World's smartest cities, HOT lanes, Rice-BCM, iPhone app, and more
I've been cleaning out the email inbox of old newsletters, which yielded a lot of new small items to pass along:
- A great quote I came across: "Those who argue that it doesn't pay to build a road because it just fills up again should test that argument on libraries, schools, and hospitals." Alan Pisarski, author of Commuting in America.
- Sam Staley at Reason summarizes the arguments and data for HOT lanes. We have our first set on the Katy Freeway, and Metro is in the process of converting all of their HOV lanes. Now if we could just get them on 610...
- At the bottom of page 3 in this pdf from the Greater Houston Partnership you can find a detailed analysis of how long it will take the city and metro of Houston to pass up Chicago (#3) and LA (#2). It's a lot longer than you might think, unless something big happens like a Houston-Harris County merger/annexation.
- Rice President David Leebron describes the benefits and risks of a merger with the Baylor College of Medicine. It would definitely raise Rice's and Houston's profile, but there are some scary financial risks too.
- Very cool time-lapse video of the TMC and downtown at night from the top of the Hotel ZaZa. Hat tip to HAIF and Swamplot.
- Houston made the list of World's Smartest Cities:
"As North America's economy shifts from import and consumption toward export and production, Seattle's rise will be a model for other business-savvy cities in the West and South. Houston's close tie to the Caribbean, as well as its dominant global energy industry, thriving industrial base, huge Texas Medical Center complex and first-rate airport, all work to its long-term advantage. Arguably the healthiest economically of America's big cities, Houston is also investing in--not just talking about--its green future; last year it was the nation's largest municipal purchaser of wind energy."
- David Brooks of the NYT has an op-ed on nine great action items to get the country's innovation agenda back on track.
- Houston is still the nation's #1 home construction market, substantially ahead of followers DFW, DC, Phoenix, and Austin. The largest declines since the peak of the housing boom? Atlanta, Phoenix, NYC, Chicago, and Riverside. Notice that Phoenix is on both lists: a big decline from a big peak still puts them ahead of most. Hat tip to Jessie.
- If you have an Apple iPhone or iPod touch, check out a new application from Wayne at HAIF called Towrs. It "uses the iPhone's geolocation feature to display the interesting buildings near where the user is standing. Downtown Houston and Galveston are two of the areas it is designed for. It also works well in Chicago, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, and a few other cities." I tested it and it's pretty slick. Just point your phone's web browser to Towrs.com . If you have feedback, send your suggestions or bug reports to email@example.com.
A final note: I'm on vacation for the next 10 days or so, but blog posts will return mid Christmas week. Don't have any more snow without me...
Labels: economic strategy, economy, mobility strategies, rankings