Is the Long-Abandoned Astrodome Worth Saving?
Earlier this year, Houston officials asked the public to submit ideas to transform the Astrodome into usable space. Some of the hundreds of proposals submitted were actually pretty incredible: one suggested turning the space into an amusement park, another, an indoor ski hill. The most popular idea came from a University of Houston
A rendering of the park proposal.
But for a multitude of reasons (most of them financial), a scheme called The New Dome Experience is being favored. This plan would gut renovate the 'dome to transform it into a mixed-used convention center and commercial space-in theory, an economic boon for Houston. But not all residents agree with the plan, so in November, the city will ask voters to decide: Should the Astrodome be torn down, or should the city raise several hundred million dollars-via a property tax-to redevelop it?
The "New Dome Experience" proposal.
The vote isn't likely to decide the issue for good, either way. This month, a nationwide competition called Reimagine the Astrodome is inviting architects and designers to submit their ideas for alternative plans for the 'dome that don't include turing it into a commercial space.
So if Houston voters do end up deciding to raise the money to save the stadium, it'll likely only be the start of a larger debate-one that questions whether American cities are more obligated to preserver history or bolster the economic growth.
Check out a lovely video showing the inside of the empty Astrodome, shot by Brian Taylor, below.