Skip to main content

SUBURBS AND ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT

 
Had a chance to visit three cities in Texas in eight days, so my observations in all probability be superficial but nevertheless it's useful to highlight some of the things I observed. 

Design of cities - in all the three cities - Austin, Houston and Dallas - the broad design of city is a concentrated downtown where all official and commercial establishment are located and residential places are spread out miles apart. The suburbs are connected via wide road networks that transport people mainly via car, usually just one occupant. Austin is trying to develop residential accommodation in downtown though. This is accompanied by near complete lack of public transport. 

For example I was staying at my friend's place in a Houston suburb, and I had to travel 5.9 miles to catch the only available bus from that place to downtown. Though people talked about traffic jam but I generally found that travel time is less than a minute a mile. My friend in Dallas picked me from Dallas downtown to his house in 35 minutes and the distance travelled was 29 miles if I am not wrong. 

In contrast it takes not less than 45 minutes to travel 24 kilometers from my flat in Delhi to Gurgaon. Often it takes more than an hour. A huge productivity loss. Imagine developing an efficient public transport system (end-to-end) so that people could travel a kilometer in less than a minute. I could save at least 60 minutes if i am commuting from Delhi and Gurgaon on a daily basis. And if million trips are made in the National capital region (NCR) then it's half million hours of time saved each day or increase in productivity. This would result in higher output, and more importantly make transport more accessible to all people. 

Only by making investments in developing infrastructure that will increase productivity of people, a long lasting impact on growth of the economy can be achieved. Of course, the best option is to have houses right next to commercial establishment. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

How can you support a publication you like

When I shifted to my half completed (more on this some other time) flat in Gurgaon in 2016, I couldn't locate newspaper distributors for four or five months. Suddenly, from consuming four or five newspapers, I was completely dependent on digital media. I was going less directly to the news source (say, thehindu.com or livemint.com) but was getting my news from Facebook and Twitter, and from apps like Flipboard.

It became an experiment, as I was consuming interesting stuff but I was not necessarily getting informed. People whom I have met once or twice, or have never met are influencing what I was consuming via Facebook. If you're wondering why you often see posts by your most popular friends, that's the way Facebook algorithms work, unless you specify who's feed should come first. If Facebook promotes post of your not-so-popular friends, why would you read!

I searched hard to find a newspaper distributor and found one finally, after four or five months. So now I subsc…

What if government schools and hospitals attract people with money

I had this random thought (and I get this often only when I have 1000 important things to finish!)- what if people who can afford private schools and hospitals find state-run schools and hospitals good enough for them. All of my friends in UK and US don't send their children to private schools (its another matter that location matters on quality of state-run schools there) and those in UK, don't spend money on healthcare.

Just imagine if this can happen in India. People will be left with more surplus that they can save more or spend on something else. School fees in major Indian cities can be as high as Rs 2 lakh per child per year. The sheer confidence that we don't have to spend on medical expenses and the state will take care will give confidence to spend more money.

The multiplier effect of this extra money in the hands of the people will hugely benefit the economy, and can spring creative enterprises.

This level of expenditure (even Rs50,000 per child per year) is si…

Being hopeless....

Three months back when my mom was visiting me, she experience heart palpitations for two consecutive nights. Worried I called my cardiologist friend who asked us to visit him in the government hospital on that day as it was a non-OPD (out patients day) duty for him. Apparently non-OPD days are less crowded. As we sat waiting, we saw many worried parents bringing their just born babies to treat serious heart problems. What struck me were the faces of these parents - a feeling of hopelessness. This was their last hope to treat their infants in a state-run hospital as they don't  have money to take them elsewhere.

Fortunately, the staff at this government hospital were treating patients sympathetically. I hoped the patients would have got the best of treatment available. In comparison, patients were treated as cattle herds at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), India's premier hospital. To get an cardio OPD appointment, you will have stand in the line from 5 PM …