Sunday, April 17, 2016

Our philanthropic and culinary cultures, Chicago you have a Houston problem, Austin's over-regulation, and the fading American Dream

Some smaller misc items this week:
"According to Charity Navigator, Houston sits near the top among major U.S. metros in total philanthropic assets, percentage of income given to charity, and financial health of its largest charities. In 2015, the organization ranked Houston number one, just ahead of San Diego, in overall philanthropic culture."
"Chicago ... you have a Houston problem. Chicago is no longer the only global game not on the Atlantic or Pacific seaboard. The Texas Triangle beckons Iowa college grads. "
"With full recognition that our credibility is suspect, I nonetheless come today to proclaim Houston one of the great eating capitals of America. I mean (and here I mount the mechanical bull) far better than anywhere else in Texas, better than anywhere else in the Southwest, better for that matter than in my current place of residence, Washington, D.C. That the nation’s fourth­ largest city is no longer one gigantic steak platter for oil barons should not constitute breaking news. One can go on about the city’s indigenous assets, such as its array of Gulf Coast ingredients and its surprising multiculturalism. 
But the main reason for Houston’s culinary ascent is economic. ...the Bayou City “is very affordable and full of people who like to go out at night and spend money.” It costs probably one-third less to build and design a restaurant here than in California, he said, adding, “I can afford to pay sous chefs full time and be able to spend the weekends fishing and duck hunting with my boys.” 
Such cost savings are passed on to Houston’s consumers, who can enjoy a first­-rate meal here for maybe two­-thirds of what such a dinner would come to in New York or San Francisco."

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2 Comments:

At 8:57 AM, April 18, 2016, Blogger Dan Camp said...

Right, Tory, but you didn't post Burgh Diaspora's follow-up:

http://burghdiaspora.blogspot.com/2016/04/exceptional-texas-cities-join-rust-belt.html


To summarize, I think Houston Strategies is a worthy initiative, but if all it boils down to is opportunity urbanism, then Houston, you have a Los Angeles problem. Houston in the aughts and teens has been going like SoCal in the Cold War. LA is forty years farther along in congestion, price appreciation, and infrastructure lifecycle than Houston, generally speaking, and the compromises that have to be baked in in order to run a democracy start to add up. Don't think Houston is going to be significantly more affordable forty years from now than SoCal is today. Your core critique of American regions' urbanism begins to resemble critiquing sixty-somethings for birthing fewer babies than twenty-somethings are.

 
At 9:34 AM, April 18, 2016, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I do worry about Houston following an LA path, but am hoping we will avoid it with more available land, more extensive freeways, less development regulation, and congestion pricing (and, well, worse weather, which might suppress demand a bit vs. LA)

 

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