Not quite suburban and not quite rural - exurb communities emerge outside of Houston.
After World War II and the end of The Great Depression, the concept of the American dream became more tangible by the introduction of the suburb. The suburbs were called "bedroom communities" and provided an area around cities where those fearful of urban dwelling or dreaming of a better place to raise their growing families (a population boom occurred after WWII also) could live. These bedroom communities were fully functional mini-towns offering the openness of the countryside with the convenience of urban dwelling, which is par for the course now but was revolutionary then. The suburbs have since been the in between - the buffer of urban and rural.
Houston, and other rapidly growing metropolises as noted in Forbes, have in the last 10 years overgrown their suburbs and given rise to the exurb. Even with beautification of the urban areas in Houston and restoration of the historic districts, some Houstonians find the cost of living in the urban environment outside of their means. Suburban areas have now fallen more into the reach and influence of urban areas as district lines have blurred and the population fluxed in both directions. Houston has annexed certain previously suburban areas and some suburban neighborhoods anxious to “keep up with the Jones”. These areas have increase the zoning and regulations of suburban structures, architecture and landscapes through the use of deed restrictions and governmental bodies. Rural communities, once so far from the city, have been invaded by the melding of communities and pushed further outward by growing populations. This phenomenon has given rise to the exurb.
Exurbs exist close enough to suburbs to enjoy all the city-like appeal, but usually with the larger property sizes and decreased governmental regulations of a rural community. They tend to be much more “country” than “city” - in effect becoming to the modern world what suburbs did in the 1950’s, but with the addition of a homegrown lifestyle as people yearn to be more self reliant (ie raising chickens or having small hoof otherwise not allowed by suburban deed restrictions). Here, children can attend quality schools during the day and live the country life at home. There is a sense of both small town community and big city anonymity. Many areas north/northwest of Houston, like Tomball, Magnolia, Montgomery are the perfect example of the exurb.
Interested in learning more about these communities and more, give me a call. I too live out here.