Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Our global ranking, Dallas sends us some respect, where we are on the political spectrum, problems of HSR in America, and more

This week's items:
"In our assessment, the three US cities with the best long-term prospects to enter the top ranks of global economy are Houston, Washington Metropolitan Area, and the San Francisco Bay area. The rise of 14th ranked Houston is based largely on its role as the “Energy Capital of the World”. The world’s oil supermajors are dispersed geographically (and include a number of state owned firms), and Houston is clearly the centre of the industry. The majority of traded foreign oil majors have their US headquarters in Houston and companies that are technically based elsewhere boast a significant Houston presence. In fact, Houston seems to be becoming more dominant. For example, Exxon, based in Dallas-Fort Worth, is opening a massive Houston campus that will be home to 10,000 employees. Additionally, a majority of the world’s largest oil services companies, such as Baker Hughes, Schlumberger and FMC Technologies, are based in Houston. The Texan city is also a centre for energy trading. Altogether, over 5,000 energy-related companies call Houston home. Houston has also developed other critical aspects of a global city, including the nation’s largest export port and the world’s largest medical centre. It has also become, by some measurements, the most diverse region in the country ethnically. In the last decade, for example, Houston increased its foreign-born population by 400,000, second only to New York and well ahead of much larger Los Angeles."
Still, even if the California, Florida and Texas projects all succeed, transportation experts say it is unlikely that the United States will ever have the same kind of high-speed rail systems as China or Europe. 
C. William Ibbs, a professor of civil engineering at the University of California, Berkeley, said countries with successful high-speed rail projects had higher population densities, higher gas prices, higher rates of public-transportation use and lower rates of car ownership. “So it wouldn’t make any sense to have a high-speed rail train in most areas of the United States,” he said. “The geography is different and other factors are just too different.”

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At 11:42 PM, August 12, 2014, Blogger Notsuoh Photography said...

Houston political leanings: conservative or balanced?

9. Houston is a tolerant city. To the astonishment of people almost everywhere but here, Houston became the first major U.S. city to elect an openly gay mayor. And then re-elected her two more times.

Today's Houston is a very different city than the one I moved to just 10 years ago. It has challenges but, in many ways, it's better. We are becoming a denser city, which is supporting a more lively urban environment. We could use more and better mass transit to combat traffic congestion, cited as the city's No. 1 problem in the Kinder Institute's latest Houston Area Survey. Houston is known for educational innovation, but we need to make more progress. I have lived in four of the six largest cities in this country, and Houston offers a unique urban environment that makes people want to stay here and increasingly to come here. So while we often point to the dynamic economy of our city as its greatest asset, there are as many reasons as people and their years here to want to call this city home.

Leebron is president of Rice University and former dean of Columbia University School of Law.

Year's top 2 films share Houston roots


In fact, the two films with the highest per-screen averages for a single weekend in 2014 were not blockbusters, but independent films made by directors with Houston roots.

At 5:48 PM, August 15, 2014, Anonymous Rich Robins said...

President Leebron stated the following in his article, and it resonates considerably:

"We could use more and better mass transit to combat traffic congestion, cited as the city's No. 1 problem in the Kinder Institute's latest Houston Area Survey."


If only it didn't cost so much to expand light rail. It doesn't in Eastern Europe so why should it here?

At 1:08 PM, August 18, 2014, Anonymous Rich Robins said...

Rather unsurprisingly, Houston's now ranked among the worst regarding the affordability for first time home buyers here:



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