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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At 10:53 AM, April 21, 2021, Anonymous Mike said...

The university idea was a good vision but universities are like Walmarts, they like to buy cheap land and then land values soar after they are there. Imagine the talk radio outcry if a state university paid a lot for commercial land just so it could have a fancy riverfront, etc. This development will also add a lot more to the city's and HISD's tax base than a university, which would add zero, although the university would attract surrounding development that would make up some of the difference.

This development is sort of like the Greenway Plaza of our generation, creating a whole business district where there was nothing.

At 10:57 AM, April 21, 2021, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Good points. And I hope it is the next successful biz district - or at least a new City Centre. Houston gets knocked for being low on universities vs. other US world cities like NYC, Boston, Chicago, DC, SF, and LA - this patch of land was one of the last few good opportunities to create a new central campus. I think it would have added a lot more long-term value than the property tax tradeoff.


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