Houston: My Kind of City

Houston, Texas

This article makes me want to move to Houston. The article, I think, accurately portrays the city as one of opportunity and growth. And even though I was only in Houston for a few days, it impressed me much more than other "trendy" cities I've visited.

The article makes a similar point:

Ultimately, it’s a question of defining what makes a city great. Many city planners today focus largely on aesthetics, the arts, and the perception of being “cool.” Academics and many economic-development experts link urban success to cities’ appeal to the “creative class” of college-educated young people. In this calculus, the traditional practice of gauging a city’s success by studying patterns of population or employment growth, or noting the opportunities available for working-class or middle-class families to flourish, rarely registers as important. One prominent academic, Rutgers University’s Paul Gottlieb, has even offered an elegant formula for what he calls “growth without growth”—focusing on increasing per-capita incomes without expanding either population or employment. Indeed, Gottlieb suggests that successful post-industrial cities might well do best if they actually “minimize” the influx of new people and jobs.

Such an approach may work, at least superficially, in an attractive older city such as Chicago, New York, or Boston, but it’s an unlikely model for most cities in a country where the population is expected to reach 420 million by 2050. Growth-without-growth cities might be great to visit, and they might prove exciting homes for the restless young or the rich, but it is doubtful that they can create the jobs or the housing for more than a small portion of our future urban population. For these and other reasons, the Houston model of the opportunity city—welcoming new jobs and new families—may prove far more relevant to the American future.

Marathon Girl and I spent several days in the Houston area four years ago and loved it. In the next five years -- before our kids are too old -- we'd both like to move out of Utah and establish roots elsewhere. Ever since our trip to Houston, that city has always been in the forefront of our minds as a good area to move to. (Followed by Denver, Phoenix, and Seattle.)

No one knows what the future holds but I wouldn't mind becoming a Texan if the oppurtunity presented itself.