Monday, April 07, 2014

Architecture Digest and Yahoo love Houston, top rankings, Mayor SOTC, workforce certificates over college degrees, and the problem of transit and dispersed jobs

Lots of items this week...
"When did Houston—long associated with oil, NASA, crippling humidity, isolating car culture, and McMansion sprawl—become one of the most exciting places in America? Over the past decade the Texas city has welcomed an influx of young professionals, people displaced by Katrina, immigrants, and other transplants enticed by the low cost of living and strong job prospects. At the same time, a growing cadre of avant-garde chefs, artists, and designers have been reenergizing H-Town, as it is nicknamed, creating innovative restaurants and cutting-edge boutiques in hip micro-neighborhoods that barely registered ten years ago. The country's second-most charitable urban center, Houston is also benefiting from healthy philanthropic investments that are helping to expand its cultural offerings. As a result, proud Houstonians will tell you, the city has supplanted Austin as the state's coolest metropolis, thanks to its diverse population and artistically inclined, architecturally ambitious outlook."
"Nor should the rapid growth of educated residents in sixth-ranked Houston, up 16% since 2007, which also enjoys low costs, an increasingly attractive cultural scene and one of the fastest growing hubs of dense urban living in the country.
Since 2007, for example, the Houston and Dallas metro areas have added more BAs than San Francisco-Oakland, and nearly twice as many as Boston. As a result, these and other such cities are gaining a critical mass in brainpower not widely recognized in the Eastern-dominated media."
"Businesspeople almost everywhere decry such labor shortages, but rarely lament a lack of English post-modernist scholars. As I saw on a recent trip to Houston – in many ways the country's most economically dynamic city – developers enjoy high demand but are stymied by a lack of skilled labor. In some cases, companies are beginning to invest not only in community colleges but also looking to recruit high school students into these professions."
  • A good analysis of why, outside of NYC and possibly Chicago, downtowns don't have enough jobs to justify rail transit, rail transit can't save downtowns, and transit in general has been ineffective at serving non-downtown job centers.  I think Houston could be the first major city to do that, though, if we expand our HOV/HOT lane network plus Park and Ride service to serve all of the major job centers instead of just downtown.
  • From Yahoo: Houston is One of the Country's Coolest Cities -- So Why Haven't You Been Yet? My favorite is #8.  Hat tip to Gary.
#8. The food here is so good, Beyonc rapped about it.
"There's a lot to eat in Houston in fact, food may be the single best reason to come here right now."

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