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Houston lures business and top workers with 'back to basics' approach


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Problem or not, that's where I want to focus my attention; an area that's big and diverse - an urban place. It's not like I'm focusing on a neighborhood like River Oaks, Montrose or Midtown. I think that's okay.

And when I was talking about Suburban type families, I was talking about their incomes, more than their place of residency. Maybe there are Suburban type families who live in the suburbs not because they want to, but because they have to, because of housing prices. It's not only high incomed single professionals or wealthy Bellaire type families who want to move back to the city. It's that they're the only ones who can afford to.

There must be families who live in an urban city in other places. Not all families desire the suburbs and what they offer.

i think it would help if you go re-read Tory's article...with an open mind. he's not presenting any "new" information, just simply stating that Houston (AS A WHOLE) has a lot to offer with respect to housing, jobs, opportunities,etc. you can't pin it down to one area. tory's article and the initial post involve Houston as a whole, not inner loop. he was saying that because of our well maintained freeway system, everyone has access to amenities that they might not have access to if transportation wasn't as available. just doing the basics well is what is attractive.

as for moving "back to the city" i think you'd be surprised at who is actually moving back. the majority sure aren't families.

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Tory here. Lockmat asked me to read the thread and answer some questions. And thanks everybody for the kind words on the op-ed.

I'm really not sure of the exact questions asked, but after reading the thread, some comments came to mind.

First, I want to clarify that neither Joel nor I are against parks or education. There was a little misinterpretation at the launch event. We are, of course, very strongly for improved education. Parks are important too, but not a "top priority to lure the creative class" - they just naturally get developed by a city as it gets wealthier. If your infrastructure, education or road systems are falling apart, great parks aren't going to do you any good. Houston has 16.5 acres of parkland per 1,000 people, which compares very nicely with the 10 per 1,000 rule of thumb by planners. More would certainly be nice, but it is clearly not in the handful of absolute top priorities for the city, like transportation, crime, air pollution, and education.

The inner loop boom is not being driven by families because of the schools, which are simply not up to the standards required by many upper middle class professional and middle class families. The suburbs have better schools and newer, larger homes at lower prices. That said, in lightly regulated Houston, the townhome and condo builders have been able to build many, many units below the "sweet spot" price of $225K, which allows fresh college grads to buy them - either single engineer or business types that can be making up to $70K to start, or two-income couples in their 20s. Builders have told me that when they get above that price, demand falls off dramatically, because then you're looking for older empty nest professionals that want to move into the city, and there simply aren't that many of them. Most are quite comfortable in whatever house, suburb, neighborhood, and church they raised their kids in.

There's a bigger picture reason for the new urban core renewals in many cities. The fundamental change is that people have gone from getting married and starting a family in their early 20s to now getting married in their late 20s or early to mid 30s. That means there's now a full decade where they're making a good income without kids, and they want to buy (rather than rent) in the city core where the other singles are. So they buy these townhomes and condos, then move to the suburbs once they're married and ready to have kids. Go back a decade or two, and 20-somethings were just fine with renting an apartment a few years before getting married and moving out to the burbs.

As far as the "highest standard of living in the world" quote in the op-ed: I actually do believe it based on the stats I've seen, but I softened it because many people find it unbelievable. We only had good data for the major metros in America, and Houston came out on top. I believe that #1 position would carry to the rest of the world, but the hard data isn't there to back it up in terms of comparable cost of living stats. There are very few places in the world with higher average incomes than America, and as far as I can tell, all of them have a much higher cost of living to go with it: Luxembourg, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland, London, Tokyo, etc.

Hope that's helpful. Let me know if there are additional questions. I will try to monitor this thread for a while, but if something else comes up and I don't respond, just contact me at my blog www.HoustonStrategies.com and I'll get back over here and check it out.

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Hope that's helpful. Let me know if there are additional questions. I will try to monitor this thread for a while, but if something else comes up and I don't respond, just contact me at my blog www.HoustonStrategies.com and I'll get back over here and check it out.

i think lockmat was the one who was confused.

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As far as the "highest standard of living in the world" quote in the op-ed: I actually do believe it based on the stats I've seen, but I softened it because many people find it unbelievable. We only had good data for the major metros in America, and Houston came out on top. I believe that #1 position would carry to the rest of the world, but the hard data isn't there to back it up in terms of comparable cost of living stats. There are very few places in the world with higher average incomes than America, and as far as I can tell, all of them have a much higher cost of living to go with it: Luxembourg, Norway, Monaco, Switzerland, London, Tokyo, etc.

Hope that's helpful. Let me know if there are additional questions. I will try to monitor this thread for a while, but if something else comes up and I don't respond, just contact me at my blog www.HoustonStrategies.com and I'll get back over here and check it out.

I'd be interested in how the "cost of living" measurement that you use is calculated. It is my suspicion that most economists calculate it by determining what is a typical basket of goods for a consumer within each individual city, and that the result is that attempts at comparison between cities are essentially invalidated because comparing Houston to NYC would be like comparing apples to oranges. I also suspect that it would work even more in our favor.

For instance, if the average consumer living in the NYC metro area pays $2,000/mo. to rent a small apartment and $200/mo. for transit and cab fees, and has to endure commutes that are both long (worst in the nation, on average) and prone to bad weather, but the average consumer in Houston is paying $1,200/mo. to cover mortgage and expenses for a decent house and $500/mo. for vehicular transportation to work that is typically less time consuming and not very much subject to weather, then there is not only a net savings of $300 on factors related to household location, but there are substantial benefits in terms of home equity accrual, having a larger home, and other factors.

Perhaps what I'm trying to get at is a measure of the economic quality of life, but it just seems as though HH income minus cost of living isn't a sufficient measure. Incidentally, I know someone who is being interviewed for a bigshot position in NYC, and she is holding out for a salary that is about double what she gets at present for an enjoyable high-profile job that would be the keystone of her career, basically to counter not only the cost of living, but the nonpecuniary hardships that would come with having to live in Manhattan. I also work with someone who accepted a job in Manhattan last year for a substantial raise, but ended up arranging to perpetually telecommute from Houston because he couldn't stand the NYC lifestyle or the cost of living. ...gotta wonder whether anyone has done a survey to the effect of what level of compensation is necessary to convince people to work in Manhattan.

I'd also be interested in any demographic cross-tabulations indicating trends among college-educated 20- and 30-somethings regarding marriage and childbirth that you might have access to. I hear a lot about the trends that you were talking about, but coming up with hard numbers is not easy.

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My own aesthetic tastes run towards traditional-urban, european-style cities. I am willing to make the net-income and convenience sacrifices to live in one. I feel it's more than repaid by the accessibility of things that I consider important to my quality of life. A diverse, organic urban fabric. Mixed-use. Less reliance on big box stores. Multiple transportation modalities. I prefer to live and walk in a world populated by people instead of cars. I think there's a quote, "what fascinates people is people." I care about the quality of the built environment... I feel that a place that's been occupied for hundreds of years isn't old, rather it's a continuously optimized solution, an urban organism fully adapted to its context.

ps. I don't ever want kids. So many things don't ever enter into tradeoff compromises.

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My own aesthetic tastes run towards traditional-urban, european-style cities. I am willing to make the net-income and convenience sacrifices to live in one. I feel it's more than repaid by the accessibility of things that I consider important to my quality of life. A diverse, organic urban fabric. Mixed-use. Less reliance on big box stores. Multiple transportation modalities. I prefer to live and walk in a world populated by people instead of cars. I think there's a quote, "what fascinates people is people." I care about the quality of the built environment... I feel that a place that's been occupied for hundreds of years isn't old, rather it's a continuously optimized solution, an urban organism fully adapted to its context.

ps. I don't ever want kids. So many things don't ever enter into tradeoff compromises.

wow this is sure a BIG switcheroo from the post you put here after 8am. something like "the inner loop of houston is like a trailer park"

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wow this is sure a BIG switcheroo from the post you put here after 8am. something like "the inner loop of houston is like a trailer park"

I'm often angry when I first wake up.... :) It was poorly written and ranty so I changed it. Although I do feel that way about large parts of the CBD, midtown, and other inner city areas where the quality of the urban space is really lacking, even if you factor in income disparities.

Edited by woolie
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I'd be interested in how the "cost of living" measurement that you use is calculated.

I'd also be interested in any demographic cross-tabulations indicating trends among college-educated 20- and 30-somethings regarding marriage and childbirth that you might have access to. I hear a lot about the trends that you were talking about, but coming up with hard numbers is not easy.

The cost of living numbers come from ACCRA, which is the standard used by companies when moving their people around or recruiting. They create a "lifestyle standard" for a typical middle manager, then calculate what it costs to live that lifestyle in each city. Like all systems, they make some assumptions, but it's the best available estimate.

I don't have the hard data on marriage, but I have seen articles over the years with the average age of marriage, and it always moves up.

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The cost of living numbers come from ACCRA, which is the standard used by companies when moving their people around or recruiting. They create a "lifestyle standard" for a typical middle manager, then calculate what it costs to live that lifestyle in each city. Like all systems, they make some assumptions, but it's the best available estimate.

So they identify a single basket of consumption items that would apply to a typical middle manager's household and then determine how much that one basket would cost in each different city? No substitution?

My own aesthetic tastes run towards traditional-urban, european-style cities. I am willing to make the net-income and convenience sacrifices to live in one. I feel it's more than repaid by the accessibility of things that I consider important to my quality of life. A diverse, organic urban fabric. Mixed-use. Less reliance on big box stores. Multiple transportation modalities. I prefer to live and walk in a world populated by people instead of cars. I think there's a quote, "what fascinates people is people." I care about the quality of the built environment... I feel that a place that's been occupied for hundreds of years isn't old, rather it's a continuously optimized solution, an urban organism fully adapted to its context.

ps. I don't ever want kids. So many things don't ever enter into tradeoff compromises.

You're very much in the minority.

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Although I do feel that way about large parts of the CBD, midtown, and other inner city areas where the quality of the urban space is really lacking

yeah not enough concrete and metal buildings for your taste. ;) Houston's own manufactured Grand Canyon.

depressing.jpg

Edited by musicman
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QUOTE(woolie @ Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 @ 8:27am)

My own aesthetic tastes run towards traditional-urban, european-style cities. I am willing to make the net-income and convenience sacrifices to live in one. I feel it's more than repaid by the accessibility of things that I consider important to my quality of life. A diverse, organic urban fabric. Mixed-use. Less reliance on big box stores. Multiple transportation modalities. I prefer to live and walk in a world populated by people instead of cars. I think there's a quote, "what fascinates people is people." I care about the quality of the built environment... I feel that a place that's been occupied for hundreds of years isn't old, rather it's a continuously optimized solution, an urban organism fully adapted to its context.

ps. I don't ever want kids. So many things don't ever enter into tradeoff compromises

But have you actually lived like this before? Or is this your plan? I've lived like that in a large city and it's not for everybody. I grew tired of it.

Too bad you don't want kids, since the utopia you describe sounds a lot like Seasame Street. Sunny day and all.

Edited by MidtownCoog
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yeah not enough concrete and metal buildings for your taste. ;) Houston's own manufactured Grand Canyon.

Everytime you post that pic -- which, btw, I took because we were thinking about buying one -- I'll remind you that I do indeed like them. :) They're very cost-effective, space-efficient, and I like interiors even if some of the finishes could be higher quality.

But have you actually lived like this before? Or is this your plan? I've lived like that in a large city and it's not for everybody. I grew tired of it.

Too bad you don't want kids, since the utopia you describe sounds a lot like Seasame Street. Sunny day and all.

I've lived in inner-city Houston for about 6 years now, and most of that time I've used metro/bike/walk at least to get to work, even if I take the car for longer trips. I've traveled to other cities (that fit my 'vision') often. What I've found is that it's not some utopia. Rather it's more like the normal human condition. I think the american car-city is rather the exception to the rule. I don't care if other people have kids. I just don't care for them myself.

Every time I say Houston is not my ideal city, people on this forum like to remind me that I'm a mutant and should crawl back into my hole. :)

Edited by woolie
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Not a bad place to be. I've often discovered most people are wrong. :)

I didn't say it was bad. You do what works for you and others will do what works for them.

I've lived in inner-city Houston for about 6 years now...

Inner-city Houston is more or less a suburb.

Edited by TheNiche
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But have you actually lived like this before? Or is this your plan? I've lived like that in a large city and it's not for everybody. I grew tired of it.

Too bad you don't want kids, since the utopia you describe sounds a lot like Seasame Street. Sunny day and all.

Sesame Street sounds kind of nice compared to lack of density and having to drive for every little thing.

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You're very much in the minority.

That is not true, so many folks want to live in a walkable city with high (ppl) density. Just look at the population of other walkable popular cities, and that is despite the high cost. I would imagine the cost is lower, there would be even more people.

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That is not true, so many folks want to live in a walkable city with high (ppl) density. Just look at the population of other walkable popular cities, and that is despite the high cost. I would imagine the cost is lower, there would be even more people.

...and why do you think the cost is high? :rolleyes:

There's more in play than just supply and demand.

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...and why do you think the cost is high? :rolleyes:

There's more in play than just supply and demand.

let's do one thing at a time.

Woolie said: My own aesthetic tastes run towards traditional-urban, european-style cities. I am willing to make the net-income and convenience sacrifices to live in one. I feel it's more than repaid by the accessibility of things that I consider important to my quality of life. A diverse, organic urban fabric. Mixed-use. Less reliance on big box stores. Multiple transportation modalities. I prefer to live and walk in a world populated by people instead of cars. I think there's a quote, "what fascinates people is people." I care about the quality of the built environment... I feel that a place that's been occupied for hundreds of years isn't old, rather it's a continuously optimized solution, an urban organism fully adapted to its context.

ps. I don't ever want kids. So many things don't ever enter into tradeoff compromises.

You said: You're very much in the minority.

And I said, that's not true. Look at the the huge population in dense popular walkable cities that fits his description.

Not only do a lot of ppl want what he wants, They are willing to pay more, so how does that make him very much in the minority.

Turns out he isn't really very much in the minority, so you need to acknowledge that first.

Edited by webdude
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NY, SF, Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Boston, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Madison, San Diego. There should be more.

according to the census bureau...looks like Houston has been a little more popular than New York and Chicago. the others aren't on the list.

10 U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Numerical Growth: April 1, 2000-July 1, 2006

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 890,211

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas 842,449

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas 824,547

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. 787,306

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 771,314

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. 584,510

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. 495,154

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. 494,220

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla. 455,869

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. 407,133

Edited by musicman
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according to the census bureau...looks like Houston has been a little more popular than New York and Chicago. the others aren't on the list.

10 U.S. Metro Areas With Highest Numerical Growth: April 1, 2000-July 1, 2006

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga. 890,211

Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, Texas 842,449

Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, Texas 824,547

Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, Ariz. 787,306

Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, Calif. 771,314

Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, Calif. 584,510

New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, N.Y.-N.J.-Pa. 495,154

Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, D.C.-Va.-Md.-W.Va. 494,220

Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, Fla. 455,869

Chicago-Naperville-Joliet, Ill.-Ind.-Wis. 407,133

Talking about popular and walkable dense cities as described by woolie.

Read above and previous posts please.

Edited by webdude
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I just finished reading through a retort to Kotkin that was written by Stephen Klineberg. I admit that I'm cherry-picking quotes, but I don't want to post the entire essay on HAIF without permission and just want to get my jabs in:

Klineberg claims that "The resource-based industrial era which this city was so favorably positioned has receded into history, and with it the traditional "blue collar path" to financial security." I contend that we have the only growing manufacturing sector in a nation that is frought with manufacturing decline. Klineberg's comment would pertain well to the averag U.S. city, but has no basis as it pertains to Houston. Moreover, many of our blue collar positions are not for unskilled labor; the pay is better as a result.

Klineberg makes numerous references to the growing diversity of our city and to the idea that the younger generations are more diverse than ever before, but he frames it as a problem or a challenge for some reason. I'm not clear why. He claims that, "the young people in this region today are disproportionately non-Anglo and considerably less priviledged on average than the Anglo population, which is now moving rapidly into retirement," which seems to support nothing; he does not provide a comparison between races/ethnicities of the same age cohort, which might (but probably still wouldn't) have gotten at the crux of some argument or another.

Based upon statistics from HISD, he concludes that the region has a problem educating the neediest kids, which he makes clear are brown-skinned. He says that it is a "striking" fact that "88% of all the children in our city's public schools are black or Latino". Forgive me for not being 'stricken'. If he's trying to say that there are lots of kids from poor households in HISD or that there is poor academic performance (which he actually makes absolutely no mention of), I wish that he'd just do that...citing skin color isn't getting him anywhere with me.

The way he talks in some places, he seems to have misinterpreted Kotkin and is trying to publicly disagree with him by advocating better education...which is in effect supportive of Kotkin. I found it very strange. Klineberg tries to compare education in the 21st century to dredging the ship channel in the 20th century...but his comparison is counter-productive because labor is mobile and industrial capital is fixed. The benefits or costs derived from the performance of Houston's educational issues are as closely linked with rural east Texas, the coastal population centers of the U.S., or even foreign countries, as it is with its own schools; it is a national/global issue.

Klineberg tries to agree with Kotkin that Richard Florida's theories and recommendations are essentially elitist, but he goes on in the same paragraph to suggest that "quality of urban life matters tremendously, not only just to the elites, but to all levels of talent that we are seeking to attract," which begs the question as to what "quality of urban life" is, what gives rise to it, what sustains it, and whether it needs to be subsidized to cater to some niche market that are insufficient in number to bring it about on their own by way of market forces. It seems to me to be an acknowledgement that some elite class should be pandered to.

Klineberg proceeds in his final two paragraphs to paint a dark picture of an overpopulated sprawling mess; he asks "if that happens, can anyone doubt that the prospects for sustained economic prosperity in the region as a whole will deteriorate along with quality of life?" I'd respond by saying that population growth is a validation of quality of life, and furthermore that growth creates growth; if that necessitates a new infrastructure, that is OK. Growth pays for its own infrastructure. Meanwhile, agglomeration economies will allow many new options to be opened up for all residents of the region, all from market forces, without subsidies becoming necessary.

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And I said, that's not true. Look at the the huge population in dense popular walkable cities that fits his description.

Not only do a lot of ppl want what he wants, They are willing to pay more, so how does that make him very much in the minority.

Turns out he isn't really very much in the minority, so you need to acknowledge that first.

No, he really is in the minority. Check out census data for various regions. Suburban populations in the largest regions vastly outnumber urban populations, and most people will at some point in their lives have children. It is called 'revealed preference,' and it is really easy to observe.

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No, he really is in the minority. Check out census data for various regions. Suburban populations in the largest regions vastly outnumber urban populations, and most people will at some point in their lives have children. It is called 'revealed preference,' and it is really easy to observe.

Yeah, but I was taking more about wants. If not for costs, more folks would want what he wants too. I am one of those revealed preferences, but its not really a preference but rather cost practicality, and I think woolie is in the same situation too. If not for costs, I do want to live in a denser city.

Edited by webdude
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just pointing out that they aren't as popular as one may think.

And not everybody there walks, either. Case in point, San Francisco is running out of parking spaces.

So if everybody walks everywhere, why do they even need cars?

Edited by MidtownCoog
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No, he really is in the minority. Check out census data for various regions. Suburban populations in the largest regions vastly outnumber urban populations, and most people will at some point in their lives have children. It is called 'revealed preference,' and it is really easy to observe.

No question there are far more people causing the suburban expansion (sprawl) than there are "creative class" causing urban redevelopment, it's just that the inner-city changes are more radical; single family bulldozed for townhomes, kind of like the caterpillar becoming the butterfly, while the suburbs just silently march on, simply multiplying, like the mole becoming the tumor B) . Of course I'm joking. The burbs are the meat and potatoes of our metro stew, good or bad, while the inner-loop redevelopment is the dessert.

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yall should move in together.

To afford to live in the dense city that was as described, we would need more than one roommate.

I would prefer to work hard and move to a dense city I really want when I have enough money.

Edited by webdude
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Calling Lockmat!

I would prefer to live with just family, but I wouldn't mind if my family has own separate area. Would be great if with separate entry.

What are woolie and lockmat's preferred cities anyway? No point if it is different from mine.

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Yeah, but I was taking more about wants. If not for costs, more folks would want what he wants too. I am one of those revealed preferences, but its not really a preference but rather cost practicality, and I think woolie is in the same situation too. If not for costs, I do want to live in a denser city.

Frankly, I think that if it weren't for costs or other tradeoffs in some form or another, I'd expect a greater number of people would retreat to the countryside or to waterfront than live in a dense walkable city center. But the reality of the situation, as I've pointed out throughout the thread is that there is no attainable ultimate ideal. Everyone is limited by practicalities, even the uber wealthy. Everyone must make tradeoffs.

Houston, lacking geographical or political constraints on growth, and not being encumbered by a great deal of infrastructure from technologically-obsolete economies, provides an excellent testing ground for revealed preference because everyone just kind of winds up where they want to be. If I recall, for every 22 new households in our region, only one is inside the loop. You suggest that there are many people that get priced out of a place that they'd rather live? Sure. So what? I'd like to live in River Oaks, so I am as much a vicitm as yourself. How do you suggest we ration off finite resources in a way that would negate this so-called problem??? :huh:

Edited by TheNiche
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I would prefer to live with just family, but I wouldn't mind if my family has own separate area. Would be great if with separate entry.

What are woolie and lockmat's preferred cities anyway? No point if it is different from mine.

Metro Houston is my first love

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I'm not sure, but do you think Kleinberg is referring to the 400,000 illegal immigrants in Houston? Just wondering is all.

Of course he is, but not directly. He's tip-toeing around the hot-button issue by playing the race card in nonsensical and sometimes insensitive ways.

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Frankly, I think that if it weren't for costs or other tradeoffs in some form or another, I'd expect a greater number of people would retreat to the countryside or to waterfront than live in a dense walkable city center. But the reality of the situation, as I've pointed out throughout the thread is that there is no attainable ultimate ideal. Everyone is limited by practicalities, even the uber wealthy. Everyone must make tradeoffs.

Houston, lacking geographical or political constraints on growth, and not being encumbered by a great deal of infrastructure from technologically-obsolete economies, provides an excellent testing ground for revealed preference because everyone just kind of winds up where they want to be. If I recall, for every 22 new households in our region, only one is inside the loop. You suggest that there are many people that get priced out of a place that they'd rather live? Sure. So what? I'd like to live in River Oaks, so I am as much a vicitm as yourself. How do you suggest we ration off finite resources in a way that would negate this so-called problem??? :huh:

Well, it started because you tried to undermine the number of folks who do want to live in a dense walkable city. It is this type of prevalent mentality that can delayed the building up of density in Houston. Yes, there is no ultimate ideal, but we can start by getting rid of that mentality, especially to those in charge.

And I wouldn't use our region as a good indicator of whether ppl really want a dense city, because the inner loop isn't really dense. With other cities, its driving in the subs vs not driving in the city. Here, its a case of driving further vs driving nearer.

Edited by webdude
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You suggest that there are many people that get priced out of a place that they'd rather live? Sure. So what? I'd like to live in River Oaks, so I am as much a vicitm as yourself. How do you suggest we ration off finite resources in a way that would negate this so-called problem??? :huh:

We don't live in a perfect world and like you said, must make tradeoffs, or in other words be wise about our decision making. And maybe you were hyperbolizing, but I think some people forced to live outside an urban area b/c of price don't want to live in River Oaks, just at least inside the loop or in some moderately priced condo or townhome. But maybe that is possible and I just haven't researched enough.

In a perfect world, each individual would be a direct client of a developer. I can't go up to one right now and ask him/her to build me a moderately priced condo to live in inside the loop. Can I? How do developers know if there is a market for middle incomed people? There isn't one right now, so they can't even see if there's a trend or demand for it. Obviously there is one for people with lots of money. I don't see why people with less money would want any different just b/c they have less. If anything, they might want it beacause people with money have them or b/c of the cool factor.

Edited by lockmat
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Well, it started because you tried to undermine the number of folks who do want to live in a dense walkable city. It is this type of prevalent mentality that can delayed the building up of density in Houston. Yes, there is no ultimate ideal, but we can start by getting rid of the mentality, especially to those in charge.

So let me make sure I'm straight. According to you, it is less important for public policy purposes how many people are willing to actually pay to live in a particular place than it is that people want to live there (not that I'm conceding that most people actually do want to live there)? Is that right?

Well if that's the case, then perhaps I should lobby the City to subsidize the construction of more neighborhoods like River Oaks because I want to live there, not that I ever will because I'm not willing/able to make the tradeoffs necessary. :blink:

And I wouldn't use our region as a good representation of suburb sprawl vs inner loop city density, because the inner loop isn't really dense.

Uh, yeah. That's kind of my point. In fact, the densest part of our region is outside the inner loop...and it has some of the lowest rents in the city.

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In a perfect world, each individual would be a direct client of a developer. I can't go up to one right now and ask him/her to build me a moderately priced condo to live in inside the loop. Can I?

Depends on what "moderately priced" is. And you can always ask. With condos, developers will use your input anecdotally as they scout for locations and draw up conceptual product before subjecting it to market research. With townhomes, you might just be able to get them to do a custom low-end job if you're in on the ground floor of it. Everyone likes a pre-sale.

How do developers know if there is a market for middle incomed people? There isn't one right now, so they can't even see if there's a trend.

I would argue that there is a market for "middle incomed" people, but I'm not sure what that means to you. Regardless, the answer is market research.

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I would argue that there is a market for "middle incomed" people, but I'm not sure what that means to you. Regardless, the answer is market research.

I would love to research and learn how market research is done. Without knowing their formulas, it sounds so much like a shot in the dark. But I guess it's not.

Ok...what about high 100's to 225k-ish range? I guess I could do this myself.

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Obviously there is one for people with lots of money. I don't see why people with less money would want any different just b/c they have less. If anything, they might want it beacause people with money have them or b/c of the cool factor.

If you want it badly enough, you'll find a way to come up with the cash. It may mean subjecting yourself to ramen noodles every other night, long working hours at a second job, finding a roomate, or making a major investment in education, but it can be done.

I hope RedScare doesn't mind me using him as an example so often, but he's a lawyer that formerly lived in The Woodlands and owned a Porche. He worked hard and and was on a path to what most people would consider pretty fabulous material wealth, if I may say so. He's a smart guy--I'm sure he'd have accomplished that if he really wanted to. But then he reassessed what he valued in life and figured out that he'd rather have more leisure time, less stress, and a less suffocating neighborhood. So he downsized into a little bungalow in the Heights (before the prices got ridiculous) and cut back on working hours. He no longer owns a Porche. Does that mean that he'd turn one down if it were offered to him, free of a tradeoff in terms of lifestyle? I'd think not. I'd like a Porche too...but that doesn't mean that I'm going buy one because I have a finite budget--not only in financial terms but in terms of lifestyle--and that budget is put to higher and better uses without a Porche.

Make sense?

I would love to research and learn how market research is done. Without knowing their formulas, it sounds so much like a shot in the dark. But I guess it's not.

Ok...what about high 100's to 225k-ish range? I guess I could do this myself.

Yeah, there's product for you out there. Hell, you could probably even afford a small unit in Mosaic if you were so inclined.

Edited by TheNiche
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If you want it badly enough, you'll find a way to come up with the cash. It may mean subjecting yourself to ramen noodles every other night, long working hours at a second job, finding a roomate, or making a major investment in education, but it can be done.

Yeah, I understand tradeoffs. I can easily look back a the past year and see the ones I have made. Everything from to riding my bike to work, bringing my lunch, eating off the dollar menu and suppressing the urge to buy those new pair of shoes and even sweating it out in my apartment to save money on the electric bill...all so I can save my money.

And I'd love to get a unit, but I'm just concerned about the future; wife, kids, etc. I'd rather buy a home with at least two bedrooms so I don't have to sell and repurchase...but that's a whole other discussion.

Yeah, there's product for you out there. Hell, you could probably even afford a small unit in Mosaic if you were so inclined.

I guess if I just would have quoted my price from the beginning...weeks ago, this whole discussion wouldn't have been necessary. But I'm still concerned about getting a house for that price or a little higher fit for a family.

Edited by lockmat
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