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Building a Better Strip Mall and the Two Houstons: Houston Matters for Tuesday, January 14, 2014

It’s been said there are two Houstons. One is inside the loop: urban, with skyscrapers, universities, recycling, museums, buses. The other is outside the loop: suburban, with strip malls, sprawl, U-turn lanes, Kroger. Some Houstonians live in one, and work in the other. Some make a point of visiting one while devoting most of their […]

It’s been said there are two Houstons. One is inside the loop: urban, with skyscrapers, universities, recycling, museums, buses. The other is outside the loop: suburban, with strip malls, sprawl, U-turn lanes, Kroger. Some Houstonians live in one, and work in the other. Some make a point of visiting one while devoting most of their time to the other. And some intentionally keep their distance from one or the other.

What do you think? Are there really “two Houstons?” Or maybe four or five, or more? Or just one major metropolitan community, filled with diversity of people, places, and experiences, and whose residents – as in any major city – must work together to address issues that impact people both inside and outside the loop?

On this edition of Houston Matters, we consider this notion of two Houstons, with the help of KUHF’s news staff. We’ll discuss how the Houston experience may be different inside and outside the 610 loop in terms of transportation, the environment, business, health care, and education, as we talk with KUHF reporters Gail DeLaughter, Dave Fehling, Andrew Schneider, Carrie Feibel, and Laura Isensee.

Also, Houston – for better or worse – is known for its strip malls. We have a lot of them. Strip malls aren’t the most attractive storefronts for businesses, but there are some bright spots to what many may consider eyesores.

We talk with University of Houston architecture professor Susan Rogers about Houston’s strip malls. And we ask: if you were put in charge of designing a strip mall from scratch – or using the space of a strip mall for whatever you wanted, what would you do? In short, we consider how to build a better strip mall.

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