Progressivism Comes to Houston

This article was published in the February 1990 issue of The Freeman.

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During the Progressive Era of the early 20th century the nation’s first zoning ordinances began to appear. Public control of private property was a popular cause at the time, and land-use restrictions were frequently used to achieve this end. During the Progressive Era, and in the years since, only one major American city did not enact some form of zoning. That city is Houston.

While other cities have imposed severe restrictions on property use—through zoning, strict building codes, rent control, and so on—Houston has generally respected property rights. This, however, is changing, as a growing number of restrictions are imposed on private property. As the 20th century comes to a close, Houston is entering its own Progressive Era. Read more

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