Rodeo tops SXSW+Mardi Gras, #2 zoo!, defending our diversity, traffic better than you think, top rankings, and more
Lots of small items to catch up on this week:
- Love this story on how the Houston Zoo has been completely transformed as a public-private partnership over the last 15 years into the second-most visited zoo in the country last year (after San Diego) with 2.55 million visitors! If I were in charge, I'd see about giving them the golf course acreage next door (aren't there plenty of courses around Houston?) and really make a run at dethroning San Diego as the largest and best zoo in the country! Now if they can just get some pandas from China...
- Can't say I've seen it, but evidently our traffic got better last year - the only city of the 25 worst where that happened. We fell from 11th 16th worst, and are now behind Austin.
- Another, quite reasonable traffic congestion ranking by Inrix (28th worst in the world), although worse than the previous year. Still, even though we're the fifth-largest metro in the country, we're behind LA, NYC, SF, Atlanta, Miami, DC, DFW, Boston, Chicago, and Seattle, which is an impressive feat if you ask me. Scott Beyer wrote a Forbes story on it as well: United States Has 5 Of World's 10 Most Congested Cities
- Scott also has a great Forbes article on the Houston Rodeo:
"Also like Houston--which is routinely one of the nation's fastest-growing metros--the rodeo's overall 20-day attendance has spiked recently, going from under 2 million in 2009 to nearly 2.5 million last year. Attendance figures from the first 6 days of this year's rodeo suggests this number will increase yet more in 2017. Compare this with SXSW or Miami's Art Basel, both of which draw under 100,000 annually; or even Mardi Gras, which drew an estimated 1.4 million in 2017."
"Houston: Findings and Implications
The 2017 Metro Monitor’s Inclusive Growth Index shows that the Houston metro area did not make progress on economic inclusion, now ranking 64th overall. Houston dropped from 4th to 5th on overall measures of economic growth (now ranking 5th) but improved on prosperity, now ranking 2nd overall. Additionally, Houston posted the fastest productivity growth from 2010-2015, and posted the second-fastest gross metropolitan product (GMP) growth at over 28 percent, fueled by its energy, wholesale trade, and hospitality sectors as well as significant in-migration. This GMP growth also contributed to one of the largest increases in the average standard of living, but also saw one of the largest increases in relative poverty, as improvements in median wages within the metro area did not appear to extend to workers in the bottom half of the income distribution."
I'll make my point about this again: if coastal cities make themselves unaffordable to the poor and working class - so they move away - they look better on these poverty and median income stats, but did they really do a good thing? I would argue they didn't. Another case of twisted stats.
Finally, the National Review on Houston's multiculturalism
, sparked by David Brooks' column quoting me on Houston
. He does make some good points (including that the coasts have their ugly as well!), but I’m not sure I’m totally clear on his overall point. Brooks simply said there is an alternative model of conservative Republicanism that is immigrant friendly, and he pointed to Houston and Texas. All this guy’s describing of the nuances in Houston and Texas don’t seem to really counter that point. Yes, other cities can’t replicate our energy economy, but the rest of the Texas triangle cities aren’t the energy capital of the world and they thrive with immigrants as well. And he ignores how well we’re also assimilating Asian cultures, and Texas certainly does not
have a long history of that!
Labels: affordability, demographics, economy, growth, home affordability, perspectives, rankings, tourism