Is Houston the new Brooklyn?
Get ready for some great pizza and hot dogs.
"They're about the same size; Houston has 2.2 million people and Brooklyn has 2.4 million. But Brooklyn is much denser than Houston, with Brooklyn fitting more people into about one-tenth the amount of land. The question is: As Houston continues to grow, what form will the new development take? Will we see more single-family homes, or will we see higher-density, mixed use developments? A transformation is taking place in Houston's inner neighborhoods. Traditionally filled with low-slung bungalows, neighborhoods like Cottage Grove are being rebuilt with Brooklyn-scale town homes."
Having lived in New York for a few years, the biggest difference I've noticed is Brooklyn's lack of a downtown or central business district (unless you count Flatbush Avenue). A skyscraper or high-rise is a real rarity in this borough; even discounting downtown towers, Houston probably already has more high-rise apartment and condo units than Brooklyn.
What Brooklyn has in great abundance are mid-rise apartments and town or row houses, concepts that we are only beginning to grow accustomed to. And even with this limited embrace comes cries that the newer, denser buildings are destroying the character of the old neighborhoods.
But Houston and Brooklyn already have much in common—a bustling port, a neighborhood famous for hipsters, a big, famous park and gentrification in neighborhoods that were traditionally working-class (Cobble Hill and Prospect Heights; Rice Military and Midtown).
A look at how Brooklyn has managed the influx of new residents while keeping housing costs (relatively) reasonable and preserving the feel of the traditional neighborhoods might not be out of place for Houston planners.