A cartographic look at Texas' largest city

Even without a formal zoning code, Houston has been able to maintain a sense of order throughout its booms and busts. Like Atlanta, quintessentially postmodern towers and stadiums dominate the imagery of one of the largest cities in United States. However, like most southern cities that experienced rapid, post-war growth, it is also littered with ample surface parking in its downtown and sprawl beyond its core. Using an 1891 map of the city, via the Library of Congress, we looked to see just how much Houston has changed.

Almost cliche in its forms, this series of towers exemplify the rapid growth Houston experienced in the 70's and 80's...
...as do these.
Adjacent to the Convention Center, a new hotel and arena take up the area around Crawford, Dallas, Bell and Chenevert Streets.
Since 1891, this section of downtown has seen the creation of an elevated freeway, a major league ballpark and tree-dotted surface parking.
A station along Houston's new light rail is surrounded by blocks of surface parking.
Three miles south, Rice University (merely a glimmer in William Marsh Rice's eye in 1891) and professional sports stadiums have risen. The scale and density could be easily confused for a downtown in many American cities.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    The Last Daycares Standing

    In places where most child cares and schools have closed, in-home family daycares that remain open aren’t seeing the demand  — or the support — they expected.

  2. photo: a For Rent sign in a window in San Francisco.
    Coronavirus

    Do Landlords Deserve a Coronavirus Bailout, Too?

    Some renters and homeowners are getting financial assistance during the economic disruption from the coronavirus pandemic. What about landlords?

  3. Equity

    We'll Need To Reopen Our Cities. But Not Without Making Changes First.

    We must prepare for a protracted battle with coronavirus. But there are changes we can make now to prepare locked-down cities for what’s next.

  4. An African healthcare worker takes her time washing her hands due to a virus outbreak/.
    Coronavirus

    Why You Should Stop Joking That Black People Are Immune to Coronavirus

    There’s a fatal history behind the claim that African Americans are more resistant to diseases like Covid-19 or yellow fever.

  5. Coronavirus

    A Green Stimulus Plan for a Post-Coronavirus Economy

    A group of U.S. economists, academics and policymakers say the Covid-19 pandemic is an opportunity to fix the economy — and the planet — for the long term.

×