Talking Headways Podcast: Houston Spreads Like a Spilled Bucket of Water

This week on the podcast I’m joined by Kyle Shelton of the Kinder Institute to talk about his new book Power Moves: Transportation, Politics, and Development in Houston. Kyle shares why he wrote the book and what it feels like to look back at the city’s development history knowing it could have turned out better. We also talk about the idea of “infrastructure citizenship” and how local transit advocates groups wielded power in past fights against road builders.

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The Hilarious 1960s Vision for the Underbelly of a Houston Highway

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Ah, the best laid plans. As Texas DOT considers tearing down the Pierce Elevated Freeway on the east side of downtown Houston, it’s instructive to look back at what people were thinking when they made this eyesore. Kyle Shelton at Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research shares these hilarious drawings from the late 1960s that depict how happening […]
A report from Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research aims to better understand perceptions of street safety risks by looking at crashes that weren't. Image: Kinder Institute

Attempting to Gauge the Impact of “Near-Miss” Incidents on Houston’s Streets

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We've all had this experience while walking or biking -- someone cutting us off, or swerving, leaving us catching our breath and thinking, "That was close." Close encounters, just inches away from being a collision, have a big impact on how we think about street safety, but they're not well understood, since they're rarely, if ever, reported. A new report out of Houston attempts to gauge the impact of these "near-miss" incidents.

How the New Google Maps May Change the Way You See the City

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What can a Google Maps visual teach us about the cities we live in? Kyle Shelton at Network blog The Urban Edge has been exploring the latest update of Google Maps, which now highlights clusters of businesses, or “areas of interest,” in orange. Shelton says the highlighted zones can reveal unexpected pockets of commercial activity: The surprising diversity of the areas — in character, […]

Talking Headways Podcast: The Urban Policy Translator

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This week we’re joined by Shelley Poticha, director of NRDC’s Urban Solutions Program, who tells us about the organization's new programs like SPARCC and the City Energy Project. We get into federal policy like the Clean Power Plan and the story of how FTA and HUD were finally connected, and we talk about The Next American Metropolis, the 1993 book about transit-oriented development she wrote with Peter Calthorpe.

Talking Headways Podcast: Growing Up and Out in Houston

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This week and next I’m joined by Christof Spieler, a vice president of Morris Architects who serves on the board of Houston Metro, to talk about Houston. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the podcasts. Christof tells stories about how planning works in Houston, including how Intercontinental Airport was sited during a backroom deal and how people inside the city think […]