Response to Crossley op-edI just submitted this letter to the Chronicle. I tried to keep it short, so I didn't get into the importance of education or the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, which are two areas where we are in solid agreement. I'm in Boston at a conference this week, so posting and responses to comments may be limited. And thanks to everyone who's sent emails or made comments of support. Much appreciated.
Responding to David Crossley's op-ed ("Last-century strategy won't move Houston forward," Outlook), I have to ask, when did opportunity suddenly become "last century thinking"? Which exactly of are the "ideas that threaten progress" - mobility? growth? affordability? limited government red tape? I suspect David was mostly focused on the last one, noting that land use decisions impact congestion. Yet all the cities with worse congestion rankings than ours have far more government control of land use, and it hasn't helped them. In fact, the most aggressive land-use control cities, like Portland, have seen their congestion increase the fastest.UPDATE: they printed it.
He notes that Houston needs to attract educated talent, yet the data in our study showed that we are doing exactly that, and quite well. Despite the common misperception, Joel Kotkin and I did NOT attack quality of life improvements, but simply noted that they are built on a foundation of economic opportunity (and not vice versa, as cities have shown throughout history). I think we all agree that quality of life improvements are important - the disagreement is one of prioritization and the role of government vs. market forces and private nonprofits.
Opportunity Urbanism is not a "distraction," but what makes Houston great. Let's build on it - not discard it - as we improve Houston's quality of life for everyone.
Labels: opportunity urbanism