Does Houston Really Need Any More People?
Last week, yet another list was released noting all of the amazing things Houston has to offer. This time around the list was released by Business Insider, an online publication widely read in the business community, entitled 18 Facts That Make Houston The Best City in America. Yeah, no joke; H-Town is being called the "best city" in the entire country - evidently backed up by facts.
Photos by Yuri Peña When your city is this pretty, plenty of people will want to make it home.
On this blog, I've grabbed several of these lists to either applaud or dump on, but the real "fact" of the matter is that Houston keeps showing up on them. Like it or not, this city has become a force to be reckon with. (And we even use the word "reckon" in daily conversation.)
I have personally mused that perhaps one of the reasons that Houston keeps throwing things at the wall in the hopes that they stick, i.e. getting people to realize what a great city this is and that they should all move here, is that we've got a branding issue. I stand by this assertion, but I think it needs some adjusting. We may have a branding issue, but I'm not sure it matters much in getting people here; they are already coming and if all of the economic/demographic data is correct, it's not slowing down.
Enter the city's newest advertising campaign, "Houston: The City With No Limits," which was launched last month via the Greater Houston Partnership (GHP). The promotion is splashy and stylish; it looks like a lot of money went into it and, as I understand it, it did, with more to go. According to the Chronicle, roughly $12 million will be spent over the next five or six years on this campaign, with the initiative's purpose of getting people to move here.
My question is, though, aren't people already moving here? From the looks of it, we are already running out of room. How many more people do we really need?
I ask this question, to myself, as I walk through my neighborhood of Oak Forest. Every day a new house goes up for sale either as a teardown or a renovation; the following week, most of these houses have "Sold" signs adorning their perfectly manicured lawns. When the houses are torn down, they swiftly turn into two-story cookie-cutter mansions, appearing, what feels like, within days - always a sign of quality craftsmanship.
I've heard stories from neighbors, perhaps these are urban legends, that residents are selling their homes for $100 thousand above asking, with bidding wars like crazy that result in purchases with cash. I can only dream such a thing happens when I want to sell my own home. And of course that dream involves a briefcase filled with gold bars and/or somebody's soul.