There are many historic stories of Houston city and the old, established neighborhoods and new subdivision tell a lot of the historic stories of the city found in Texas State. According to the city residents I got a chance to interview, he told me that the founders of the city Augustus Chapman Allen and John Kirby Allen named the city after a General Sam Houston in 1837. The city of Houston is termed as a Freedmen's Town because it hosts many African Americans and it has significant value due to the general name after him. He was one of the liberal military leaders who advocated for the rights of African Americans. From the buildings and the streets in the city, it is clear that this city is the home of many African Americans with many professionals in the early 1900s being black. The majority of people living and working in the city were black. This was evident with the presence of black neighborhoods in the city. The Fourth Ward is found in southwest of downtown Houston and is the home of many freed slaves who moved to the city after freedom of slaves from the coffee plantations. The forth ward occupied most part of downtown and it has many old buildings that have changed over time with the presence of whites in the neighborhood (Rushing, 2010).
The freed slaves occupied the third, fifth, and fourth fringes and the northern part of San Felipe attracted more blacks and had the first black churches and schools. Some of the churches established and that are still existent are Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church located in Travis at Bell, Antioch Baptist Church found in Rusk and Bagby now called the Robin Street. The Gregory School was the first black public school for the emancipated slaves. The increase in population forced the occupants of the forth ward to spread out and this is when the short gun residence that are a common feature in the fourth ward began taking shape. These were houses joined together in different shapes of letter like T, L and two storey apartments. This was when the commercial buildings appeared along the streets and the residential areas began taking clear shape. The Emancipation Park is one of the establishments that sought to improve the conditions of the blacks and this was because of the advocacy of Jack Yates who was a black minister. The third ward hosted the Houston College commonly referred to as the Houston Baptist Academy. Riverside General Hospital, Yates High School, Houston Colored Junior College were started in the late 1920s in the third ward after the fourth ward lost is touch with the black professions. The Allen Parkway Village previously known as the San Felipe Courts was developed for the white workers and this led to the construction of the Interstate 45 in the areas previously occupied by the forth ward leaving the Antioch Baptist Church standing isolated in towers of new buildings. This eroded the cultural significance of Fourth ward to the blacks who first occupied and developed their own homes in the area.
The Mexicans also have a history in the development of Houston city and their presence began being felt in the city after the Mexican revolution of 1910. Their presence in the city led to the opening of the Rice institute that is now called the Rice University and was located at the West University area (Rushing, 2010). There was also the establishment of oil industries with the largest one being Humble Oil Company that was later on named the ExxonMobil. Houston Zoo came into existence in 1922 when a millionaire donated land to the city residents that was used to create the Hermann Park. The story of how the Zoo came into existence is said to have begun when two school children got two ostriches.
The demography of Houston city is highly heterogeneous with many people of different ethnicities occupying the city. This may be attributed to the diversity that came about after the emancipation of the slaves, the entry of the Mexicans after their revolution, and the presence of the white occupants who owned the lands and the plantations. The population of Houston city has the highest number of young people who are seen in many parts of the city. These young people are of different ethnicities, but most of them are immigrants form the neighboring countries. The old form a small percentage of the population as compares to the young people (Rushing, 2010). The young people are seen in entertainment joints in the evenings, but during the day, most of them are at work or in the learning institutions in the various parts of the city. The recently done census shows that the city has a high population of whites who make up 51% of the total population. The second group is non-Hispanic whites making up 26% of the total population African Americans make up 24% o of the city’s population.
The other minority groups in the region who make up less than two percent include the American Indians, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani and the Asians make up 6% of the total population of Houston city. The city has a mixture of many races and ethnicities hence the total number of languages spoken in the city are over 90. The population density of the city is 1,301.8/km. the population of the blacks has significantly decreased over time due to the changes that came up with the changes in the residential areas. Many people older than 655 years and the young population below 18 years live under poverty and are homeless. These are mostly the immigrants who move to the city in search of jobs (Herbel & Gaines, 2010).
Houston city has diverse culture and this shows the diverse ethnicities in the city. The presence of a huge international community in the city makes it a city full of cultural diversities celebrated in different ways. The common and famous annual cultural celebrations done in the city include the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo that is held every year for twenty days between February and March. The other cultural celebration is the Pride Parade that is held during the night and is normally done in June. The other famous festivals that are recognized all over the United States include the Houston Greek Festival, the Art Car Parade, and the Houston Auto Shows. Some of the festivals done annually also include the Houston International Festival, and the Bayou City Art Festival. Most of these festivals celebrate the diversities in cultures and bring together people from different ethnicities from different parts of the world. There are many arts and theatres in the city that display the operas, ballets and music. The displays are done in the Houston Grand Opera, Houston Ballet and the famous Houston Symphony Orchestra. The Alley Theatre is also one of the sites where the people of Houston city display their talents. There are museums in the city and the Museum District acts as the central point where it displays exhibits that attract over 70 million people each year. The National Museum of Funeral History is another major historical and proves of the diverse culture and ethnicity in the city. The Bayou Place has several restaurants that gives services form different cultures and serve foods prepared by different ethnic groups.
Values and beliefs
The city is full of beliefs and there are churches, mosques and temples in the different parts of the city. This shows that people are highly religious and there are many Christians in the city. Some of the major churches in the city include the Lake wood church. The Oblates of Mary Immaculate was brought into the city in 1991 by the Diocese of Galveston to minister among the Mexican population. The Hispanic took part in the historical Encuentro Hispano de Pastoral. The Madrasah Islamia is one of the biggest madrassas located in the area. The city is beautiful and there are many parks around the city that serves as relaxation spots. The city has many green spaces managed by the city and it has a lot of green spaces and parking areas like the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center, the Skate park and water parks. This makes the city green and gives all walking space to city occupants. The lawns are well cared for by the city management and they make sure they are kept green and the flowers are tended to daily as one sees city workers watering and weeding the flower lawns.
The city of Houston occupies a total area of 1,700 km2and the land mass is 1,642 kilometers square and the remaining 58 km2 is water. The city of Houston is found in the gulf coastal plain and the vegetation in and around the city is said to be temperate grassland and forest. The forested lands, marches and swamps around the city is a clear evidence of the previous physical state of the area where the city of Houston now stands, (Kotkin, 2007). The terrain in the city is flat and this puts the city at a constant threat of recurrent flooding. The highest point in the city is the northwestern part standing at 38 m above sea level and the lowest part is Downtown standing at an elevation of 15 m. the water used in the city comes from ground water levels. Some of the man-made features in the city include four bayous namely the Buffalo Bayou, Houston Ship Channel, White Oak Bayou and the Braes Bayou (Herbel& Gaines, 2010).The climate of the city is humid where the summer nights records temperature of over 32 degrees centigrade. The city records mild winters with a low temperature of 17 degrees. There is a lot of green space in the city, the air quality is good because of the presence of green space, flower lawn, and the Fiona is good. The housing quality is good and most of the residential houses are located in good neighborhoods except for the remains of the fourth ward occupied by those living below poverty lines.
Health & Social Services
The health and social services in Houston city are numerous and the city has many research institutions. The city hosts the world-renowned Texas Medical Center where many research institutions are located and millions of health research is conducted daily. The city has many chronic conditions like diabetes caused by a large population of obese individuals. There is also a high prevalence of HIV and AIDS in the city. There is also high rerates of cancer diagnosis among the residents and this is the reason for the presence of the MD Anderson Cancer Center that specializes in cancer research.
The members of the Texas Medical Centre have to be rendered, as are non-profit organizations before they are allowed to join the institution. The center provides services like preventive care, does research, educate the local residents and looks out for the well-being of the community. There are 13 hospitals in the medical center, two specialty institutions nursing schools, dentistry schools, pharmacies and health related professional provision. The institution also serves as an inter-institutional transplant center where it performs many transplants of internal organs. The city has other research institutes in the city include the UT Health Science Center, The Methodist Hospital and the Texas Children's Hospital. There are several services offered in the city and there are many social services initiated by private and public health centers and the missionary school. Houston Department of Health and Human Services is one of the health related institutions that seeks to offer services to the residents and ensure that the resources are evenly distributed in the city (Houston & Galloway, 2008).
Most of the community members are thriving economically except the immigrants who have to work extra hours to survive in the new environments. The there are many industries in the city with the oil industry being the most outstanding industry. Houston is one of the world’s famous energy production cities. The energy industry in the city is well developed and produces oil and natural gas. There is also an increase in the use of renewable sources of energy. The ship channel is one of the leading economic bases in the city and provides employment opportunities for its residents. There are many family and private businesses in the region. When one visits, the groceries and the market place, one is guaranteed to have fresh farm products. The products found in all the grocery stores visited are accepted because of the food stamps.
Transportation and Safety
The means of transportation in the city varies from private to public means with the number of private cars in the highways many. The public means of transports include trains and buses. The number of private automobiles in the roads is very high and this makes the roads very congested with people spending a lot of time in the roads. The Metrorail light rail is a common rail service used by the city residents to move from one place to the other. . However, many people within the city move from one place to the other by foot as they seek services from one place to the other. The city has an airport and well-developed highways and subways. The buildings in the city have special facilities for the disables and the sidewalks are wide enough to ensure that those with disabilities are able to maneuver though the city with ease. There are many police officers on patrol and they are on call any time of the day or night. The fire stations are many and are located in specific parts of the city. There are also many cyclists in the city.
Politics & Government
The city is abyss with political activity with posters of ongoing political activity like the election of the local authority personnel seen in many sites on the city. Meeting with the local authorities are common in the city as the leaders interact with the residents and find out what they think of the services and how they can improve the services. There is no clear stand on the political affiliation of the city residents as people rarely talk of political issues when the elections are finished (Finkelman, 2009).
Many people meet at the local parks and recreational centers where they get to discuss issues and experiences. This is evident form the groups of young people who gather at the parks during their breaks. Clusters of people are also seen in restaurants as they are taking their meals talking. There are many magazines in the stands some of them local like the Houston Chronicle and others are like the New York Times, which are common in the stands. The Houston Press also serves the city residents.
Education and recreation
There are many schools in the city and they are in very good conditions. There are Seventeen school districts and 300 private schools found in Houston city. The sanitations and the facilities are fabulous. There are colleges and universities that provide higher education to the residents and other people from other parts of the states. Many private and public libraries in the city provide services to the students. The students stream in o the libraries at varied times of the day, but most of them are seen during the afternoons. Children have many recreational sites in various parts of the city with most of them spending their leisure times in swimming pools in bug restaurants. The zoos also provide a good recreational site for the children with the inbuilt children facilities that keep the children entertained.
Statements about the health
There are many health issues facing the residents of the city and some of the major health challenges experienced include disparity in provision of health care services to all the residents. There are areas where the people cannot access the health services. the other health issues in the region is the exposure of the homeless to cold and other infections associated with lack of proper diets and there are high levels of coronary heart diseases, road accidents, drug related deaths, fire related deaths. These are among the top leading causes of deaths in the city and arouse a keen interest form anyone interested in the health trends in the city (Escamilla, 2011).The maternal and child in the city is good with the birth weight recorded as average among all the populations. However, the number of teenage girls having children in the city is alarming as many teenagers visit the health facilities for maternal care. The rates of infant mortality are low because many pregnant mothers go for antenatal care before they reach the third trimester.
There is much strength seen in the community with many facilities to help the community members get the services they want form the city. Some of the strengths of the community include presence of diverse ethnicity, cultures, which help, make the community a better place as the people share ideas, and help improve their daily income. People for different places have different ideas and as they interact, they get to learn about other people and how they earn their livelihoods. The presence of many health facilities in the city also serves as community strength as people have adequate health care services at their disposal. The community is located at a place recognized for production of energy and this serves a good strategic position for people to set up businesses and invest in real estates.
Potential health problems
The potential health problems in the city include infectious diseases especially cholera and diarrhea among the homeless especially when the floods occur. The cases of malaria are also potential health problems in the city during the cold and rainy seasons. The cases of malnutrition and under nutrition among the homeless are also potential health problems. The other health issue likely to arise in the city is weight related health issues because many people do to exercise as they move around the city in their motor vehicles. The number of accidents caused by motor vehicles is on the rise and this may result in high numbers of disables community members.
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Houston, J., & Galloway, S. (2008). Sexual offending and mental health multidisciplinary
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Kotkin, J. (2007). Opportunity urbanism: an emerging paradigm for the 21st century. Houston,
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