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Culture
 
 
 

General

Houston is a multicultural city with a large and growing international community. The metropolitan area is home to an estimated 1.1 million (21.4 %) residents who were born outside the United States, with nearly two-thirds of the area's foreign-born population from south of the United States-Mexico border. Additionally, more than one in five foreign-born residents are from Asia. The city is home to the nation’s third largest concentration of consular offices, representing 86 countries.

Houston received the official nickname of "Space City" in 1967 because it is the location of NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center. Other nicknames often used by locals include "Bayou City", "Magnolia City", "Clutch City", and "H-Town".

About 90 languages are frequently spoken in the Houston area Some neighbourhoods with high populations of Vietnamese and Chinese residents have Chinese and Vietnamese street signs in addition to English ones. Houston has two Chinatowns – the original located in Downtown and the other along Bellaire Boulevard in the southwest area of the city. The city also has a Little Saigon in Midtown and Vietnamese businesses located in the southwest Houston Chinatown.

Architecture

Houston's skyline has been ranked fourth most impressive in the United States; it is the third-tallest skyline in the United States and one of the top 10 in the world. Houston has a seven-mile (11 km) system of tunnels and skywalks linking buildings in downtown which contain shops, restaurants, and convenience stores. This system enables pedestrians to avoid the intense summer heat and heavy rain showers while walking from one building to another.

In the 1960s, Downtown Houston consisted of a modest collection of mid-rise office structures, but has since grown into one of the largest skylines in the United States. Downtown was on the threshold of a boom in 1970 with huge projects being launched by real estate developers with the energy industry boom. A succession of skyscrapers were built throughout the 1970s – many by real estate developer Gerald D. Hines – culminating with Houston's tallest skyscraper, the 75-floor, 1,002-foot (305 m)-tall JPMorgan Chase Tower (formerly the Texas Commerce Tower), which was completed in 1982. It is the tallest structure in Texas, 10th-tallest building in the United States and the 30th-tallest skyscraper in the world based on height to roof. In 1983, the 71-floor, 992-foot (302 m)-tall Wells Fargo Bank Plaza (formerly Allied Bank Plaza) was completed, which became the second-tallest building in Houston and Texas. Based on height to roof, it is the 13th-tallest in the United States and the 36th-tallest in the world. As of 2006, downtown Houston had about 43 million square feet (4,000,000 m²) of office space.

Centred on Post Oak Boulevard and Westheimer Road, the Uptown District boomed during the 1970s and early 1980s when a collection of mid-rise office buildings, hotels, and retail developments appeared along Interstate 610 west. Uptown became one of the most impressive instances of an edge city. The highest achievement of Uptown was the construction of the 64-floor, 901-foot (275 m)-tall, Philip Johnson and John Burgee designed landmark Williams Tower (known as the Transco Tower until 1999). At the time, it was believed to the be the world's tallest skyscraper outside of a central business district. The Uptown District is also home to other buildings designed by noted architects such as I. M. Pei, César Pelli, and Philip Johnson. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, there was a mini-boom of mid-rise and high-rise residential tower construction, with several over 30 stories tall. In 2002, Uptown had more than 23 million square feet (2,100,000 m²) of office space with 16 million square feet (1,500,000 m²) of Class A office space.


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