Comment of the Day: New Urbanist Flight

COMMENT OF THE DAY: NEW URBANIST FLIGHT “Several posters are spot-on about walkable neighborhoods commanding a premium over traditional suburbs, if all else is equal. Unfortunately you can’t have it all in Houston – neighborhood charm, architecturally interesting houses, walkability, safety, good public schooling, AND affordability. Our growing family is being “forced” out of the Heights for several of the above reasons. If a New Urbanist development existed in the Houston area that was priced similarly to the traditional lollipop surburb, we would go there in an instant. Instead, we’re moving to what we see as the best suburban compromise – the Woodlands. Outside observers will no doubt think we are going to the suburbs because of the cul-de-sacs, but the truth is, we are going despite them.” [CV, commenting on Cul de Sac City: Houston’s Ban on New Street Grids]

17 Comment

  • After 28 years in 007 and 008, I have seen this happen again and again – families come up against the reality of HISD and they flee. I understand. Often wonder if I shouldn’t have done the same.

  • Although it may be lagging the other indicators I get the impression that the quality of schools in the Heights in particular is improving greatly as the makeup of the neighborhood changes and more of the families within the catchment area are in a position to be able to invest more of their time and money in the schools. I’ve only experienced the elementary schools to date but have been very impressed with those that I have seen.

  • “Unfortunately you can’t have it all in Houston – neighborhood charm, architecturally interesting houses, walkability, safety, good public schooling, AND affordability.”

    Wow, what a keen insite about Houston. Now show me any other major city in America where you can get everything you want at an affordable price. You can’t, because it doesn’t exist. It’s a fantasy. The fact of the matter is that Houston is FAR closer to matching your Utopian real estate dream than any place else. The grass really isn’t greener elsewhere, folks.

  • I’ve watched my neighbor’s two kids grow up right here in Montrose, while attending our neighborhood public schools.

    The daughter is about to graduate UT(undergrad w/ scholastic scholarships), the son’s a senior at Lamar, and with honors.

    HISD seems to have served their family quite well. They attended RO elementary, Lanier, and Lamar.

  • Bernard — I think you missed my point. The affordability that I want is a “fantasy” only because the supply of new walkable neighborhoods has been nonexistant for decades. New developments would increase supply and start lowering prices.

  • Jimbo-
    And how many people who can afford to move into the now pricey Heights will send their kids to a middle school (Hogg and Hamilton) where 80%+ of the kids get free and reduced lunch and 90% to 96% are not white?
    This is a reason why people whose kids can’t get into a prestige HISD program flee. And if your child has any learning disability or handicap – RUN!

  • As I say, I’ve only experienced elementary level so far. I really couldn’t give a damn about the percentage of non-white students but then that may be because my kids are not white. My gut feeling is that the middle and high schools will continue to improve as the mix in the neighborhood changes and the children of the newer arrivals grow. Certainly Hogg, Hamilton and Reagan all significantly improved their testing scores last year.

  • New developments would increase supply and start lowering prices.

    Where is this abundant supply of cheap land in town supposed to come from?

  • diggity — look at the Houston area in google maps. If even a few of the curly-q patterns outside of Beltway 8 were grids instead, then we would have some supply. They don’t have to be proximal developments like Fall Creek to succeed because the magic of new urbanism is that the neighborhoods are mixed-use, walkable and more self-contained.

  • I don’t get it. The Heights is embarrassingly cheap compared to any other major city. Heck, the Heights plus private school is cheaper than any other city.

    If you want to move to the Woodlands, fine, but don’t pretend like you were forced to.

  • Thank you for focusing on one area (Heights) for as we know, Houston itself is enormous. I grew up, as well as did some student teaching in Spring Branch and was pleased with the size of the district in general, housing is mostly older mid century modern homes. There are several amazing parts of town, but that is where affordability becomes a problem, although this “recession” is taking care of that ;)

  • Yeah, so ‘Mercedes’ Heights is embarrassingly cheaper than ‘Rolls-Royce’ Manhattan — thus I can afford it. Impeccable logic.

  • I’llstay thinks private schools are cheap. Have you priced private high schools? At least a grand a month, 2k for the top high schools. Now – 2 kids, 4 years each…your pushing 100k. As shocking as this may seem, I’llstay, that is not do-able for many families. Guess we are embarresingly cheap.

  • Not to mention the fact that private school do not always pay off. In my experience they are far more dangerous due to the money these kids have at such an early age. That is not to say all of them are, by any means but from what I have seen, if you think drug problems are bad in public schools, wait until you see what these kids in private schools can get their hands on.

  • If you can afford to live in the Woodlands (one of the top income cities in the US) you can afford to live in the Heights.

    Whether the Heights/’trose/Bellaire have “good” schools is debatable, but don’t act like you were forced to the Woodlands by cost.

  • Really I’llStay? The housing stock in the Heights and the Woodlands is cost equivalent for even remotely similar single family homes? Your name is perfect — you really don’t get out much.

  • The Woodlands??? Aww come on!! Nothing against them, but does the eastern half of the inner loop just not exist to these people??? Any portion of Greater Eastwood… Broadmoor, Woodleigh, Eastwood proper… has the same attributes of the Heights for around H-A-L-F the price. Still a stone’s throw away from downtown too!!! If it were me, I’d buy in Eastwood and use the extra savings to get my kids into a private school or Eastwood Charter.