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Urgutha Forka 1
Houston is a city, Manhattan is only part of a city.

A better comparison would be Houston "inside the loop." Somewhat like Manhattan, Houston inside the loop is too expensive for most people. The poor and working-class people have to live in sprawling suburbs outside the loop (kind of like the other boroughs of NYC, or New Jersey).

So, Houston really isn't all that friendly to the working class. Probably friendlier than Manhattan, but not by much.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 11, 2012 at 9:37 AM · Report this
r.chops 2
Everyone loves the grid plan.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9awJCyjt5…
Posted by r.chops on December 11, 2012 at 9:41 AM · Report this
3
I have to stick up for Jane Jacobs. Contrary to popular belief she did NOT oppose development, except for expressways. A lot of libertarians claim her as one of their own because she believed in getting rid of most zoning controls, and that given the right infrastructure (i.e. a tight grid of streets) cities would develop naturally to their fullest extent with as little official interference as possible. Houston has no zoning, which is nice, but it's built on a sprawling network of highways, funded by state and federal government, and that's what makes such a swampy sprawly shithole. Yes, it's cheaper to find a place to live in Houston, but you're going to put the money you saved into having a car to get around. 

The real problem with Manhattan is that there's not enough of it, or enough places like it. If we could extend Manhattan's tight grid and high densities to more places, Manhattan wouldn't command such a premium. 
Posted by Prettybetsy on December 11, 2012 at 10:01 AM · Report this
4
I have to stick up for Jane Jacobs. Contrary to popular belief she did NOT oppose development, except for expressways. A lot of libertarians claim her as one of their own because she believed in getting rid of most zoning controls, and that given the right infrastructure (i.e. a tight grid of streets) cities would develop naturally to their fullest extent with as little official interference as possible. Houston has no zoning, which is nice, but it's built on a sprawling network of highways, funded by state and federal government, and that's what makes it such a swampy sprawly shithole. Yes, it's cheaper to find a place to live in Houston, but you're going to put the money you saved into having a car to get around. 

The real problem with Manhattan is that there's not enough of it, or enough places like it. If we could extend Manhattan's tight grid and high densities to more places, Manhattan wouldn't command such a premium. 
Posted by Prettybetsy on December 11, 2012 at 10:03 AM · Report this
5
Damn you, Internet!
Posted by Prettybetsy on December 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM · Report this
Fnarf 6
The reason it's easy to build in Houston is because there's pretty much nothing there; most of the city is covered with road, parking lot, vacant lot, single-story junk buildings. Manhattan is hard to build in not because of zoning or regulations but because every inch of it is full of something else already. Building something like the typical piece of crap Houston structure in Manhattan would be insane; you'd be throwing millions of dollars away.

I don't think Glaeser understands real estate or cities very much.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on December 11, 2012 at 10:17 AM · Report this
7
The real problem with Manhattan is the same problem San Francisco has -- a geographic limit. San Francisco is only 49 square miles and as that space has filled up, housing has become more and more expensive. Manhattan is an island -- New York has other boroughs but the delights of city life are concentrated approximately where the city began, and real estate in that constrained space which has now pretty much filled will continue to be and become too expensive for taxi drivers, teachers, receptionists, manicurists, and all the rest of the people who make less than $200,000/year. The value of any commodity in limited supply will continue to rise as long as that commodity is seen as desirable. It doesn't make either place "dumb" anymore than unrestrained urban sprawl makes Houston "smart". Pseudo-Marxist theories of the classless society don't apply here.
Posted by Calpete on December 11, 2012 at 10:21 AM · Report this
8
bullshit. poor people in manhattan have ez rail fast access to millions of jobs in all five boros also nj and ct.

in houston, they have to drive on crowded freeways.

new york rocks for all. the poor people enjoy way more potential jobs, friends, educational opportunities, brazilian drumming teachers or JOBS as teaching brazilian drumming whatever. only an idiot would think houston is better than nyc/.
Posted by more faux marxist crap on December 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
9
@6 It could just be that Charles is misrepresenting both Jacobs and Glaeser.
Posted by Elinor on December 11, 2012 at 11:00 AM · Report this
10
The key to get through the gate into Manhattan is a metro card. The key to get around Houston is a car. Mudede is a fool.
Posted by Straphanger on December 11, 2012 at 11:16 AM · Report this
Asparagus! 11
As someone who lives in Manhattan, I'm not sure how the grid system is "wonderful" unless "wonderful" means "drag-race enabling shit-show"
Posted by Asparagus! on December 11, 2012 at 11:39 AM · Report this
12
@9, that would be par for the course. We've yelled at him about that before, but he pays no mind. I've grown to respect his stubbornness.
Posted by gloomy gus on December 11, 2012 at 11:47 AM · Report this
McJulie 13
@1 and New York's excellent public transportation seems to make the amenities of Manhattan relatively accessible to people who live in less expensive parts of the city. That's where it differs from a gated community. No gated community has a Central Park, much less free concerts by the New York Philharmonic there.

As several commenters have pointed out, the downside of a sprawlier city like Houston is that public transportation tends to be inefficient, necessitating the poor have personal automobiles, which can easily be as much of a burden as pricier real estate.

To an extent, a place like Manhattan is always going to be pricy because of supply and demand: inherently limited and highly desirable.

But I do think there is a developer-related problem that keeps poorer people out of city cores, even in a city like Seattle. Developers want to maximize their personal profit, not the city's efficiency or functionality or diversity. So even when there is high demand for mid-priced lodgings, developers would prefer to build "luxury" apartments and condominiums, even if that results in a glut.
Posted by McJulie on December 11, 2012 at 12:29 PM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 14
Manhattan has great public transportation, but the rest of NYC isn't that great.

Sure, you could live without a car in Brooklyn or Queens, but you'll likely be walking a long way to the bus stop.

You pretty much have to have a car if you live in Staten Island.

People hype up NYC as this great public transportation place, with lots of culture, tons to do, dense urban living. But that's really just Manhattan. And not even all of Manhattan... only Mahattan-minus-most-of-Harlem.

I lived in East Elmhurst in Queens for a few years. If I walked to the end of my block, I had a view of the Empire State Building. Yet it took at least an hour to actually get inside Manhattan. The nearest train there was 15 blocks away and took two buses to get to. It was easier and quicker and cheaper to just drive myself.

"NYC" does not equal "Manhattan" even though that's how everyone thinks of it.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on December 11, 2012 at 12:53 PM · Report this
15
Awww, it's so cute when urban planning gurus pretend to care about the working class.
Posted by Joe Glibmoron on December 11, 2012 at 1:41 PM · Report this

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