More Houston top rankings and kudos, IAH A380, and moreAgain, the smaller miscellaneous items have stacked up beyond one post, so here's half of 'em:
- Houston has a near ideal combination of higher-than-average wages with lower-than-average housing costs. Go to this academic paper (pdf), search on "Houston", and it will light up the data point on the graph on page 50. The top-left quadrant is the place to be, and we're the farthest up it.
- Houston was recently ranked as a top 10 city for young professionals (Hat tip to Greg). "Houston's strong economic growth, global connections and low cost of living are all factors that help keep local college grads in the city," although the article does argue for continued improvements to the urban core to make it more "hip" and attractive for young college grads.
- Forbes says the same thing: Houston is the best destination for college grads. Here's their detail chart on Houston. Hat tip to StartupHouston.
- This is an item my brother found. Houston, as well as most cities in the country, have "Austin-envy," and he saw this in the comments on an article in Business Week on the Orange County economy and housing market:
"Do not move to Austin. I live there now. There are no jobs, unless you want to be a cashier at Target for $9 an hour. Yes, Dell has laid off and will continue to lay off. Most everyone who works there says "Dell, no we call it hell". I grew up on OC (Mission Viejo) and thought Austin would be a good escape from the So Cal attitude I got so sick of over the years. Nope! Austin is the next OC. If Trader Joe's ever opens there, I'm leaving. I doubt they will since Whole Foods is headquartered in Austin and I'm sure they have a whole team of lawyers sitting in the trenches just waiting for the TJ's people to come. Do not move to a college town, and do not move to a place where MTV has done a "Real World" series. Learn from someone who made these mistakes. "
- Randal O'Toole talks about Opportunity Urbanism and Houston.
- A Dallasite envies Houston's free market in development (from the Texas Public Policy Foundation).
"Plenty of us smart-aleck Dallasites, if we try, can work up a crush on hustling Houston, where the air—leave aside the suffocating humidity—has the tang of freedom.
Houston's historic refusal to direct growth patterns through regulation of private property rights isn't the only factor in the city's rise to eminence and success. It hasn't exactly retarded that rise, either.
Zoning-less Houston leaves it mostly to the marketplace—a/k/a people, doing what people do—to figure out local needs and ways of meeting said needs. Everybody, under the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, has voice in the matter. Yet no central authority, squinting down from Mount Olympus, compels and enforces.
You're right probably to wonder how much longer the nation's fourth most populous city can get away with such a generally sensible approach to development. ...freedom works better than constraint and all-knowing supervision. I didn't say, works perfectly. I said, works better, and—yes—for the broader interest."
- A local blog has some thoughtful advice on better transportation and transit solutions for Houston.
- Continuing the theme, a train lover explains why inter-city train travel is unlikely to ever make sense in America:
"The train is from one and a half to five times as expensive (vs. a plane), and takes four and a half to five times as long, turning a four-day trip into seven or eight days...
It’s not a matter of the government not supporting Amtrak. It’s not a matter of the U.S. not having the “will” to have the best passenger trains in the world. It’s that passenger trains, using any current technology or any technology we see coming in the foreseeable future, simply can’t compete with airlines.
It’s just arithmetic."
- A very cool rumor that Emirates may soon be flying the new A380 double-decker mega-plane to IAH. Their nonstop Dubai service has been extremely successful - so much so they need a bigger plane. It will require double-decking one of the gates in Terminal D.
- Finally, Joel Kotkin and others have started a new web site called "The New Geography." Good stuff definitely worth exploring. Here's one recent article on the decline of Chicago:
"In conclusion, Chicago’s long decline continues. In the coming years, public pension commitments will test even the high tax tolerant Chicago residents. Look for low regulation, low tax Houston to overtake Chicago in population in the next eight to 15 years."
They have 2.8m, and we have 2.2m, in the city limits - so we'd have to add a pretty good chunk of people inside the city to pass them and go from 4th to 3rd-largest city in the country. Possible, but not easy. We won't be passing their metro population (3rd largest) anytime soon: 9.8m vs. 5.6m.I'll be attending the Center For Houston's Future ULI luncheon on Thursday (sold out), and hopefully a blog post on it that night, so the rest of the misc items will have to wait until next week.