Houston vs. Chicago, Seattle, Portland - plus stagnant stadiums, giving thanks, and moreSome smaller items for your weekend reading pleasure:
- The Wall Street Journal recently had an op-ed titled "What Oprah's Departure Means for the Windy City," which serves as a warning to Houston and other cities:
"Chicago is a city of magnificent parks and world-class cultural institutions and universities. But it is also a city of high taxes, regulatory morass and aggressive unions. Is Ms. Winfrey's announcement a wake-up call about underlying problems there? She gave no substantive reasons for it, but her departure is at least the third bitter disappointment to Chicago since it felt itself to be on top of the world—when President Barack Obama gave his victory speech in Grant Park. A month ago, Chicago lost its Olympics bid to Rio; then two major trade shows that had been in the city for decades announced that they were leaving because of the city's extraordinarily high costs and the intractability of the unions."
More of my thoughts on the Chicago-Houston relationship here.
- Arguments that Houston stadiums haven't generated economic development (and the new soccer stadium won't), and that we made a real mistake not locating Reliant Park - esp. the convention center - next to the GRB downtown (to create scale for the largest conventions).
- A cultural analysis of Seattle vs. Houston (from an MLS angle). Houston excerpts:
"Houston is big business, the energy industry, and a city with a remarkable amount of ethnic diversity. Both cities are windows into the future of America, but they represent different visions, socially and culturally.
These differences create unmistakable pressure points. From an economic standpoint, Seattle is not a major hub, while Houston is one of the most important cities in North America. ...
Given Houston’s global position, It is little wonder why George Bush Intercontinental Airport has direct flights to places as far flung as Doha, and Guayaquil. It is perhaps the fifth most significant international airport in the nation behind New York (JFK), Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago (O’Hare). (The four listed airports are the acknowledged “big four” international airports in the US, although, recently I have heard of a big three with O’Hare being dropped.)
Houston is a worldly city...
It’s often been said that Texas could exist without the United States, but the US would not be the same without Texas. Houston is living proof of this adage. Without Houston and the leadership the city has provided, the US could very well be a less prosperous and less diverse place.
Houston, on the other hand is one of the few MLS or USL cities where every ethnic group imaginable has been attracted to the ground, without segregating themselves. The Dynamo’s model of attracting support from the broad based ethnic makeup of the region should be the model for US Soccer."
- A DMN op-ed on Portland, Houston, land-use regulation and diversity. Read it for the whole argument, but here are a few paragraphs that jumped out at me:
"Many of the policies of Portland are not that dissimilar from those of upscale suburbs in their effects. Urban growth boundaries raise land prices and render housing less affordable exactly the same as large lot zoning and building codes that mandate brick and other expensive materials do. They both contribute to reducing housing affordability for historically disadvantaged communities. Just like the most exclusive suburbs.
Finally, if you missed it, definitely check out the Chronicle's Thanksgiving Day op-ed on things to give thanks for in Houston. It'll make you proud.
I believe that cities that start taking their African-American and other minority communities seriously, seeing them as a pillar of civic growth, will reap big dividends and distinguish themselves in the marketplace.
This trail has been blazed not by the "progressive" paragons but by places like Atlanta, Dallas and Houston. ... Houston took in tens of thousands of mostly poor and overwhelmingly African-American refugees from Hurricane Katrina. Houston, a booming metro and emerging world city, rolled out the welcome mat for them – and for Latinos, Asians and other newcomers. They see these people as possessing talent worth having."
Hat tip to Jessie for several of these links.