From transit tips to Houston’s emerging life science market, 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!
- Great example of the foreign office economic growth strategy I recommend for Houston: Growing Italian company with U.S. HQ in Houston launches new industrial-scale 3D printing
- Houston named a top life science emerging market
- The next big entrepreneurial opportunity: help companies locked into long-term office leases convert their excess space for coworking (including their own employees a couple days a week). NYT: After Pandemic, Shrinking Need for Office Space Could Crush Landlords – Some big employers are giving up square footage as they juggle remote work. That could devastate building owners and cities.
“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.”
- Game-changing waterfront mixed-use development flows into East Downtown. I guess it’s pretty nice, if kinda generic. Given the rare urban parcel size, I still wish it was becoming a new UT or TAMU campus instead… 🙁
- Fascinating psychological tricks used by Japanese transit. The most interesting to me is using 17khz white noise in stations to prevent youth loitering, because it can’t be heard by people older than 25! Hat tip to Barry.
- Salim Furth at Market Urbanism on Houston garage townhomes and “missing middle” housing (the ‘bads’ are sarcasm re: over-regulation in other cities ;-):
“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…
This piece first appeared at Houston Strategies.
Tory Gattis is a Founding Senior Fellow with the Center for Opportunity Urbanism and co-authored the original study with noted urbanist Joel Kotkin and others, creating a city philosophy around upward social mobility for all citizens as an alternative to the popular smart growth, new urbanism, and creative class movements. He is also an editor of the Houston Strategies blog.
Photo credit: courtesy of Roboze.