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  #41  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2014, 9:09 PM
TexasPlaya TexasPlaya is offline
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Originally Posted by bunt_q View Post
You realize you're the third person in this thread to mention in the same post that you wish the transportation planning was better, while noting that you never know what's coming next in Houston? You realize also, don't you, that those two things are related? There is no way to plan transportation effectively if you have no way to predict what land use is coming next.
Houston certainly isn't a model for land use but even cities with zoning face the issues Houston does with accommodating growth. A million people per decade growth metro poses a great challenge. Conversely, when you know you're going to have large growth then you should try and plan better.

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Not saying that is a bad thing necessarily. Just that you guys will always be reactionary when it comes to transportation. In particular, public transportation. I would go so far as to argue that a lack of planning is inherently incompatible with transit, which relies on predictable clusters of density to be effective.
Houston has done a great job upgrading it highways and building a ton of toll roads (I know blasphemy on here) but it's true. It certainly has come at the expense of some public transit. Houston's METRO transit agency has certainly done it's damage from sheer incompetence to corruption.

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Or, alternatively, it relies on a very powerful government and a lot of money to come cram it in after the density is built up. Since that doesn't really happen in the US, if only because there isn't the money for it, I would say that fixed route transit Houston is a lost cause - a waste of your time and money. Focus on buses.
I disagree, fixed route transit can work in limited action in Houston. I do agree that Houston should focus more on bus service, which it will do for the near future.
     
     
  #42  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2014, 9:28 PM
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Originally Posted by AviationGuy View Post
From what I understand, though, the light rail lines have been successful, giving people an alternative at least. It needs to be a combination of types of mass transit.
The light rail line, singular. The Main St line has a top 3 ridership per mile because it connects two of Houston's largest employments. The other lines won't have solid ridership for some time.
     
     
  #43  
Old Posted Mar 16, 2014, 9:46 PM
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i don't think houston is really doing anything that hasn't been done. certainly it has the wealth to do a lot more than most american cities ever have - and i think it's failing the same way some of the great midwestern boom cities failed on their first shot before it (they also didn't have strong urban planning frameworks - st. louis was very, very laissez-faire and eschewed city-beautiful unlike most midwestern cities and embraced the free market. the city is still dotted with industrial everywhere. i also think of detroit.) that's not to say that i personally don't like houston, either, because i do. other than new orleans, it's the southern/sunbelt-city that i'm rooting for.
     
     
  #44  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 6:13 AM
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I guess people forget that Buckhead in Atlanta exists. It's skyline looks like it can be a downtown of any midsize southern city and make them appear like a large city. In this picture, you can see the main Atlanta skyline on the right, then the Buckhead skyline on the left. You'd think it was 2 different big cities.









Atlanta is still more centralized than Houston and has way better zoning.
     
     
  #45  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 4:39 PM
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Did the article say edge cities were exclusive to Houston? Houston is not the only city with edge cities but it does have a lot of them.

Uptown
Texas Medical Center
Greenway Plaza
Greenspoint
Energy Corridor
The Woodlands
Galveston
     
     
  #46  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 4:44 PM
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OK, the article didn't say Houston was the only city with edge cities. It said that two of Houston's edge cities were built almost entirely by single developers and that was considered exclusive to Houston (is it?).

Uptown
Quote:
Not many cities — okay, no city outside Houston — would let a developer build an entire business district from scratch miles from the urban core, but that’s exactly what Gerald D. Hines did nearly half a century ago.

Greenway Plaza
Quote:
Uptown is not the only west side business district to sprout from nothing. There’s also Greenway Plaza, another one of the five downtowns. It is a bit closer to the actual downtown and within the 610 Loop, but nevertheless located amid suburban-looking single-family neighborhoods. Owned by Cousins Properties, the mixed-use development sprung up in the 1970s, around the same time as Uptown, and has millions of square feet of office space spread among 10 buildings.
     
     
  #47  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 5:49 PM
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Houston is an interesting case study. While, on the surface, it appears to mirror the other sun belt cities it is slightly different story once you analyze how things are actually getting done.

True there are no "zoning" ordinances per se but that doesn't mean there are things not directing planning in a certain direction. Let me explain the 3 major factors than CAN influence planning in Houston.

1) Private Interests. George Hermann died a wealthy bachelor and left land to the city. He also left a stipulation on what the land was to become. He asked for some to become a park (Hermann Park) and for some to be set aside for a future city hospital. This was the site of the first hospital in the Medical Center and even without formal 'zoning' it somehow turned into one of the largest medical centers in the world. Future developers and city planners kept up with the "intent".
Rice University, The Museum District, The University of Houston, Memorial Park, St. Thomas, etc. were also created by private interests and they morphed into what they are today.

2) By Developers. Houston is a very pro developer city. There are very little hurdles, even though they are increasing by the day, but developers with enough clout can find a way to manage their interests via Deed Restrictions. Rive Oaks is the perfect example of this in Houston. You can't buy a lot in the middle of River Oaks and build a boutique office tower. maybe on the periphery, on "unprotected land", yes but not in the middle. The NIMBY's are upset with exactly this...developments on the border of the deed restricted neighborhood.

Also developers with big pockets can heavily influence what an area becomes...think Gerald Hines and Uptown, Frank Sharp and Sharpstown, and George Mitchell and the Woodlands.

3) Management Districts and the Mayor. This is the game changer for Houston. Both of these entities can HEAVILY INFLUENCE development patterns. Houston has a very strong Mayor/City Council setup. We also have divided the city into "mini cities" called Management Districts. Doentown, Uptown, Midtown, EADO, Sharpstown, ets. are all different Management Districts. Here is a link to more info and a map of the Management Districts:

http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/Ne...hood/mgmt.html

Each Management District has a board that tends to issues "within" their management District. they have built in ways of enticing certain type of developments or discouraging certain type of developments. It's a fluid process but things are really taking shape and it makes Houston a very interesting case Study.

One of the most active Management Districts is Downtown. Together, the Mayor/City Council and the District are working at steering the type of the development in the district. the Management District ran studies on how to encourage residential and retail developments and they turned to the city for help. The city responded with many solutions...One was Discovery green which was a hybrid of #1 and #3. The City purchased the land and turned to private interests to build and manage the park. On the Residential situation, the City Council under the Mayor approved a residential incentive (something like $12,000 PER unit) for developers who build residential in a defined part of downtown. This has bee Highly Successful with a half dozen-dozen large residential projects currently under construction or are set to rise in the near future.
     
     
  #48  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 7:13 PM
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Obviously lots of cities have their own cluster of urban centers outside of downtown. Height isn't always an important factor with this. For me, I don't like Houston's lack of zoning because it makes regional planning for growth much harder to do and it increases the demand for car dependency by making it harder to plan out regional rail.
     
     
  #49  
Old Posted Mar 17, 2014, 8:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double L View Post
It said that two of Houston's edge cities were built almost entirely by single developers and that was considered exclusive to Houston (is it?).
Coral Gables was built that way 90 years ago.
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  #50  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 5:16 AM
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I can't think of a city that has seven downtowns within its borders. LA has two. Atlanta has 3. But Houston's 7 is unprecedented. Incredible when you consider most of it developed writhing the last two decades. In a way, Houston is America's shanghai. It's potential at the moment is limitless.
     
     
  #51  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:00 AM
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If you're referring to my list I'd just like to say those are not all in city limits, just metro area.

The in city limits number is 5, which is what the article says too.
     
     
  #52  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:24 AM
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I don't get why Houston is supposed to be special. Most big cities have multiple business districts and a scattered skyline.

IMO I think there are very clear and established land use patterns emerging from a bunch of different factors that exist in every place. Some neighborhoods were built all once, others have covenants or something like that. It's not some weird mixture everywhere you go.
     
     
  #53  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llamaorama View Post
I don't get why Houston is supposed to be special. Most big cities have multiple business districts and a scattered skyline.

IMO I think there are very clear and established land use patterns emerging from a bunch of different factors that exist in every place. Some neighborhoods were built all once, others have covenants or something like that. It's not some weird mixture everywhere you go.
This.

The same applies to the core of Atlanta.
     
     
  #54  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inSaeculaSaeculorum View Post
I can't think of a city that has seven downtowns within its borders. LA has two. Atlanta has 3. But Houston's 7 is unprecedented. Incredible when you consider most of it developed writhing the last two decades. In a way, Houston is America's shanghai. It's potential at the moment is limitless.
A) Arbitrary city borders are not the best way to measure this, metro's are.

B) LA County alone has Downtown, Century City, mid Wilshire, Westwood, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Pasadena, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Warner Center and probably a few more that im missing
     
     
  #55  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 6:47 AM
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Not all of those are major economic centers. If I counted every important neighborhood in Houston I couldn't count them all.
     
     
  #56  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 7:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inSaeculaSaeculorum View Post
I can't think of a city that has seven downtowns within its borders. LA has two. Atlanta has 3. But Houston's 7 is unprecedented. Incredible when you consider most of it developed writhing the last two decades. In a way, Houston is America's shanghai. It's potential at the moment is limitless.
Lol. Ive been to greenspoint. Its less impressive than century blvd/lax corridor, el sequndo burbank etc etc. Greenspoint isnt a freaking downtown. Its a basic suburban office park. Orange county has areas like that everywhere.
     
     
  #57  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 7:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inSaeculaSaeculorum View Post
I can't think of a city that has seven downtowns within its borders. LA has two. Atlanta has 3. But Houston's 7 is unprecedented. Incredible when you consider most of it developed writhing the last two decades. In a way, Houston is America's shanghai. It's potential at the moment is limitless.
The energy corridor and the woodlands sre office parks. Not downtown districts. Galvenston?
     
     
  #58  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 7:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Double L View Post
Not all of those are major economic centers. If I counted every important neighborhood in Houston I couldn't count them all.
No he listed employment districts. And hardly all of them.
     
     
  #59  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 7:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by atlantaguy View Post
This.

The same applies to the core of Atlanta.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LosAngelesSportsFan View Post
A) Arbitrary city borders are not the best way to measure this, metro's are.

B) LA County alone has Downtown, Century City, mid Wilshire, Westwood, Santa Monica, Glendale, Burbank, Long Beach, Pasadena, Brentwood, Beverly Hills, Warner Center and probably a few more that im missing
It's all about scale. ATL and Houston are more comparable, while LA metro is about 3 times as large. Quite frankly, many cities do this but in terms of metros less than 10 million, does any city have larger edge cities within 5, 10 miles of DT? How many cities did this without the guidance of public transit or planning? It's the chicken and egg of SSP, build an edge city out of thin air and see what happens.
     
     
  #60  
Old Posted Mar 18, 2014, 8:21 AM
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I named those neighborhoods la21st because of their skyscrapers. Major economic centers.
     
     
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