Shifting Attitudes Toward Walkable Urbanism in Houston

According to this survey, many Houston residents increasingly prefer mixed-use areas over single-family suburbia. But there's only so much downtown available.
May 9, 2017, 9am PDT | Philip Rojc | @PhilipRojc
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Silvio Ligutti

Houston isn't exactly known for walkable urbanism. Glissette Santana writes, "Fewer than 7 percent of city residents walk, bike or take transit to work, according to Census estimates." At the same time, "this year, Houston finally approved a bike plan, after much delay; it finalized its latest light-rail expansion; and it launched a new pedestrian-friendly plaza in the heart of downtown."

The Kinder Houston Area Survey 2017, a long-standing regional survey out of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research, shows a bump in support for mixed-use lifestyles. "When asked if they would prefer to live in 'an area with a mix of developments, including homes, shops and restaurants,' rather than in 'a single-family residential area,' 56 percent of the survey's respondents said they'd prefer the mixed-use area."

Much of this enthusiasm may be coming from Millennials' purported preference for urban living. But the question is whether that preference, if it really exists, will continue. Predictably, prices are also escalating in downtown Houston, which may shut out many urban hopefuls. 

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Published on Monday, May 1, 2017 in The Urban Edge
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