Houston's healthy residential core
Harvard's recently released report "The State of the Nation's Housing 2005
" has this very positive comment on the health of Houston's inner core housing.
[During the 1990s] only 9 of the 91 largest metropolitan regions saw an increase in the number of [housing] units built within the dense parts of the five-mile inner ring around their CBDs, and only 7 saw gains in the five-mile infill share of metro-wide new construction. Atlanta, Buffalo, Charleston, Houston, Knoxville, and Seattle were the only places with both numerical and share gains.
Certainly a diverse set of cities in that list. I think Atlanta and Houston's relative lack of development restrictions make it much easier for the core to redevelop. They've also kept a lot of their big employers in the core by investing in good freeway access to the suburbs, which creates the demand and financial incentive to construct housing in the core.