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.
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.