Houston's new mobility vision, how no-zoning works for us, NYT on TX, we need a police overhaul, and moreBefore getting to this week's smaller items, I'd like to feature a great piece by Market Urbanist Scott Beyer in The Federalist: How No Zoning Laws Works For Houston. It makes a great case for how Houston has been able to stay affordable while booming through enabling easy growth of housing supply (i.e. not strangling it with regulation). I'm extensively quoted in it, and although usually I would pull out excerpts here, this one has way too many great points - you'll just have to read the whole thing (honestly, it's not that long). Enjoy.
- Speaking of that, Forbes just ranked Houston #3 for cities doing the most to address the U.S. housing shortage, behind Austin (surprisingly) and Raleigh.
- A great NY Times feature on what makes Texas Texas, including twelve events/moments/places that make Texas Texas.
- NextCity on "What If Houston Fell in Love With Planning: Can a booming city known for laissez-faire zoning become a U.S. model for equitable urban growth?" A long, pretty balanced piece covering a wide range of Houston issues/topics. One nice excerpt, hat tip to Lydia:
“Houston has a wonderful opportunity because it doesn’t have an ossified, traditional Euclidean zoning structure that separates everything out by use,” says Festa. “If you want to develop mixed-use, smart growth, walkable urbanism, there are still some barriers, but you already have a head start over more traditionally zoned cities.”
But my favorite reaction is this tweet from the Urbanophile Aaron Renn:
"Better question: what if other cities fell out of love with it?"
- Kinder and the Chronicle react to the NextCity piece, to which I ask why would we want to empower NIMBYs to stop development? That's what happens in every city, and it cuts off housing supply rapidly leading to unaffordability. Is that what we want too? The Wall Street Journal just recognized us for growth without unaffordability - why do we want to eliminate one of our great strengths? If you're afraid of development in your neighborhood, make sure you move to one with deed restrictions, otherwise buy your house with your eyes open to how the neighborhood may change over time.
- GHP May issue of Economy at a Glance looks at apartments, industrial space, sales taxes, employment and foreign trade.
- Hat tip to Jay for this crime ranking of cities, which unfortunately we don't do so well on: "It's 'sortable' by investment in police, crime rank and community risk factors. What struck me is that Houston has among the highest investment in police, is only middle-high on risk factors, but is still second highest on crime. Clearly money spent is not money spent well."
At the same event, TAG had this graphic with the consensus $69B Regional Mobility Vision. Two things really jumped out at me. The first is that METRO is showing $24 *billion* of new rail lines as a "minimum need"!! Not sure where that funding is supposed to come from, or if it did magically appear, whether all these lines would be the best use of it. The other thing that jumped out at me? Well, if you look closely, evidently the downtown CBD is moving to the East End... lol.
|TAG Houston Regional Mobility Vision|