Looking for something else, I stumbled across this interview I missed last year. Architect Richard Keating arrived in Houston in 1976 and worked on the Wells Fargo Tower, BMC Software headquarters and other major buildings before leaving for Los Angeles during the 80's oil bust. He's returned to work on the Kirby Collection, and believes Houston has progressed.
Houston Chronicle: Q&A: Architect draws on city culture, 2015-Oct-9 by Nancy Sarnoff
Q: What's changed about Houston since you lived here?
A: The people that have always come to Houston, from the pre-A/C days to the current times, those people aren't the same people who went to LA. People went to LA because of the beach. They came to Houston to work hard. So that's why you have Gerry Hines and these oil entrepreneurs. There's an entrepreneurial culture that comes from that history. Those things haven't changed.
I think the only thing I've noticed that has changed is the traffic, obviously it's getting worse. And there was no significant high-rise housing when I lived here. If it builds around the bayou, it'll be lovely. All of a sudden you have a walkable city.