GQ loves Houston, top rankings, our affordability model, sidewalks, worsening traffic theory, and more
Been too long since my last post, so a lot of items to catch up on...
The Next Global Food Mecca Is in… Texas? | GQ
“After a handful of visits since then, I've realized the joke is on me: I wish I were opening in Houston, because it just might be the next food capital of America. I've always wondered where the food in a Blade Runner-like future would appear first and what it would taste like—and I genuinely believe it's here.
Partly that's due to a demographic reality: By some measures, Houston is the U.S.A.'s most ethnically diverse city (a bunch of New Yorkers just choked on their halal kebabs reading that, but it's true), and when you get a collision of immigrants, the food scene is guaranteed to be bonkers.
Houston also has cheap commercial and residential rents—oh, and no state income tax—which means broke-ass cooks and chefs can afford to live and open here. Zoning laws are more permissive than an Amsterdam brothel. And customers have cash to spend.”
"By contrast, Houston has been enjoying record growth in jobs overall, middle-class jobs, STEM jobs and population — and may overtake Chicago as the third-largest city in America within two decades.
Kotkin and Cox note that net migration between California, New York, and Texas has all been to Texas’ benefit: an influx of young, well-educated and socially diverse people. The most diverse county in America is now Fort Bend, on the edge of Houston. Low home prices have helped make that possible: 52 percent of Latino households own their own home in Houston, which is twice the rate in New York (in L.A., it’s 38 percent).
And low regulation has helped make those low housing prices possible. Houston famously has some of the most relaxed zoning and land-use regulations in the country. That doesn’t mean hog-rendering plants sit cheek-by-jowl with hospitals, but it does mean developers face fewer roadblocks when they want to knock down old buildings and put up town homes.
Such an absence of restrictions has produced “a mash-up of architectural styles,” notes another piece in City Journal. “Everything about Houston screams spontaneous.” That no doubt would curl the hair of Virginia’s historic preservationist class.
Houston might not be able to boast hundreds of homes preserved in antebellum splendor like dragonflies encased in amber. But it does boast a median-home price of just $145,000. And more than 60 percent of Houston’s housing stock is affordable for a family with a median income — which helps explain why so many young, diverse people are flocking there.
Texas has a reputation for being arch-conservative territory. But on the metrics that matter most to economic and social mobility, it’s one of the most progressive places in the country."
"Some, such as Tory Gattis at the Center of Opportunity Urbanism and a frequent observer of local freeway projects, have noticed traffic worsening – albeit anecdotally. Gattis even theorized that one cause could be those energy workers finding new jobs that are scattering them around the area.
“Whenever people have to switch jobs within the metro area, they’re more likely to end up with a worse commute than a better one,” Gattis said. “Assuming they picked where they live based on the original job they no longer have.”
There might be some validity to Gattis' guess. According to TranStar average travel times, eastbound Interstate 10 west of downtown and the northbound portion of Loop 610 from Stella Link to Shepherd – two of the most congested freeway segments in the region – saw increases in the amount of time they were congested from 2012 to 2015, with a noticeable jump from 2014 to 2015."
Enough for this week. More items to catch up on next week.
Labels: affordability, economy, home affordability, identity, quality of place, rankings, world city