Monday, May 03, 2021

Texas and HTX growth secret, what kind of Texan are you? major climate change solution, TX miracle is more than oil, and more

My lead item this week is a comment I made on the Market Urbanism Report Facebook group: 

Going beyond all the usual reasons given for Texas' high growth, here's the technical overlooked one that I think is a big key: Texas does not allow unincorporated counties to regulate land use (i.e. create zoning), which creates pretty much a totally free market in development just outside cities. Combine that with MUDs (municipal utility districts) that allow private developers to float bonds to pay for master-planned community infrastructure paid back by property taxes on that development, and there is complete flexibility in the suburban/exurban housing market.  And those master-planned communities compete fiercely on price and amenities (far more than incorporated cities do). That, in turn, forces the core incorporated cities to "compete" for private development dollars by not over-regulating - otherwise they'll just jump outside the city limits. It's an overall balance of forces that keeps welcoming development and newcomers with a strong value proposition (high amenities with relatively low costs).

Moving on to some smaller items this week:

"Civic Pragmatists are optimistic yet pragmatic when they think about a changing Texas. Their ideal Texas is one where the state is a leader in the knowledge-economy industries, as well as a Texas where everyone feels safe and like they belong."
“The zoning issue is tough and complex. It balances principled libertarian objections to zoning and the interests of developers, on the one hand, against core principles of federalism and local control, on the other.”
I’d say Houston’s secret sauce is less about not having SFZ (deed restrictions are pretty much the same) than allowing pretty much anything else everywhere that’s not single-family: apartments, towers, retail, mixed-use, offices, you name it.
"In India alone, the equivalent of a city the size of Chicago will have to be developed every year to meet demand for housing. ... 
Michael Ramage of the University of Cambridge told the meeting of a 300-square-metre four-storey wooden building constructed in that city. Erecting this generated 126 tonnes of co2. Had it been made with concrete the tally would have risen to 310 tonnes. If steel had been used, emissions would have topped 498 tonnes. Indeed, from one point of view, this building might actually be viewed as “carbon negative”. When trees grow they lock carbon up in their wood—in this case the equivalent of 540 tonnes of co2. Preserved in Cambridge rather than recycled by beetles, fungi and bacteria, that carbon represents a long-term subtraction of co2 from the atmosphere. 
If building with wood takes off, it does raise concern about there being enough trees to go round. But with sustainably managed forests that should not be a problem, says Dr. Ramage. A family-sized apartment requires about 30 cubic metres of timber, and he estimates Europe’s sustainable forests alone grow that amount every seven seconds. Nor is fire a risk, for engineered timber does not burn easily." 
"So Vyas picked another metropolis that's increasingly become young people's next-best option — Houston.

Now 34, Vyas, a tech worker, has lived in Houston since 2013. "I knew I didn’t like New York, so this was the next best thing,” Vyas said. “There are a lot of things you want to try when you are younger -- you want to try new things. Houston gives you that, whether it’s food, people or dating. And it’s cheap to live in.”
Hear hear!

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At 11:20 AM, May 05, 2021, Blogger VeracityID said...

I find it interesting that the Threads of Texas includes no questions about income or education but still assert that certain categories have 'high socioeconomic status and education levels'. I presume they are doing this based on geolocation but it's rather dodgy.

I also note that the more 'progressive' the category the more sketchy the demographics get. Indeed there are no demographics for the lone star progressives. Which is an odd thing to do to the most identitarian segment of all.

And this study doesn't break down the volume of responses to try to make any sense of the relative numbers in each psychometric category.

OTOH I am struck by the composition of the Die Hard Texans and the featured quote "“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A WHITE TEXAN AND A NON WHITE TEXAN. EITHER YOU’RE TEXAN OR YOU’RE NOT.” Which taken together is one of the most optimistic things I've seen in a long time. I tell outsiders that the thing that distinguishes Texas from the rest of the nation is its 'radically welcoming culture' - not the superficial 'howdy culture' but both the economic and regulatory openness and the social acceptance that in essence says that if you want to be a Texan then you're a Texan. That is so very different from older places where if you haven't been born into the culture you are always an outsider.

I was 'coded' a Reverent Texan which surprised me because I thought I'd be a Civic Pragmatist. I suspect it's because I do my civic/charitable activities via active church membership (Ecclesia Downtown). Anyway, interesting: see if you can get them to publish the tabs.

At 11:39 AM, May 05, 2021, Blogger VeracityID said...

Oops. I didn't see the summary where they listed proportions by category and provided a little tab summary of the categories.

Our family motto is "Often wrong, never in doubt" and this just illustrates the truth of that as it applies to me.

It does strengthen my theory that there are two categories of civic pragmatists: the churchy and non-churchy ones. And it's great that they're the two largest categories.

At 1:35 PM, May 05, 2021, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

During the webinar they mentioned that the quiz online was a shorter, simpler version of the one they used during the project, which probably did ask about actual income and education.

At 1:37 PM, May 05, 2021, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

And completely agree on the welcoming culture!


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