Monday, September 3, 2007

Houston is the largest city in the state of Texas and the fourth-largest in the United States. As of July 1, 2006, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates the Houston population at 2,144,491. The city covers more than 600 square miles (1,600 km²). Houston is the county seat of Harris County and part of the Houston–Sugar Land–Baytown metropolitan area, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S., with a population of more than 5.5 million.


Main article: Geography of Houston Geography
Underpinning Houston's land surface are unconsolidated clays, clay shales, and poorly-cemented sands up to several miles deep. The region's geology developed from river deposits formed from the erosion of the Rocky Mountains. These sediments consist of a series of sands and clays deposited on decaying organic matter that, over time, transformed into oil and natural gas. Beneath the layers of sediment is a water-deposited layer of halite, a rock salt. The porous layers were compressed over time and forced upward. As it pushed upward, the salt dragged surrounding sediments into salt dome formations, often trapping oil and gas that seeped from the surrounding porous sands. The thick, rich, sometimes black, surface soil is suitable for rice farming in suburban outskirts where the city continues to grow. which further reduces the risk of an earthquake.


Main article: Climate of Houston Climate
Further information: Geographic areas of Houston
Houston was incorporated in 1837 under the ward system of representation. The ward designation is the progenitor of the nine current-day Houston City Council districts. Locations in Houston are generally classified as either being inside or outside the Interstate 610 Loop. The inside encompasses the central business district and many residential neighborhoods that predate World War II. More recently, high-density residential areas have been developed within the loop. The city's outlying areas, suburbs and enclaves are located outside of the loop. Beltway 8 encircles the city another 5 miles (8 km) farther out.
Houston, the largest city in the United States without zoning regulations, has expanded without land use planning. Voters rejected efforts to have separate residential and commericial land-use districts in 1948, 1962, and 1993.
Rather than a single central business district as the center of the city's employment, multiple districts have grown throughout the city in addition to downtown which include Uptown, Texas Medical Center, Midtown, the Energy Corridor, Greenway Plaza, Westchase, and Greenspoint.


Main article: Politics of Houston Government and politics

Main article: Economy of Houston Economy

Main article: Demographics of Houston Demographics

Main article: Culture of Houston Arts and theatre
See also: List of events in Houston
Many annual events celebrate the diverse cultures of Houston. The largest and longest running is the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, held over 20 days from late February to early March. Another large celebration is the annual night-time Houston Pride Parade, held at the end of June.

Houston, Texas Events
Space Center Houston is the official visitors' center of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Here one will find many interactive exhibits including moon rocks, a shuttle simulator, and presentations about the history of NASA's manned space flight program.
The Theater District is a 17-block area in the center of downtown Houston that is home to the Bayou Place entertainment complex, restaurants, movies, plazas, and parks. Bayou Place is a large multilevel building containing full-service restaurants, bars, live music, billiards, and art house films. The Houston Verizon Wireless Theater stages live concerts, stage plays, and stand-up comedy; and the Angelika Film Center presents the latest in art and foreign and independent films. The San Jacinto Battlefield State Historic Site where the decisive battle of the Texas Revolution was fought is located on the Houston Ship channel east of the city.

Tourism and recreation

Main article: Sports in Houston Sports
Further information: List of newspapers in Houston, List of television stations in Houston, List of radio stations in Houston, and Houston featured in films
Houston is served by the Houston Chronicle, its only major daily newspaper with wide distribution. The Hearst Corporation, which owns and operates The Chronicle, bought the assets of the Houston Post—its long-time rival and main competition—when The Post ceased operations in 1995. The Post was owned by the family of former Lieutenant Governor Bill Hobby of Houston. The only other major publication to serve the city is the Houston Press, a free alternative weekly with a weekly readership of more than 300,000.


Main article: Architecture of Houston Architecture

Main article: Transportation in Houston Transportation

Main article: Texas Medical Center Healthcare and medicine

Main article: Education in Houston Notes

Houston, Texas from the Handbook of Texas Online
170 Years of Historic Houston 2007. Retrieved on 2007-01-13.
A thumb-nail history of the city of Houston, Texas, from its founding in 1836 to the year 1912, published 1912, hosted by the Portal to Texas History
True stories of old Houston and Houstonians: historical and personal sketches / by S. O. Young., published 1913, hosted by the Portal to Texas History
Johnston, Marguerite (1991). Houston, The Unknown City, 1836–1946. Texas A&M University Press. ISBN 0-89096-476-9. 
Miller, Ray (1984). Ray Miller's Houston. Gulf Publishing Company. ISBN 0-88415-081-X. 
Slotboom, Oscar F. "Erik" (2003). Houston Freeways. Oscar F. Slotboom. ISBN 0-9741605-3-9. [3].

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