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Houston Sprawls And Sprawls
Houston Sprawls And Sprawls  | houston, urban sprawl, u-haul, population, new urbanism,

1922 Map of Houston

I remember when Houston had one million people. 

I thought it was big then.  Too much of my childhood was spent in traffic jams on the Gulf Freeway.

Now Austin is about that size, while Houston has more than doubled in dimension to an estimated 2.2 million people.

People keep pouring in. Houston was the number one destination in the 2010 U-Haul National Migration Trend Report.  It’s the second year in a row.

The report is compiled from U-Haul truck transactions for the year.  For 2010, it’s compiled from 1.4 million transactions. The ranking uses destinations for do-it yourself movers traveling more than 50 miles, and considers every city in the country.

San Antonio and Austin were listed as the number six and number seven destination cities.  

 We all know Houston’s urban sprawl.  We see similar sprawl in all of Texas’ 25 metros.  While there are a few self-contained developments in Houston based on the New Urbanism movement of the last two decades, Houston’s legendary no zoning history as it spread over square mile after square mile is legendary.

And it’s a scene that’s been repeated ad nauseam for the past half-century.  You see developments suddenly spring up in the middle of pasture and cropland.  Streets are cut, a few houses go up, and then neighborhoods suddenly form, and you watch the land where cattle grazed or sorghum was harvested or rice irrigated begin to disappear, until suddenly it's only suburbs and houses and convenience stores and a few office parks. At the same time, you drive the thirty minutes or hour to work.  As you go past the ship channel and refineries on one of the inner loops you see scores of abandoned  industrial and commercial properties. The properties are ignored like old tattoos of times you barely remember.  Buildings that once were I-beam frameworks not long ago now are out of style as broken lava lamps. 

The city, like most Texas cities, spreads over the landscape.  And spreads.