Urban Review: Austin Scooters, Houston Drains and Kanye's City Planning Aspirations

May. 3, 2018

This week, an Adopt-A-Drain program yields results and funny names, Austin is overrun with scooters and more.

A visualization of Houston's racial composition

This week, an Adopt-A-Drain program yields results and funny names, Austin is overrun with scooters and more.

Title Page

A flock of scooters suddenly descended on Austin. Now the city is scrambling to regulate them. Texas Tribune.


Transit Plan May Test Changing Vision of Atlanta's Suburbs. WABE.

Republican state Sen. Brandon Beach, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, took a 38-mile trip across three counties to illustrate the fragmented nature of the current system.

'It took us four hours and 10 minutes,' he said. 'But the worst thing was that I had to go to three different websites to plan my trip…then I had to pay with three different methods of payment and I had to wait 30 minutes between jurisdictional lines.'

Executive Summary

"I’m going to be one of the biggest real estate developers of all time, like what Howard Hughes is to aircraft and what Henry Ford was to cars."

That's what Kanye West told Charlemagne Tha God in an hours-long interview after tweeting about his support for President Trump. Of the many topics covered in the interview, Kanye's fuzzy plans to "develop cities" was one that deserves a little more attention. As CityLab writer Brentin Mock put it, "...we kinda have to take him seriously because he’s adept at speaking realities into existence, he has access to wealthy people in high places, and he has 300 acres of land, we have to consider that somebody might actually give him money and the green light to realize his development goals."

But Kanye's willful ignorance about history and its ties to the present, particularly when it comes to the perpetuation of inequality, should read a parade of red flags for anyone interested in urban policy and planning. Mock continues: "...he’s likely unprepared for the gusts of racism and politics that he’s destined to run smack into should he ever have a chance to realize his community development goals..."

Read the full essay here.


The City of Houston launched an Adopt-A-Drain program to enlist the public in managing the city's drains and help keep them clear of leaves and trash. It's easy to read about the program and adopt a drain using the city's online interface, which also makes it easy to see all the wonderful, creative names Houston residents have already given to their adopted drains.

Adopt-A-Drain homepage with map

Conclusion? Naming privileges make civic engagement way more fun.


Mailing Address

6100 Main St. MS-208
Houston, TX 77005-1892


Physical Address

Rice University
Kraft Hall
6100 Main Street, Suite 305
Houston, TX 77005-1892

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