Houston’s Ugliness Serves a Purpose, Austin = next Silicon Valley?
Just a few items this week:
- Comparing large metropolitan area percent changes in employment since 2010 (1, 5, and 10yr). Houston hangs in there pretty well, but man, Austin! Wow. Hat tip to George. (click image to enlarge)
- Speaking of Austin: 23% home price increases there since the pandemic! That’s nuts! Driven by the huge influx from CA. Austin was already the most expensive in Texas, now it must be headed towards Portland or Seattle levels??
- And fine, just one more about Austin: Texas Monthly: No, Austin Won’t Become Silicon Valley 2.0 – Attracting so many tech companies and workers from California isn’t going to transform the city into another San Francisco—for both the better and worse.
- I’ve known about municipal utility districts (MUDs) in Texas for quite a while, but had no idea there were so many other types of special-purpose districts developers can choose from in Texas depending on the powers they need. Thanks to David and Amanda at Triton Consulting for generously sharing their General Powers of Special Purpose Districts Google Sheet clarifying all the options in an easy grid format.
- Kotkin and Cox: Can We Save the Planet, Live Comfortably, and Have Children Too? includes this eye-opening stat:
“In LA, for example, rail lines costing at least $20 billion have been built since 1990, yet transit ridership dropped by one-quarter on the core Los Angeles county transit system from its 1985 peak to 2019. Yet population has increased 20 percent.”
- Former Miss Korea tours my alma mater Rice University for Voice of America Korea. Impressively well-done video and profile of the university.
- A new study from Germany shows that added housing supply lowers rents across the board. A 1 percent increase in housing is associated with a 0.4 to 0.7 percent decrease in rents. Yes, seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many urbanists don’t think added supply lowers costs.
Finally, a fun little comment I posted on Market Urbanism Report’s Facebook page (humorously responding to another commenter calling Houston ugly) that Scott chose to tweet:
Houston may be ugly, but that ugliness serves a purpose. It’s how the city keeps the meddling pretentious aesthete NIMBY Karens away.
This piece first appeared at Houston Strategies Blog
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Houston-based Urban Reform Institute – A Center for Opportunity Urbanism, and writes the Houston Strategies blog.