Day 28: We’re thinking the unthinkable

Who would want to live in a downtown high-rise? I mean, really. That’s something only Yankees and other foreigners do.

That’s what I used to think.

Stephanie and I love our neighborhood. We bought our house in the Heights in 1976. For the first time, though, we’ve discussed moving downtown. If we’re going to be car-free, what better place to live, right?

The Downtown District reports a total of 17 residential projects under construction or being planned.

It’s not just Super Bowl frenzy. For the past few years, we’ve ridden our bikes downtown almost every Sunday. We’ve seen high-rises being built and new restaurants opening up. We also travel downtown for sports and entertainment. And we’re entering our “Life Alert” years.

Is density our destiny?

My parents first moved to Houston in 1955. I was four years old. Suburban sprawl was taking hold. My Briargrove neighborhood—not far from where the Galleria is now—was considered far west Houston. We left for New Orleans but came back to Houston in the mid-1960s. By then, far west Houston had moved to Gessner Road.

Recently, I wondered who would fill all the residences going up downtown. Now I don’t wonder as much. Someday it could be us.

That could be a good thing for Houston. In dense cities with “vertical living,” people have fewer cars, drive less, walk more, use public transit and benefit from economies of scale. Janette Sadik-Khan says that large cities “offer the best odds for sustainable growth as global populations increased rapidly.” Now a transportation consultant, she’s the former commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

I know. I just quoted a Yankee. Fellow Texans, please forgive me.

And give up all this?

Old thinking dies hard

Our house won’t go up for sale anytime soon. As neighbors know, we’re just below the legal limit of dogs and cats. We’ll wait for the herd to thin naturally before getting serious about a move. Plus, I like being able to walk out my front door, see green grass and talk to neighbors out walking their dogs.

There’s one more hurdle I’ll need to overcome: real estate brochures. In checking out one downtown high-rise today, I read:

“Your lifestyle will be celebrated, honored and nourished with concierge services and abundant amenities. Thrive in a cosmopolitan atmosphere that takes inspiration from the arts, ballet, theatre, and creativity.”

Sorry, Stephanie. I’m just not ready to have our lifestyle celebrated, honored and nourished.

 

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