A New Metropolitan Blueprint for Texas

Traditionally associated with its wide-open spaces, Texas is now, undeniably, defined by the cities and suburbs that comprise its built environment.

March 25, 2021, 12:00 PM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Houston, Texas

The Montrose neighborhood in Houston, with downtown in the background. | Roschetzky Photography / Shutterstock

Three institutions—the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin, the SMU-Bush Institute Economic Growth Initiative in Dallas, and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University in Houston—issued a "metropolitan blueprint" for the state of Texas. The blueprint is the first of its kind, as is the collaboration.

The key assumption underlying the blueprint is that the state is now defined by its developed places. "[C]ities and suburbs are Texas these days," reads an article by William Fulton announcing the report.

The report, therefore, offers a "road map that will move Texas toward a prosperous and successful metropolitan future" by challenging the status quo of business friendly policies and sprawling development patterns.

Before the pandemic emptied out urban business districts, Texas’ cities and suburbs had become notorious for their traffic congestion. Travel between the nodes of the Texas Triangle is time-consuming and inefficient. Governor Greg Abbott has acknowledged that road-building alone can no longer suffice to meet the state’s transportation needs.

The metropolitan prescription offered by the blueprint focuses into three key recommendations: 1) Texas should invest in Texans, 2) Texas should empower local communities, and 3) Texas needs solutions that are Texan. The report also focuses on three key areas: 1) Economic Development, 2) Housing and Land Use, and 3) Transportation and Infrastructure.  

For additional reading on the blueprint—its conclusions, assumptions, and recommendations—see also an opinion piece written by Fulton, Kyle Shelton, Steven Pedigo, and J.H.Cullum Clark that's behind the paywall at the Houston Chronicle.  

Thursday, March 25, 2021 in Rice Kinder Institute for Urban Research

Chicago Commute

Planning for Congestion Relief

The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.

May 12, 2022 - James Brasuell

Twin Cities

Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think

Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.

May 13, 2022 - Reason

Single-Family Housing Construction

New White House Housing Initiative Includes Zoning Reform Incentives

The Biden administration this morning released a new program of actions intended to spur housing construction around the United States.

May 16, 2022 - The White House

Complete Street Vancouver

Study: Most of Vancouver Is a ‘15-Minute City’

A large majority of Vancouver residents can access a grocery store in 15 minutes or less by bicycle or on foot.

May 20 - Vancouver Sun

Montreal, Quebec

Urban Design, Transport, and Health

The Lancet medical journal published a series of articles that explore how to evaluate and guide urban planning decisions to create healthy and sustainable cities. Live long and prosper!

May 20 - The Lancet - Urban Design, Transport, and Health

MoGo Bikeshare Bikes

Detroit Bike Share Celebrates Five Years

In its five years of operation, Detroit’s MoGo bikeshare has added electric and adaptive bikes to its fleet of more than 600 bikes.

May 20 - MoGo

HUD’s 2022 Innovative Housing Showcase

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Expanding HUD’s Eviction Protection Grant Program

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

New Updates on The Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.