NYT wants to save the Astrodome, Houston rising, Atlanta learns the wrong lessons from us, and moreLet's open this week's post of smaller miscellaneous items with this excellent NY Times essay on the importance of saving the Astrodome: "Astrodome: Dirty and Dated, but Irreplaceable". Great old pics too.
So it was despairing to hear that the vacant Astrodome might be torn down and its site paved over as Houston prepares to host the 2017 Super Bowl. Demolition would be a failure of civic imagination, a betrayal of Houston’s greatness as a city of swaggering ambition, of dreamers who dispensed with zoning laws and any restraint on possibility.I sincerely hope someone at the county shows some leadership to pull together a solution, rather than passively sitting back, willing to only review fully-funded proposals, and then defaulting to demolition when that impossibility doesn't happen.
James Glassman, a Houston preservationist, calls the Astrodome the city’s Eiffel Tower and the “physical manifestation of Houston’s soul.” New York could afford to tear down old Yankee Stadium, Glassman said, because the city had hundreds of other signature landmarks. Not Houston. Along with oil, NASA and the pioneering heart surgeons Michael E. DeBakey and Denton A. Cooley, the technological marvel of the Astrodome put a young, yearning city on the global map.
Moving on to this week's items:
- After the WSJ last week, this week yours truly got a couple of quotes in this UK Guardian article on the Astrodome.
- Joel Kotkin in the Daily Beast on "Houston Rising—Why the Next Great American Cities Aren’t What You Think" There's too much good stuff to excerpt, so just read the whole thing. Great comments too. Search on the word "Houston" for a quicker skim of both. CultureMap coverage here.
- Houston is the 2nd fastest growing city in the nation.
- Interesting article from Atlanta on their delegation that visited Houston to learn from us. They focus on the med center, rail, and the port. All are valid, important parts of the Houston story, but what they really should have studied was our free market in land use (i.e. no zoning) and heavy investments in freeways, including loops. Atlanta could use a lot more of both. Hat tip to Jessie.
- Texas named Best State for Business for the ninth year in a row, including some really great CEO quotes:
Texas still stands head and shoulders above others in their business climate, employee work ethics and living environment.
Texas is best by far. No other state is even close.
A number of my friends do business in both California and Texas. Their experiences are causing them to move as much of their operations to Texas as they can. I only invest in California if I have to!
Texas has it ‘right’ on all fronts.
Texas is the best place to do business, recruit talent, every metric, hands down. New Mexico is our home state and they try, but it just has not yet happened like in Florida, Nevada and Texas.
- I found this David Brooks' piece on engaged vs. detached approaches to writing/blogging to be thought provoking. I think I've tried to aspire to be detached, although I certainly have a pro free market and pro Houston worldview (and Brooks points out that even detached writers have a philosophy/worldview). Thoughts welcome in the comments.
- Great time lapse animation of satellite photography showing Houston's growth since 1984. Most of the growth is west of 45, although northeast near IAH grows strongly too. I like that our growth is somewhat balanced around the core, as opposed to cities like Dallas where it's all to the north and west.