Are you a "mature" American age 65 or older, do you care about someone who is, or do you anticipate becoming a mature American yourself? If yes, then you are in good company. According to the U. Census Bureau, Americans 85 and older are the fastest growing demographic group and, right behind them, 79 million baby boomers are moving into retirement age themselves.
Thousands of square miles of largely unplanned hardscape leave stormwater with precious few places to go. Beyond the city limits, the nine-county metro area extends as far as development capital and consumer demand allows.
Nary a mountain, river, coastline or lake gets in the way.
Neither do many regulations. Houston is famous among urban planners as the only major U. The market decides what to build. Both the city and its suburbs are defiantly spread out and auto-oriented. Sincethe region grew from 3. That figure means that the greater Houston area, which represents nearly 2 percent of the American population, captured 6 percent of nationwide urban growth last year.
By some estimates, Harris County is expected to add over 1. In September, the city did adopt its first general plan. Called Plan Houstonit arrives like the blueprint to a building already half built.
Addressing far more than land use, Plan Houston covers everything from economic development to education to public health to arts and culture.
It acknowledges existing studies, neighborhood plans, parks plans and other previous planning efforts.
All while keeping disastrous flooding at bay. While development on the suburban fringe continues, there is intense focus on the urban core.
That still leaves plenty of people to fill the master-planned communities and subdivisions going up on the outskirts. But it also indicates that many Houstonians want amenities that only a denser city can offer.
The evidence of the demand is plain: Even with a slight drop this year, increases like that demonstrate that cheap housing might not be a limitless resource.
Many longtime city residents are understandably nervous, eyeing new development as a threat that could price them out of neighborhoods that have historically been affordable. Along with continuing to lure newcomers, can the city, as it gentrifies, avoid displacing low-income people?
Those have proliferated in upscale neighborhoods west of downtown for the past decade. They are now pushing in to the east side neighborhoods that have historically been home to minority populations and low property values.
Signs of hipster-oriented gentrification are already apparent. Beer gardens have arisen on formerly blighted corners. Artists are finding the sweet spot where they can afford studio space but have neighbors who can afford their work. The Midtown area, just south of downtown, has been transformed by large multifamily apartment buildings in just the past five years.
With trademark Texas roominess, in some ways, the economics of gentrification are entering unknown, and possibly more auspicious territory in Houston.
Maybe Houstonians can embrace a new model, in policy and spirit, before tensions spin out of control. Plan Houston acknowledges these concerns. That requires, in part, good jobs for residents who might otherwise be priced out of their own neighborhoods.Planning & Development Department in Houston Texas Planning & Development Department, a Building Department, in Houston, TX , address and phone number.
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