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Where will we put all the people?

I like a good article about the future of growth in Harris County as much as the next guy, but I’m a little bugged by this one. I’ll tell you why after the usual excerpt:

Over the next 30 years, most of Harris County’s remaining open space will succumb to subdivisions, office buildings and shopping centers where millions of new residents will live and work, projections by local planners show.

The spread of development, particularly west and northwest of Houston, is among the more striking trends shown in preliminary population and job growth projections developed by the Houston-Gal-
veston Area Council for the eight-county Houston region.

The potential loss of open space alarms conservationists and others concerned about suburban sprawl. It is among the factors driving an effort by business and civic leaders to find different ways to accommodate the region’s anticipated growth.

While continuing to support the economic benefits of new development, local leaders increasingly are seeking strategies to protect the environment and reserve land for parks and recreational use.

The problem with this piece is that not a single “local leader”, at least of the elected variety, is quoted in it. I’m happy to see people like Robin Holzer get called for a quote in any article that talks about transportation projects and their effect on where development gets planned, but without a few words from the likes of Harris County Judge Robert Eckels, there’s no way to measure how seriously what she says is being taken. Maybe Eckels, or anyone else associated with Harris County Commissioners’ Court, was not available for comment – it was Christmas yesterday, after all – but without knowing what they think about this, I can’t judge whether to be alarmed, relieved, angry, or something else. I guess for now the best I can hope for is a followup piece with the reaction from the “local leaders” that’s so clearly missing here.

Oh, well. It could be worse. At least we’re not in danger of sinking into the Gulf of Mexico. Not yet, anyway.

UPDATE: Tory weighs in.

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  1. Charles Hixon says:

    Good Chronic article. Some of the more prominent players on both sides of the issue รขโ‚ฌโ€œ lopsided as it is – were mentioned. Our local elected officials are not prominent players. Holzer’s influence on policy is directly related to her ability to put local elected officials into office.

  2. Amy says:

    I always love seeing Robin’s name on your site. I especially love hearing that she is single-handedly responsible for putting elected officials into office. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. Charles Hixon says:

    Settle down Amy. Look at who contributed to the campaigns of any local office holder, where they live and what their business interests are, and then wink ๐Ÿ˜‰ at me again. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Amy says:

    Oh, I’m perfectly settled. It’s just funny to hear my buddy from back in the freshman dorm talked about in terms of her influence on local politics, which she does have. I don’t live in Houston anymore, and haven’t for over 7 years. The only reason I know anything about the local politics are Chuck’s lovely blog and my friend Robin. Seeing her name on his blog just always makes me smile.

  5. Charles Hixon says:

    Amy, I don’t think it’s funny. There is a way to “measure how seriously what she says is being taken”.

  6. John D. Wilson says:

    I was glad to see this story, but it did not receive much space or a prominent placement in the printed newspaper. The information that has come forward during this planning process is truly amazing – projections of a much larger city, and places that are much denser than they are today. Tory can have his sprawl and still find people in “denser development” (albeit nothing like cities with truly dense neighborhoods).

    Can this city really make it if these projections come true? One thing that *was* neat about Houston was its diversity, accessible to all. But I find myself living in a smaller and smaller personal city as the metropolis grows and grows.