Friday, June 7, 2013

Houston Neighborhood Naming Conventions.

So, this is a thing:

Fake names, It's gotta stop. Keep Houston Houston

Yes, EaDo is lame, but you're wrong about everything else. John Nova Lomax, Houstonia

What's in a name, Part Deux. Keep Houston Houston

What's in a neighborhood name? Kuffer, Off the Kuff.

If you took the time to read through all of that back n' forth (including the incredibly lame comment by John Nova Lomax on the second KHH post) then you probably have come to the same conclusion as I.  EaDo (and, by extension NoDo) has got to go. 

Outside of that you have pretty much what should be expected from a City that's re-gentrifying at a steady rate, flexible area names. Many of these names are brought about by developers, who have an interest in making areas seem as idyll and pastoral as possible. "Sawyer Heights"?  Brilliant.  It sounds edgy and homey at the same times.  Never mind that the entire area is being rebranded after a fairly unremarkable multi-family building best known for one side being constantly bombarded with noise from I-10.

I will say this however, outside of John Nova Lomax, the conversation did get on fairly well and was conducted at something close to an adult level.  Not that we expect anything more from a former member of Village Voice Houston, but hey, at least we're getting there.  Heck, even Houston's bestest blockquoter took some time off from the indentation and added a worthy riposte to the discussion.  In terms of Houston blog conversation, this was fairly solid.

Long-time readers of this blog (all 3 or so of you) will not be surprised to discover that I'm ambivalent about the entire matter, other than about EaDo and NoDo obviously, which are just sad. To me neighborhood names are more an indicator of current community aesthetics than they are a tribute to the historical significance of where people live. They are also good indications of the vanity of the masses.  Where the "wards" have a negative connotation to some, Neartown or Midtown invoke images of a futuristic Norman Rockwell setting where kids play in busted fire hydrants, men wear suits and fedoras and women walk around in flowery dresses holding shopping baskets full of vegetables and steak wrapped in butcher paper purchased from a man named Saul.

In short, all of these newish names are about marketing, and what could be more Houston than that?

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