Three Stupid Things People From Other Places Think About Houston

Categories: Houston 101

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.


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20 comments
No Funeral
No Funeral

Come on. The urban sprawl is out of control when you can't cross the city by car in under three hours.

Katy Pika
Katy Pika

I'll give you #1 and #3 as misconceptions, but #2 is totally true. Houston is a nightmarish urban sprawl from hell, any way you slice it.

Ben Sabin
Ben Sabin

Y'all need a better web layout "don't nobody wanna click next page"

Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis

I don't think referring to others as stupid will win many people over to like Houston or cause anyone to want to learn more about it.

Imhotep Taylor
Imhotep Taylor

"Houston = Huge ugly urban sprawl." Unfortunately, this is true to an extent. Not to mention the parts of the city that were once unique (See: Montrose and the Heights) are now nothing but sprawls of townhomes and high rise apartments.

flakpanther
flakpanther

HOUSTON HAS HORRIFIC SPRAWL. This is not a misconception, it's a fact. The fact that perhaps three or four neighborhoods are marginally walkable does not detract from this basically correct perception. I wish people would stop dancing around this and frankly confront it. There seems to be a lot of confusion about what sprawl is and what causes it: it's not a bunch of freedom-loving libertarian capital T Texans who want their own homestead. It's minimum parking requirements that ensure there are huge parking lots all over the place, excessively wide streets that are dangerous to cross and waste valuable land, and urban highways that, even if the first two didn't exist, cut off large swaths of the city for pedestrians.


Biking is great, I do it all the time, but try walking virtually anywhere. It's not pleasant in 99% of the city and often it's impossible. If you actually want to see diverse, interesting neighborhoods (as if denser cities are not also architecturally diverse, or could not obtain that diversity by annexing neighboring land as Houston has), remove the parking and street size minimums and see what gets built. It may surprise you.

Thejoke Isinyourhand
Thejoke Isinyourhand

Ugh. I don't know anyone or have ever heard anyone from out of town day any of these things and ive worked in hospitality for a decade. The top three comments I ever heard were about how the traffic sucks,how no one speaks english and the "smell". Boo boo article.

malicet
malicet

This is meant to be a fun, light-hearted blog, not a Pulitzer prize winning novel to enlighten the universe get over it, trolls - get a life and get off the computer if you have such a problem with blogs and have a nice day :)

stevek77536
stevek77536

People think it looks like the cowboy movies, i.e. a desert with flat topped bluffs in the distance, and a few scrub bushes scattered around.   (That's West Texas, or more likely Monument Valley in Arizona/Utah).  I was in the Kansas City airport bar during a flight delay, sharing a table with a nicely dressed lady and her young daughter who were headed to the Northeast somewhere.  The topic of sailing came up, and she asked, "But you said you're from Houston.  Where can you sail in Houston?"  I said, "Well, Galveston Bay, the Gulf of Mexico ...".  And she said, "Oh. Right."  Another time I was sitting behind another lady and her daughter landing at Hobby in maybe August.  The daughter looked out the plane's window and said, "They have TREES here!"  We had to walk outside to the terminal, and the daughter said, "This is like AFRICA!"

HTownChowDown
HTownChowDown

How many times are we going to read these "but we're so misunderstood" articles? Why not focus on what Houston is, instead of what it isn't?

Chanell Albright
Chanell Albright

Lol Latrese sitting on the porch in rocking chairs saying, "I tell u what... Yep!"

_sid.
_sid.

Read this. Now taking off my chaps, putting down my guitar and getting ready to drive sixteen miles around the inner loop's, intercection to the outside loop's intersection, to the beltway to get to the sprawling office buildings where my employer campus is.


WhatHappened2HP
WhatHappened2HP

It really sounds like you think these things. Where are you from, Chris?

Thenonymous
Thenonymous

@malicet  I think you're unclear about what the word "troll" means. Some of us remember when the Houston Press did investigative journalism that actually helped people better understand the workings of their city, instead of fatuous "listicle" clickbait aimed at infantile, navel-gazing, Millennials - who have the attention span of gnats - just to cynically drive ad revenue.


Honest criticism is not "trolling." Sometimes, it is constructive, and can serve to improve things, but only if the person or entity on the receiving end is mature enough to acknowledge that the critic might have a point.


malicet
malicet

@Thenonymous no, I know what it means.  And for you to be wasting your time arguing over this particular blog is silly and seems like you are angry about something else.  I guess it is the 'direction' of the HP I don't know.  This author did not invent the "list" format and agree it is a little tired and formulaic but seems to be popular. 

Other than that, I personally have been asked when I lived in upstate New York and other places if my parents had oil wells and if we rode horses to school.  So 'criticism' to say the author's experience is invalid is lame.  If you had a different experience why don't you write your own blog about it? 

Attempting to silence and argue with someone over a blog about what their experience is when traveling around the world is dumb, and pointless.  If you have something to add in the comments perhaps you feel the author left out why don't you do that in the comments or write your own blog instead of "trolling."  Thanks for your reply nice chatting w you. 

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