Houston: It Ain’t Just Oil



Houston is one place we’ve been really excited to work on. Unlike its coastal U.S. urban cousins (New York, Los Angeles, etc.), “The Space City” has been shunned into the spotlight by traditional urbanists as a city without culture, neighborhoods, and sustainable development practices.

Though the Astros and Texans might be last place in their leagues (for only 2013 of course), Houston is absolutely a world class city in design and power that really isn’t too different from a New York or L.A. if you swapped in constant summer 100 degree and humid thunderstorms, along with oil and space for Hollywood and Wall Street.

We couldn’t disagree any more to these claims – Houston defies what it means to host a variety of world-class art, architecture, and cultures. Instead of master-planning a consistent identity, Houston has let its global inhabitants define the city for itself with a “no-zoning” policy. It has Vietnamese restaurants that dominate in size and flavor, world-class museums driven by oil money that overwhelm the senses, and gay bars that San Francisco could never imitate.
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For this map, we had an army of Houstonian contributors who talked a lot about their local haunts. Here’s one who attend private school on the Westside (he clearly knows where the public school kids all lived!), and remembers all of the great places to eat lunch and jog.
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As with many of our most recent maps, we’ve translated the descriptions we have made into actual placenames where you can relate our thoughts to a particular neighborhood you’ve been interested in.
  • Austin Brister

    Your second map doesn’t specify a “Midtown.”

    • UrbaneMaps

      Thanks – we’ll add that to the second map!

  • http://www.twitter.com/jb713 jb713

    Misspelled S. Shepherd =)

  • Tricia

    Mon-trose is the proper place to hyphenate.

    • Debbie Huffman

      Late-comers are properly termed “Montrose-ites,”, whereas old-timers are “Mon-TROV-ians” – because we know what a good thing we’ve FOUND in the area.

  • Robert Searcy

    The Houston Heights is north of I-10. Montrose and Hyde Park and different enough to warrant being classified separately, but no mention of Eastwood? Riverside? Lindale Park?

  • Jennifer Harris

    Actually, I think they’ve done a pretty good job considering they’re not locals. But the BEST part of mapurbane.com? They didn’t consider Dallas worthy of mapping. I couldn’t agree with them more.

    • Sydney Thompson

      Right on.

    • jcmoore2010

      dallas map is not quite as funny as the houston map…check it out…

  • KF

    LOL, you can’t lump Houston Heights and Greater Heights as one big area of Houston. First off, those swathes of land aren’t even called that. Within all that area you lumped together is Washington Corridor, Camp Logan and Rice Military (south of I-10) The Heights (north of I-10, east of Shepherd), Cottage Grove (north of I-10, west of Shepherd), Shady Acres (north of 14th St. south of 610 and west of Shepherd), Oak Forest (north of 610, west of Ella), Garden Oaks (north of 610, east of Ella?)and a few others…but those are big ones. Everyone who lives here needs to know the difference. There is one.

    • http://incurablygeek.blogspot.com Mark Lawrence

      I live in the West End (west end of the Washington corridor and part of what you label “Houston Heights”). Most of us locals would consider the Houston Heights moniker for the area you label “Greater Heights” (Heights north of I-10). Rice Military (south of Washington) and Camp Logan (Memorial Park adjacent) are easy. West End describes our bit nicely but if you were gong to use anything “southern end of the original Heights before I10 bisected it” would at least be accurate.

  • Dave Swank

    There is also not a ton of gentrification in Third Ward……….yet.

  • pwest

    Please stay out of 3rd Ward! Thank you signed The Natives

  • jwhid514

    LOL New York and LA cousins of Houstank? That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever heard. Houston sucks.

  • Guest

    The community college is really more in the “Tram + Spec’s” area. It’s an historic housing district that also includes the Menil, Rothko Chapel, and University of St. Thomas. You’re close, but your geography is a little off.

  • vikingbiking518

    A generous description of that ragged wasteland of a city.

  • Maureen Demar Hall

    Big difference….The Houston Heights is north of I-10 (I’ve lived there 32 years and watched the transition), I would call south of I-10 the Washington Corridor!