This thesis is about private sector housing development processes currently operating in Houston, Texas, and specifically about the recent phenomenon of the townhouse as a new urban housing prototype in Houston. The emergence of this housing form, is the resultant of certain economic forces evident in the development process as it exists in Houston's urban fabric. In an abbreviated form, these economic forces are: 1. Inflationary raw land costs 2. Inflationary material and labor costs 3. Diminishing availability of accessible raw land (sizeable tracts). Townhouse construction has in recent years assumed an increasingly large share of Houston's new home residential market. This phenomenon is a result of readily observable development realities which are prevalent nation wide. When coupled with additional compelling factors in Houston, such as the absence of land use controls, minimal geographic restraints, younger mean age of population, they explain the Houston phenomenon. It is these economic and physical realities, sown in Houston's particular urban soil, which has caused the phenomenon of townhouse development -- not market demand or inspired preferences of utopian planners and architects. Houston's townhouse market penetration initially centered on upper income families and "empty nesters' who could be expected to object least to row-housing on functional grounds (i.e. those who required a prestigious environment and location with reasonable cost, privacy, security, minimum maintenance, and only minimal private outdoor space). Only after acceptance was established in these upper class segments did townhouse development begin to focus on the middle income housing market. This suggests that a townhouse market was created not found, and reinforces the significance of development realities as a primary causal factor. It is not a deeply inbred housing preference, but will be malleable when development priorities require another shift in housing form because of changes in such things as - transportation costs, energy and land scarcity, land use regulation and higher development costs.