Houston, Texas
Brandon Hartley
The History
Houston Texas is the 4th largest city in the United States. In total,
Houston houses nearly 2.2 million people within its 600 square mile
This metropolitan area is the 6th largest in the in the United States and
contains approximately 5.6 million people.
Houston was founded in 1836 by Augustus Chapman Allen and John
Kirby Allen near the banks of the Buffalo Bayou.
Houston is named after a president of the Republic of Texas Sam
Houston is located within Harris County and is part of the HoustonSugar Land-Baytown metropolitan area.
Houston served as the capital of the Republic of Texas for a short time.
The History
Houston became a commercial and railroad hub for the export of
cotton. This was do in part to the Houston’s proximity to the coast
which allowed for shipping.
Access to the ocean and ships is essential so in 1914 the deepwater
Port of Houston was opened in order to allow for a better shipping
infrastructure. Houston is now one of the largest ports in the
United States.
Petroleum was another resource that was taken advantage of once it
was found in this location in the 1900’s
Recently, Houston has begun to try and diversify it’s economy by
focusing more on aerospace and health care/biotechnology, other
than petroleum.
The History
Throughout Houston’s history, it has been plagued by hurricanes.
Flooding must be designed for in this part of the world.
Geography (General)
Houston was originally built on forested land, marshes and swamps. In
fact downtown Houston is only 50 feet above sea level which make
it prone to flooding when heavy rain and hurricanes occur.
The highest point in Houston is only 125 feet above sea level.
Geography (General)
Geography (General)
Houston has four major bayous passing through the city. The four
bayous are the Buffalo Bayou, Whit Oak Bayou, Braes Bayou, and
Sims Bayou.
The larger of these bayous is the Buffalo Bayou.
Geography (General)
The bayous are looked at as a very important part of the city. So
important that a group was started called the Bayou Preservation
Association. This group is dedicated to protecting the bayous and
bringing life back to them.
The organization is trying to make sure that the 2,500 miles of
waterways are transformed into “beautiful ribbons of green.”
In a recent publication by the group, they try to link the number of
wetland permits to the amount of flood damage. In most cases,
when more permits are given more water absorbing land is
modified which increased the amount of flood damage.
Wetland Alteration & Watershed Flooding
Geography (General)
Geography (General)
Several studies have been done on the development around the
Buffalo Bayou. Many of which can be seen on the BuffaloBayou.org
One of the most important plans has to do with ways to manage
flooding after what happened with Tropical Storm Allison. One
simple solution brought up is simply limiting development and
wetland modifications and by widening the bayous themselves.
Various parks have begun to be developed and enhanced around the
Buffalo Bayou which is one of the last natural bayous in Houston
not made of concrete.
Geography (General)
Geography (General)
Geography (General)
Geography (Geology)
The soil quality in Houston is made up mostly of unconsolidated clays,
clay shales, and poorly-cemented sands up to several miles deep.
This creates several issues when working with foundations in the
region. Because of the constant flow of water underground, subbasements must be built to resist the constant bombardment of
Fault lines also cause design problems because Houston is actually
located around 150 active faults. The fault system that passes
closest to downtown Houston is named the Long Point-Eureka
Heights Fault System
Geography (Climate)
Houston’s climate is classified as humid subtropical. Prevailing winds
are from the south and southeast most of the year.
Summer temperature reach upwards of 90 degrees while winter
months can reach lows in the 40’s. The climate in the region is said
to be influenced by the smog level that the city produces which are
some of the worst in the United States.
Geography (City)
Houston incorporated a ward system in 1837 which led to today’s nine
Houston City Council districts.
Locations are classified as being either inside or outside of Interstate
610 Loop. Beltway 8 encircles Interstate 610 loop 5 miles out.
Houston is the largest city in the United States without formal zoning
regulations. Some say the lack of regulation led to the urban sprawl
that is commonplace in Houston now.
Houston’s murder rate is ranked 46th of the U.S. cities with a
population of 250,00 or more. However it is 3rd among cities with a
population of 1,000,000 or more.
As stated earlier, Houston’s economy is based on many areas. Oil,
natural gas, biomedical research, and aeronautics are just a few of
these areas. Entertainment is also a source of economic value as
well as trade and various other business services.
Houston is made up of a diverse group of people. Much like Los
Angeles and New York, several nationalities tend to settle within
the city.
Approximately 90 languages are spoken within the city of Houston.
Houston also contains one of the largest illegal immigrant
population at 400,000
Arts and Theater
Houston has an active visual and performing arts scene. Most of these
activities are located within the Theater District which is located
downtown and contains 9 performing arts organizations and six
performance halls. Second largest concentration of theaters in the
United States.
The Museum District is also important for the arts and contains places
like the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston Museum of Natural Science,
the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Holocaust Museum, and
the Houston Zoo
Houston is home to several events throughout the year. Most of these
are used to celebrate the diverse cultures that are present in
Tourism and Recreation
Many of these events create an increase in tourism and recreation.
There are several places to visit, many of which are in the Museum
and Theater Districts.
Space Center Houston is one important tourist attraction that draws
people from all over the world.
Tourism and Recreation
Parks are another form of recreation that are becoming more and
more popular in Houston as more land is developed as green space.
Houston is also home to several sports franchises. These include the
Houston Astros, Houston Texans, Houston Rockets, Houston
Dynamo, Houston Aeros, Houston Wranglers, and many more.
These sports require parks and coliseums which all generate a form of
income and a form of recreation for the people of Houston.
Houston has over 500 miles of freeway and expressways to allow
movement through the city.
Houston has recently begun to redevelop the METRO in order to
improve transportation of the quickly growing population. The light
rail began service in 2004.
Airports are also essential to transportation and Houston has two. The
George Bush Intercontinental Airport and the William P. Hobby
Houston has begun to make itself known a medical research center
here in the United States. The Texas Medical Center is located in
Houston contains 13 renowned hospitals and two specialty
There are also several medical schools, nursing schools, dentistry
schools, public health, and pharmacies. Life flight is based out of
Houston which is one of the largest air emergency services.
Healthcare is a major source of income for the economy because it is
some of the best in the world.
Houston’s skyline has been ranked fourth most impressive in the
United States.
Until the 1960’s Houston’s downtown was a collection of mid-rise
office structures. Since then several buildings have been created
which make up the skyline today.
Several well known architects have developed projects here include
Philip Johnson, I.M. Pei, and Cesar Pelli.
Green design projects have also began to be developed here. A recent
building by BNIM and Lake|Flato was recently created for the
School of Nursing at the University of Texas Houston.
Higher Education
Healthcare does not make up the only educational environment in
Houston. Several schools are located in Houston
These schools include the University of Houston, Rice University,
University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of St. Thomas,
University of Houston Law Center and several others.
Lower Education
There are 17 school district in the public educational system.
Houston is also home to more than 300 private lower education
schools which are accredited by Texas Private School Accreditation
The following templates were developed by the use of information
present on various websites. The base map for some of the
templates was provided by
This map was cleaned up to allow for uniform studies of downtown
Houston which could be overlaid and modified.
Population Density
Information from: http://www.westhouston.org/COH%202000%20Pop%20Density.png
Wind Speeds
Information from: http://houstonhidefromthewind.org/index.php?map_type=trend
Discovery Green Park
Discovery Green Park
Discovery Green Park
Tunnels and Skywalks
Downtown Parking
Works Cited

Houston, Texas - Texas Tech University