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Old 12-21-2009, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,831 posts, read 19,351,808 times
Reputation: 6659
Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
I agree all of the cities listed sprawl. But I think Houston is the champion. The Houston "area" is massive in size - it can take a very long time to drive across it. I am not condemning Houston for it - that's just the way it is.

As for the "mess" - I think much of Houston is downright ugly. The beauty of Memorial, West U, etc. is offset by the strip mall hell of Westheimer, Richmond, Bellaire, just to name a few. Houston has allowed almost any kind of development almost anywhere. And it shows.
Actually Dallas sprawls more than Houston. Houston's sprawl is more concentrated compared to Dallas. Don't let the sq. miles fool you about either one though because both have lots of extra undeveloped land.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:42 PM
 
Location: Knox - Henderson
1,193 posts, read 2,184,492 times
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Huh? Dallas (385 sq.miles) could not possibly sprawl as much as Houston (602 sq.miles). And what is concentrated sprawl? Here's one definition of urban sprawl:

n.
The unplanned, uncontrolled spreading of urban development into areas adjoining the edge of a city.

Unplanned development is a hallmark of Houston since it has no zoning. Dallas does have zoning and consequently much more planned development.
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Old 12-21-2009, 12:51 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,308 posts, read 8,818,116 times
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The sprawl and "no zoning" are greatly exaggerated in Houston's case in relation to other cities.

I think DFW actually has more land area and likely sprawls just as much or more... Comparison of urban land areas

Not to mention the fact that many other metros out of state sprawl much more than anything in Texas.

Houston does have city ordinances and other controls, so it's not like there's a total lack of some sort of zoning. But the lack of formal land zoning has actually been positive in several recent cases (i.e. the redevelopment and revitalization of close-in areas without having to go through red tape). Would Montrose be as quirky and cool as it is with zoning? And ironically, if it were Austin with no zoning, it would likely just be considered as a weird, hip or cool aspect. But since it's Houston, people must use it as a negative. You see, apparently for many it's not "hip" to admit anything good about the state's largest city, though there is a lots of good to be seen. Houston has a major PR problem (more perception than reality), the other cities not so much... that's something I'd add to the list of differences.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:00 PM
 
Location: Central Texas
12,568 posts, read 12,558,156 times
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Houston has many good qualities - but I think most of them are due simply to its size and (relatively) strong economy. A city with 5M people should have great restaurants, museums, sports, etc. It has a great skyline (some of my favorite tall buildings are in Houston).

But it is staggeringly ugly in many places. The air quality is the worst in Texas.

I would tell almost anyone that Houston is a good place to live if you like the good things about a city that big and can accept the bad things that go with it. Houston is far friendlier than other very large cities and very affordable.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:11 PM
 
Location: 75025 (previously 75254, 90505, 90010, and 60614)
10,155 posts, read 10,510,786 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jluke65780 View Post
Actually Dallas sprawls more than Houston. Houston's sprawl is more concentrated compared to Dallas. Don't let the sq. miles fool you about either one though because both have lots of extra undeveloped land.
The density and sprawl of both is a virtual tie. Officially, there are 634 people in DFW and 631 in Metro Houston per square mile.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: from houstoner to bostoner to new yorker;)
4,085 posts, read 8,400,603 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoffdano View Post
I agree all of the cities listed sprawl. But I think Houston is the champion. The Houston "area" is massive in size - it can take a very long time to drive across it. I am not condemning Houston for it - that's just the way it is.

As for the "mess" - I think much of Houston is downright ugly. The beauty of Memorial, West U, etc. is offset by the strip mall hell of Westheimer, Richmond, Bellaire, just to name a few. Houston has allowed almost any kind of development almost anywhere. And it shows.
This argument is null in my mind because in actuality the average Houstonian does not drive across Houston every day. The sprawl in Houston is pretty much the same as everywhere else I've lived. The differences lie in name only; in Houston you're still in the city of Houston while in the Boston area where I live now you'd have driven through/past different towns. What makes the sprawl appear worse in Houston is that Houston is over-developed with a glut of the 'wrong' types of businesses and doesn't give nearly enough attention to aesthetics.
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Old 12-21-2009, 01:27 PM
 
Location: Knox - Henderson
1,193 posts, read 2,184,492 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AK123 View Post
Would Montrose be as quirky and cool as it is with zoning?
Yes, it probably would be. With the addition of zoning (and curbs on all streets) it would be pretty much like quirky and cool Oak Lawn in Dallas. Houston has a lot going for it and I don't dislike the city, so I don't mean to dis' Houston. But, the lack of zoning has contributed in a big way to the unattractive appearance of large parts of the city. It is what it is.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:27 PM
 
Location: Underneath the Pecan Tree
15,831 posts, read 19,351,808 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas native View Post
Yes, it probably would be. With the addition of zoning (and curbs on all streets) it would be pretty much like quirky and cool Oak Lawn in Dallas. Houston has a lot going for it and I don't dislike the city, so I don't mean to dis' Houston. But, the lack of zoning has contributed in a big way to the unattractive appearance of large parts of the city. It is what it is.
Montrose and Oak Lawn don't look alike; Montrose is more quirky, while Oak Lawn is more average.
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Old 12-21-2009, 03:51 PM
 
Location: 75025 (previously 75254, 90505, 90010, and 60614)
10,155 posts, read 10,510,786 times
Reputation: 6577
Quote:
Originally Posted by jluke65780 View Post
Montrose and Oak Lawn don't look alike; Montrose is more quirky, while Oak Lawn is more average.
In my experiance with the two, Montrose is more hippie/lesbian and Oak Lawn is more "pound me in the butt" gay boy.
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Old 12-21-2009, 04:04 PM
 
Location: The land of sugar... previously Houston and Austin
5,308 posts, read 8,818,116 times
Reputation: 3363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dallas native View Post
Yes, it probably would be. With the addition of zoning (and curbs on all streets) it would be pretty much like quirky and cool Oak Lawn in Dallas. Houston has a lot going for it and I don't dislike the city, so I don't mean to dis' Houston. But, the lack of zoning has contributed in a big way to the unattractive appearance of large parts of the city. It is what it is.
Most Houstonians will tell you that the cool thing about Montrose is the lack of any city-enforced land-use rules, or rules for the way things are "supposed" to look. That's what makes it so unique!

Great Places in America: Neighborhoods
"Eclectic and urbane, the neighborhood is a fusion of architectural styles, land uses, and people..."

And the lack of formal zoning isn't not all bad, either. Although I prefer zoning (as I live in an area that does have it), I can appreciate the positives it can bring to close-in areas where land is expensive.

No Zoning: Artists Engage Houston - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - Contemporary Arts Museum Houston - ArtsHound.com
"Free from the land-use and zoning ordinances that shape other large American cities by separating residential, commercial, and industrial areas, Houston allows a mixed-use approach where disparate architectures and functions blend."

Also, remember zoning in cities usually only applies within the city limits. Once outside of the limits and in the city ETJ, just about anything goes. This is the case in all of the Texas cities. And for anyone to imply that the other Texas cities don't have tons of strip malls, some ugly freeways, and some very unattractive areas is just silly.
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