Sunday, September 18, 2005

Envision Houston, part 1 - Interesting Facts

So I went to Envision Houston at the UH Hilton on Saturday. H-GAC, Blueprint Houston, and others want to capture the the public's opinion of how Houston should grow over the next 30 years. Big turnout - I'd guess around 40 tables of around 6 people per table - so about two to three hundred attendees. A really fun and informative event. There will be smaller duplicate events around Houston over the next couple weeks. If you're interested, sign-up here.

There were some very interesting facts presented at the beginning of the event that you may or may not be aware of:
  • The U.S. is expected to grow from around 300 million people today to 400 million by 2050.
  • 75% of that growth will occur in a few, large urban areas.
  • Interestingly, when you combine that growth with normal tear-down rates of existing buildings, you end up with 70% of all the urban buildings in 2050 being built between now and then - so there is a substantial opportunity to change a city over time.
  • The Houston metro is at about 5 million right now, and adding about a million people a decade, with around 8 million by 2035.
  • That's 1.4m new households and 1.5m new jobs around Houston by 2035.
  • Harris County will move from around 3.4m people in 2000 to 6m by 2035.
  • Metro Houston will continue to have a substantially younger and more productive population than the United States as a whole.
Now, from my perspective, the most stunning fact - by far - was that the United States will grow faster than China (!) over the next few decades. And I'm not just talking about on a percentage basis - on a sheer numerical population basis! I wish I had written down the numbers on their Powerpoint slide, but it went by a little too quickly. Wouldn't you think a country with 1.3 billion people would be adding more people every year than a country with 300 million? But that's evidently not the case. I'm guessing it's a combination of strong immigration to the U.S. plus China's one-child policy.

In tommorrow's post, I'll talk about the actual planning exercise we did.


At 12:00 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance they will let you post their presentation (or a link) on your blog? The China statistic you mentioned is one I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around.

The implication is that China might not become the colussus everyone assumes it will--much of GDP growth is fueled by population increase.

At 1:03 PM, September 19, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The implication is that China might not become the colussus everyone assumes it will--much of GDP growth is fueled by population increase.

I think you've jumped to the wrong conclusion. The big story for China is not growth in population, but rather movement in population (migration from rural areas to cities) and the rising affluence of the population.

I read that over the next 12 years, they'll be building the equivalent of the entire US housing stock... twice! Imagine the consequences of that. The China Housing Industry Association did a study to see what the environmental consequences were if all those new units were brick, and the results were so dire that almost 200 jurisdictions have made brick illegal.

At 2:36 PM, September 19, 2005, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I don't know if they'll put the presentation online, but I'll try to keep an eye out for it and link to it if they do.

I understand it's hard to believe, but if you think about the math of a one-child policy (2 people eventually die and only leave one behind), it starts to seem plausible, even if the one-child rule is not strictly enforced. All you have to do is get the average family below the 2.1 replacement rate to start declining over time.

At 8:22 AM, September 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was looking at some economic forecasts prepared by ExxonMobil. Their bet is that Global GDP in 2035 will reach 77 trillion per year. China will contribute 10% of the total. EU countries will do 27%. The US checks in with 30%.


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