Always in motion the future is

That won’t stop some people from trying to predict it. the future!

A Houston think tank has seen the city’s future. Make that two futures.

One version shows the Houston metropolitan area in 2040 as beginning to grow after decades of economic stagnation, focused on improving the environment, education and quality of life, paid for through higher taxes.

The second hypothetical Houston is a hard-charging economic power, doubling in size over the previous 30 years but also split by stark disparities between rich and poor.

The two scenarios from the Center for Houston’s Future are intended to inform the debate over decisions the region faces in coming decades.

“We’re not saying one is good or bad,” said James Calaway, the center’s chairman. “We’re giving leadership things to think about.”


In the first scenario, “Learning to Live,” the eight-county region has had two decades of slow growth and political instability, buffeted by businesses moving away and declining educational levels.

By 2040, the population had reached 7 million – up just 1 million from current estimates – and residents had agreed to higher taxes and other efforts to improve education. The result was a better quality of life, with cleaner air, more green spaces and better public transportation.

The second scenario, “Playing to Win,” describes a region of 12 million people, boosted by a pro-business climate and an economy based on energy, health care, the port and water reclamation and desalination efforts along the coast.

Companies recruit from around the world while the home-grown workforce suffers from a lack of education and training. The wealthy live in gated enclaves, the poor in crime-ridden neighborhoods.

“For some the region represents boundless opportunity and a quality of life beyond what they could find elsewhere,” this scenario concludes. “For others … access to opportunity is limited and the future is unclear.”

Don’t know that I’d consider either of those scenarios to be particularly appealing, but maybe I’m just not getting it. You can see it all here, and come up with your own scenarios if you’re into that sort of thing.

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