Comment of the Day: The Trendsetting Less Fortunate

COMMENT OF THE DAY: THE TRENDSETTING LESS FORTUNATE “I have a few friends moving to Houston who are going to live in the ’burbs – not because they’re into racial purity and strip malls but because that’s where they can actually afford to buy a home. The less fashionable an area becomes, the more affordable it is to people of modest means, which typically means the sneerers look a bit snobbish. Which suddenly turns the formerly unfashionable area fashionable (I believe the vogue term right now is “authentic”), and the sneering and budgeting just reverses itself. Laughing at the people who have tight budgets but aren’t poor enough to actually be considered poor is an old means to paint a veneer onto one’s classism, and it’s often couched in the argument over whether surbubanites or midtowners are morally and culturally superior. It’s utterly ridiculous, but it’ll never stop.” [Sihaya, commenting on ExxonMobil Fesses Up to Its Employees About That New North Houston Campus It’s Been Building]

23 Comment

  • There are “unfashionable” neighborhoods in the city as well though. My parents just bought a very nice house in fifth ward for $130,000.

  • Where you choose to live is dictated by may factors. First and foremost is your budget. From that figure you rank the things you want in a home. Location, square footage, quality of schools, etc. The more of the things you want, the more you pay. Simple as that. I would love to live in a 4K sq foot home inside the loop, but guess what, I can’t afford it. So I have one the third that size . My choice was location over size. Others have different choices. I can walk to the grocery store. I can’t see myself in the ‘burbs, forced to drive my car 3 miles just to get out of the “master planned prison” to buy a loaf a bread in the traffic congested retail area near the freeway. This setup was intentional in order to drive up commercial real estate prices to enrich the developer and his buddies that bought the land dirt cheap before the houses were built.

  • Do your parents have school age children who need good schools?

  • Yeah, but this is Houston, not San Fran, Boston or NY. There are actually affordable housing options close in. There are great deals in areas like Oak Forrest, Brooksmith and Timbergrove. If the soccer stadium spurs more development, Eastwood may be a great deal too. And townhouses are filling in every unprotected lot inside the loop, with many reasonably priced.

    Also, while midtowners may claim cultural superiority, I again remind you that this is Houston. People still clap between movements at symphony concerts and talk during sets at jazz clubs. I cannot remember the last time I made it through a film at River Oaks without wanting to throw my cell phone at someone who wouldn’t shut up. A 30 minute bike ride in the Heights will show you a thing or two about appreciation for architecture inside the loop.

    And the gated communities are in the burbs. A house near River Oaks CC will get you a steady stream of runners plodding by at 6 am on Saturday morning and a major traffic jam when the christmas lights are up. In fact, if someone is looking down on you in the burbs, it is more likely your neighbor in Royal Oaks or The Woodlands than an inner-looper.

  • This week, I think I’d move to Sugarspringcreekwood for an “inauthentic house” with a swimming pool.

  • I’m assuming choices doesn’t have kids either if he/she is able to carry their groceries home on foot.

  • Please. The endless sprawl of Houston is utterly pointless and those who take part in it deserve the scorn heaped upon them.

  • CAHBF, what if they work in the sprawl like I do (as do about half of the employees of the Houston area)? Seems like employment is an utterly good point for taking part in sprawl. Sure beats unemployment!

    I’d also point out that I moved from a very walkable neighborhood with a lot of character to a ticky tacky neighborhood in the sprawl so that I could walk to work. I’ve never been able to even afford to do that before. The sprawl is being good to me.

  • @theniche

    Get some statistics to prove that, the majority of jobs are not in suburbs. Hence the unbearable traffic everyday because of suburbanites.

  • Amen. But what they really expect us to do is buy a home in a similar price range, only it’s much older and much less energy efficient. Or we should find an apartment that we can rent.

  • I would rather rent for the rest of my life than live in the suburbs. But that’s just me. I don’t look down on people who live out there (I get it, about the schools or whatever), I just never want to be one of them. And I assume that they don’t want to be me.

  • The comments above about the “good” schools being in the suburbs is so out-of-date and, quite simply, not true. My children attend great public schools in the middle of the city, and I did, too.

    Many of the suburban districts around Houston aren’t doing so well. Fort Bend ISD been running a deficit budget for years. Katy ISD passed a big bond, but now has fired hundreds of teachers.

    There are many reasons to choose suburbs over city, and vice versa, but the “good” public schools argument just doesn’t hold up anymore.

  • I liked spring a whole lot more when there were still trees there…

  • Houston has plenty of affordable neighborhoods…Westbury, Northside Village, Willow Meadows, even parts of Timbergrove, Heights (which represents a wide range of race and class and where parent involvement in the schools in on the upswing).

  • Let’s be realistic here. Houston’s suburbs are not the same as suburbs in other metro areas. Houston and sprawl go hand in hand. Strip malls are not a signal of suburbia in Houston, they are all over Houston. Whether you are inside or outside of the loop, you have strip malls. People try to pretend that the innerloop is somehow superior to Sugar Land, The Woodlands, or whatever other suburbs are out there, but both the suburbs and the inner city of Houston have their advantages and their drawbacks. And living inside the loop does not suddenly mean you can walk everywhere, or that you are more cultured than your suburban counterparts. The innerloop is not by any means a walkable or pedestrian friendly area. And innerloopers are not all artistic, theater loving, multilingual, educated people who have some sort of appreciation for 19th century architecture or some bull crap like that. And there is no such thing as racial purity in Houston’s suburbs. Houston suburbs actually have a tendency to be more racially diverse than some of Houston’s key areas. Walk through any Sugar Land neighborhood, and you are bound to meet people from all over the world. People who have legally entered the United States might I add.

  • @robertrulez

    Take a walk down streets in any given inner loop neighborhood. See any streets without cars parked in driveways and on streets. Maybe, just maybe, innerloopers drive to work too.

  • Hey, Realistic: it’s nice that you can tell a legal from an illegal immigrant by merely taking a stroll through a Sugar Land neighborhood. Hell, you’re better than INS.

    I find it funny that the people that actually worked their asses off to build the houses and shopping centers in your gleeful suburbs (i.e. the ubiquitously-blamed Latino immigrants, who are apparently responsible for the downfall of the US economy and the perversion of all things wholesomely American) are the ones that you decide to punctuate your pointless tirade with. The world sure is a hypocritical place sometimes.

  • don’t mistake racial diversity for economic diversity, racial diversity doesn’t mean much of anything these days.

    i can assure you the inner loop is much more economically diverse than the suburbs ever will be and that’s generally something that suburbanites run from (to keep adding fuel to the fire and all).

  • I don’t see the whole big deal with living inside the loop. I much prefer living just outside of it in southwest Houston. You get the best of both worlds. The urban experience of diversity in restaurants and amenities along with the space and tranquility suburbs are known for. Meyerland, Westbury, Sharpstown, and Bellaire are so much lusher in greenery than anything in the inner loop. Don’t ever forget the larger lots that actually give you space to relax.

  • Realistic, just so I’m clear, you think Montrose is the same as Sugar Land or Kingwood?

  • When did I call the suburbs gleeful? I didn’t. I said that the suburbs in Houston were not the same as other metro area suburbs. When did I say that Sugar Land was the same as Montrose? I didn’t. I said that the innerloop and the suburbs each had advantages and drawbacks. When did I say I could tell the difference between legal and illegal immigrants? I didn’t. I simply pointed out that there is racial diversity in the suburbs, a point I based upon a statement made in the comment posted as comment of the day. I was not commenting on economics, I was commenting on race. And for clarity I will say that many of those people are legally here, not all of them. I also, was by no means punctuating my statement or “tirade” with my final statement. I’m well aware that illegal immigrants are the ones repsonsible for building much of the suburban makeup, as they are for much of the same boring infrastructure found inside the loop and all over the rest of Texas’ metro areas. I don’t live in the suburbs, but if there was a need for me to do so, why wouldn’t I. My point was that Houston’s suburbs are not the bland dwelling places of colorless people that so many hardcore innerloopers paint them to be. And the innerloop is not a place of cultural sunshine and diversified unity. Again, advantages and drawbacks people. Now lets play nice…K?

  • I should have put quotes around “racial purity and strip malls,” because I was pretty much responding to someone else’s use of the phrase. In the context of the conversation it was obvious. As a COTD, not so much. Sorry.

  • You live 50-90 miles from work, you deserve to be sneered at for wasting gas as well as for snobbery.