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Houston, the global city

Houston doesn’t often get a lot of love in urbanist circles.

Though since Ed Glaeser published Triumph of the City and declared Houston’s unfettered sprawl the secret sauce for housing affordability, it is now frequently held up as the shining example of why housing supply matters.

But this is a hotly debated topic. 

Ed Glaeser would argue that increased supply is the key to housing affordability. But Richard Florida would likely be quick to point out that Houston is also one of the most unequal and segregated cities in America. It is not the model we should be following.

But let’s be positive today on the blog.

At the bottom of this post is a great talk by Stephen Klineberg called: Houston, The Global City. Klineberg is a Professor of Sociology at Rice University and the founder of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research.

In this hour long talk, he outlines, among other things, the remarkable transformation of Houston from a one-industry town (oil) comprised predominantly of white people to a mixed economy where every major ethnicity is now a minority.

He also argues that Houston is at the forefront of the demographic shifts happening all across the country and that, without this inflow of immigrants over the past couple of decades, Houston today would probably look a lot like a decaying rustbelt city.

It’s a good watch.

If you can’t see the video below, click here.

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