Tech jobs, Kotkin NS, uncool NYC, wi-fi hitches, CVB award, Emirates IAH, commutes and sprawlIt's time again to clean out my "miscellaneous small items" queue, which has exploded in the last week or so. Should provide plenty of linked reading material for your weekend.
- Texas has been ranked #2 in high-tech jobs, behind CA
- Joel Kotkin explains the New Suburbanism concept (or, if you prefer, an audio podcast version). He mentions The Woodlands as an example, and has this to say about Houston:
A less extreme but still flawed notion contends that metropolitan areas dominated by auto-centered suburbs somehow lack the intrinsic community values that informed traditional cities. Andres Duany, for example, has written that in sprawling, multi-polar cities like Phoenix and Houston "civic life has almost ceased to exist" and that many people in these areas complain about their quality of life.
Yet one would be hard-pressed to say a Phoenix or a Houston has a less vibrant civic culture -- witness the remarkable grassroots response of Houston to the Katrina disaster. Nor can one say that there has been more widespread disenchantment there than in more traditional transit-oriented cities like Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco. After all, these cities have been losing population and jobs while the sprawling ones have been growing. Places like Houston and Phoenix are also developing many of the elements of civic culture, such as great hospitals, museums, and cultural centers, that tend to arise in vibrant, commercially vital cities.
As jobs move to the suburban periphery, the commutes for residents there, as Harvard's Ed Glaeser has demonstrated, tend to be shorter than those who live in denser, more transit-oriented places. Far-flung Houstonians, for example, suffer much shorter commutes on average than New Yorkers or Chicagoans.
- A column on how Manhattan is becoming uncool, as high costs drive out young people, artists, and independent retail.
- Problems pioneer cities are having with rolling out wireless internet - and hopefully Houston can avoid.
- Houston awarded Convention and Visitors Bureau of the Year. Quote: "Houston is certainly one of the more aggressive cities we work with. Everything is always well-coordinated and well-executed. Things just go right when we work with Houston."
- Emirates is still looking at adding nonstop Houston-Dubai service soon, which would be nice gem in our international service portfolio:
Americans who haven't heard of Emirates soon may get the chance to fly with them. For now, Emirates operates just two daily flights to New York, but Sheik Ahmed said the carrier will add a third flight this year.
As Emirates' order of 60 long-range Boeing 777s starts arriving, West Coast and Midwest terminals might soon see the carrier's trademark Arabic calligraphy tail logo.
"With the introduction of the 777-LR, we can talk about Houston and Chicago," Sheik Ahmed said. "Over the next six years, we'll be receiving one or two aircraft per month."
- If you haven't caught them already, Christof has a couple interesting posts on the myth of the easy commute and cost-tradeoffs with Metro's transit plan. Related is this article on ever-lengthening and extreme commutes. A couple excerpts:
I've been making this point for a while: the paradox that not making mobility investments - especially freeways - actually encourages sprawl rather than reducing it, because employers move to the suburbs, and then their employees can move even farther out and still have a reasonable commute. Houston has actually done a pretty good job investing in freeway/HOV expansions and kept jobs in the core, thus actually somewhat containing sprawl - especially when compared to cities like DFW and Atlanta. Still, we can only do so much, and, just as NASA in Clear Lake enables commuters from Galveston, I expect growing job centers in The Woodlands and Sugar Land will push people even deeper into Montgomery and Ft. Bend counties.
Studies show 7.6 percent of U.S. commuters traveled more than an hour to work in 2004, the most recent data available, up from 6 percent in 1990. The average one-way commute grew by 13 percent to 25.5 minutes between 1990 and 2000.
In 1990, only in New York state did more than 10 percent of workers spend more than an hour to get to work, Pisarski said. Now that situation can be found in New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois and California as well, he said.
Longer commutes frequently involve people who live in one suburb and work in another, said Alan Pisarski, author of "Commuting in America."
Such a pattern tends to begin with companies moving out of a city to a suburb, enticing workers to move to less-expensive outer suburbs, he told Reuters. "People see this as an opportunity to go farther away," he said.
Such a move may provide more affordable housing or better schools. Even high fuel costs -- Givens spends about $185 a week on gasoline -- can pay off in a better quality of life, Pisarski said.
We do have one helpful countervailing force though: the strength of the energy industry cluster. People who expect to move among different energy companies through their career might choose more central living to enable more employers to be within commuting range without moving. If, for example, you work for Anadarko in The Woodlands and choose to live north of Conroe, you've just created a major barrier to switching employers to one of the more centrally-located energy companies. Cities like DFW and Atlanta have more diversified economies, which makes employer switching a bit less likely and extreme sprawl a bit more likely. If you work for Home Depot in Atlanta, are you very likely to jump to Coke or UPS? If you work for TI in Dallas, are you going to jump to JC Penny or Exxon? Possible, but not as likely as a switch within the same industry. And if you think you're likely to switch, you might give careful consideration to a home location that maximizes your options.