Selling the River Oaks District to Retailers; Houston’s Wealthiest ZIP Code


Photo of Pasadena: Russell Hancock via Swamplot Flickr Pool


14 Comment

  • I can easily define the line between “neighborhood improvement” and “gentrification”. If one can afford to live there, it’s “neighborhood improvement”. Otherwise, it’s “gentrification”.

  • The Spring Creek Greenway is truly a great amenity – – though it also functions in capturing the run-off from surrounding areas. In The Woodlands section, the increased development is pouring an overwhelming amount of water in during peak rainfall – – tearing-apart trails and the few pipes/boardwalks. This is much more than carving trails. I hope they can find the funds to properly plan and build the necessary infrastructure around the Creek.

  • For the Gentrification article it should also mention age differential. In the 5th ward / East End we are seeing a major influx of younger people moving in that cannot afford the west side of town but still want to be close to downtown. Its interesting to see the two parties interact with the younger folks working together in mass online through social media sites vs the traditional civic club or superneighborhood council setting. In lower 5th ward we have ~200 online interacting and sharing information. The 5th ward as a whole is lucky to have 15 people show up at the Super Neighborhood Council meetings.

  • @ The Woodlands: Your community is not as important as you believe it to be.

  • Mr.Clean19, thanks for the comment. Age is another characteristic that can certainly be included in the gentrification mix. You bring up a great point about neighborhood engagement and the differences between age cohorts. 20 and 30-somethings love to post things on Nextdoor, but our engagement in the traditional public process is limited. There is certainly a disconnect between long-time residents and new residents and so many opportunities are missed to create relationships between the two groups.

  • Excellent blog post, Christopher Andrews, and thanks so much for the link to the City Observatory Study. It’s certainly an eye opener. Frankly it should be mandatory reading for urban planners, HUD employees, TDHCA employees, HDHCD employees… – anyone involved in housing and community development.
    I wonder if the easy answer to “when does neighborhood improvement become gentrification?” Is “when more people are displaced, than would naturally leave the neighborhood.” As you rightly pointed out, neighborhood improvements are a GOOD thing. It’s when people are forced to leave because they can’t afford it, that it becomes a bad thing; it becomes gentrification.
    My schtick, starting back when I was a Super Neighborhood President and continuing to this day is: don’t be scared that neighborhood improvement will lead to gentrification. The alternative (increased, concentrated poverty) is far worse. And if displacement looks like it’s going to start to happen, that’s when you work with investors and HUD to use low income housing tax credits to simultaneously clean up blight, AND lock in affordable housing in the neighborhood. (The latter is admittedly a hard sell, but we did it).

  • Nichea: your divisive thoughts don’t help. like it or not, there’s 100k people up there. no matter where we live, if more of us realize we’re all part of the 6M strong community that includes you, maybe there’d be less self-centered thinking and more understanding that we all can have an impact on a sense of community however small. our car-culture and gated communities already work well to divide us from each other. why aggravate? living in insularity is one thing, promoting it is self-destructive.

  • These zip code surveys are assine. Everybody knows the wealthiest neighborhood in Houston and it’s in 77019. Even the per capita income lists are not that accurate. If you had to pick 5 famous affluent neighborhoods in Texas, it would be Highland Park, River Oaks, Olmos Park, Pemberton Heights, and Preston Hollow and I’ve seen lists of the finest neighborhoods in the country that don’t include any of these neighborhoods because a shack in the ghetto in SF costs 1 million plus and a card board box in NYC is 500000, thus the lists are skewed…just like this list on which this stupid article was written.

  • The line of demarcation is very clear:

    Neighborhood Improvement is when other people get priced out of the neighborhood. Gentrification is when YOU get priced out of the neighborhood.

  • The tank farm (LyondellBassell Houston Refinery) in the photo is actually in Houston, Scarborough St. is the western boundary of the city of Pasadena which is the road seen on the bottom right of the photo.

  • @ tony: My thoughts are not divisive. By your own admission, The Woodlands has only 100k people in it out of a regional population of 6,000k people; I was aware of these facts when I posted what I did. The Woodlands is not a regional hub of anything at all. I could understand it if people were pissy about there not being an airport stop because an airport is a critical component of inter-city travel infrastructure. I could possibly be compelled to politely appreciate the position that if there was not a stop at the airport, that there should then be a stop at some junction along the Grand Parkway in order to serve traffic coming from or going to Dallas. However — this is not a commuter system. It is not designed for that purpose. It is operationally incompatible with the business model for this privately-funded system that will serve a steady stream of travelers rather than a twice-daily unidirectional surge of commuters.


    Here is the link to The Woodlands Township transportation page – I’m sure you can contact someone to get the high-speed train to stop there–joining the trolleys, commuter coaches and boats as part of the many transportation options residents of the township can take advantage of.

    Your welcome

  • ” It’s when people are forced to leave because they can’t afford it, that it becomes a bad thing; it becomes gentrification.”
    So when people are forced to leave because they can’t afford to stay? that’s a bad thing. that’s always a bad thing? So if I have to sell my house quickly to keep the price from depreciating too much while I own it? That is gentrification?

  • Niche: I see fallacious logic throughout your opinion. 100k people now + future population growth projections for the Woodlands, no matter how much you or anyone else dislikes, represents a population density that only poor regional infrastructure planning ignores. Your bias against them is disingenuous and holds no water esp. looking objectively at a population density map of the whole region and the dynamic transit planning that must accommodate. The Woodlands/Montgomery County is a growing population density with a proportionally growing impact on regional transit outlook. Ideal mitigation of this growth through a public insistence that bullet train route planning alleviates suburban commuter rail demand must take precedence to any irrational fealty to TCR’s private route proposals.

    TCR’s plan is indeed a private venture and can exercise all the profit motivation and self-interest it wants in rationalizing which path the train takes. Unfortunately for them, building trains requires land outlays for which the public cannot permit TCR to have carte blanche permission on the issue of public land use. Like a true conservative, you speak as if the public should grant TCR as much latitude as it likes in implementing its vision. However, if it consumes even a fraction of public right-of-way that might otherwise be used by potential commuter rail, then it’s time for regional, state, and/or federal gov’t to insist TCR alter its design to accommodate commuter rail customers. There’s a thin line between this private enterprise being subsidized at public expense – particularly on the issue of the train using public RoW.