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12.03.2013
Editorial> Urban Cowboy
Aaron Seward introduces AN's new Southwest print edition.
The Buffalo Bayou with the Houston skyline in the background.
Norm Lanier / Flickr

The Architect’s Newspaper has now been around for 10 years, during which time it has grown from a New York City architectural insiders' journal, to a multi-regional provider of trade news, analysis, and cultural reporting with a circulation and web presence that runs neck-and-neck with the biggest dogs in the business. Not bad, in this digital age, for a print publication that began life being produced out of the apartment of the publisher and editor-in-chief. We attribute our success to the quality of our independently created content, as well as to the uniquely local focus of our regional editions: East, West, Midwest, and now—what you might be currently holding in your hand—the inaugural Southwest issue.

AN’s arrival in the region—which we define as Texas and its surrounding states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and New Mexico—comes at an exciting time of rapid development and urbanization, population and economic growth, and some growing pains. To name just a few examples, Denver, the most northerly of the cities we will consider, is racing ahead with construction on Union Station, a multi-modal transportation hub that it hopes will spur development in its urban core. New Orleans, the most easterly, is rebounding mightily from the crippling blow it received eight years ago at the hands of Hurricane Katrina and has topped a recent Forbes study of the fastest growing cities in the post-recession U.S. Meanwhile, Tulsa, Oklahoma, is investing heavily in its downtown, both with new construction as well as refurbishments of the remarkable collection of art deco and modern buildings that rose during that city’s early 20th century oil boom.

Texas—the home base of the Southwest edition, as well as the native land of its editor and AN’s publisher—is undergoing its most phenomenal period of growth and transformation since the 1970s, when a prolonged oil boom flooded the state with money, the majority of its inhabitants began residing in cities, and the state legislature finally made it legal to sell liquor by the glass. Today, nearly 85 percent of Texans live in cities, and these cities—while their skylines churn with cranes and a flurry of construction activity—are taking steps to improve their connectivity and civic spaces. Houston’s Bayou Greenways project is turning its natural waterways into an interconnected network of public parks. The Dallas Trinity River Corridor Project is transforming what has been essentially a scar in the urban fabric into a destination and amenity. Austin is also taking steps to improve its already much-used waterways with plans to redevelop the prominent Seaholm Intake into a public pavilion and to turn Waller Creek, currently little more than a seedy drainage ditch prone to flash floods, into a world-class park.

All of this means more work for architects, and more reason than ever for the profession to rely on an independent source of information as well as a forum for debate and conversation specific to the region. Please show us your support by subscribing today. Since it’s free for registered architects and architectural designers, there’s no reason not to! While you wait for your first print edition to arrive, be sure to follow us online for news, features, and opinions from the East, West, and Midwest, as well as weekly new stories and blog posts from the Southwest.

Aaron Seward