On the Bicycle Trail to More Land-Use Regulations

Last week, City Council approved the Houston Bike Plan. The plan is allegedly intended to expand the city’s bike trails from about 500 miles to 1,800 miles. But as I noted in my last post, the plan isn’t really about bike trails. It’s about the city assuming more control over land use in Houston.

The […]

The Squeaky Bicycle Wheel Gets the Grease

Bicycle activists (I didn’t know that there were such things) achieved a significant victory this week when City Council adopted the Houston Bike Plan. Lest you think that this is a satirical piece, let me assure you that it is not. I can’t make up stuff like this.

According to the Chronicle,

the plan sets […]

Planning Leads to Land-use Regulations

Joe Webb, chairman of Blueprint Houston, an organization that helped draft the city’s General Plan, recently repeated the statist mantra that planning isn’t the same as zoning. At the same time, he noted that the plan will help the city control development and make neighborhoods better.

Technically, Webb is correct. Planning is a process of […]

Mayor Turner’s Latest Cronyism

The Chronicle reports that the city will lend $13.9 million to HEB to build a new grocery store near the Museum District. The money comes from a federal grant issued in 1995 to help revitalize downtown. Mayor Sylvester Turner said that he isn’t thrilled about the “deal,” but it will help provide fresh produce to […]

Somebody (Else) Should do Something

Of major cities in the United States, Houston is always among the leaders in the affordability of housing. Yet, the Chronicle, frequently eager to bash the city, notes that

a report last fall from the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas pointed out, Houston homeowners are the most cost-burdened in the state, with more than 10 […]

Another Government Plan Gone Awry

Since 2012, state officials have been encouraging the development of “affordable housing” in “high-opportunity areas”—those with better schools, lower crime rates, and residents with higher incomes. The state has been using tax credits as an incentive to developers. But the program isn’t working as planned, and the reasons aren’t surprising.

Developers are running into two […]

The City of Our Dreams

To many people, the absence of zoning in Houston explains every ill—whether real or imagined—that plagues the city. A comment to a recent Chronicle article illustrates this attitude:

It was too late to build the city of our dreams in 1836. They built a no zoning sprawl in a swamp and never corrected either mistake.

[…]

Houston’s Critics

Almost without fail, critics of Houston point to some other metropolis as an example of what a city should be like. The critics want parks and bike trails. They want mass transit and sidewalks. They want walkable communities and sustainable development. Other cities have these things, and Houston should have them too.

Interestingly, the critics […]

Planning Versus the Central Planner

You can tell a lot about a person by what he chooses to complain about. Critics of Houston’s lack of zoning stand as an example. They claim that Houston has developed without a plan. What they are really denouncing is the fact that Houston has developed without a central planner.

Complexes like Greenway Plaza, the […]

The Chronicle Versus Houston

A recent story in the Chronicle reports that wages in Houston average $100 per month more than any other Southern city. At first glance, one might think that this would be a piece that touts the city. And one would be wrong. The article states that

Houston doesn’t stack up that well when compared to […]