Book: 'One Million Acres & No Zoning' MAIN(200)As with so much about Texas, One Million Acres & No Zoning, a love letter to Houston by Rice School of Architecture professor Lars Lerup, is full of contradictions. The central contradiction is Houston itself: Neither a true city nor a metropolis, Lerup writes, Houston represents a third way among American cities, one that has never lived up to its utopian ambitions but is nevertheless “more conducive to undisturbed personal perception than others.” As the city destined to soon overtake Chicago as the nation’s third-largest metropolitan area, Houston provides a roadmap for a trajectory of American development still very much dictated by the automobile. Indeed, while Los Angeles may enjoy greater fame for its traffic and car culture, Houston stands alone among its peers as a city planned with the automobile in mind from the very start. For all his affection for Houston—expressed generally in pencil drawings and in detail in an abecedarium—Lerup sounds some mournful notes. He writes up the Houston he has but also the Houston he wants: “an Open City, less gated, more public and more like the mosit prairie it occupies.” • $45; Architectural Association Publications, May 2011