Houston Becomes an Unlikely Model for America's Urban Revival
"Historically, as Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research succinctly puts it, Houston has been viewed as 'the most sprawling, least dense, most automobile-dependent major city in America.' And for many years, Houstonians seemed to be perfectly content with that. But there’s evidence that’s no longer the case," writes Ryan Holeywell. "The institute’s annual survey of Houston-area residents last year found that half the residents of Harris County, of which Houston is part, would prefer to live 'in an area with a mix of development, including homes, shops and restaurants” as opposed to a 'single-family residential area.'”
"As a result, in recent years, city leaders have proudly rolled out a seemingly endless list of programs and policies they say will make Houston denser and more 'livable' in an effort to capitalize on the growing fascination with urban living."
Despite, or perhaps because of, such initiatives, a battle is taking place over the city's future. "On one side, more strident urbanists say the current plans are not nearly bold enough; defenders of the current arrangement say the city should avoid the temptation to change at all."