Here at CENTURY 21 Realty Partners, we always keep an eye out for what the chattering class is saying about Houston. For years, many urban planners have sneered at Houston, dismissing it as merely the center of a sprawling and anarchic metropolitan area. The suburbs, the freeways, the lack of density, the lack of zoning, the poor mass transit, Houston was deemed a backwards and tasteless city that would never amount to much. While gallons of ink has been spilled describing why Houston shouldn’t work, Houstonians have been quietly going to work, living their lives, and building a vibrant urban region. It seems that people are starting to realize what we knew all along: Houston is not just a great place to do business, Houston is a great place to live.
Coming to our intellectual defense is Joel Kotkin, Professor of Urban Development and a Fellow at Chapman University. He has recently penned and article titled, “Houston Rising—Why the Next Great American Cities Aren’t What You Think.” Kotkin’s article applauds us for many of the reasons we already know about, job
s, growth, diversity, culture, opportunity, and many more. What stood out however, was his standards by which he judges a city and his explanation as to why they grow:
“Cities grow primarily because they do what cities were designed to do in the first place: help their residents achieve their aspirations.”
What a simple yet powerful statement. A city is just a physical place where people live in close proximity to one another. Why would we do that? People come to a city because there is a belief that living there will better their lives and help them achieve their dreams.