Houston, Dallas & New York City: America’s Great 3-Way Housing Supply Race

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

The conversation on America’s affordable housing crisis is often fueled by anecdotes. Journalists and activists tell tales of gentrification, eviction and displacement from within their increasingly expensive cities. Then, when new housing is built that is even more expensive, the housing itself is presented as the cause, and more construction is discouraged. But a look at the numbers shows that, on the contrary, housing construction (or lack thereof) seems to be the driving factor behind whether or not large U.S. metros remain affordable.… Read more

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The Houston Rodeo Has Returned For Its 86th Year

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Every major American city has its landmark annual event, ranging from SXSW in Austin, to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, to the New Year’s Eve Times Square ball drop in New York City. But one such event gets far less media attention than the others, despite having a larger attendance and arguably more cultural relevance, at least to middle America. It occurs, no less, in the nation’s 4th-largest city and its 5th-largest metro area. That event is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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I Spent A Year Traveling Through America’s Fast-Growing Sunbelt

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

There’s a severe shift occurring right now in the United States. The Northeast and Midwest are ceding people to the South and West, with migrants moving particularly to America’s Sunbelt. Like with other global migration shifts, there is an underlying political context to all this. Regulations on housing construction and other economic activities are making certain northern cities hostile to all but elite income groups. Meanwhile, the more open southern economies are receiving the exodus, becoming more economically and culturally dynamic. For the last year, I’ve traveled through this southern slice of the country, witnessing all these changes at street level–and it’s been something to behold…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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What Is The Best City In Texas?

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Throughout my recent stay in Texas, residents would often ask which of its major cities I liked the most–Austin, Dallas, Houston or San Antonio. Residents were curious to hear this, given that I was an outsider living for a month each in all four. They also wanted to know because this is a hot topic in Texas; the four cities have become some of America’s most economically dynamic places, and have ongoing rivalries for food, sports, and cultural cache.

To this point, the question was always less about which city had the best economy, and more about quality of life and street cred–where would I actually want to live?…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Home, Away From Home

[Originally printed in City Journal]

 

[Ed’s note: my latest piece appeared as a sidebar in a larger print essay by Aaron Renn about the urbanization of Texas. The whole essay is worth reading, since it captures the monumental growth taking place in Texas’ four largest metros.]

Dominated by working-class families who’ve lived in the city for generations, San Antonio has long maintained stable demographics. Many Anglos descend from Texas’s early European settlers, while, contrary to public perception of the city as an immigrant hub, many Hispanics are Tejanos—native Texans of Mexican descent—who were born in the city or in the Rio Grande Valley.… Read more

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Houston Builder Combines Two Key Housing Types: Micro-Units And Condo Hotels

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

In the fall of 2015, developer Novel Creative Development LLC announced that it would build Ivy Lofts, the nation’s largest micro-unit condo project, in Houston. It appears, however, that the company overestimated demand in the city for these tiny apartments, which have been touted as a key to making U.S. cities affordable. The company has responded by converting some of the building’s unsold units into condo hotels. Rather than a failure, then, Novel’s building could be quite innovative, combining two building types that are crucial to producing smaller, more flexible and more centrally-located housing in urban America…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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Dallas and Houston: Centers For Economic Development

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Dallas, TX–There is ongoing speculation about how cities can attract economic development, particularly the large-scale kind spurred by corporate relocations. The question is particularly important to public officials, who view such growth as a way to get instant jobs and tax revenue. The answer may lie in the examples of Houston and Dallas, two metro areas that have been among the nation’s economic growth leaders. Their causes for success are multi-faceted, and refute some of the received wisdom, but mostly boil down to their open economies…[read the rest at Forbes]

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How No Zoning Laws Works For Houston

[Originally published by The Federalist]

 

Houston, TX — When traveling through America’s foremost boomtown, the atmosphere of change quickly becomes evident, from new buildings to added traffic. But one can’t truly appreciate this growth until on a balcony. So there I was one December evening in 2015 atop a high-rise, watching the sun set over Houston. My view was of an urban core that, contrary to its reputation, has become dense, global, and cosmopolitan. The panorama conveyed, moreover, growth that has been driven not by government centralization, but a laissez-faire mentality….[read the rest at The Federalist]… Read more

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Houston’s Wealth Drives A Culture Of Philanthropy

[Originally published by Forbes]

 

Houston, TX–Long one of America’s largest cities, Houston has recently become one of its most prosperous, driven by growth in the oil, housing, and tech industries. This rising wealth has inspired tremendous philanthropy, changing the city’s external look and its internal functions. According to Charity Navigator, Houston sits near the top among major U.S. metros in total philanthropic assets, percentage of income given to charity, and financial health of its largest charities. In 2015, the organization ranked Houston number one, just ahead of San Diego, in overall philanthropic culture…[read the rest at Forbes]… Read more

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