public goods

Kidd Springs Park

Which states have the happiest residents? States where governments spend more public goods that improve the quality of life for constituents — like libraries, parks, natural resources, and police protection, a Baylor University study found.

Those public goods, which are also quality of life, are things that everyone in a community can use.

Patrick Flavin, Ph.D.

“Public goods are things you can’t exclude people from using — and one person using them doesn’t stop another from doing so,” researcher Patrick Flavin, Ph.D., associate professor of political science in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences said in a press release explaining the study. “They’re typically not profitable to produce in the private market, so if the government doesn’t provide them, they will either be under-provided or not at all.”

So things like well-maintained roads make people happy because they aren’t stuck in detours and traffic, and large social spaces like parks and trails create places that people can connect, which also makes people happier.

And while one might think that since spending on public goods can push property taxes higher, the fact that they also boost home values can often make people reconcile themselves to the extra expense.

“While higher property taxes generally accompany higher home values, it seems that the good outweighs the unfortunate part about having to pay higher taxes,” Flavin said.

Flavin’s study, which was published in Social Science Research, examined data on self-reported happiness levels from 1976 to 2006 found in the General Social Survey conducted by independent researcher NORC  at the University of Chicago. (more…)

Neighborhoods

Image courtesy/Trulia

Bluffview, M Streets and Oak Lawn were named as local favorites for Trulia’s first-ever 2018 Neighborlys, citing the best, friendliest neighborhoods across the country. Zillow Group-owned Trulia named national and local winners in 18 major housing markets, ranked by data in categories such as friendliest neighbors, dog-friendliest, most holiday spirit, best social calendar, most walkable, and kid-friendliest.

Nearly 10,000 neighborhoods across the country were ranked based on more than 20 million written reviews and answered polls by participating locals on Trulia Neighborhoods’ What Locals Say feature. Nationally, neighborhoods in Oakland, Orlando, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, Long Beach, and Gilbert, Arizona were named best in the country.

Among the local honorifics:

North Dallas: Friendliest Neighbors

preston hollow

Trulia says you’ll find the friendliest neighbors in this very broad definition of neighborhoodwhich spans most of Preston Hollow. Developed from farmland in the 1930s, Preston Hollow still has a pastoral feel when neighbors gather in front yards for impromptu gab sessions. While there is some debate about boundaries, they are generally considered to be Royal Lane, Hillcrest Lane, Northwest Highway, and Midway Road. (more…)

Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Of the 10 U.S. states with the highest numeric growth, just one, Colorado, sees snow on a regular basis according to the latest U.S. Census data. Air-conditioning and an aversion to the cold continue to increase interest in warmer climates.

The state with the highest population growth should come as no surprise. Texas’ population grew by 1.3 percent, equaling 379,128 residents from July 1, 2017 to July 1, 2018. Texas also retains its crown as the second-most-populous state at 28,701,845, still some 11 million fewer than No. 1, California’s 39,557,045 residents. However with Texas adding more than twice the new residents as California, we may catch them yet.

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10-minute

The Farmers Branch Historical Park is home to numerous events year-round, including a vintage baseball tournament in the Spring (photo courtesy city of Farmers Branch).

Is your home a 10-minute (or less) walk from a park? One-third of Americans have a much longer trek than that to get to their nearest park, according to research by the National Recreation and Park Association, Urban Land Institute and, The Trust for Public Land.

Recently, Rachel Banner, a senior program manager at the NRPA, wrote a piece for the National Association of Realtors’ Spaces to Places blog about a year-long initiative to make more public spaces and parks available — within a 10-minute walk from every person.

Banner also talks about the Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, which revealed that while residential and commercial developers may create amenities within their buildings or spaces, that’s not necessarily what creates a lifelong resident of a city.

“The report talks a lot about the growing demand for amenities in both office and residential development.  In the discussion about the report Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties also remarked that while each year a new set of cities may be pegged for growth, we must look at how long those cities will remain “hot spots” and the places people stay long-term,” Ballard said. “While including amenities within a building may initially attract owners or tenants, it is the amenities outside of the building open to all that will get them to stay.” (more…)

Frisco was named the best city for raising a family, closely followed by Allen, and Southlake as part of a new 2018 “best Texas cities” list, ranking the best and worst Texas cities for families. Wallethub, a D.C.-based personal finance site, compiled the new June 2018 report that ranked the 117 largest cities in Texas based on family life, fun, education, health and safety, affordability and socioeconomic environment.

What makes a city good for raising a family? Plenty of attractions such as museums and theaters, a quality school system, high graduation rates, number of playgrounds per 100,000 residents and a whole lot of pediatricians were all factors that Wallethub took into account when it named the best Texas cities for families.

While the weighted scores and rankings provide a holistic view of cities, a look at the raw data we requested provides some interesting headlines as well. Missing from the list is Highland Park, which did not rank among the largest cities in Wallethub’s data.

Eagles vs. Dragons

Turning to education, Allen had the number one highest graduation rate in Texas – 96.6 percent, according to Wallethub’s data. Frisco, the overall number one, has a 91.8 percent graduation rate, and Southlake, overall number three on the list, had a 87.3 percent graduation rate, according to Wallethub. (more…)

Photo by Simon Luna photography

Corsicana invites you into their booming downtown and onto the porches of their historic Carriage District this weekend with their Inaugural Porchfest and Crafternoon. You may have heard of the Porchfest craze sweeping the nation musicians playing on grand porches of neighborhood homes for a family-friendly afternoon of socializing and entertainment. (more…)

A few weeks ago this nice fellow from Curbed.com, Patrick Sisson, contacted me to talk Dallas real estate and the biggest changes in the city from my perspective. We could have spoken for hours. It was hard to pick a single favorite or “best” dense new urban area, though I gushed on about Bishop Arts, Preston Center, Uptown, The Design District, Deep Ellum, the potential for Valley View/Midtown and Fair Park, once politics got out of the way. I think he did a wonderful, thorough job of reporting on the growing pains we cover every day here on CandysDirt when it comes to Dallas North Texas real estate. 

See, I did it, too. I said Dallas, when the reality is that, as he wrote, Dallas is the epicenter of a booming region:

The epicenter of the Metroplex—a constellation of cities, including Fort Worth, that saw its population grow 35 percent between 2000 and 2014 and added 717,000 jobs—Dallas, and its surrounding cities and suburbs, is swelling with new arrivals from coastal cities and other countries. The region is constantly evolving and reinventing itself.

But oh do we have growing pains. We have a near constant battle between the business brains who have traditionally run the city (The Dallas Citizen’s Council) and the progressives here and moving in, who bring with them new, fresh ideas from other lands. (One reason why I ran for Dallas City Council this spring.) Patrick captured the ying and yang of it all so well, quoting the right people (I helped him a bit there) and dousing liberally with Mark Lamster and my friend Joel Kotkin:

“Dallas is especially confusing and contradictory,” Lamster says. “We’re making efforts to change it, but it’s hard to turn around an ocean liner.”

Well, human beings are contradictory. But I wouldn’t call it turning an ocean liner: more like a floating refinery. (more…)

The Katy at Victory Park facing down the opening edge of the Katy Trail

From the American Airlines Center and before even turning the corner and passing over the Tollway, the Katy Trail is lined with new apartment buildings towering over it.  From Victory Place, Camden Victory Park, The Alexan, and the latest — Magnolia Station and The Katy at Victory Park — walking at this end of the trail is something less than peaceful. Bleu Ciel will almost complete the curtain.  I’m pretty sure I can hold my breath long enough to see Little Mexico Village and the Magnolia condos fall to development to completely encase this end of the trail.

Of course these apartments have the manufactured hipster vibe residents have self-deluded themselves into thinking they possess.  Magnolia Station talks about apartments that evoke a “Modern Spirit” or “Vintage Soul” while The Katy at Victory Park harkens for residents who “live with intention,” whose “best friend” is their pet, and who want to “live inspired on the trail.”

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