Glaeser on Houston and rail, job growth, and Intergalactic IAHJust a handful of quick items this week. First, a couple of Harvard professor Dr. Edward Glaeser excerpts:
- From a Wall Street Journal op-ed "Detroit's Decline and The Folly of Light Rail":
Public policies only made things worse. The defining characteristic of declining cities is that they have plenty of infrastructure relative to the level of demand. Detroit didn't need the People Mover—an expensive monorail that glides over empty streets. And today, a Light Rail project is being pitched by the federal government, which seems to have learned nothing from the failures of past follies.
Neither Detroit nor the U.S. suffer from any profound transportation problem that can only be fixed with vast federal spending. The country doesn't need more People Movers. It needs unleashed, educated entrepreneurs—and they will only be held back by taxes being funneled into fanciful make-work projects in a futile attempt to fix our economic malaise.
- And from a Business Week review of his new book:
Glaeser's solution is simple: Where land is scarce, density becomes vital. Cities that cannot build out must build up. Freed from restrictive and Byzantine zoning regulations, Houston has built up and out to become the fourth-largest city in the U.S., he notes, all despite an unusually vile climate. Owing mainly to affordable housing and the availability of jobs, Glaeser calculates that—after taxes, housing, and transportation costs—an average family in high-density Houston is much better off than a comparable one in Queens or Staten Island. While not everyone will want to experience high-rise life, its availability should result in lower prices for all.From the Houston Digital Ambassadorship newsletter: Houston No. 2 in job gains among metros nationwide (behind DFW, but not by much)
And finally, a question for my readers (which I have asked before, but would like to do a new survey): has anybody ever heard IAH humorously referred to as "Intergalactic" in a conversation? I've been asking around, and nobody seems to have ever heard it, so I'm starting to wonder if I made it up and just thought I heard it from others? If you have heard it before, please let me know in the comments. Thanks.