July 14, 2004
Come home to the city

As long as we're talking about attracting people to a city's downtown, I'll mention this op-ed from Sunday by Rice prof Stephen Klineberg, who talks about why suburban Anglos are expressing more interest than before in moving back to inner Houston.

This year’s survey asked respondents how often they visited Houston’s museums or live theaters, made use of downtown restaurants or nightlife, and attended professional sporting events. Consistently and unmistakably, the Anglos in the suburbs who made more frequent use of these urban venues were more likely to be interested in moving to the city.

All three types of amenities appear to be equally powerful in luring people to city living. Combining them into one overall measure, the data indicate that considerably more than half of all the Anglos in the suburbs who often take advantage of Houston’s museums, theaters, nightlife or sporting events said they would be interested in someday moving to the city. In sharp contrast, less than a fourth of the suburban residents who make little use of these amenities thought they’d be interested in such a move.

To tie this back to my earlier post, if I were interested in revitalizing Conroe's downtown, I'd very much want to know where my potential customer base is and what sort of thing it is they're looking for before I went off and tried to lure a bunch of chain restaurants there. What would get Conroe residents to stay in town rather than head down to the Woodlands? What would get Woodland residents (or Houston residents, for that matter) to head north for the evening? All I'm saying here is that I get the impression these guys are guessing rather than forecasting, and I think they're going to regret it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 14, 2004 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack