4 thoughts on “I Always Wanted to Visit Houston”

  1. Houston is very interesting because it feels more like an assemblage of small towns than a unitary city. Not only does the city lack zoning but many neighborhoods are either small incorporated towns or semi-autonomous in some fashion. There is a real sense of integrity to the neighborhoods that other cities lack. Despite its size, life in Houston has a more community and human scale feeling.

  2. What a gorgeous essay by Corbusier! It’s a poem to the free-wheeling nature of Houston – at least that’s what it feels like reading the essay. I’ve never been. It’s funny, I had a choice to go to Houston or Boston for my job, and chose Boston for a variety of reasons (I can’t deal with humidity, at all) but I suspect I would have enjoyed Houston very much. It’s never been low on my radar and that is because of the large Indian immigrant population – being desi I’ve sort of always heard about Houston as a desi destination, like Atlanta. Immigrant communities have their own ideas about this country, you know. I have a relative in New Jersey who dreams of moving to Missouri! I can’t remember which Bollywood movie (I rarely watch them, they are pretty awful, but sometimes the songs can be good. Plus, the guys are hot. Anyway) I watched where the main character was a Houston desi visiting relatives in India.

    Anyway, what really gets me about Boston (sorry, I have to go there, it’s my pet peeve) is it could be so much better for working families with only a little more effort. I wish I could give this essay to every politician in the state so they could understand how you keep people in Mass, instead of leaving in droves. I mean, I don’t want Boston to be Houston, but just a few small changes would make it easier for young people to start out. The housing prices are so high, and more importantly, what you get is crap for the price, and everything is so difficult, it’s such a pain. Ugh. And there so many empty spaces around the city! I don’t get it.

  3. Thanks, MD for your kind words. I wrote that essay about Houston not long after my visiting my brother who lives there. He’s a neurosurgery resident, and in the next few years he will have the privilege of having the complete freedom of choosing where to live in the U.S. He’s been to many cities, and still, he just wants to stay in Houston. He’s so happy there and he made it very clear why. I just kind of added my own spin to his reasoning.

    Boston is a great city, with its universities, history, and some nice architectural achievements, but you’ve hit the nail on head by describing how difficult it is for middle class families to live there. It sucks the life out of a city and contributes to an environment that feels more like a playground for yuppies than an inclusive and diverse place. The writer Joel Kotkin constantly writes about this, comparing the cities that work and gain population to the older cities that have managed to lose population by favoring particular policies. You should check it out.

    Houston’s an extremely affordable place to live, and there’s very little parochialism or snobbery that I hear is common in the Northeast. It’s not picturesque in the traditional sense like parts of Boston, but that’s not the reason one lives in Houston, either. Still its typical domestic architeture is far more attractive than what you’d find in the Dallas area, where I live.

    By the way, I remember the groom in “Monsoon Wedding” was going to take his new bride back to his new home in Houston.

  4. Excellent essay! I moved from East Coast to West Coast, without finding a place to call home. After much searching, I decided Houston was it. One of the biggest reasons was indeed no zoning – it hinted of a live-and-let-live attitude that was desperately missing from the Coasts. I quit my job, drove 1500 miles, and began a business down here.

    I love the city, and don’t want to leave. Its the biggest small town in America, with the nicest, most amiable, and fun loving people I have ever seen on 3 continents.

    And the possibilities for an immigrant like me to pull myself up from the bootstraps is incredible. This year, I will make more money here than in my entire (short 3 year) former working life combined. And I am happier than ever before.

    Thats crazy.

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