Houston Living: "Urban Flight", 7 reasons to leave the Suburbs and move to Houston

The gardens at Bayou Bend.
Houston is a constantly evolving town and it really wasn’t that long ago when “Suburban Flight” was in full swing.  Moving companies in Sugarland, TX and surrounding suburbs were busy getting people out of the city and into new subdivisions scattered on the once pristine country side. Times have certainly changed, now it's more common to meet people who are heading back into the city. In my experience, and after countless conversations with newcomers, I've compiled a quick list of why cities, like Houston's Inner Loop, beat the suburbs when it comes to high-quality living.

1. Cut the commute. Proximity between residence, work, and entertainment is hard to come by in the sprawling landscape of Suburbia.  With gas prices continually on the rise and valuable time lost in long, traffic-heavy commutes, many adults find their quality of life - and finances - are improved by city living.

2. New Urbanism. If you read my blog you know I'm passionate about smart urban planning. As Houston continues to revitalize blighted downtown areas, create new infrastructure, invest in public transportation, and improve the local landscape, it quickly becomes a magnet for suburbanites looking to make the world a better place.

White Linen Nights in The Heights.
3.  Food, shopping: Houston is a very diverse port city, and its "Inner Loop" urban area offers the foodie a wide range of ethnic, fusion, locavore and many, many fabulous restaurants! Unlike suburban strip malls, which are loaded with big box stores, Houston neighborhoods still boast plenty of community-oriented mom-and-pop boutiques; from locally made fashions in Rice Village to Antique stores in The Heights, Houston has a something for everyone.

4.  You can walk! Suburban life involves a hefty amount of driving, and the long distances and lack of sidewalks in Houston's suburbs discourage walking or biking, forcing residents into a sedentary life.  Moving to the city means residents can often walk or bike to their destinations and enjoy the many wonderful neighborhood parks and jogging trails.

Lilly meets the neighbors.
5.  Get to know your neighbors. It's ironic, people move to the suburbs to be "safe" and then they isolate themselves in their houses without a clue about their neighbors. In our more densely populated city neighborhoods we get to meet our fellow Houstonians through afternoon walks with the dog, quick chats on the porch, or waiting in line at the local "farm-to-table" establishment. By knowing our neighbors and forming bonds we look out for one another.

6.  Entertainment. The list of things to do in Houston is endless: Museums, restaurants, live music, theaters, tours of historic homes and gardens, pottery classes, athletic activities, volunteering, you name it! Houston is rich in culture and entertainment and all this can make evenings and weekends or nights much more lively than suburban life.

7.  It's affordable...for now. Watch out! With all the focus Houston is getting from famous publications and blogs, the affordable housing opportunities may not last for long, but if you're ready to make the move, I recommend hiring a professional moving company like Sugarland movers, who know the area and will make your transition as seamless as possible. My dog Lilly and I will keep an eye out for you!



Pages from my journal

This morning my friend Michael Baumgarten (wonderful artist and co-owner of Seriously Mabel Greetings) invited me to attend a live figure drawing session at Archway Gallery in Montrose. It had been a long time since my last session with a model and I have to admit that I was a bit rusty. 

The session started with a very challenging motion sequence in which our model kept a continuous, slow flow of movement instead of holding poses. I felt like I was playing catch up with my pencil, struggling to at least capture his line of motion in quick gestural strokes.  After this whirlwind warm up the 1 minute sequence was such a luxury! Our model then transition to holding the poses for 5 minutes and 10 minutes, allowing us to capture details, shades, and shadows.

Archway Gallery holds live figure drawing sessions regularly, visit their site for more information: http://www.archwaygallery.com


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