Austin | Dallas | Houston
Hometown Glory?

National writer claims Houston "smells bad," admits it's one of most dynamic cities in America

Houston has been called "brutally ugly" among other undesirable names, but Andrew Osterland, writing for Investment News, is the first in recent memory to lead with the charge that the city "smells bad" — not that I'm arguing with his point.

It's part of a rite of passage for national publications, it seems, to lodge a few overarching insults before heaping praise on Houston. Osterman gets credit for picking a different sense to have offended, but in general I'm pretty bored of this setup, the journalistic equivalent of negging a girl in a bar before trying to sleep with her. Not cool, dude.

And yet, overall, the feature on Houston portrays a culturally sophisticated economic powerhouse that's dubbed "one of the most dynamic cities in the U.S."

 In general I'm pretty bored of this setup, the journalistic equivalent of negging a girl in a bar before trying to sleep with her. Not cool, dude. 

In addition to brief mentions of "world-class museums, performing-arts organizations and an enormous variety of excellent restaurants for residents who love to eat out," the focus here in on Houston's economic appeal, which owes a lot to the energy industry, although that image doesn't quite convey the modern Houston business climate.

“Houston used to be a blue-collar town. Now it's a white-collar town,” said Patrick Jankowski, vice president of research at the Greater Houston Partnership, an advocacy association for business. “The city has changed from being the place where the equipment was made to the place where the decisions are made.”

Houston isn't just growing in terms of jobs, it's growing in wealth and influence as well as the home of 22 Fortune 500 companies (second only to New York), 94 foreign consulates and nearly 100,000 millionaires.

“There's so much new wealth being created here,” said Jim Trippon, who owns Trippon Wealth Management Group LLC, a registered investment advisory firm that manages $120 million and is affiliated with Raymond James Financial Services Inc. “It's an amazing business community, and it's wide open for anyone who has ambition.”

Newsletters for exploring your city

Daily Digest

Houston news, views + events

The Dining Report

News you can eat

Insider Offers

Curated experiences at exclusive prices

Promo Alerts

Special offers + exclusive deals

We will not share or sell your email address