Houston has a de facto zoning problem.
Theme: Geographic stereotypes
Subject Article: "Forget What You’ve Heard, Houston Really Does Have Zoning (Sort Of)."
Other Links: 1. "No Old Maps Actually Say 'Here Be Dragons'."
2. "Houston, New York Has a Problem: The southern city welcomes the middle class; heavily regulated and expensive Gotham drives it away."
3. "Debunking Texas Exceptionalism."
4. "The Shapes of Cities."
Postscript: Unfortunately, ideological thinking drives a lot of academic inquiry. Density is good. Sprawl is bad. Deregulation is good. Big government is bad. The facts are made to fit an a priori conclusion. The author over-interprets the data. I'm most sensitive to the use of normative geographies. Houston's lack of zoning doesn't make the city exceptional. What makes the metro so active to the middle class? Sprawl. Density bad. Sprawl good. See what I mean?