Defending urban freeways, smart growth wrong approach to climate change, efficient spending, big TX, and moreHope you enjoyed last week's April Fools post. CultureMap stole the theme of my 2008 April Fools about the Ashby high-rise! But it was a good one worth repeating. Can't believe this Ashby controversy has dragged out over 8+ years - will it never end?
Moving on to lots of small items to catch up on this week:
- My colleagues at the Center for Opportunity Urbanism on Houston Matters (local NPR) discussing housing affordability.
- Another COU colleague, Wendell Cox, released his new Reason report: Urban Containment: The Social and Economic Consequences of Limiting Housing and Travel Options. His overview:
"The paper shows that there is little potential for meaningful greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction from urban containment policies (smart growth, including anti-suburban housing strategies, transit, etc) and that doing so would be expensive, not only in dollars, but also in economic displacement.
The paper also cites research (McKinsey and others) to the fact that material GHG emissions reductions can be achieved by selecting strategies based on their return cost effectiveness. In other words, urban containment and smart growth is not a necessity to reduce GHG emissions, and is best avoided."
- The Energy Corridor calls for a more flexible park-and-ride systems serving more suburban job centers like theirs, something I've been calling for on this blog for quite a while.
- Houston ranks #5 for efficient public spending, including #1 for parks and recreation, but with room for improvement on education and police spending.
- Watts: Houston, it's time for action on pensions - a topic not included in that last ranking!
- A neat animated map of how Houston has grown using MUDs.
- CityLab: How Much Money U.S. Transit Systems Lose Per Trip, in 1 Chart. Note how well Houston's METRO is doing, including vs. Dallas, although it must be noted this is 2013 data before the new rail lines opened with much lower ridership than our existing Main St. Line.
- Youth magnet: Houston is home to the young and vibrant, new study says
- I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by this Bill Fulton (Director of the Kinder Institute at Rice) piece defending urban freeways, mainly as a stimulant to the urban renaissance allowing people in the core to get to suburban employers. He specifically mentions Midtown in Houston, where he lives (as do I). What are the odds Kinder would be defending urban freeways and I would be calling for tearing them down (even if tongue-in-cheek) in the same week?! ;-D
- An awesome map in The Atlantic: What's closer to Texas than Texas is to itself?
"This map shows (roughly) how large the Lone Star State is. Points in the map’s red section are closer to somewhere in Texas than the opposite sides of Texas are to each other.
That’s right: You can be in Fargo, or Atlanta, or San Diego ... and be closer to Texas than Texas is to itself.
That’s what the map below says. Texas is big."