UH Tier 1 Flagship, rankings, plans, fans, and moreAccording to the Chronicle today, seven different universities are going to pitch the legislature on being elevated to Tier 1 research university funding status at the same level as UT-Austin and TAMU (extra $70m a year). They may choose one or two, but it's unlikely to be more than that. According to this paper, UH and Texas Tech are the most obvious candidates, with the highest annual research spending. My own thinking is that UH should be able to pull it out *if* they get strong unity of Houston-area legislators. DFW's legislators will be splitting their support between UT-Dallas, UT-Arlington, and the University of North Texas, while San Antonio (UT), El Paso (UT), and Lubbock (Tech) all have relatively small populations and therefore fewer representatives. With top research spending, some strong departments, unified legislative and community support, a good growth plan, and excellent new leadership, UH should be able to win the beauty contest. Good luck. Kuff has more.
Moving on to some smaller misc items for your weekend reading:
- FierceBiotech ranks Texas as “Top Five Region” Targeting Biotech
- Texas the second-most free state economically, after Delaware. Nice map. Puts a new twist on red states vs. blue states. One amazing stat from p.39 of the full report shows that states' government spending ranges from 20% of GDP (Delaware) to 28% (Texas) to as high as 50+% in West Virginia, Mississippi, and New Mexico. That's a huge spread.
- Christof examines different commuter rail options for Ft. Bend County
- A little myth-busting: If you believe Houston is unplanned, check out this city web page to find links to no less than sixteen different city plans covering all sorts of issues ( Hat tip to the Chronicle's politics blog). Now don't you feel silly?
- One more study to add to the never-ending arguments over sprawl and density: evidently higher density correlates with more social alienation, the exact opposite of the goal of New Urbanism (and many critics of the suburbs).
- Evidently, Houston is proposing for the 2020 World's Fair Expo. It would be very cool, although NYC and SF are certainly stiff competition. And it hasn't been to North America much recently, I suspect because they prefer countries that are more willing to to subsidize the event with public money. HAIF conversation. Thanks to Jessie for the heads up.
- Joel Kotkin in the LAT noting the evidence that, despite $4 gas, suburbia doesn't seem to be dying.
- An op-ed on what Mesa (a Phoenix suburb) could learn from Houston. Hat tip to Jessie.
"Houston is interspersed with old and new areas, wealthy and poorer neighborhoods, low and high density housing and we can’t even hear the screams of people complaining about a Lowe’s store being constructed next to a residential neighborhood. Imagine that.
Houston grows because businesses can flourish there with little interference by government. If you and I wanted to begin a construction project of winding, tree-lined streets and comfortable homes, we could walk into the building permit section, acquire our permits and begin construction today — just as it should be.
Oddly, there are many people who have served on the City Council who believe the city government has the best answer of what the homes should look like, how tall they should be, how best to construct them and where the building should be placed on the parcel of land. It’s like a giant Sim City computer game played by bureaucrats with other people’s money.
What a great scam."
- Sam Staley from Reason on Planetizen with the big picture with transit vs. cars.
- First it was the French, and now we have a New Zealander that likes Houston after visiting. (in addition to you, Hugh ;-)
"Life is better with... Houston."