOVE to watch UFC in Toyota Center for example. Before UFC got big, they used to always fight at Arena Theatre. Now, it's always Anaheim and Las Vegas. Houston LOVES a good fight, and perhaps the Sports Authority can do more to build a strong boxing and fighting collition so main event fights could be hosted in Houston. Imagine if the Astrodome were turned into a hotel. That could also be the perfect backdrop for main-event boxing and mma fights.

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I wanna see Houston get more main events in boxing and mixed martial arts like Pride, K-1, and UFC. I'd LOVE to watch UFC in Toyota Center for example. Before UFC got big, they used to always fight at Arena Theatre. Now, it's always Anaheim and Las Vegas. Houston LOVES a good fight, and perhaps the Sports Authority can do more to build a strong boxing and fighting collition so main event fights could be hosted in Houston. Imagine if the Astrodome were turned into a hotel. That could also be the perfect backdrop for main-event boxing and mma fights.

Good suggestion. It's not to my taste, but it certainly has a huge audience, and would put Houston in more minds.

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Good point. But I don't think we should try to launch shuttles from Texas. Let's start with rockets, and once we get good at that learn to do something else.

You are on to something with the rockets. Theres a lot of open space here for that and it wouldnt take much to make it a reality. This is where Houstons most prominent citizen comes into play, GHW Bush. Im sure if the city ask for his help he would gladly give it. He is one well connected individual and i dont think we use his talents enough, unfortunately.

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I can't really think of rockets as ever being much more than a sideline business, but it does have the benefit that it isn't something that every city in the country is trying to do. It's like how a couple of years ago dozens of cities decided that they were somehow going to become leaders in nanotechnology. Before that it was microchips. It seems that to cultivate an industry there has to be a deep local skill base. (Private) space travel may be a marginal business, but at least with NASA in Houston there is a good pool of talent to support it.

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1. Capitalize on our natural environment/natural resources: conservation/preservation (trees), proximity to the Gulf of Mexico (beaches, water quality, ocean-related industries and research), etc.

2. Capitalize on our proximity to Mexico: trade, international relations, etc.

3. Capitalize on the existing energy industry (oil) by pushing decades into the future to the NEXT energy industries (solar, nuclear, etc.)

4. Capitalize on NASA.

5. Attract businesses - and the right KIND of businesses, not just manufacturing, for example. Our high-tech sector is relatively limited, for example.

6. Expand and invest in universities.

7. Intelligent and foresighted urban planning to provide for transportation and communications.

8. Get flooding under control and prevent damage from natural disasters (hurricanes, etc.) so we don't wind up like Galveston in 1901 or New Orleans in 2006.

9. The Houston Dynamo repeat as MLS champs. Ok, just kidding on that one.

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So maybe Houston needs to develop its own special style of food. Separate from the whole boring "Tex-Mex" thing that you can get at any chain restaurant from Beaumont to Bangkok. Something original. Something creative. But broad enough to be more than one dish.

I like this idea, but being a foodie in Houston is about more than just what you're eating. The cook that works in the cafe at my office building is an Indian with a Philly accent. I just ate dinner at a Thai restaurant that was playing Doug Kershaw over the loudspeaker; by coincidence, one of my coworkers brought his entire Vietnamese family in to eat at the same time, the guy that was sitting next to me was Russian, and a couple of good ol' boys were sitting at the bar watching the game and drinking a beer. At Ragin' Cajun, a few nights ago, it was that superb cajun food, prepared by Mexicans, with the order taken by the nice old southern lady at the counter, served disproportionately to black folks, but with a clientele that also included a Chinese couple, some Kansians, and a group of Middle Eastern students. At Tel-Wink a couple days back, despite the decidedly blue-collar clientele, there was also a highly diverse selection of peoples, some who had just come over from Stubbs Motorcycles, others who looked like they'd never known a retail strip other than Telephone Road for about the past 50 years. Then there's 888, which probably has the most consistently diverse clientele of any of the aforementioned restaurants.

Houston's myriad dining experiences cannot easily be exported, unfortunately. Too much of the atmosphere is created by the clientele and the confused cultural mix that often results. In fact, I'd even argue that we've got so much diversity that it is impossible for us to brand a single fused cuisine as our own. It could just as easily be viexican as thaijun as bar-b-inese. There's no place to stop.

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Maybe taquerias can be what everyone knows. Yall ever eat at them? Most of them may be whole in the walls, but they are delicous. My favorite is the torta. I've fallen in love with them.

I'm in albuquerque right now and they have some here too but they're all over in Houston. Try them if you haven't. They're cheap too, which is the best part.

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But broad enough to be more than one dish.

How many cities can actually claim this?

SanFran - Sourdough bread?

NYC - They think they invented everything from Banh Mi to Pizza.

London - Pasties? (or would that be Cornwall?).

Miami - Cuban Food? - yuk

San Antonio - TexMex?

Praha - Sausage?

LA - In and Out?

Philly - Cheesesteak (the only one who truly gets credit in my book)

Seattle - Coffee? (yeah right)

St. Louis - raviolli

New Orleans - Government Cheese?

Albuquerque - Christmas (red and green).

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How many cities can actually claim this?

SanFran - Sourdough bread?

NYC - They think they invented everything from Banh Mi to Pizza.

London - Pasties? (or would that be Cornwall?).

Miami - Cuban Food? - yuk

San Antonio - TexMex?

Praha - Sausage?

LA - In and Out?

Philly - Cheesesteak (the only one who truly gets credit in my book)

Seattle - Coffee? (yeah right)

St. Louis - raviolli

New Orleans - Government Cheese?

Albuquerque - Christmas (red and green).

Ike Sewell, a UT-Austin football player, invented Chicago-style pizza.

Fletcher Davis of Athens, TX invented the hamburger.

Seems like Texans have a penchant for exporting their food and naming it after other places.

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1. Capitalize on our natural environment/natural resources: conservation/preservation (trees), proximity to the Gulf of Mexico (beaches, water quality, ocean-related industries and research), etc.

2. Capitalize on our proximity to Mexico: trade, international relations, etc.

3. Capitalize on the existing energy industry (oil) by pushing decades into the future to the NEXT energy industries (solar, nuclear, etc.)

4. Capitalize on NASA.

5. Attract businesses - and the right KIND of businesses, not just manufacturing, for example. Our high-tech sector is relatively limited, for example.

6. Expand and invest in universities.

7. Intelligent and foresighted urban planning to provide for transportation and communications.

8. Get flooding under control and prevent damage from natural disasters (hurricanes, etc.) so we don't wind up like Galveston in 1901 or New Orleans in 2006.

9. The Houston Dynamo repeat as MLS champs. Ok, just kidding on that one.

For one, I can't wait to see our Dynamo repeat in 2007!!

I say our airport system should do more to become a stronger international hub. We need more direct flights from Asia and Europe as L.A., Dallas, Seattle, San Fransisco, have for Asia, and Chicago, Miami, Atlanta, and New York have for Europe. We have the location to be able to become a direct flight hub for both. Houston's a business powerhouse, and could become stronger if we become a better international business transport hub. Perhaps that could help attract business headquarters to come to Houston.

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How many cities can actually claim this?

SanFran - Sourdough bread?

NYC - They think they invented everything from Banh Mi to Pizza.

London - Pasties? (or would that be Cornwall?).

Miami - Cuban Food? - yuk

San Antonio - TexMex?

Praha - Sausage?

LA - In and Out?

Philly - Cheesesteak (the only one who truly gets credit in my book)

Seattle - Coffee? (yeah right)

St. Louis - raviolli

New Orleans - Government Cheese?

Albuquerque - Christmas (red and green).

New Orleans - Cajun food

Boston - New England (clam chowder/lobster)

Seattle - Coffee and Americanized cafe snacks

Paris - French cooking

Tokyo - Sushi

Chicago - Deep dish pizza/Chicago dogs

Wisconsin - Cheese

Moscow - Russian food

Saint Louis, Cincinnati, Memphis - various forms of barbecue

Texas - Chili

The fact that you put "government cheese" down for New Orleans shows that you're not taking this exercise seriously.

Maybe taquerias can be what everyone knows. Yall ever eat at them? Most of them may be whole in the walls, but they are delicous. My favorite is the torta. I've fallen in love with them.

Every city in America, and even some outside (Vienna, Austria) have these. I was hoping for something new, not something that Houston imported from Mexico.

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The airport suggestion from DJ Vance was the best I saw in the last 10 posts.

I just tallied all the references to food in all posts made in the last 90 days and I have found that 92.2% of them occur between the hours of 4pm and 5pm. You guys really need to grab a power bar or something.

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