Saturday, January 13, 2018

Guardian on Houston after Harvey, tech to Houston? Market Urbanist transit, #1 city for young people, top migration, and more

Happy New Year!  Let's dive right into this week's items:
  • The Guardian did an in-depth piece on Houston after Harvey which has some extensive quotes from me: ‘The bayou's alive’: ignoring it could kill Houston - America’s fourth largest city is built on an ancient river network that flooded catastrophically after Hurricane Harvey. With 400,000 homes in the watershed, achieving resilience is the Texan boom town’s greatest challenge
  • Also from the Guardian: California and NYC are shipping us their homeless with bus tickets.
  • Next time you dismiss Houston's cost-of-living advantage: A report from the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles Business Council published earlier this year found that exorbitant housing costs in Los Angeles were inhibiting employers from attracting "high performers" or top talent to their companies.
"About 60% of the employers surveyed said Los Angeles' high cost of living affects employee retention, with 75% naming housing costs as a specific concern. And nearly all said they viewed high housing costs as a barrier to hiring new mid- and upper-level employees."
Finally, Scott Beyer posted this great piece to his Market Urbanism Facebook group describing key transit ideology I agree with here at Houston Strategies:
Let’s talk transit – and ideology. 
Many conservatives/libertarians dislike transit, because they think it's solely a subsidized public utility. But there's a small subset of this bunch called Market Urbanists, who not only like transit, but think transit use would increase significantly if free-market policies were used in cities. Because that would mean the following 4 things: 
1) Banning restrictive zoning, so that housing would get denser, creating the critical mass of people needed for transit 
2) Enforcing congestion charging, so that road use is priced based on driver demand. This would incentivize people to locate closer to their jobs, or commute in using different modes besides solo driving. 
3) Liberalizing private transit from pointless bans and regulations. This would cause the industry to grow, namely through “micro transit” options like rideshare, bikeshare, carpool, ebikes, shuttles, dollar vans, etc. 
4) Reforming public transit. Many Market Urbanists aren’t against public transit, per se, but think that transit agencies must improve their management and services as a condition to get more funding. And if they are unable or unwilling to do this, cities should seek privatization, by signing short-term, performance-based contracts with outside companies. 
All 4 of these market-based policy ideas are politically unlikely. But if any or all of them were applied, there's no doubt in my mind that many cities would have higher transit usage...because transit would be way better.

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At 12:12 AM, January 14, 2018, Anonymous Houston Metro Rail Development said...

How can one have an impact on Houston Metro's funding so that those with the purse-strings over Metro can (somehow) nudge it into doing a better job?

At 11:30 AM, January 15, 2018, Blogger George Rogers said...

Called it on SV.

At 8:15 PM, January 15, 2018, Blogger George Rogers said...

Houston is the Everyman's Coastal City.

At 10:48 PM, January 18, 2018, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Disappointed we didn't make it at least into the finals for Amazon's 2nd. HQ.

Houston still has a marketing problem, with $520B GMP, third highest per capita, still can't get the message out.

We've more in common with SF and NO; we've always been a cosmopolitan hub for entrepreneurs from around the world, starting in the 1840's.

Our impressive skyline(s) represent the power and genius of Houston.


At 10:56 PM, January 18, 2018, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

I was a little surprised, but honestly it's a good thing. We avoid sinking more resources into a losing game and the risk of the winner's curse.

"The cities which made this list may also regret it. Putting together an initial bid only required a limited amount of money and civic time and attention. Now the costs start going up for the losers. It may well have been better to be one of the people who got cut early than to keep making through all these rounds only to lose (or potentially even to win)."


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