Hou #1 mfg city, public routes service, sprawl args, WSJ Menil, transit resistance, and moreI let the list of small miscellaneous items get too long again before posting. Sorry, but here it goes:
- Very cool interactive downtown map. Turn on and off what you want to see on the left, then mouse-over to get info.
- Houston has been ranked as the #1 manufacturing city in the country, in terms of total jobs.
"MNI's regional study showed Texas ranks second in the nation for manufacturing, just behind California, and accounts for 6.4 percent of the nation's manufacturing jobs and 6.2 percent of its manufacturing plants... MNI also reported that Texas is one of the only large manufacturing states in the nation to gain industrial jobs over the past few years with major manufacturing states such as Ohio, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York all posting sharp employment losses over that period."
- A pass-along announcement: "PublicRoutes.com ( www.publicroutes.com ) launched live today in Houston and is a comprehensive online resource for public transportation directions in the city. Now residents and tourists visiting Houston can just log onto one site and find everything they need for traveling around greater Houston in one place. All you need to do is type in the start and end address and PublicRoutes.com will give you directions on how to get to your destination, no matter which METRO service you’re using. The launch in Houston is the 12th city launch in the U.S. and the site is also available in London."
- Great post by Randal O' Toole on why sprawl is a phony problem, which debunks a few questions about sprawl:
"Russians say that Americans don’t have real problems, so they make them up. Urban sprawl is one of those made-up problems...
Does sprawl threaten farm production?
Does sprawl threaten forests?
Does sprawl threaten open space?
Does sprawl force people to drive more?
Does sprawl increase urban-service costs?
Does sprawl make people fat?
Does sprawl reduce people’s sense of community?"
- A blogHouston and AP story on how people actively resist transit even at high gas prices. It supports what I've been saying for a while, which is that the personal vehicle is now a permanent part of our ever-wealthier society (regardless of how propulsion technologies change to adapt to the economics of oil and gas), and transit-based living will largely be a niche lifestyle for either the very poor or those people who choose to live that way for whatever personal reasons. It will not be adopted by - or forced on - the masses.
- A nice Wall Street Journal profile of The Menil Collection on its 20th anniversary (7-day nonsubscriber link, permalink).
- NY Times on chaos at the Houston passport office.
- Bob Bruegmann of "Sprawl - A Compact History" fame, debates and deconstructs the anti-sprawl arguments: part 1 and part 2.
"Whether in imperial Rome or 19th century London, whenever a new group of people could afford to escape the congestion, noise and unsanitary conditions of city centers, they did so. In fact the exodus from central London in the 19th century, made possible by the newly invented railroad and public transportation, was at least as great as anything seen in the United States after World War II.
And every time a new group moved out there was an intellectual and artistic elite that was affronted and wished to stop it.
To get any significant number of people out of their cars and into transit it would be necessary for transit to be faster and more efficient than cars. Except in the case of rush-hour commuting trips to the very center of a few large cities in the United States, this not now the case. Without some dramatic changes in the type of transit we use, transit is very unlikely to be able to compete anytime in the near future.
It would take massive increases in density to boost significantly the present, extremely small market share of transit use in Los Angeles. And even if the market share of transit gained, the number of automobile users would increase more quickly than transit users for the foreseeable future. Without some dramatic increase in road capacity, this would guarantee worse traffic and longer trips for motorists and bus passengers alike. In fact this is what has been happening in L.A. for some years now. Most of the nostrums promoted by "smart growth" advocates are likely to make matters even worse."
- National Geographic Traveler on Houston
- And in the "very miscellaneous" department (relative to the usual themes of this blog), this pass-along from a reader:
"I just wrote and published a Novel, titled 'In The Death of Night,' by Matthew Reed. It's about a retired CIA Case Officer who manipulates the dreaded Russian Mafia into killing Islamic terrorists inside Houston."Have a great weekend.
I haven't read it myself, but a while back I did read another thriller set in Houston, and it does enhance the experience being familiar with the settings.