We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Were zoning abolished, rent control repealed, and developers given free rein in New York, could growth rates remotely comparable to sunbelt cities possibly be matched? Not likely. Even equaling Houston's growth rate – a city with abundant vacant land in and around its downtown – would probably be a challenge. Affordability is an even more distant goal using supply-based strategies alone. Relaxing development restrictions that worsen affordability and hinder supply is a crucial goal, but not one which is likely to lead to rapid population increases, or housing cost relief, in built-out and geographically-constrained cities.
Bird Dog.... Houston's kind of an odd city. It has no zoning laws, or didn't when I came down here forty years ago. It was in many ways a sleepy Southern town, with laws against booze being sold in restaurants. It had grown at a slow rate, until several things happened more or less at once. NASA set up its main activities just outside of town, oil companies set up downtown offices, including Exxon, the biggest citizen-owned oil company in the country, and oilfield service companies joined them. The city responded by passing laws allowing liquor to be sold by the drink in restaurants, and suddenly a whole lot of restaurants were opened which were much more sophisticated than the ones already here.
It's always been a kind of free and easy city, but with all the multiple impulses toward growth, and few regulations to hamper that growth, it's like the city was a puppy that had been fed Gro-Pup by its owner. It grew rapidly in all directions. It's on a coastal plain, with no topographic barriers to growth, so it grew in all directions at once.
Some of Houston's southern roots are still showing. "A man's home is still his castle" down here, so citizens are allowed to keep firearms in their homes, and they used to be able to carry them in their cars if they were going from one county to another. Citizens can defend their property from invasion by thieves and other strangers and if someone gets shot in the process, a Grand Jury will undoubtedly no-bill the citizen. Citizens can also get carry permits for firearms by applying to the state for a permit, which will be granted if the person passes a written test and a competency test for their firearms skills. This is one of the most effective ways to keep down the criminality down here. If some drug cartel people come to town to set up processing plants [and they're always doing that] they are discouraged from wholesale break-ins by the fact that they never know which homeowners are armed. The Mexico border is only about two hundred miles away and is largely undefended. But Texas citizens are defended. By themselves, by choice.