University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Since its beginning the City of Houston has brought about much controversy over it land use policies, if any. According to its official site “The city of Houston does not have zoning but development is governed by codes that address how property can be subdivided”. Because of no Zoning restrictions Houston has grown to become a massive ununiformed collection of concrete. With no zoning in effect you can travel across Houston and come across multiple skylines, which can actually make Houston a unique place to live. I can recall a friend from Tennessee informing of how impressive Houston’s downtown skyline was, but come to find they simply talking about the Houston Galleria district. Houston cityscape, and Average Street or avenue is like no other cities of its size or greater. In a way zoning in Houston has become an increasingly complex topic, many property owners are speaking out more than ever. Many Property owners feel that while someone else’s land is theirs, it shouldn’t affect their own. In Houston a phenomenon that’s not unfamiliar would be unwanted businesses or industries establishing themselves within areas the great majority would rather not be located near. For example, a sports bar across the street from a church or, a junk yard next to a single family residence. Home buyers in the Houston area eliminate the risk of having their property values decrease because of lack of zoning by purchasing their new dwellings in a “deed restricted” community, many located all throughout the city of Houston. Under the circumstances, home buyers agree to purchase their home a community of this type giving authority to a hired home owner’s association to keep their community and home values well up kept.
In the textbook (Texas Politics: 12th edition), Political science professor Daniel Elazar identifies three broad developed patterns of political culture; moralistic, traditionalistic, and individualistic. Daniel groups the various states between the groups by their structure of government and citizens. He identifies that Texas would be under the individualistic political culture. According to Professor Elazar “in the individualistic political culture, citizens understand the state and nation as marketplaces in people strive to better their personal welfare”. Citizen participation is encouraged only as a means of individual achievement and discouraged when it attempts to redistribute wealth. Being the largest city in the individualistic state of Texas, one definitely can understand why or how its municipal setting mimics the big picture. Houston zoning laws can be viewed as a way to support the idea of individual growth versus the growth of the whole community. When someone purchases land in Houston, it’s typically the end of story and just that. You do as you pleased with your private property. The land / property now become a reflection of its owner. A business minded man will make his property profitable, while some other average may not see his for that reason. Nevertheless, with no zoning it doesn’t matter, who or where things are being placed. Many Houston residents have grown to love some benefits of no zoning, as well as visitors, after the initial shock. For what it’s worth no zoning has allowed Houston to become one huge convenient city. Unlike a citizen of a traditional zoned city, a Houston resident doesn’t even have to leave their surroundings to get all their errands done in one making Houston the ultimate “stop and go”.