Jurrassic Park Houston, defending Texas exceptionalism, passing Chicago, Market Urbanism, and moreBefore getting too a few smaller items this week, I need to debunk this absurd post attempting to debunk Texas growth exceptionalism. It claims we're not growing because of our policies, but because we simply have the space with greenfield growth opportunities as opposed to the northern cities. But there are plenty of greenfields around the northern cities once you get outside their cores. There's not much growth happening in them for a reason: people and businesses are choosing Texas over those places. It's as simple as that, and that is, quite clearly, Texas exceptionalism.
Moving on to this week's items:
- National NPR Here and Now story on Houston's lack of zoning.
- Cool column about how Miami has staved off gentrification in certain neighborhoods by allowing unlimited building heights in the popular areas, so the wealthy aren't displaced into adjacent neighborhoods. Not quite Houston's no-zoning, but a similar benefit.
- If you're curious when Houston will pass Chicago as the country's third largest city, Kinder has done the analysis: ~2030, assuming current growth trends continue. And we should pass their metro population too soon after that, although I don't see us catching up to DFW, so we'll be fourth in the metro rankings, not third. Chronicle story.
- An amazing list of rankings for Houston. Well worth a skim. Very impressive - will make you proud to be a Houstonian.
- Scott Beyer introduces his Market Urbanism concept in Forbes with a book coming down the road. The concept has many similarities to Opportunity Urbanism: cities needing to let land-use markets work instead of regulatorily distorting them with serious negative consequences. I'm looking forward to sharing more of Scott's posts over time like the Miami one above.
The single best place to build Jurassic Park: Houston
Houston is the nation’s most demographically diverse metropolitan area. Its broad base of religious communities and ethnic enclaves, plus its sizable LGBT population, would help to host the millions of visitors who would make the prehistoric pilgrimage every year.
Houston is characterized by its low density—a negative in many respects, but an undeniable plus when it comes to containing the tragic-yet-frequent dinosaur outbreaks. The city’s growth and urban sprawl only indicates the sore need for the kinds of transit and infrastructure upgrades that such a major development could help to facilitate.
The city enjoys a progressive economy that is weathering the downturn in oil prices reasonably well. (Best not to mention oil around the dinosaurs.) According to Area Development, a trade publication that covers, well, area development, Houston ranks second among U.S. metro statistical areas in terms of economic diversity, workforce skills, and other business factors.
Plus, no zoning in Houston means no exclusionary mammal zoning.
Houston is already home to NASA; if past is prologue, then the city’s successes as the host of the nation’s explorations into the final frontier (space) will serve it well when we conquer the next one (time). Put a Jurassic Park next to the Johnson Space Center and call the campus the Space-Time Continuum!
Finally, putting a dinosaur theme park in Houston solves two problems in one. The Astrodome—whose fate is still uncertain—is just begging to be rehabbed as a T-Rex paddock.Lol. I also love the digs against NIMBYs at the beginning of the article... ;-D