Saturday, September 02, 2017

It Pays To Have A Plan

Hurricane Harvey has laid bare the truth about Houston. Doug Saunders writes:

It is one of the most racially segregated cities in the United States: Its north, east and south are at least 90 per cent non-white, while its centre and west are mostly white. These non-white neighbourhoods are home to 81 per cent of the city's open drainage ditches, 78 per cent of closed landfills, 84 per cent of carcinogen emitters and 88 per cent of hazardous waste sites, as well as 94 per cent of its worst schools. In January, the federal department of Housing and Urban Development found Houston in violation of the Civil Rights Act for its discriminatory housing policies.

It is America's most economically segregated city, with chasms of asphalt between the upwardly mobile and the 600,000 undocumented residents making $20 (U.S.) a day. And its sprawl and isolation prevent Houston from building efficient mass-transportation and energy solutions, making it one of the least ecological cities – a problem that, if not fixed, will contribute to a rise in the size and intensity of future hurricanes.
Houston's underlying problem, as with Hurricane Harvey's underlying problem, is its lack of a plan. It is an unplanned, randomly sprawling city whose oceans of asphalt have exposed it to the worst ravages of nature and the worst human responses. It needs to be built back better.

Time will tell if the city will be built back better. But, to do that, there has to be a plan. And, up until now, Houston -- like much of the United States -- has been fighting against developing a plan. The red flags signalling the dangers of climate change should be flying in the United States and around the world. 

To date, they're hard to find.

Image: Houston Chronicle


Dana said...

Built back? Better or or otherwise is highly unlikely for the black neighbourhoods.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, that's quite possible, Dana. The "wrong side of town" will probably still be the wrong side of town.

the salamander said...

.. been following Texas for quite a while..
% Hispanic quite startling..
Somewhat like California..
Houston's 'issues' aint going away
.. Harvery just opened Pandoras Box..
Irma could strip Texas bare ..

Owen Gray said...

Irma could break the Gulf Coast's back, salamander. They could use a little mercy.

Dana said...

The white population would hoard any mercy allocated.

Besides, like the Texas Sec State said, all they need are prayers, no blankets or other assistance required.

Freakin' medieval assholes.

Owen Gray said...

Medieval is an accurate assessment, Dana.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Cottman Transmission in the 1980's which said pay me now or pay me later [when your transmission dies on the road].

The word is that Texans hate government so when someone suggested spending ?? 5 Billion previously, no doubt that person would have been run out of town. So pay me $200 Billion later. I also saw another comment that the developers run the town thus everything was basically paved over.

Anyways... I fear the end is nigh.


Owen Gray said...

The old adage, "You get what you pay for" remains true, Anon A. If you also get what you don't pay for.

John B. said...

Get some government in here to sort this put for me. I don't want to be a rugged individualist this week.

Owen Gray said...

Some problems are simply too big to be solved by one or two people, John.