Houston Texas is the World

Houston City Hall.

Houston City Hall. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is Houston a world-class city? Since making the decision to move to Houston in 2012 , I have been asked , “Why Houston” by so many people. So many, in fact, that I had to ask people why they questioned it. I think it is because Houston is not seen by the average person as a world class city. Texas , by and large, is seen a an uncultured place, a place full of cowboys and drawling country people. I think that the best way I can illustrate  the way a lot of people see Texas, even Houston, is to say this; when I told a friend of mine I was moving to Houston , he said ” Are you going to work on a ranch?” hmm…  Here are some facts;

Houston is the fourth-largest city in the United States of America, and the largest city in the state of Texas. Let’s start there; Houston is the largest city in the second largest state in the US.  According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the city had a population of over 2.1 million people within a land area of 599.6 square miles .Houston is the economic center of Greater Houston area (Houston-The Woodlands-Sugarland) the fifth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. with over 6 million people. What makes for a World Class city if that doesn’t do it?houston_skyline_dusk

Well let’s look at what makes other cities “World Class”

New York; Massive Population, Art, Culture, Diversity

Houston; Massive Population, 4th largest city in the America.

Art/Culture;We boast both a theater district and a museum district. Houston’s Theater District is ranked second in the country (behind New York City) in the number of theater seats in a concentrated downtown area with 12,948 seats for live performances and 1,480 movie seats. Houston is one of only five cities in the United States with permanent professional resident companies in all of the major performing arts disciplines: opera (Houston Grand Opera), ballet (Houston Ballet), music (Houston Symphony Orchestra), and theater (Alley Theater).

Houston is widely recognized as an important city for contemporary visual arts. The Museum District, which is home to most of the city’s major museums: the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, the Cullen Sculpture Garden, the Houston Museum of Natural Science, the Holocaust Museum Houston, the Children’s Museum of Houston, Lawndale Art Center, the Houston Zoo, the John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Medical Science, and The Menil Collection.

Diversity: Houston is a multicultural city with a thriving international community supported by the third largest concentration of consular offices in the United States, representing 86 nations. About 90 languages are regularly spoken in the Houston area. Some neighborhoods with high populations of Vietnamese and Chinese residents have Chinese and Vietnamese street signs in addition to English ones. Houston has two China-towns—the original located in East Downtown and the other along Bellaire Boulevard in the southwest area of the city. The city also has a Little Saigon in Midtown and Vietnamese businesses located in the southwest Houston Chinatown

That seems conquered Ok … so what’s next

California; Money,and Celebrities

Houston; Money, From 2001 to 2009, the Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX METROPOLITAN AREA’s portion of GDP grew from about $233 billion to about $363 billion (56%).  Houston’s share of the total US GDP has grown from 2.54% in 2001 to 2.88% in 2009. Houston’s per capita GDP (i.e., attributed GDP divided by METROPOLITAN AREA population) ranked 6th of the largest METROPOLITAN AREA‘s in 2009, at about $62k. The top 5 were: San Francisco ($78k); Washington ($74k); Seattle ($67k); Boston ($65k); and New York ($63k).

Celebrities; Name the biggest celebrities in the world right now , and I bet one in 5 is from, lives in or near or started in Houston. Beyonce Knowles, Dennis and Randy Quaid, Renee Zellweger , the list goes on and on.

Seattle ; Technology

Houston; Technology; We have a little thing here in Houston called NASA , maybe you heard of it?

What sets Houston Apart :

  • The first word said on the Moon was Houston.
  • Energy Capital of the World Houston is considered by many to be the “Energy Capital of the World (also “Oil Capital of the World”), because the city is home to more than 5,000 energy-related firms
  • Progressive politics ; Annise  Parker (born May 17, 1956) is the mayor of Houston since January 2, 2010. She served as an at-large member of the Houston City Council from 1998 to 2003 and city controller from 2004 to 2010.Parker is Houston’s second female mayor , and one of the first openly gay mayors of a major U.S. city . Remember that she did this in a Red State!

I could go on and on about this city and it’s people , the fact is that with the level of growth , money , and influence, Houston is a world-class city in every way. Houston is filled with people from all walks of life, people that are very erudite,actually,  I have rarely run into so many degreed people in my life. Houston boasts the finest in the great and the small. You can be a working scientist in Houston , your Real Estate Agent might have a Masters degree and you can also get a taco for a dollar at 6 AM.



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