RPA wrap-up

§ October 15th, 2009 § No Comments

The Regional Plan Association, which created America 2050, provided a nice wrap-up of the conference on its website:

Houston, with its long refusal to adopt zoning, is the city most planners love to hate. Yet underneath this apparent disdain for big government, the city has a complexity and receptivity to new ideas and people that make it especially appealing to visiting New Yorkers, even visiting planners.

The challenge is to integrate this energizing urban core into what is being called the Texas Triangle Megaregion. … The Texas Triangle is one of the fastest growing of the nation’s emerging megaregions. In addition to Houston, it encompasses Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio. Together these places encompass nearly 80% of Texas’ population and an even larger share of its economy and population growth. Until recently the cities of the Texas Triangle shared little more than football rivalries. But as a result of research by America 2050 and partners at Houston Tomorrow, the University of Texas at Austin, and Texas A&M University, there is a growing awareness that all of these cities share economic clusters, infrastructure systems, aquifers, and other natural resources.

Day 2: Elected officials panel on high-speed rail; Conclusion

§ October 14th, 2009 § 1 Comment

The conference concluded with an elected officials panel to discuss high-speed and commuter rail in the Texas Triangle. The participants included (left to right) Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, Fort Worth City Councilmember Jungus Jordan, Travis County Commissioner Sarah Eckhardt, and College Station Mayor Ben White. The discussion was moderated by Miya Shay, a reporter for KTRH-TV Channel 13 in Houston.


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Day 2: Visioning in the Triangle

§ October 14th, 2009 § No Comments

Sally Campbell, Karen Walz, Emily Braswell, and Patrick Howard discussed how to create a citizen vision for the future in the Texas Triangle. The speakers emphasized the need for implementation strategies, not just visioning.

Video will be posted soon.

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Day 2: Sustainable economics for the Texas Triangle

§ October 7th, 2009 § 1 Comment

Christopher Leinberger, Mark Anielski, and Robin Rather discussed sustainable economics and wealth generation in the Texas Triangle. Leinberger focused on the connection between transportation and real estate development, Rather discussed green jobs, and Anielski discussed “genuine wealth,” which includes many typically unmeasured or undervalued qualities.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 2: Welcome; sustainable polycentric regions and ecocities

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

David Crossley, president of Houston Tomorrow, welcomed participants to the second day of the conference and discussed polycentric cities such as Houston, which has multiple high-density centers, adding that the idea of a polycentric region would work well in the Texas Triangle.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Participant survey; Conclusion

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

Day 1 concluded with an anonymous keypad voting session to learn more about the collective views of the participants. Overall, participants were generally optimistic on most subjects, with the notable exceptions of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, managing water resources, and preserving natural areas. Participants were also doubtful that the state legislature would be helpful on issues facing the Texas Triangle.

Full survey results (pdf, 228 kb)
Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Green infrastructure

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

John Jacob, Karen Walz, and Dean Almy talked about green infrastructure and the role it plays in the Texas Triangle, as well as about how to protect those assets as the region grows. All three agreed that the cities in the Texas Triangle must focus heavily on creating density in order to preserve existing natural resources.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Transportation

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

David Goldberg, Frank Wilson, Petra Todorovich, and Ashby Johnson discussed transportation priorities in the Texas Triangle, as well as how transportation policies are changing nationally. They said that popular opinion is shifting in favor of transit and high-speed rail, and that local and federal policies are slowly adapting as well.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Energy

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

Amy Myers Jaffe and Raymond Orbach discussed energy use and production, and how those trends might change in coming years. Jaffe said that to change the US energy system, we must change our driving patterns, and Orbach said that cities should try to optimize their land uses to do so.

Video will be posted soon.

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Day 1: Food & water

§ October 7th, 2009 § No Comments

John Jacob, Bruce McCarl, Bob Randall, Dan Hardin, and Jim Holway discussed water and food challenges facing Texas. The speakers said that Texas imports much of its food supply, and that a growing population and dwindling water resources will strain the system over the next 50 years.

Video will be posted soon.
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Presentations from the Conference

§ October 6th, 2009 § No Comments

First off, here is a great video that was shown at the conference and also won The Congress for the New Urbanism’s 2009 CNU 17 Video Contest.

It was created by independent filmmaker John Paget and First+Main Media (Drew Ward, Chris Elisara and John Paget).

Next up, we’ve uploaded most of the PowerPoint presentations that were used at the conference.  They are loaded with thought-provoking and engaging information.  Enjoy!

Dan Bellow on the State of Houston’s Economy (.ppt, 2.7 MB)

Emily Braswell on a Citizens’ Vision for Houston’s Future (.ppt, 5.4 MB)

Sally Campbell on a Regional Vision for Central Texas (.ppt, 35.7 MB)

David Crossley on Polycentric Regions (.key, 63.8 MB) (.ppt, 38.6 MB) (.pdf, 36.9 MB)

David Goldberg on the Changing Priorities of American Transportation (.ppt, 5.9 MB)

Dan Hardin on Texas Water Supply (.ppt, 9 MB)

Bill Hobby on the Importance of Tier One Universities in the state of Texas (.pdf, 4 KB)

Jim Holway on Water Shortages in the Western U.S. (.pptx, 3.1 MB)

Patrick Howard on Visioning in the Texas Triangle (.ppt, 244 KB)

John Jacob on Texas Soil and Water Issues (.pptx, 4.4 MB)

John Jacob on the Important Role Green Infrastructure Plays in Cities (.pptx, 16.5 MB)

Amy Myers Jaffe on U.S. Energy Situation (.ppt, 1.5 MB)

Stephen Klineberg on the Changing Demographics of Houston (.ppt, 1 MB)

Robert Lang, Ph.D., on The Arizona Sun Corridor (.ppt, 5.8 MB)

Bruce McCarl on Climate Change and its Effects on Food & Water Availability (.ppt, 2.8 MB)

Michael Neuman on a Framework for Future Growth in the Texas Triangle (.ppt, 17.5 MB)

Raymond Orbach on Megaregions Energy Systems (.ppt, 1.8 MB)

Mark Pisano on the Southern California Megaregion (.ppt, 12.6 MB)

Bob Randall on Shifting to Locally Produced Food (.ppt, 532 KB)

Robin Rather on Sustainable Economic Perspectives in the Texas Triangle (.ppt, 1.7 MB)

Frederick Steiner on Reinventing the Texas Triangle (.ppt, 61 MB)

Petra Todorovich on Megaregions and the Case for National Infrastructure Policy (.ppt, 5.9 MB)

Petra Todorovich on Where High-Speed Rail Works Best (.ppt, 5.4 MB)

Karen Walz on Green Infrastructure (.ppt, 29.4 MB)

Karen Walz on a Vision for North Texas (.ppt, 4.6 MB)

Frank J Wilson on Using Intermodal Terminals to Connect Light Rail, Commuter Rail, and High-Speed Rail in the Houston Area (.ppt, 11.1 MB)

Robert Yaro on the Northeast Megaregion (.ppt, 6.8 MB)

Day 1: Regional & megaregional equity

§ October 6th, 2009 § No Comments

Dwayne Marsh, Stephen Klineberg, and Amanda Timm discussed disparities in affordable housing, transportation investments, and environmental justice, as well as how equity will be impacted by future development, particularly with the demographic changes underway in the Texas Triangle.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Texas Triangle issues, challenges, opportunities

§ October 6th, 2009 § No Comments

Frederick Steiner and Michael Neuman talked about the strengths and weaknesses of the Texas Triangle from an economic and infrastructure standpoint, as well as the collaboration required to address them. They emphasized that the Texas Triangle must not only promote its urban areas, but it must also protect its rural areas and farmland.

Video will be posted soon.

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Day 1: Megaregions: A framework for 21st century development

§ October 6th, 2009 § No Comments

Robert Yaro, Robert Lang, and Mark Pisano provided an overview of some of the different megaregions around the country, examining the issues facing the Northeast, Arizona Sun Corridor, and Southern California megaregions.

Video will be posted soon.
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Day 1: Welcome; Megaregions & the case for a national infrastructure policy

§ October 1st, 2009 § No Comments

Houston Tomorrow President David Crossley opened the conference, and Dan Bellow, Chairman of the Greater Houston Partnership, welcomed the participants to Houston. Former Lt. Gov. Bill Hobby discussed the economic benefits provided by Tier One universities. Petra Todorovich, Director of America 2050, provided an introduction to the concept of megaregions and discussed their relationship to a national infrastructure policy.

Video will be posted soon.

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Great conference!

§ September 30th, 2009 § No Comments

Thanks to everyone who attended the megaregions conference for making it such a success. The conference provided many revealing insights into the issues facing the Texas Triangle and forged new relationships between individuals and organizations throughout the Triangle.

We will be posting summaries and videos of all the speakers and panel discussions over the next two weeks. Please check back if you missed a session!

Megaregional transit

§ September 23rd, 2009 § No Comments

From Christof Spieler of the Houston Citizen’s Transportation Coalition:

A megaregion needs a megaregional transportation network. We have megaregional highways and megaregional airlines. We also need to be thinking about megaregional transit.

This is by no means a novel thought. A linked megaregional transit network is taken for granted in Britain, Japan, and most of the world’s industrialized countries. The German railway actually offers a trip planner for the entire country: any bus, light rail, subway, commuter rail, or regional rail stop in the country to any other.
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Panel – Green infrastructure

§ September 21st, 2009 § Tagged § No Comments

Panel participants:

John Jacob, PhD, Texas Sea Grant
Karen Walz, FAICP, Program Manager, Vision North Texas
Dean Almy, PhD, UT-Austin School of Architecture
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Long-range transit plans: Dallas/Fort Worth

§ September 17th, 2009 § Tagged § No Comments

From Rail North Texas, an initiative of the North Central Texas Council of Governments:

“About 6.3 million residents currently call North Texas home. Over the last 10 years, the region’s population has been increasing steadily, and the trend is expected to continue. By 2030, the North Texas population is expected to be 9 million.
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Long-range transit plans: Houston

§ September 17th, 2009 § Tagged § No Comments

From the METRO Solutions website, the following projects are scheduled by approximately 2012:

  • Nearly 30 miles of Light Rail Transit – In the North, East End, Southeast, Uptown and University Corridors;
  • 28 Miles of Commuter Rail Transit (CRT) – along U.S. 290 from Cypress Park & Ride to Intermodal Facility and along U.S. 90A from Missouri City to Fannin South Park & Ride/Rail Station;
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