Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
HOUSTON (AP) — Efforts to protect the Houston Astrodome from demolition have taken a new turn, with a Texas agency looking at designating it as a “state antiquities landmark.”
After voters last year failed to approve a referendum that would have authorized up to $217 million in bonds to turn it into a giant convention and event center, the Astrodome seemed likely headed for the scrap heap. The stadium has been closed since 2009 and various ideas over the years to refurbish it — from water park to sports memorabilia museum — have gained little traction.
But efforts to save the so-called Eighth Wonder of the World gained momentum after an advisory committee of the Texas Historical Commission voted late last month to recommend that the Astrodome get the antiquities designation. The commission is expected to make a final decision during its meeting on July 30-31.
If the Astrodome is designated a state antiquities landmark, any proposals to alter or demolish it would have to be approved by the commission, making it more difficult to tear it down.
“There are an awful lot of people who love that building who would do anything for it,” said Cynthia Neely, a Houston writer and producer who along with Ted Powell, a retired chemical engineer, submitted the antiquities designation application earlier this year.
But Harris County Judge Ed Emmett isn’t as excited about the potential antiquities designation. Emmett will hold a meeting Wednesday with stakeholders who have expressed interest in the Astrodome’s future to discuss this and other developments.
Joe Stinebaker, Emmett’s spokesman, said the county judge doesn’t want the Astrodome demolished, but Emmett believes the antiquities landmark designation could make it more difficult to attract investors who want to refurbish the stadium. Emmett has said any ideas for the Astrodome will have to be paid through private sector funding.
“He’s opposed to anything that ties the county’s hands, which this does in no uncertain terms,” Stinebaker said.
Opened in 1965, the Astrodome hasn’t been home to a sports team since 1999 and has been closed to all events since 2009. While still structurally sound, the iconic stadium had fallen into disrepair. Stadium seats, pieces of AstroTurf and other Astrodome items were sold to the public late last year.
The stadium’s most prominent use in recent years was as a shelter for Louisiana residents displaced by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
In January, the National Park Service added the Astrodome to its National Register of Historic Places. While this federal designation was mostly honorary, it was needed for the state antiquities designation to proceed.
Neely said she believes the antiquities designation will not “create a monument that sits there and does nothing.” The designations at the state and federal level will qualify the Astrodome for grants and tax incentives that can help pay to revamp the stadium, she said.
“Up to now, they have waited on a white knight to ride in, hand them a bunch of money and take this problem off their hands,” Neely said. “That is not going to happen. But there may be a lot of knights that can help them.”
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.