Three Stupid Things People From Other Places Think About Houston
2. Houston = Huge ugly urban sprawl.
This seems to be a common perception among visitors or those who have never been to Houston but who like to hate on it. Beauty is completely subjective, but I guess if all you ever saw of Houston was the airports and freeway system, then, yes, a person could argue that it's not the most beautiful urban environment ever. But an individual who spent any time here would discover that there are lots of areas and attractions scattered throughout the Houston area that are nice to look at. Hermann Park, Memorial Park and the Arboretum all offer people ample natural beauty inside the city, and there are plenty of other examples that could be cited. There are also many different types of Houston neighborhoods, and a lot of them are really visually appealing. Judging a city by the view from its highways seems a bit silly to me. Critics should take a bike ride through the Heights or the Museum District, and then weigh in.
The often noted "urban sprawl" of Houston catches a lot of flack, too, but I see it as a strength. Just as Houston is comprised of many different kinds of people, it also is made up of many different types of neighborhoods, some of which have unique identities that make them seem like small towns within a huge city.
Neighborhoods like mid-century modern Glenbrook Valley are vastly different from the Heights or Meyerland. And that can be said of neighborhoods all over the area. That much-maligned sprawl allows people from all walks of life and incomes to find a place to call home. If Houston occupied a smaller geographic footprint, it might not have as many neighborhoods with such unique character. I believe that Houston's sheer size also allows for these very different areas within the city to develop. Yes, urban sprawl presents challenges, but geographically smaller cities with high populations also face problems of their own. Have you priced homes in New York City lately? Traffic is one of the most cited challenges of urban sprawl, but that may change over time.
Besides, I'm ready for those flying cars we've been promised for decades.