Houston, city in the United States of America, in the state of Texas, at the beginning of the Houston Ship Channel, with 1.6 million inhabitants. (aggl.: approx. 3.7 million inhabitants).
The city is one of the five largest cities in the United States and was named after General S. Houston, who achieved the independence of the state of Texas (1836).
The city is one of the major financial (banking and insurance), commercial, cultural, and industrial centers of the United States. Important in the first place are the extensive aerospace industry and NASA’s Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, from which all manned American space flights are prepared and supervised.
The city’s port is connected to the Gulf of Mexico by the Houston Ship Channel (1912-1914; 80 km long); on the canal are gigantic industrial complexes, in which the petrochemical industry predominates. Houston is the market leader in the manufacture of drilling rig equipment (petroleum). The port is the country’s largest domestic cotton market. In addition, Houston is a hub for national and international airlines (Houston Intercontinental Airport).
There are several universities, including the University of Houston (1927) and Texas Southern University (1947) and a large number of scientific and other educational institutions, especially in the aerospace, astronomical and medical fields (University of Texas Health Science Center, 1967). Culturally, these include the Museum of Fine Arts in a later modernized and expanded building from 1924, the Contemporary Arts Museum in a building from 1972, the Menil Collection (1987), the Houston Grand Opera Association, the Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Ballet and the many theatres. Amusement park Astroworld. The modern equipped stadium (Astrodome) is one of the largest indoor stadiums in the world. There is a Catholic bishop.
Houston’s cityscape is dominated by large concentrations of modern high-rise buildings. The center of the city is the Civic Center, which houses the city’s main office buildings, including the One Shell Plaza Building (1971), Pennzoil Place (1976) and the Tenneco Building (1963); the concert hall (1966) and the Alley Theater (1969) are also located there.
In addition, countless large commuter shopping centers arose in the 1970s. Much attention has been paid, however, to the preservation of various historic buildings. The historic city center is Old Market Square, which is home to a number of restored structures; in addition, a large number of old buildings have been rebuilt in the Sam Houston Historical Park.
The city was founded in 1836 and was the capital of the Republic of Texas from 1837-1839 and in 1842. After the construction of the canal, the city grew into a center of trade and transport.
Industrial development dates back to after the Second World War, when the need for petroleum continued to increase.