I don’t think that’s true at all! Quentin Crisp, one of my favorite authors, puts it this way:
“The first thing that I noticed as I resumed my meandering course through the Lower East Side of Manhattan is how dilapidated New York seems after the newness of other cities – especially Houston. There the streets are wide, straight, smooth, and absolutely free of litter, and the buildings all look as though they were erected yesterday.”
I suppose it really comes down to what you mean by “dirty.” There’s not a lot of litter. The buildings are constantly being renovated. (Unless you’re in a bad area, like the ghetto, but…then you’re in a bad area. What do you expect?) There is pollution, but I think it’s somewhat exaggerated. We’re at a geographical disadvantage as far as that goes, because – just like in LA – the pollution blows in from other places and gets stuck because we’re a low-lying area.
And yes, I think it’s an AMAZING place to raise children. I was raised in Houston myself, so I would know. There’s the Children’s Museum, which has constantly changing exhibits. I used to go every other weekend, and I never got bored of it. There is a LOT of park space in Houston as well, which people don’t really talk about. Hermann Park is probably the biggest. It’s right next to the Houston Zoo, which was also a blast for me growing up. There’s a little train that goes through the park, a huge pond, a duck habitat that you can walk through, and an outdoor theatre that has TONS of kid-friendly shows throughout the summer. For free. There’s the Houston Museum of Natural Science which always has really awesome stuff. There’s the Cockerel Butterfly Center, which is a giant two or three story butterfly habitat. There are lots of kid-friendly festivals. (In fact, there’s even a Children’s Festival, or at least there used to be.) The public libraries are amazing, and they always have story time and HUGE selections of children’s books. There is so much to do in Houston if you’re a little kid.