Rankings, urban corridors, managed lanes, and moreI'm in western NY state on vacation. Saw the awe-inspiring Niagara Falls and the depressing "red brick ruins" (old abandoned industrial sites) and housing of Buffalo. Now in Corning, NY to go to their famous glass museum, while staying at this amazing bed and breakfast. But get this: the B&B is not allowed to have any kind of sign, because of regulations in their residential area. This creates two problems: tourists wandering around trying to find the place based only on an address - and putting them in a bad mood to start their tourist experience of Corning - and locals who don't even know there's a place in their neighborhood they can put up friends and relatives. Government protection at its finest. Of course, everybody knows once you have a sign letting people know there's an upscale Frommer's 3-star B&B mansion filled with beautiful antiques and glass in your neighborhood, it's a clear sign of decline - soon to be followed by falling property values... sheesh.
Moving on to a few small misc items:
- Check out the pictures of this incredible scale model of the city of Shanghai in 2020. Pretty cool, although a sure sign of over-the-top hyper-planning.
- A good essay by Brian:
"For many on the left, there is an easy equation to promote energy independence and protect the environment: Less driving, more density, and more rail transit. Even noted economists like Greg Mankiw have supported a Pigovian gas tax to encourage precisely these three behaviors. The question not asked is whether these idealistic behaviors can even be achieved."
He thinks not.
- Forbes just ranked Houston the top city for buying a home in the country (article). Texas Triangle cities were 4 of the top 6. Hat tip.
Houston, we don't have a housing problem.
The city's $152,500 median home sale price is up 6.6% from 2005. It boasts a low vacancy rate and an oil-rich economy. Throw in a bubbling entrepreneurial tech scene, and you've got four factors that put Houston on the top of our list of best places to buy a home.
1. Houston, Texas
Houston, we don't have a problem. Well known as an energy industry hub, this growing metro area recently made Forbes.com's Top 10 Up-And-Coming Tech Cities thanks to the Houston Technology Center and bubbling entrepreneurial tech scene. With home prices on the rise by 6.6% and vacant homes disappearing by 11.3% in the last two years, this is one area where buyers can feel safe jumping in.
- In case you missed Shannon Buggs' column in the Chronicle, Houston was recently ranked the third-most charitable city in the country out of the top 30, behind Miami and San Diego. Some of the criteria:
- High percentage of budget spent on programs and services.
- Low percentage of budget spent on administrative fees.
- Low amount spent to raise a dollar in contributions.
Joel Kotkin and I heard similar things about Houston's charitable nature and strong nonprofit scene in an interview with the head of the local Red Cross a couple years ago.
- And another Chronicle article in case you missed it on the urban corridors initiative to make the areas around light rail stops more pedestrian friendly.
Would love to hear your thoughts on the plan in the comments.