Monday, February 21, 2022

Texans don't leave, checklist for opportunity cities, offices losing, exurbia rising, HTX tops for tree cover, 15-min cities, and more

Lots of good stuff this week:

"In fact, a primary reason Texas is growing so fast is that we tend to stick around as compared to natives of other states, meaning there’s less out-migration to offset the in-migration. About 82 percent of people born in Texas still live here, making it the so-called stickiest state in the country."
  • American Affairs Journal: Exurbia Rising by Joel Kotkin, packed with great stats. Here's the opening paragraph:
"Perhaps nowhere is the gap between America’s cognitive elite and its populace larger than in their preferred urban forms. For nearly a century—interrupted only by the Depression and the Second World War—Americans have been heading further from the urban core, seeking affordable and safe communities with good schools, parks, and a generally more tranquil lifestyle. We keep pushing out despite the contrary desires of planners, academic experts, and some real estate interests. In 1950, the core cities accounted for nearly 24 percent of the U.S. population; today, the share is under 15 percent, according to demographer Wendell Cox. Between 2010 and 2020, the suburbs and exurbs of the major metropolitan areas gained 2.0 million net domestic migrants, while the urban core counties lost 2.7 million."
"Lessons from history and from the relative success stories of the present point to clear priorities for today’s cities:
  • Get the urban basics right: schools, safety, livability.
  • Strengthen local anchor institutions in higher education, health care, and other areas.
  • Invest aggressively in local quality-of-life amenities.
  • Rebuild and expand critical infrastructure.
  • Work toward openness, diversity, inclusion, and a welcoming approach to newcomers.
  • Ensure a high degree of economic freedom.
  • Emphasize housing affordability and work to build an opportunity-rich physical environment."
  • WSJ: People Are Going Out Again, but Not to the Office - Only a third of U.S. employees have returned to the office, as workers prefer remote and companies fear ordering them back. Companies that force employees to the office will have to pay more (including office costs) for inferior talent from a more limited local talent pool. Excerpts:
"Elected officials are imploring companies to send workers back to the office. 
“Business leaders, tell everybody to come back,” said New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, in remarks before a civic organization earlier this month. “Give them a bonus to burn the Zoom app and come on back to work.” 
The gap between public enthusiasm for office return and other activities underscores the wide range of factors other than health considerations that are slowing the return to work. After close to two years of working from home, surveys suggest most employees simply prefer it to the office, which often requires lengthy commutes and gives workers less flexibility in how they spend their days. 
Employers have also been reluctant to insist that workers return for fear of driving employees away during a labor shortage, corporate surveys show. Many managers feel remote work disrupts efforts to promote a corporate culture and collaboration, but they aren’t applying much pressure because studies have shown that many workers are as productive—or even more productive—when they work remotely. 
“They feel like remote work isn’t perfect, but it’s working pretty OK,” said Brian Kropp, chief of human-resources research for the advisory and research firm Gartner. “There’s not a real urgency to change it.”
"We’re not going to double urban densities, especially when the doing so will fail to eliminate driving anyway. As urban economist Edward Glaeser once wrote (as quoted by Bertaud), the 15-minute city “should be recognized as a dead-end which would stop cities from fulfilling their true rôle as engines of opportunity.”
Finally, I'd like to end with this video on why Pakistanis are moving to Houston (hat tip to George). Although I wish it didn’t have the politics. She has some fair points about parts of rural Texas, but it muddles the video. I also think it completely misses the impact of lack of zoning and development regs that allowed those ethnic suburbs and shopping areas to develop. A lot of more regulated and zoned cities would have subtly (and not so subtly) prevented that from happening.

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At 8:33 AM, March 02, 2022, Blogger VeracityID said...

I agree with you re: politics and the Pakistani video. Last decade I spent months in Pakistan on business and the real striking thing about Texan Pakistani women is how much freer they are to do whatever they want. In Pakistan a woman going to a stranger's house alone is unheard of. My local partners were college educated, liberal world travelers but I never saw their womenfolk alone without a male escort - in Pakistan OR Dubai. Incidentally it's possible she was employed by an Indian Bridge partner of my mom's whose family owns the biggest home healthcare agency in FB County. Now THAT'S typical Houston. Bill

At 8:40 AM, March 02, 2022, Blogger VeracityID said...

I just realized that there are TWO states in the nation where you can be stuck in a blizzard and be tanning at the beach on the same day. CA and TX. Of course in TX you would need a plane. Which wouldn't be able to fly in the blizzard. Ah details. But it also helps explain why so many Texans stay here: there's a helluva lot of here and it is very geographically diverse. But so is CA and they're bleeding out. But snow and beach in the same day!

At 10:43 AM, March 02, 2022, Blogger Tory Gattis said...

Lol, I think the trick is supposed to be snow skiing and surfing on the same day, which is unfortunately not an option in Texas. Not that I think many Californians are doing it either given the driving distances involved!


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