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Ian Munro Webmaster 

How Houston has Changed!

Houston has changed greatly over the past 25 years. The city’s economy is no longer based on natural resources like oil but on human resources.

The transition is recorded in the annual area surveys undertaken  to track Houstonians’ changing fortunes and attitudes. The first survey was conducted in 1982 when the area’s 80-year-old oil boom was tailing off.

Commenting on the findings of the 2007 survey,  Professor Stephen Klineberg, of Rice University, said the evolution of Houston’s high-tech, knowledge-based economy was creating a widening gap between different groups within the area’s population.

“The new economy no longer produces jobs for unskilled or semi-skilled workers. There is growing concern about these inequalities.”

The challenge for Houston today was education and policies to prevent the rise of a new urban underclass, he believed.

“Here we have the greatest medical complex on Earth and we also have the highest percentage of children who have no health insurance. That gap  between  rich and poor is something we have to address.”

Prof. Klineberg said Houston would have to become a more environmentally appealing urban destination. Quality of life issues that historically were not in the forefront of Houston’s economy were now vital. Green space, downtown revitalisation and the relief of traffic congestion were among areas of concern.

“Education is critical and quality of life issues are central,”  he concluded.