Big news, critiquing Dallas, Houston's transportation history, and moreFirst, some big news I want to share with all of you: the MIT Center for Advanced Urbanism is pulling together a book on the future of cities and their suburbs, and they've asked me to contribute a paper! Very exciting yet humbling. Publication is estimated for the spring of 2016, so fortunately I have a bit of time to pull it together...
On to this week's smaller misc items:
- Thanks to Bill King for the shout out. Total agreement supporting METRO as it revamps the bus system and backs off from the costly obsession with rail.
- The Urbanophile does Dallas (doesn't quite roll off the tongue in the same way, does it? ;-) followed by a mixed review of Downtown Dallas specifically. Reading the critique, I think he'd give our downtown a better review, although still mixed. I think he has some good thoughts on potential solutions that Houston should be considering, especially #1 on creating an authentic street experience appropriate to Texas. It also includes a great excerpt on the walkability challenge that I have also stressed for Houston:
"For one thing, Dallas temperatures are very high. It was in the 90s and blazing sun every day I was there. This renders the city functionally unwalkable. I wanted to do a lot more exploring but just couldn't because if I spent more than about 10-15 minutes outside I needed to take a shower.
When I tweeted this people kept talking about other places in the world with high temperatures. It may be that some places are acculturated to this, or too poor to afford air conditioning. But I actually didn't even get a good counterexample once you factor in humidity. Some folks mentioned Seville, Spain, but the July dew point in Seville ranges from 51-66 while in Dallas it’s 64-72. That’s a big difference.
So walkability and urbanity is going to mean something different in a hot, Southern climate vs. northern cities. Think of that as challenge #1."
- From that post I discovered this in-depth report by the Dallas Morning News on the future of Dallas and the challenges it needs to overcome. I'd love to see the Chronicle do something similar for Houston.
- 10 fun facts everyone should know about Houston's economy.
- Quote of the week from David Brooks at the NYTimes, the last part being relevant to Houston:
"Great and small enterprises often have two births: first in purity, then in maturity. The idealism of the Declaration of Independence gave way to the cold-eyed balances of the Constitution. Love starts in passion and ends in car pools.
The beauty of the first birth comes from the lofty hopes, but the beauty of the second birth comes when people begin to love frailty. (Have you noticed that people from ugly places love their cities more tenaciously than people from beautiful cities?)"
Yes, yes we do.