Comment of the Day: Downtown Is on the Edge

COMMENT OF THE DAY: DOWNTOWN IS ON THE EDGE “It is a common misconception that downtown Houston is the ‘center’ or ‘core’ of this great City. Downtown is IN the core of the city, but downtown is in fact the farthest east PORTION of the core. Draw a ring around Downtown, the Med Center, Uptown, Memorial Park and (maybe) the Heights. THIS entire area is the core of Houston. Downtown is the eastern edge of the core. Just like Downtown Manhattan is the southern edge of Manhattan. Downtown is a very important part of the City, but is not the core. It hasn’t been the core for decades. It will not be the core in the future.” [Bernard, commenting on Comment of the Day: The Diluted Center City] Illustration: Lulu

23 Comment

  • Yes if you ignore the 2 million or so peasants living east of 288/59, as well as the world’s largest petrochemical complex going out 25 miles eastward towards Galveston (also 45 miles to the southeast) – oh and bay area communities.

  • Plus, if you want to talk about major office districts, Houston is very multi-nodal. The Medical Center, Greenway Plaza, Uptown/Galleria, Greenspoint, Memorial City, The Woodlands downtown, WestChase and probably much of the rest of the west/north Beltway between 59 north and 59 south, the Energy Corridor, and some additional places I’m sure I haven’t mentioned or just don’t know about.

  • Fully agree with this. Mystifies me why real estate analysts still call Uptown a “suburban activity center.” It may be suburban in form (getting less so however) but it’s in the urban core, not the suburbs.

  • And by “peasants” I was being sarcastic. All the yuppies in Bernard’s “core” have no clue that there is a lot more city out there. I work in oil and gas and am constantly amazed at how many have never been to the ship channel, or even know its significance for the area.

  • Hmmmm, billions worth of skyscrapers, the Courthouse, City Hall, the Central Library, the George R Brown, MinuteMaid, the Wortham, the Hobby, the Alley, the Jones, Toyota Center?????? How on Earth can you state that Downtown is not the core of Houston?? Seriously, I laughed as I read the comment of the day, it was so completely absurd.

  • I don’t think y’all understand Bernard’s point. He saying that the urban core of Houston is much larger than just downtown. Downtown is merely the eastern edge of the core.

  • Why does this even matter?! Maybe geographically speaking yes downtown isn’t in the core but from a cites perspective it’s the hear beat of the town. City Hall, Court District, Sport Venues, etc! Just saying…

  • The Eastside may not be the chic part of town, but is the real business end of town.

  • I would say the core is Medical Center to Downtown to Greenway to Galleria/Uptown. I would not include developments out by the Beltway and beyond.

  • OK – downtown NYC is not the southern edge of the Manhattan, it’s everything below 30th street. The financial district is the southern edge of Manhattan, but it is one of several downtown neighborhoods.

  • The term “downtown” originated in Manhattan. The original dense development of the city was at the southern end of the island. Thus, an further development had to extend “uptown” beyond the original”downtown.”

  • To be fair, Midtown Manhattan is now the bigger business district than Downtown, with more office space and jobs. It is more centrally located.

  • I’m less concerned about where we say the “urban core” of Houston is than by the fact that it seems almost everything north of I-10 and west of I-45 seems to be in the Heights now.

  • To find the center of activity look at sales tax numbers by region. In Houston we don’t have any geographic issues as we are flat and on a swamp. Most big cities are built closer to a river, bay, ocean, mountain. All we have to contend with is buffalo bayou and it isnt very big.

  • #11:
    I’ve always thought it was a little strange that the entire country has adopted a geographic reference specific to Manhattan to refer to the place in a city where the tall buildings are. Elsewhere in the Anglophone world, the terms “city center” or CBD (central business district) are used, which makes a lot more sense.
    In Houston we’ve gone a step further: we refer to a place 5 miles WEST of “downtown” as “uptown”, and the place immediately SOUTH (ok, southwest) of “downtown” as “midtown”.

  • Why didn’t Metro reconize this “core” when planning out the Light Rail system? Two of the upcoming routes will be serving East Houston with limited development. The third will serve the eastern edge of this “core” but avoids the Heights area. It seems that UH and TSU will be the only significant destinations added with the new rail routes.

    Yes, there’s two routes planned to serve the Galleria and Uptown. But, it seems building these first should of been a higher priority. And it seems another East-West route should have been added to serve Westheimer or the Allen Parkway areas.

  • The original comment doesn’t surprise me but it does make me sad. So much of our City and our history lies EAST of downtown but all too often, white people (largely) ignore that entire side of town. I’d argue that the ship channel and the refineries that line it are the backbone of the City. That U of H and TSU shouldn’t be ignored. That there’s hidden treasure to be found in the 3rd and 5th Wards. That Riverside Terrace is amazing. That Hobby Airport is way better than IAH unless you are flying overseas on a carrier not named United. That Clear Lake-NASA-Kemah are better than Greater Katy. That the San Jacinto Monument matters. That unless you’ve visited the original Ninfa’s, eaten at Kanomwan, chugged beer at Moon Tower Inn, or stood in line for fried chicken at 3 a.m. at Frenchy’s, then you need to get out of the City Centre bubble. Oh, and the soul of the “old” Montrose and Heights can be found East of US 59.

  • Metro can’t build rail across hostile political terrain.

  • #16

    The NIMBY effect is strong in Bernard’s core.

  • Lots of hidden gems in the 5th Ward. I watched the drugs, inc. episode about the 5th ward and saw them all.

  • @Bernard, @detroux:

    Political considerations. Regardless of the cost/benefits or ridership estimates or any other logical transit planning, poor people have to have their own trains.

  • @16

    Can you imagine the hue and cry? The prospect of LRT down Richmond freaked them out pretty badly to the point that I imagine that was the last window of opportunity for something like LRT in the area.

  • Metro rail should do an east west route further north of 610n or just south of it and bypass the nimbys. Take the rail down long point / cavalcade.