What’s the Best Sign of the New Houston? We’re Looking for Your Nominations

So far, 4 categories have been opened up for reader nominations in this year’s Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate: Favorite Houston Design Cliché, Best Demolition, Best Body of Water, and Best Mobile Food Vendor Location. Today, we get to welcome another new category: Best Sign of the New Houston.

What do you see as the most defining characteristics of where Houston is heading? And then: What’s the clearest sign of that direction? With this award, we’re hoping readers come up with a single specific event, development, place, or plain ol’ thing in the city that best encapsulates the new circumstances we find ourselves in here in this low-lying, smooth-talking metropolis. Help us pick the best sign of the Bayou City’s new era.

Submit your nominations for the best sign of the new Houston in the comments section below — or hit us up via email. For this category to work, we’re relying on our readers’ ability to come up with clever interpretations of this category. Have at it!

You have until midnight this Sunday, December 14 to send in your nominations. You should know the drill by now, but feel free to look over all the rules for the nominating process here.

The 2014 Swampies

24 Comment

  • Houston is becoming more walk-able and bike-able by the minute with its newly restored parks that link our bayous and neighborhoods together.

    Places you could never walk before have been opened up by new bridges, new sidewalks and new bikeways, something that truly makes Houston more livable.

  • more toll roads and lexus lanes. as they say, the devil is in the details.

  • Buffaloo Bayoo Beyootification – Houston finally woke up and realized it had the makings of a lovely greenway where once only bats pooped and garbage collected.

  • If we’re seriously calling it “the new Houston” then we’re jumping a shark (again) and it’s all variations on a theme. Meet the new Houston, same as the old Houston.

    If there’s an inflection point in any particular long-term trend, I expect that it might have to do with HISD schools. The bond money is getting spent, closures and consolidations are under way along with a fair bit of new construction, and demographically there are some pockets of notable improvement (according to the conventional model of what is ‘good school’ demography, which I emphatically challenge but nevertheless regard as relevant).

    Of course, the re-imagining of the bus system is a big deal, too. It’s far more important than the progress made on the LRT system. However, transit does not and will never have as much of an impact on the transitioning of the urban form as does the perception of school quality.

  • I would nominate the improvements along Buffalo Bayou between downtown and Shepherd. For most of my 35 years here (old Houston), we’ve treated that stretch of the bayou as a trash dump. I’m glad city planners have finally recognized as an urban jewel by adding pedestrian bridges, lighting, more public art, and better hiking and biking paths. I can’t wait to see the finished product!

  • In 2014, it was reported that there were no murders in the Fifth Ward! Which was four less than in Heights and five less than Montrose/Midtown.

    Source: Houstonia Magazine.

  • No murders in the 5th Ward seconded! What a time we live in

  • “Buscamos Meseras” or “Trabajo Hoy”

  • Houston’s ethnic neighborhoods as a reflection of the nation’s most diverse city.

  • Best sign is literally a sign. More specifically, it’s that huge “I [heart] Houston” sign on I-10 near Shepherd. I actually saw someone being photographed in front of it last week. That sign confirms that for the first time ever, people are actually proud to be from here and/or to claim it as home.

  • I nominate the mighty construction crane. They’re visible everywhere. Currently out of my office window by Disco Green I bear witness to 9 whole city blocks under construction. Add in the ones in the Energy Corridor, ExxonMobil, I-10, Galleria, various Inner Loop spots and wherever else they have sprouted up and you get a sign of the “new” Houston. Or the ‘old’ Houston getting a facelift, you choose.

  • No murders in 5th ward? Damn, that should be the slogan we use at our 5th Ward building. On one midtown property we cleaned up we jokingly said we were going to put up a banner that said “Now with 80% less stabbings!”.
    There was some natgeo (I think?) special about drugs in Houston. They showed people rolling up and down a street in 5th ward. I saw our bld in the background. That’s not good for business :(
    (but seriously, it’s a good bld now. It just took a while…)

  • Niche, great point about the schools. If it’s true that Harvard and Travis Elementaries in Heights have wait lists for transfers in, as I’ve heard anecdotally, then Houston, you’ve got your sign.

  • Serious high speed rail discussions.

  • Buffalo Bayou’s beautification – no brainer!

  • I second the crane. I could 12 from my office and most of the inner downtown ones are blocked.

  • The intersection of W 19th and N. Shepherd. Just a few years ago, this intersection had only empty strip centers, closed up tote-the-note car dealerships, and greasy independent auto repair shops. Soon, this area will have four new restaurants (Ka Sushi, Southern Goods, Bernadines, and Hunky Dory), and a donut shop from the Houston StrEats guys. All in addition to Fat Cat Creamery, a new hair salon, a store for gamers, and one of those booze and paint a van Gogh places. Almost all of the redevelopment is from local folks doing new and interesting things in repurposed buildings and a new build that is actually keeping a mature tree on the lot. This area is taking off without the being dominated formula stripmallers (nail salon, Quiznos, cell phone store and dry cleaners), drugstores and fast food chains that seem to always gobble up any available land with a high traffic count inside the loop. This is the “new Houston” that all the magazines are writing about. Creative young entrepreneurs responding to the demands brought about by gentrification of inner loop neighborhoods and adding more and more value to the neighborhood.

  • What building, Cody? Whenever my landlord finally decides to sell this Montrose 4-plex, I’m gonna have to move.

  • @Sally – If you are looking for cheap with a good centralized location, look for buying near finnegan park just east of downtown. Great custom homes in the soon not to be long forgotten “Bloody 5th”

  • Sally: which building in fifth ward? Or Midtown? Either shouldn’t be hard to find. I try not to link or post specifics as it seems a bit “advertisey” to do so.
    Where is your Fourplex? I might be able to give you an est. We sold our four earlier this year to a developer, but they haven’t knocked them down yet. We Finally gave up. Too much work for too many red tags. I’ll miss those buildings. 4 cool 1940s fourplexes that we put a ton of upgrades into while keeping original charm. Tenants loved them. Red tagged to oblivion. Thanks CoH :(

  • What do you see as the most defining characteristics of where Houston is heading?
    A: Fracking technology and $100+bbl oil leading to a great influx of new, well educated young people attracted to high paying jobs in our energy industry, driving up demand for housing, restaurants and bars, especially in inner loop neighborhoods.
    And then: What’s the clearest sign of that direction?
    A: Price of oil drops 40% in 6 months, energy companies cut back on R&D spending in 2015, and no more young people from out of state moving into $2000 a month “luxury” apartments in the inner loop, or dropping $300 in a night on “bottle service” at trendy clubs.
    The best sign of the new Houston is that same as old Houston, the price of oil.

  • I know the idea has elicited quite a few negative responses here…but the ‘Houston needs a Swimming Hole’ campaign and the Pierce Skypark. These are big ideas generated by a couple people in the community, brought to the public, to try to create a large scale public space. The swimming hole has almost reached its Kickstarter goal in 2 weeks and the Pierce Skypark team is making its way around town to drum up support. Instead of waiting for the wheels of city hall to churn up an idea and funding; people are showing confidence that there are enough like minded individuals to create momentum for multi-acre greenspace projects inside loop 610.

  • Van Loc closing. It is the end of an era and a sign of the new Houston.

  • I’ll nominate ghost bikes as the best sign of the new Houston.
    Our attitude toward bicyclists seems to be shifting, which I wouldn’t have predicted 10 years ago. Sure, drivers are still rude and reckless, but maybe their murderous sentiments aren’t as warmly received.