Monday, May 03, 2021

Texas and HTX growth secret, what kind of Texan are you? major climate change solution, TX miracle is more than oil, and more

My lead item this week is a comment I made on the Market Urbanism Report Facebook group: 

Going beyond all the usual reasons given for Texas' high growth, here's the technical overlooked one that I think is a big key: Texas does not allow unincorporated counties to regulate land use (i.e. create zoning), which creates pretty much a totally free market in development just outside cities. Combine that with MUDs (municipal utility districts) that allow private developers to float bonds to pay for master-planned community infrastructure paid back by property taxes on that development, and there is complete flexibility in the suburban/exurban housing market.  And those master-planned communities compete fiercely on price and amenities (far more than incorporated cities do). That, in turn, forces the core incorporated cities to "compete" for private development dollars by not over-regulating - otherwise they'll just jump outside the city limits. It's an overall balance of forces that keeps welcoming development and newcomers with a strong value proposition (high amenities with relatively low costs).

Moving on to some smaller items this week:

"Civic Pragmatists are optimistic yet pragmatic when they think about a changing Texas. Their ideal Texas is one where the state is a leader in the knowledge-economy industries, as well as a Texas where everyone feels safe and like they belong."
“The zoning issue is tough and complex. It balances principled libertarian objections to zoning and the interests of developers, on the one hand, against core principles of federalism and local control, on the other.”
I’d say Houston’s secret sauce is less about not having SFZ (deed restrictions are pretty much the same) than allowing pretty much anything else everywhere that’s not single-family: apartments, towers, retail, mixed-use, offices, you name it.
"In India alone, the equivalent of a city the size of Chicago will have to be developed every year to meet demand for housing. ... 
Michael Ramage of the University of Cambridge told the meeting of a 300-square-metre four-storey wooden building constructed in that city. Erecting this generated 126 tonnes of co2. Had it been made with concrete the tally would have risen to 310 tonnes. If steel had been used, emissions would have topped 498 tonnes. Indeed, from one point of view, this building might actually be viewed as “carbon negative”. When trees grow they lock carbon up in their wood—in this case the equivalent of 540 tonnes of co2. Preserved in Cambridge rather than recycled by beetles, fungi and bacteria, that carbon represents a long-term subtraction of co2 from the atmosphere. 
If building with wood takes off, it does raise concern about there being enough trees to go round. But with sustainably managed forests that should not be a problem, says Dr. Ramage. A family-sized apartment requires about 30 cubic metres of timber, and he estimates Europe’s sustainable forests alone grow that amount every seven seconds. Nor is fire a risk, for engineered timber does not burn easily." 
"So Vyas picked another metropolis that's increasingly become young people's next-best option — Houston.

Now 34, Vyas, a tech worker, has lived in Houston since 2013. "I knew I didn’t like New York, so this was the next best thing,” Vyas said. “There are a lot of things you want to try when you are younger -- you want to try new things. Houston gives you that, whether it’s food, people or dating. And it’s cheap to live in.”
Hear hear!

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Sunday, April 25, 2021

My Land Use without Zoning event, TX #1 for small biz, HTX #1 for diversity, urban transit after covid, sinking I69 in Midtown, and the Be Someone sign is back!

The lead item this week is an event announcement: I'll be one of the speakers/panelists at the Mercatus Center's "Land Use without Zoning: Putting Ideas into Practice" online event on May 18th.  Here's the overview:

"Zoning and land use policy regulations present the greatest barriers to affordable housing and increased urban density. 

Understanding how to navigate and remove these barriers allows for a dynamic housing market and paves the way for successful community development efforts. 

The study of the impact of land use and zoning policy began with Bernard Siegan in his pioneering 1972 study, "Land Use Without Zoning." In his book, Siegan first set out what has today emerged as a common-sense perspective: Zoning not only fails to achieve its stated ends of ordering urban growth and separating incompatible uses, but it also drives housing costs up and competition down. 

Drawing on the unique example of Houston—America’s fourth-largest city, and its lone dissenter on zoning—Siegan explored the impact of a different approach to land use policy and demonstrated how land use will naturally regulate itself in a non-zoned environment and yield a greater availability of multifamily housing. 

While we have gained a greater understanding of the issues created by overly burdensome land use restrictions, these policies still remain in place, restricting the growth of communities and keeping housing costs high. Join us for a discussion of how land use reform battles have evolved over time, how community groups are working to remove these barriers and increase urban density, and how barriers to development can be challenged in court."

Register here - hope to see you there!

Moving on to this week's items:

  • Big piece of good news buried in this one - let the sinking and debottlenecking begin! 
"Though TxDOT has halted development of many segments, the portion along I-69 from Spur 527 to Texas 288 — which includes Wheeler — remains on pace for construction to start next year."

"As of December 2020, the most fuel-efficient means of commuting was the car, followed by light trucks—but only because occupancy embedded in the transit calculations was so drastically low. ...

A major premise of the Biden administration’s transportation agenda is to greatly increase federal spending on transit, compared with only modest, constrained increases for highways (with very little scope for adding highway capacity). This approach poses major risks of putting billions of taxpayer dollars into projects that will have costs far greater than their benefits (e.g., light rail systems for medium-sized cities, megaproject expansions of heavy rail and commuter rail systems, etc.).

At the very least, it is premature at this juncture to commit funding for major new rail transit projects before we have some idea of the extent of transit ridership in the first several years after nationwide vaccinations."
Finally, I'd like to end with a small celebration for whoever repainted the iconic Be Someone bridge - love it!

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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Transit tips from Harvard and Japan, shrinking office space, HTX life science, foreign offices for economic growth, MUD videos, and more

Lots of small items to catch up on this week: 

  • "40 years of Harvard transportation research can be summed up in 4 words: BUS GOOD, RAIL BAD." -Ed Glaser, Harvard economics professor, The Bush Center Leadership Forum April 15, 2021
  • A bit dated but still incredible: "As can be seen on the following chart, during the period from January 2011 to March 2014, there have been slightly more single-family housing starts in Houston (95,037) than in California for the entire state (94,993)." That's a metro of 7 million building more housing than a state of 40 million - crazy!

“The cities with the lowest [office] return rates are on the coasts like New York, San Francisco, and Washington, Kastle said, where long commutes, often on dysfunctional transit systems, are common.”

"In fact, tuck-under townhouses are probably the most successful middle housing type around. In lightly-regulated Houston, builders small and large have been building townhouses, sometimes on courtyards perpendicular to the road. Parking is tucked. Townhouses are usually three stories tall (bad!), sometimes four. A few are even five stories. Their courtyards are driveways (also bad!)."

Finally, some fun, short animated videos on MUDs and property taxes in Texas you might enjoy exploring, courtesy of Triton and hat tip to David. That video on shutting off water to your home would have been real handy for a lot of people during the February winter storm...

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Sunday, April 11, 2021

What Houston Could Lose Because of Harris County's Anti-NHHIP (IH-45N) Lawsuit

This week we have a guest post from Oscar Slotboom making a very compelling case for a long list of benefits from the I45N redevelopment project as well as the risks of cancellation or delay - a list which seems to be getting lost in all the controversy.

Despite the support of the HGAC Transportation Policy Council, Harris County recently filed a lawsuit to block the IH-45 North Houston Highway Improvement project. Let's review the extensive and transformative benefits the NNHIP will provide for Houston, starting at the south end and proceeding northward.

The NHHIP will

  • Remove nearly a mile of elevated IH-69 freeway through Midtown and sink the freeway below ground level. This will be especially beneficial to the new innovation district hub and the Ion, which is adjacent to the freeway.
  • Provide relief for the chronic congestion on northbound IH-69 at Spur 527
  • Remove existing elevated ramps connecting into Chenevert Street
  • Add new long-span arched bridges at Elgin, Tuam and McGowen, providing an attractive architectural enhancement to the area
  • Retire the Pierce Elevated, providing the opportunity for redevelopment or creating one of the most distinctive urban parks in the country, Houston's version of NYC's High Line.
  • Provide relief for the chronic back-ups which occur for traffic connecting to the northbound Pierce Elevated
  • Remove a mile of elevated freeway through east downtown, sinking the freeway below ground level.
  • Provide the opportunity for new parks over the freeway, seamlessly connecting to Eado with the potential to transform the area similar to Dallas' Klyde Warren Park.

  • Provide all displaced residents of Clayton Homes the opportunity to relocate to public housing in the immediate area, or to receive vouchers
  • Relocate IH-10 so it no longer goes through the middle of UH-Downtown
  • Provide the opportunity to consolidate east-west railroads on the north side of downtown, removing the railroad from the UH-Downtown campus and improving development opportunities for the proposed North Canal project.
  • Reduce the footprint of freeways on the west side of downtown and at West Dallas, opening up more space for parkland and recreation. Plans include a new pedestrian crossing at Andrews Street.
  • Apply high-quality architectural standards to all the freeway structures, far better than the utilitarian and unattractive existing concrete structures from the 1950s, 60s and 70s.
  • Improve pedestrian and bicycle accommodations at all freeway crossings
  • At IH-45 and North Main, add a deck over the freeway, which substantially improves the situation as compared to the existing design.
  • Reduce the risk of flooding on the flood-prone section at North Main by applying modern flood control design standards.
Flooding on IH-45 near North Main
  • Provide four managed lanes on IH-45 north of downtown to Beltway 8, which will be an important part of a future interconnected managed lanes network for Houston to promote public transit, carpooling and technologies of the future. The managed lanes will provide the opportunity for two-way high-speed bus service to Bush Airport.
  • Modernize the antiquated interchange at I-45 and Loop 610, which has seen only minimal improvements since its opening in 1962. These improvements will provide relief for the chronic backups on eastbound Loop 610 approaching the interchange.
  • Provide the opportunity for new architectural enhancements and landscaping along the freeway from Loop 610 to Beltway 8, which is currently one of Houston's most unattractive freeways and unfortunately the first impression of Houston for many visitors arriving at Bush Airport.
  • Remove 58 billboards, with most along the North Freeway (reference FEIS page ES-19)
  • Between Loop 610 and Beltway 8, bring the frontage roads up to modern standards to facilitate safe and convenient access to businesses along the freeway.
  • Improve job access for the segment 1 workforce (from Loop 610 to Beltway 8).
    The City of Houston request, which is supported by Harris County, aims to make traffic congestion worse and force people into public transit that goes downtown. But when you think about it, this is entirely wrong for the corridor workforce. This workforce is generally not going to find a match for its job skills downtown. This workforce is far more likely to find a match for its skills at employment locations like Bush Airport, warehouses, industrial facilities, medical offices, factories and construction sites.The Hispanic workforce in particular is heavily represented in the trades, construction and landscape. This workforce goes to on-site work locations and is more heavily dependent on highways than other sectors of the workforce. Making traffic worse will impart disproportionately large cost and inconvenience to this workforce.
  • Provide congestion relief throughout the corridor. The NHHIP will improve freeway sections which currently are ranked among the most congested in Texas, with the following rankings: #3, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17. Nine of the 17 worst congested freeways in Texas will be improved by this project, which is an amazing and remarkable amount of congestion relief for a single project.
As this list shows, this is not just a mobility project, but also a transformative urban improvement project for Houston. TxDOT is spending $7 billion including $5 billion in the downtown area to achieve these improvements for Houston. The FEIS plan was forged over 10 years, and like any complex plan it is a compromise plan, with elements for both sides to like and dislike. As with any compromise plan, you don't come back at the end and say "Oh, I want to keep the parts I like and get rid of the parts I don't like." That's not how a compromise works.

With the lawsuit, there are numerous scenarios in which the currently committed funding of $5.05 billion could be lost
  • Due to delays or insufficient local support, TxDOT could rescind the funding and reallocate it to other projects statewide.
  • The court could require a redo of the environmental process, which would take years and also wipe out existing plans. There's no assurance TxDOT will be willing to fund the Pierce removal and below-grade Eado freeway if the process restarts from scratch. When the West Loop expansion was canceled in 1992, the revised plan was a basic, low-cost plan. We know how that turned out, with the West Loop perennially among the top two most congested freeways in Texas, and usually #1 most congested.
  • Long delays could cause inflationary cost increases in the billions. Construction costs are down about 10% due to Covid, but as the recovery progresses we could see a severe inflationary surge similar to the increase seen after the Great Recession. In the five year period from 2011 to 2016, construction costs increased 60%, which would increase the project cost around $4 billion to $11 billion. (source)
  • Probably now or never. With TxDOT's generally declining financial situation due to reduced fuel tax receipts and declining oil severance tax (which funds Proposition 1), there is no assurance there will ever again be funding for a project of this scope if current funding is lost. TxDOT's funding is currently slated to be in steep decline in the 2030s, as Proposition 7 expires in 2029 and 2032.
  • The Biden "infrastructure" plan, if passed, would to be minimally helpful to TxDOT's long-term financial situation. Only $115 billion (5%) of the $2.3 trillion proposal is slated for highways and bridges. If Texas receives a share proportional to its population (which it probably won't), that would be $10 billion over 8 years, or $1.3 billion per year which is around 8% of TxDOT's $15 billion annual budget. Of course there would likely be numerous strings attached to the money, possibly restricting it to maintenance and repair.
If NHHIP is canceled or defunded because of Harris County's actions, it will be a huge loss for the future of Houston.

UPDATEWe're not the only ones that see the benefits of this project:

Houston Chronicle:  Supporters of I-45 widening say pause puts promises of relief on hold, too

'Others bristle at the concerns voiced by critics who say they are representing minority and low-income groups, when many Black and Latino groups, businesses and residents want the project. Local NAACP officials and others cheered TxDOT for going to unprecedented lengths to include communities, who are not in total agreement with those who argue the project is racist or unfair to struggling families.

“There are people that come on the line that say they speak for the poor, but they have not spoken to them,” community activist and urban planner Abdul Muhammad told the Texas Transportation Commission.'

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Monday, April 05, 2021

Are we entering the Distributed Age? Plus perspectives on Houston, TX #1 for infrastructure, and more

My leads this week are a couple of great quotes about Houston:

"Houston has actively deregulated, with the result that it's the only major city in the U.S. today undergoing a transformational change from suburban to urban densities. Houston makes thinkable the unthinkable." 

-Mercatus Center at George Mason University, Land Use without Zoning book letter 

"Once a planning pariah, Houston, with its peculiar lack of zoning, increasingly looks like the future." 

-Nolan Gray in the afterword of the newly updated Mercatus edition of "Land Use without Zoning" by Bernard Siegan.

If you're curious about the recently re-released book on Houston, "Land Use without Zoning" by Bernard Siegan, you can find it here.

Moving on to this week's smaller items:

"Other American cities—notably Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Miami—are challenging NYC’s supremacy in communications, legal and financial services, the arts and business. Political and economic leaders in those cities encourage inclusive growth, development and change." 
"No state handles more of America’s cargo than Texas. In fact, no state comes close. According to the latest figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Lone Star State handles around $2 trillion worth of commodities per year. And Texas has the infrastructure to handle it. Port Houston, the nation’s second biggest, has surpassed Rotterdam as the world’s largest petrochemical complex, officials say."
“A year after the coronavirus sparked an extraordinary exodus of workers from office buildings, what had seemed like a short-term inconvenience is now clearly becoming a permanent and tectonic shift in how and where people work. Employers and employees have both embraced the advantages of remote work, including lower office costs and greater flexibility for employees, especially those with families.” … 
Still, about 90 percent of Manhattan office workers are working remotely, a rate that has remained unchanged for months, according to a recent survey of major employers by the Partnership for New York City, an influential business group, which estimated that less than half of office workers would return by September. … 
“We believe that we’re on top of the next change, which is the Distributed Age, where people can be more valuable in how they work, which doesn’t really matter where you spend your time,” said Alexander Westerdahl, the vice president of human resources at Spotify, the Stockholm-based streaming music giant that has 6,500 employees worldwide.
"As Houston prepares for unprecedented population growth in the coming decades, I predict that the versatile ADU concept will continue to help make our inner-city neighborhoods more affordable and sustainable."
"In 1976, New York Times architecture critic Ada Louise Huxtable declared that Houston was “the American present and future. It is an exciting and disturbing place,” one that “scholars flock to for the purpose of seeing what modern civilization has wrought.” In her account the city's distinctive character lay in its decenteredness, its seemingly limitless capacity for shape-shifting, and its utter lack of history. Like many observers then and since, Huxtable was struck by the experience of juxtaposition—of form, scale, type, and space—that was a consequence, in part, of the city's infamous lack of zoning regulations and its unapologetic accommodation of private real estate interests"

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Thursday, April 01, 2021

Baylor forfeits to UH after positive covid test - UH goes straight to national championship game!

In an absolutely unprecedented occurrence in NCAA March Madness tournament history, Baylor is being forced to forfeit its upcoming Final Four semi-final basketball game against the University of Houston after their star player Davion Mitchell tested positive for Covid-19, sending UH directly to the national championship game Monday, April 5th! UH is now redefining the classic March Madness "Cinderella story" after being the first team to make the Final Four without defeating a single-digit seeded opponent and now skipping right past the semi-final game straight to the National Championship game - just when you thought pandemic craziness couldn't get any crazier! 

Baylor is of course completely devastated by the news and trying to appeal, but the NCAA covid safety protocols are very strict and pretty clear. Even if every other player tests negative, there's no way to know if they haven't already been exposed and will develop it before the game Saturday.

UH Chairman and Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta issued a statement congratulating the Cougars on getting to the national championship while offering a generous consolation prize to the Baylor players after their sudden season-ending disappointment: once they clear covid protocols they're all welcome to immediately join the cellar-dwelling 13-34 Rockets as an "obvious and immediate upgrade," according to Fertitta.


Hope you enjoyed this year's April Fools post ;-D 
Here are previous years if you missed 'em and would like a chuckle:

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Saturday, March 27, 2021

Repurposing River Oaks Theater, grid resilience, Dallas insanity, reinventing inferior jets, Houston's diversity advantage, TX migration, NYC losing half its commuters, and more

Our first lead item this week is an in-depth follow-up from Jim Crump on targeted solutions to improve the electric grid in Texas. Highly recommended if you're interested in the nuances of improving grid reliability without extraordinary costs.  Speaking of which, it's been verified that we don't necessarily need to spend billions on winterization, we just need to treat gas pumps like critical infrastructure during blackouts! "This simple paperwork blunder left Texans cold during the deadly freeze

One more lead item so the blog lives up to its name this week ;-) Assuming the River Oaks Theater won't be taken over by a live theater group (really the best option), my suggested best realistic option in a streaming world: since Weingarten wants another high-rise there, preserve and repurpose it as a cool public lobby and coffee bar, marquee and all. Sure it's sad to lose the actual movie theater, but does that have any chance when you can stream pretty much any independent film at home any time?

Moving on to lots of backlogged items to catch up on this week:

  • Dallas insanity: $1.7 billion for 2.4 miles of mostly subway. That's $708 million per mile! Glad Houston METRO is being a lot more pragmatic and prudent with their resources than this. Hat tip to Oscar.
  • Several think tanks published their Metropolitan Blueprint for Texas.
  • Antiplanner on Reinventing the Jetliner (i.e. high speed rail) with some compelling opening paragraphs:

"Suppose I told you that I have reinvented the jet airliners that carried Americans more than 750 billion passenger miles–about 10 percent of all passenger travel–in 2019. My reinvented jet will go less than half as fast as existing jets. It will cost six times as much to operate, per passenger mile, as existing jets. Unlike existing jets, which can go anywhere there is air, the reinvented jet will only be able to go on a limited number of fixed routes. 
This wondrous invention will become a reality if the federal government spends a mere one, two, or possibly three or four trillion dollars. Does that sound like a good deal? No? Yet that is exactly what high-speed rail advocates are proposing. Some proposals, such as the Green New Deal, even call for almost completely replacing low-cost, fast jet airliners with high-cost, relatively slow trains."
Now on an opportunity cost basis, just imagine if those trillions went directly into carbon reduction instead of white elephant high-speed rail lines??
"Less than 50 percent of people who worked in Manhattan offices in 2019 will be working from those offices in the coming years, according to a recent survey by the Partnership for New York City."
"One thing I always admired about Houston is how confidently immigrants claim public space for themselves—how working families picnic in Hermann Park or elated quinceañeras roam the Galleria with their brightly attired entourages and pose for portraits before the Waterwall."
"Cities do not thrive by having more cutting-edge coffee shops, trendy restaurants and edgy boutiques; they need safe streets, decent schools and jobs for middle and working-class families." 
Finally, I'd like to end with a well-done in-depth video by CNBC on why so many businesses and billionaires are moving to Texas. Worth the watch. "Embrace the freedom!" 

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Sunday, March 21, 2021

The future of remote work and what it means for Houston

This week I want to focus on a single CSM story, because it's the most insightful I've seen on what post-pandemic work might look like: Remote work is here to stay – and it’s changing our lives. There are so many great nuggets, insights, and excerpts in it, which I'll follow with what I think it all means for Houston:

An IBM poll found that 54% wanted to keep working from home post-pandemic, and 75% wanted the option of working from home occasionally. 

“What the pandemic made blazingly obvious,” says a Manhattan entertainment lawyer, “is that there is no need for a physical office.” Only a complete lack of imagination, he says, kept the realization from dawning sooner. “Before the pandemic, we wouldn’t have taken the question [of going virtual] seriously. It wouldn’t have seemed possible.” ... 

It’s hard to find a management expert who doesn’t judge the work-from-home experiment a resounding – and somewhat unexpected – success. A survey by the recruiting firm Robert Walters found that 77% of professionals believe they’ve been equally or more effective when remote, and that 86% of employers plan to continue remote work “in some form” after the pandemic ends. A January survey by the consulting firm PwC revealed that employer satisfaction had risen even as the year dragged on, with 83% now assessing remote work successful for their company, up from 73% last June. 

Wrote one top manager in an email posted by economist Tyler Cowen: “Speaking from personal experience as a white-collar Exec, the productivity gains for our highest value workers has been immense. The typical time-sucks and distractions of in-office work have been eliminated.... Mental focus on productive efforts is near constant. Perhaps most importantly, work travel is not happening.” ... 

Among venture capitalists and venture-backed entrepreneurs, 74% now expect their companies to be majority or fully remote. ... 

“Even before the pandemic,” he says, “big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago were losing population to suburbs, lower-cost metro areas, and less expensive states in what Zillow called ‘a great reshuffling.’” 

The trend has accelerated, Mr. Kotkin says. “In just the past six months, New York City lost almost as many residents as it gained since 1950.” He notes that a recent report by Upwork, a freelancing platform, suggests that 14 million to 23 million Americans are seeking to move to a less expensive and less crowded place. Welcome to the “Zoom towns.” ... 

The market research firm Forrester predicts a 60-30-10 split among organizations: post-pandemic, 60% will be hybrid, 30% will be all-in-the-office, and 10% will be all-remote. ... 

Experts can point to only one other work style “experiment” like the one caused by COVID-19, though its sample size in comparison was minuscule. When a 2011 earthquake demolished Christchurch, New Zealand, the entire community turned immediately to telework. Then the city rebuilt, renewing its stock of office space. Yet years later a study revealed that Christchurch’s workers continued to operate remotely, away from their freshly available workplaces. “When [the crisis] was over,” said a researcher, “they didn’t go back.” 

If the expert consensus proves right, Americans won’t go back, either. 

“As remote working has boomed during COVID-19,” summarizes a study by the University of Utah, “the rise in the number of people working from home has prompted many to reconsider where they wish to live.” Which means, as the survey data already indicate, that as many as 40% of office workers could scatter outward from the name-brand cities to places more spacious and affordable. ... 

“As life at work [when remote] will be less social, people will have to get more of their socializing from elsewhere. So people will choose where they live more based on family, friends, leisure activities, and non-work social connections. Churches, clubs, and shared interest socializing will increase in importance. People will also pick where to live more based on climate, price, and views. Beach towns will boom, and the largest cities will lose.” 

So workers will be more dispersed, and more of their working hours will be spent where they live instead of elsewhere in an office. The question is: Could all this lead to a “reset” of the locus of community in America? 

Might the center of gravity shift at least somewhat from the office to the neighborhood – back, in a sense, to something closer to a pre-industrial model? What might it mean for our culture if the human contact that offices used to provide is replaced by closer-to-home human connections? And how might that affect the health of local communities and even levels of societal trust? ... 

Here Mr. Kotkin quotes Lenin: “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” 

So what does it mean for Houston?...

Working against us:

  • Not a classic lifestyle-destination city (think Austin, Denver, Miami) - no mountains or beaches
  • Big city problems, including traffic and crime
  • Climate: flooding, hurricanes, heat and humidity
Working in our favor:
  • Lots of Houston ex-pats that can come home to be closer to friends and family
  • Industries that are less amenable to remote work: manufacturing, refineries, port, health care, NASA, even energy to a significant extent
  • The most affordable global city in America - big-city amenities at an affordable price
  • Strong community culture for such a large, diverse city
  • High pull among immigrant networks
Overall I'd say we're likely to come out fairly well - not as good as the popular lifestyle cities, but much better than the unaffordable superstar cities like SF and NYC. Would love to hear your own thoughts in the comments...

UPDATE: Houston Innovationmap picked this up!

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