Misc items of the weekEvery once in a while I collect enough small items to justify a collective post.
- Hot Town, Cool Cities - I love this site. They want to make a web site, a "treasure map", and a film about cool places and experiences in Houston. Don't miss the 12 min downloadable video teaser. Please pass this link on - they're looking for sponsors. Thanks to Howell for the pointer.
- The Chronicle article from Sunday on how The Woodlands is becoming "Galleria North" with upscale retail in a New Urbanist town center setting.
- A Chronicle article from last Friday about how the Westchase District has become the hot office market in town (mainly energy companies), while downtown and uptown struggle with high vacancies. Houston's center of gravity for commercial activity keeps shifting west, from downtown to uptown to Westchase. Although it's good that the jobs are at least staying within the city of Houston, it's a troubling trend if you're rooting for an urban renaissance in the core or hoping that commuter rail might actually work one day in Houston. Lack of mobility to the core is playing a major role in the shift:
Experts said west Houston has become a magnet for companies in the energy industry because of its proximity to major roadways, nearby housing and the ability to work close to clients.
"We decided a lot of our employee base and customer base was on the west side," Watson said.
In recent years, companies have been relocating to Westchase from pricier, congested office centers like downtown and the Galleria area.
Part of what's drawn companies has been lower land prices out west, which have allowed companies to have office campuses with ample parking and room for growth.
- Finally, in the "Dallas vs. Houston" department, an interesting post on Virginia Postrel's blog about the culture of the two cities as seen through recruiting by their law firms, with Houston focusing on merit/academics and Dallas being more concerned with elite social connections. If it's true, I'm certainly glad to be in Houston.