Houston gets some respect plus rankings, slogans, graffiti, McGowen, DomePassing along some smaller items:
- There is a new web site around converting the Astrodome into a film studio. Check it out and sign the petition.
- A vigorous debate on what to do with the McGowen super-block in Midtown: park or private development? Hat tip to HAIF and the Houston Press.
- A Business Week has a story on the best cities to weather the recession, mainly those focused on government and health care. Surprise, surprise, the DC area comes out on top. But they do mention Houston:
We had hoped to include energy in our analysis despite the recent decline in oil prices, because gasoline and natural gas prices are still relatively high, and energy-producing states such as Alaska, Colorado, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming are benefiting. We weren't able to collect town-level data on energy jobs, but some of the places that came up on our list—such as Anchorage, Alaska; Baton Rouge, La.; and Lubbock, Tex., are located in energy centers. Baton Rouge and New Orleans have energy-related jobs, but the main strength of their economies is a post-Katrina construction boom.
Flatness in Houston
If energy were factored in, Houston might have shot up to the top of the ranking.
"Texas is buffered, but it's not insulated," said Edward Friedman, an economist who covers Texas for Moody's Economy.com (MCO). "It's definitely not going to keep on growing the way it is. While the rest of country is in significant decline, you'll have flatness in Houston."
- Continuing the positive rankings, Houston also ranked #4 on the Forbes list of "Cities Where Your Nest Egg Goes Farthest":
No. 4 Houston, Texas
Forbes.com's Best Place to Buy a Home is, not surprisingly, a great place to retire. With tax revenues flowing from the oil and alternative energy industries centered there and a bustling tech scene, retirees won't need to worry that they are settling into a place on the slide. Throw in affordable housing and sunny weather, and Houston is a great place to begin again.
- An interesting site promoting the "Keep Houston Rich" slogan, with Houston-related YouTube videos and items for sale with the slogan. Although I like the tongue-in-cheek humor and the secondary meaning of the theme ("rich" culture, diversity, etc.), I don't think most people will quite "get it" and get past the money theme, so I still prefer "Keep Houston Free".
- If you missed it yesterday in the Chronicle, check out this good op-ed: "Houston in unique place to be a catalyst for rebirth - Creative entrepreneurs provide new wave of growth"
- And another thoughtful op-ed in case you missed it with solid suggestions for fighting smarter in the war on graffiti, which matches well with my own suggestions.
- I know this is minor, but I'm just happy to see Houston in this list of "the largest and most affluent cities", albeit from a sad Business Week story on the weakness of major city daily newspapers. Maybe our world-class status card has arrived?...
"In the largest and most affluent cities—Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston—look for the decline of the newspaper to strengthen the lighter-than-air free upscale glossy monthlies."That's it for this week. Have a great Halloween weekend.
I have seen a lot more of those around in recent years...