In Houston, a network of technology and innovation has cleverly intersected, boosting the local economy. In the blend, the city gained what most American cities desire, a 2.6 percent job growth. 50,000 Americans relocated to Houston in 2013 alone, mostly young professionals in their 20′s and early 30′s. The constant flow of young workers has transformed the city. Increasing recreational, entertainment and green spaces, the landscape has changed from corporate cityscape to a successful cultural composition. Boasting a strong economy, Houston hosts a young population and caters for diversity, becoming one of the most sought after, up-and coming metropolitan areas in America.
While Houston has a new hip appeal, it still struggles with environmental sustainability.
Corporate Campus Exodus
One of the challenges for the city is the density of the downtown area, built to suit a one-industry oil town; the center is cramped with car-dependent skyscrapers. Above the streets of downtown exists a network of subterranean walkways, providing the city’s office workers with access to amenities. However, as much as these walkways might add to increased mobility, they also mean that all roads are stripped of pedestrian traffic and subsequently free surface-level restaurants and retail units.
To encourage a pedestrian-friendly downtown, the city is offering tax rebates to developers who build properties in central Houston. But despite the city’s encouragements, the areas outside Houston are proving far more popular with the younger crowds. The younger market prefers the green, livable suburbs north and west of the Houston I-610 loop. Recent trends also indicate larger corporate tenants are moving in the same direction, building campus-like headquarters with walkable amenities for their employees outside of town.
Creative Class Infill
When the larger corporations settles for the outer areas of they city, they make way for smaller tenants to freely fill the downtown office haven at lower rates. An interesting challenge quickly becomes evident; can the downtown areas meet the needs of smaller businesses whilst providing the same amenities and campus feel that the larger corporations find in the suburbs?