The hard data supports The Woodlands as well. Niche, the neighborhoods and schools rankings site, based these best city rankings on real statistical analysis as well. Cost of living, the percentage of residents with a college degree, average commute time, crime rates, public school ratings, resident reviews and weather are some of the major factors.
Over the past 43 years since the Village of Grogan’s Mill opened in 1974, George Mitchell’s vision has come to life with the development of each of the eight residential villages that make up The Woodlands.
Developers modeled the layout of the new community after similar neighborhoods around the country. Among the key planning committee members was Ian McHarg, a landscape architect specifically sought out by George P. Mitchell because of his unique design principles. McHarg embraced and applied a design that would minimally affect the area's woodlands and wildlife, according to a University of Massachusetts essay authored by ecologist Kristine Swann.
"McHarg looked at The Woodlands as an opportunity to apply his theory of ecological determinism - allowing the ecology of the land to determine what development could and should take place," Swann explained.
A testament to his vision, Mitchell's original plan for The Woodlands continued to be implemented even after he sold it in the late 1990s. He intentionally left a 1,000-acre parcel near the entrance of The Woodlands for a commercial district. Others recognized the value. "Many developers would have developed that first because it was closest to the highway and most accessible," Galatas said. "But George saw a bigger picture and he saw a town center that would serve not only The Woodlands but all of north Houston."