Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Swamplot calls it quits

Well, this certainly sucks:
AS OF TODAY this site’s daily publishing schedule is coming to a halt. Swamplot has been covering Houston’s real estate landscape for 12 years. That’s longer than the runs of most successful teevee sitcoms, all but one U.S. presidency, and a lot of great Houston restaurants. It’s been long enough to cover 3 hurricanes, several boom-and-bust cycles, a half-dozen or so 100-year floods, and the rise and fall of Tuscanization. More than a few high-school freshmen when Swamplot started in 2007 are now armed with PhDs and ready to launch their careers. It’s time for us to move on as well.
I am especially saddened by this news. Given my profession as well as my overall interests, Swamplot has been a mandatory daily read of mine for many years now.

Swamplot was more than just a local real estate website. To be sure, it covered construction and demolition, purchasing and leasing transactions, office relocations, the latest plans from developers, and everything else a straight real estate tracking blog would be expected to cover. But the site went well beyond that, also covering topics such as local politics, transportation, flood control, urban design, the arts, architectural trends, restaurant and bar openings and closings, national trends, and so much more.

Swamplot, furthermore, was more than just a blog: it was an online community. Unlike most websites these days, its comments section actually had a relatively high signal-to-noise ratio, featuring a lot of informed local and professional input and a relatively low amount of uninformed and disruptive trolling. The "Comment of the Day" was even a regular feature on the blog, wherein a particularly salient comment on a previous post was featured as its own post in order to generate further discussion. The exchange of information and ideas the website fomented was refreshing and critical, especially given the rapidly-evolving context of the ever-growing Houston region.

While other local architecture and urbanism forums, such as HAIFOffcite, or The Kinder Institute, might be able to pick up the slack somewhat, Swamplot was truly one-of-a-kind. There is nothing that is going to replace it.

I understand that blogs come and go; that's just the way things are in the internet universe. But the entire Houston region is going to be poorer for the closure of Swamplot.

Culturemap has more.