Thursday, 26 November 2015

The Principle of Freedom


Texas, is a state built on a simple principle that overrules all, ‘freedom’. It runs throughout its culture and society, the staunch beliefs of the state for everyone to have the right to bear arms, the rule of capitalist freedom and the dominance of private industry leading to some of the richest people in USA coming from Texas and the overall belief that they do things bigger in Texas. This Principle of freedom can be seen in the full when it comes to planning. Texans believe they have an inherent right to do what they want with their land because that is within their freedom, and often they do get what they want. Councils are weak and for anyone with enough money, the planning system can be overruled, with very little way for anyone to repel an unwanted development. 

This whole hearted capitalist system brings with it what capitalism does best, innovation. Texas does things big, and when wealthy men and women get almost free reign innovation can be cultivated. Houston is the perfect example of this, a city whose pavements are lined with oil, the ‘energy industry’, is so strong that Houston was one of the few cities to come out of the GFC largely unscathed. Its planning is largely nowhere to be found, however the city isn’t a shambles, in fact development has seen the place be built for the wealthy: large boulevards, expensive retail, and a huge spaghetti of roads all make up the image of Huston, all the while, men and women in cowboy boots rejoice in the profits of an oil dependent world. 

San Antonio is another example of innovation in a state revolving around freedom, San Antonio ripped up an old ugly creek regardless of the danger it would make to flooding or any other number of issues that planning would normally bring up and they built one of the most unique attractions in the whole of the US, totally reinventing the city. In the end Texas is about as pure to capitalism as you can get in the world and while it brings with it scope for inequality it also brings a whole heap of innovation.

Zachary Powell