Top rankings mania, United HQ, jobs, zoning, Texans, and more
The smaller misc items have been piling up faster than usual lately...
The 2012 8th Annual Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey has been released, with Houston once again held up as a paragon with a very affordable 2.9 ratio between the median home price ($160k) and median income ($55k). That certainly beats ratios around 6 for the major coastal cities and even much worse for international cities like Hong Kong, Sydney, and Vancouver.
"Throughout the economic crisis, Houston has been the buttoned-down older brother to Austin's hippie slacker.
While college-boy Austin coasts by on education and arts, Houston shrugs off the cool kids, goes to work every day with its buddies in the energy industry and does what it can to keep unemployment below 8%. Unlike Austin, though, Houston doesn't have to drop its home prices to draw new blood."
I came across this quote about the United-Continental merger and choice of HQ in a Fortune article. Based on this and what I've heard about the radical decline in Continental service since the merger, I think I can safely say that they royally screwed up this merger picking Chicago for the HQ over Houston. It not only raised costs, but helped the much lower regarded United culture win out.
"To be fair, there are some initial benefits to combining operations. Merging headquarters and slashing management costs does help the surviving airline, although it can be limited. For example, United has had to hike the pay of Continental employees by 20% to 30% to entice them to move up to Chicago from Houston, a person close to the company told Fortune. The bizarre reason to remain headquartered in such an expensive city, even with tax breaks, shows that airline mergers aren't always rational."
Finally, I'm a couple weeks too late in sharing this, but it's still pretty cool. In retrospect, the lyrics at the 3:16 point were poorly chosen. Oh well. Next season is looking good. Go Texans!
Social Systems Architect, consultant and entrepreneur with a genuine love of my hometown and its people. I cover a wide range of topics in this blog - including transportation, transit, economic development, quality-of-life, city identity, and development and land-use regulations - and have published numerous Houston Chronicle op-eds on these topics. I also co-authored the Opportunity Urbanism study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. I am a native Houstonian, 6th-generation Texan, attended Rice University for my BSEE and MBA, and a former McKinsey consultant and adjunct faculty member with Leadership Houston. I have had a long career in information technology, and am currently the founder and president of OpenTeams, a web-based collaborative software company that emphasizes openness and transparency inside large organizations. CONTACT EMAIL in no-spam format: tgattis (at) pdq.net - send me an email if you would like to receive these posts via email, or see the Google Groups signup box below.