Harvard prof on Houston (again) and transport energyI'm back in town, but I have a major project due Friday, so I'll just be passing along some smaller misc items split across this post and another later in the week:
- An interesting graph and discussion of energy use by different modes of transport, including various transit and personal vehicle options. You might be surprised how competitive cars can be. Hat tip to Raymond.
- Harvard urban economist Edward Glaeser had an interview in the Wall Street Journal recently with these quotes mentioning Houston (in addition to this piece in July).
"I think the relatively laissez-faire approach of Houston may be workable when you've got ungodly amounts of land you can use, but the more you squeeze in an area, the more policies you need -- and the great hope is those policies don't limit growth."Finally, I'd like to end with a random thought of the day: My sympathies to people all over the world who have to learn English as a second language, where subtleties like "tastes awful" and "awfully tasty" mean two completely different things...
WSJ: What about looking to European cities, where more people walk and rely on mass transit, as a model for the U.S.?
MR. GLAESER: There's been a segment of urban developers who have been enthusiastic about the model in Europe for quite some time [because] it's much more environmentally sensitive. But there are bad aspects as well.
While there certainly seem to be some smart things done in Europe, it's a mistake to think they've got it right and we've got it wrong. There are many good things that came out of giving Americans the opportunity to live in big houses on the edge of urban areas.
If you think about the lifestyle of ordinary Americans living on the fringe of Houston or Dallas, for example, compared to what their lifestyle would be in an older European city -- living in a walk-up apartment there compared to a 2,500-square-foot house here they bought for $130,000 with a 24-minute commute -- it's extraordinary in the low-cost areas of this country what a $60,000 family income gets you.
There's a reason Atlanta, Dallas, Houston and Phoenix are our four fastest-growing areas. They offer an astonishingly high standard of living for ordinary Americans.
New York City is a great place to be really rich and not a terrible place to be really poor, but it's a pretty hard place to live on $60,000 a year. You don't experience anywhere near the basic standard of living you would in Houston on the same income."