What will be the Future of Cities?

The Future of Cities

Whatever the future holds for humanity, it is likely to take place in an urban context. Yet, there are many, and sometimes divergent, urban futures. This book is being published as a series, with permission of the American Enterprise Institute. Please return weekly to read each chapter as it is published.
Texas' $31BN Storm Barrier - known as the Ike Dike

Empty Downtowns, Blue-state Exodus Continues, and HTX Port Expansion

Empty downtowns persist as data shows strong economic incentives to continue the work-from-home revolution if jobs allow it, plus Houston port expansion seems to be paying off.
Texas and USA flags in snow

2022 Highlights

Time for our annual round-up of 2022 highlights — the best posts from the year, with this year featuring many great posts from Oscar Slotboom.
Pearland Town Center

Assessed Value of Pearland Overstated $1.3 Billion

The City of Pearland finds itself in an uncertain position after it was discovered that the taxable value of the city, used to calculate revenues and tax rates, was overstated by roughly $1.3 billion because of a “worksheet error.”
Second Dwelling Units may help ease housing unaffordability in urban areas, but are prohibited by deed restrictions in many cities.

Why Houston is Better with TIRZs, and Minimal Zoning Restrictions

by Tory Gattis — Houston's TIRZs (tax-increment reinvestment zones) may provide more opportunity for middle and working class families to find affordable housing than typical urban zoning practices.
Aerial view of Houston, Texas

Countering the “Freeway Fighters”

by Tory Gattis — This piece covers the "freeway fighters", a growing anti-freeway movement in America which will have many negative ramifications for the economies of metro areas.
Houston's proposed University Line, Metro Transit

Metro Needs to Rethink the University Line

Houston transit opponents worry that construction of the University Line will snarl traffic, invite unwelcome development and cripple local businesses.
Aerial view of suburbs

New Book: Houston as the Bold Case Against Zoning

A new book by M. Nolan Gray cites the Houston city model makes a bold case against zoning.
SH 146 construction, Houston

Comparing the Inflating Costs of Houston Highways vs. Transit

Inflation is causing huge cost increases for all types of infrastructure projects; this week we compare Houston highway vs. transit cost inflation.
Shinkansen "bullet" train, high-speed rail

The Death of Texas High-Speed Rail

The death of Texas high-speed rail looks imminent based on the recent news of the CEO's departure, but the economics never made sense unless Japan was willing to heavily subsidize the program in order to show off their trains in America (hoping for future sales).
Houston's mini kaihatsu, sinking a false alarm

Houston’s Mini-Kaihatsu, Sinking False Alarm, and more

by Tory Gattis — Houston's reported rate of sinking may be a false alarm in terms of the city actually disappearing below sea level, and a new book notes similarities between Tokyo's mini-kaihatsu and Houston's townhouse developments.