While several major city downtowns have many a parking lots that compose a rather large portion of the district, and in turn, illustrate a rather desolate feeling about that city, in reality, it just stands as a testament to the potential that city has. Especially cities like Dallas and Houston, where these major cities are world players with a horrible downtown unworthy of comparison to its peers, both domestic and global.
And I can definitely attest to that desolate feeling; while the vibrant and active Discovery Green is great for people-watching, etc, take a stroll to Minute Maid Park and its a sea of parking lots...
But while at the present time, these cities might not "shine", you can bet that their futures are much, much brighter than established cities with great downtowns already, like Philadelphia, for example (Worth noting though that their history can never be brought back).
Luckily, for Houston, not all is lost, and we've retained at least some of our history.
The Legal District, Downtown Houston
, on Flickr