City culture vs. innovation, affordability ranking, the 'Houston way' of development, and more
The list of smaller misc items has been building so rapidly the last few weeks I'll need to split them across a couple of posts:
- The Urbanophile has a very insightful piece titled "Chicago: The Cost of Clout", making the case that "the Chicago way" of clout/patronage inherently limits their potential as an innovation/tech hub. I don't think Houston has this problem, although we might be at risk of developing it. I'd be interested in your thoughts in the comments. Some excerpts:
Here, merit counts for next to nothing…In New York, everyone wants to know: “What do you do?” In Chicago, everyone wants to know: “Who do you know?” ...
This is what clout in Chicago hath wrought. The culture of the establishment Chicago is simply incompatible with an innovation economy. It’s not just about money or resources. It’s about respect. It’s about what this town respects, and more importantly what it doesn’t. It’s about what Chicago whispers to you about what you should aspire to achieve, what success means in this city, and the subtle – and not so subtle – messages about how you get ahead here.
Until you’ve already made your millions or somehow wormed your way into connections or up through the hierarchy, establishment Chicago has no use for you in its economic plans, no matter what talent, ideas, or ambitions you might harbor.
- Another interesting post by the Urbanophile has a graph showing Houston ranking highly in terms of freeway lane miles per capita. Of course, at this point I fear our population growth is definitely outstripping our addition of new freeway lane miles. It's been a critical key to our successful growth over the decades, and one we really will have to find creative ways to keep up (like more toll roads).
- An Australian "unconventional economist" says "Why not copy Houston?" (and follow-up), specifically our approach to land use and development, vs. the tight restrictions and very high costs in Australia. The comments are interesting too, and they clearly need more Houstonians to chime in with local knowledge if you're so inclined. Hat tip to Hugh.
- Demographia has just released their 7th Annual International Housing Affordability Survey, with an introduction by Joel Kotkin - and, as usual, Houston is held up in very high regard as one of the most affordable markets, with median home values only 2.9 times median incomes ($160k vs. $54.5k) due to our light touch when it comes to land use and development regulations. Again, hat tip to Hugh.
- Alan has shared a neat Google Map he created with me illustrating how difficult cross-downtown traffic will be with all of the new street-blocking developments on the east side. Unfortunately they just haven't been well thought-out, and I think the blockages will probably keep the near east-side (over 59) from developing as well as it might have with better connectivity.
That's enough for this week. Stay tuned for more.
Labels: affordability, development, economic strategy, home affordability, identity, land-use regulation, mobility strategies