I was in Austin Texas for the first time this week for the first in-person meeting of the American Society of Health Economists since 2019. Some quick impressions on Austin:
- Austin reminds me of many Southern cities, but Nashville most of all. Both historic state capitals that are booming, lots of people moving in and new infrastructure actually being built, forests of cranes putting up new glass towers. Both filled with bars, restaurants, and especially live music. But even with so much happening and so much being built, they don’t *feel* dense, you can always see lots of sky even downtown.
- Austin seems to be a bizarre “pharmacy desert”, I think I walked 14 miles all through town before I saw one. Contrast to NYC with a Duane Reade on every block. In fact downtown seemed to have almost no chains of any kind, restaurants included; I wonder if this is just about consumer preferences or there’s some sort of anti-chain law.
- Good brisket and tacos, as expected
- Most US cities have redeveloped their waterfronts the last few decades to make them pleasant places to be, but Austin has done particularly well here, many miles of riverfront trails right downtown.
Thoughts from the conference:Continue reading