NPR Visits Houston To Examine Growth, Using A Soothing Voice

You may have missed it this morning -- but a podcast should be available here (and part two is tomorrow)-- but NPR's Morning Edition came to Houston to look at how we handle growth.

The network's Steve Inskeep said Houston represents the latest chapter of the Urban Frontier series because we have faced challenges and still do.

Greater Houston has around 5.7 million people. They're spread across roughly 10,000 square miles. That's a larger land area than New Jersey.

So many people, so many big air-conditioned homes, so many long commutes -- that's the promise and the peril of Houston.

This week, we are learning how developers built a strikingly affordable and livable city. They work in a city with very few rules. Four times Houston voted on a zoning code; four times Houston rejected it.

Houstonians also consume far more energy than people in almost any other city. All that car travel and those cavernous cooled spaces on the Gulf Coast add up. The way you build a city can add to global warming -- if you build a city like Houston.

He talked with some of the usual suspects.

In fact, an interactive map shows the list: Bill White, Jay Crossley of Houston Tomorrow, Rice's Stephen Klineberg, State Representative Garnet Coleman and -- of course -- the Beer Can House.

But there are other subjects in the two-part series, and it will include a look at the Ashby high-rise controversy.

How will we come out, to the latte-sipping, free-range-chicken-munching NPR listeners? We'll just have to wait and see.

Perhaps we'll be hit with an influx of them, all desperate to enjoy Houston. But we wouldn't bet on it.

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