VICTOR E. BACH
HOUSTON, with its lack of zoning regulation, is considered a favorite deviant case by those who study municipal governance and development. Furthermore, it is the only major city in Texas that has a strong mayor form of government rather than the prevailing city manager structure, a fact that has given it the reputation of being a "very political city."
Houston began in the 1830s as a land speculation scheme of the Allen brothers of New York, who attempted to carve out of the wilderness a major new settlement and port at the head of the bayous connecting with the Gulf of Mexico in the emergent Texas territory. Despite an unfavorably humid climate, which rapidly prompted the republic's legislature to shift its seat to Austin in 1839, and despite the unreliable navigability of the bayous and rivers, from the vantage point of the 1980s Houston has far exceeded its developers' strongest expectations.1
Now the fifth most populous city in the country, with a population of 1.6 million, Houston is the central core of a metropolitan area of about 2.6 million residents.2 Its spectacular growth and development have been the result of location, entrepreneurship, and a serendipitous abundance of natural resources.____________________