robertogreco + realestate   83

The Dig: Real Estate Capitalism And Gentrification With Samuel Stein Jacobin Radio podcast
"What is gentrification? It isn't just about what was once known as the hipster and is still known as the artist, the telltale warning signs of impending demographic change. It's part of an entire political-economic order that has made real estate global capitalism's most prized asset for storing wealth—one that has helped bend place-based urban governments to the will of mobile, and thus more powerful, capital. Dan interviews Samuel Stein on his book, Capital City: Gentrification and the Real Estate State."
realestate  samuelstein  2019  gentrification  capitalism  neoliberalism  finance  realestatefinancialcomplex  money  wealth  cities  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  inequality  shelter  labor  policy  newdeal  urbanrenewal 
2 days ago by robertogreco
Shade
[via: https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1122670547777871874

who concludes…
https://twitter.com/shannonmattern/status/1122685558688485376
"🌴Imagine what LA could do if it tied street enhancement to a comprehensive program of shade creation: widening the sidewalks, undergrounding powerlines, cutting bigger tree wells, planting leafy, drought-resistant trees, + making room for arcades, galleries, + bus shelters.🌳"]

"All you have to do is scoot across a satellite map of the Los Angeles Basin to see the tremendous shade disparity. Leafy neighborhoods are tucked in hillside canyons and built around golf courses. High modernist homes embrace the sun as it flickers through labor-intensive thickets of eucalyptus. Awnings, paseos, and mature ficus trees shade high-end shopping districts. In the oceanfront city of Santa Monica, which has a dedicated municipal tree plan and a staff of public foresters, all 302 bus stops have been outfitted with fixed steel parasols (“blue spots”) that block the sun. 9 Meanwhile, in the Los Angeles flats, there are vast gray expanses — playgrounds, parking lots, and wide roads — with almost no trees. Transit riders bake at unsheltered bus stops. The homeless take refuge in tunnels and under highway overpasses; some chain their tarps and tents to fences on Skid Row and wait out the day in the shadows of buildings across the street.

Shade is often understood as a luxury amenity, lending calm to courtyards and tree-lined boulevards, cooling and obscuring jewel boxes and glass cubes. But as deadly, hundred-degree heatwaves become commonplace, we have to learn to see shade as a civic resource that is shared by all. In the shade, overheated bodies return to equilibrium. Blood circulation improves. People think clearly. They see better. In a physiological sense, they are themselves again. For people vulnerable to heat stress and exhaustion — outdoor workers, the elderly, the homeless — that can be the difference between life and death. Shade is thus an index of inequality, a requirement for public health, and a mandate for urban planners and designers.

A few years back, Los Angeles passed sweeping revisions to the general plan meant to encourage residents to walk, bike, and take more buses and trains. But as Angelenos step out of their cars, they are discovering that many streets offer little relief from the oppressive sunshine. Not everyone has the stamina to wait out the heat at an unprotected bus stop, or the money to duck into an air-conditioned cafe. 11 When we understand shade as a public resource — a kind of infrastructure, even — we can have better discussions about how to create it and distribute it fairly.

Yet cultural values complicate the provision of shade. Los Angeles is a low-rise city whose residents prize open air and sunshine. 12 They show up at planning meetings to protest tall buildings that would block views or darken sunbathing decks, and police urge residents in high-crime neighborhoods to cut down trees that hide drug dealing and prostitution. Shade trees are designed out of parks to discourage loitering and turf wars, and designed off streets where traffic engineers demand wide lanes and high visibility. Diffuse sunlight is rare in many parts of Los Angeles. You might trace this back to a cultural obsession with shadows and spotlights, drawing a line from Hollywood noir — in which long shadows and unlit corners represent the criminal underworld — to the contemporary politics of surveillance. 13 The light reveals what hides in the dark.

When I think of Los Angeles, I picture Glendale Boulevard in Atwater Village, a streetcar suburb converted into a ten-lane automobile moonscape. People say they like this street for its wall of low-slung, pre-war storefronts, home to record stores and restaurants. To me, it’s a never-ending, vertiginous tunnel of light. I squint to avoid the glare from the white stucco walls, bare pavement, and car windows. From a climate perspective, bright surfaces are good; they absorb fewer sun rays and lessen the urban heat-island effect. But on an unshaded street they can also concentrate and intensify local sunlight."



"At one time, they did. “Shade was integral, and incorporated into the urban design of southern California up until the 1930s,” Davis said. “If you go to most of the older agricultural towns … the downtown streets were arcaded. They had the equivalent of awnings over the sidewalk.” Rancho homes had sleeping porches and shade trees, and buildings were oriented to keep their occupants cool. The original settlement of Los Angeles conformed roughly to the Law of the Indies, a royal ordinance that required streets to be laid out at a 45-degree angle, ensuring access to sun in the winter and shade in the summer. Spanish adobes were built around a central courtyard cooled by awnings and plants. 15 As the city grew, the California bungalow — a low, rectangular house, with wide eaves, inspired by British Indian hill stations — became popular with the middle class. “During the 1920s, they were actually prefabricated in factories,” Davis said. “There are tens of thousands of bungalows, particularly along the Alameda corridor … that were manufactured by Pacific Ready-Cut Homes, which advertised itself as the Henry Ford of home construction.” 16

All that changed with the advent of cheap electricity. In 1936, the Los Angeles Bureau of Power and Light completed a 266-mile high-voltage transmission line from Boulder Dam (now Hoover Dam), which could supply 70 percent of the city’s power at low cost. Southern Californians bought mass-produced housing with electric heating and air conditioning. By the end of World War II, there were nearly 4 million people living in Los Angeles County, and the new neighborhoods were organized around driveways and parking lots. Parts of the city, Davis said, became “virtually treeless deserts.”"



"It’s easy to see how this hostile design reflected the values of the peak automobile era, but there is more going on here. The destruction of urban refuge was part of a long-term strategy to discourage gay cruising, drug use, and other “shady” activities downtown. In 1964, business owners sponsored another redesign that was intended, in the hyperbolic words of the Los Angeles Times, to finally clear out the “deviates and criminals.” The city removed the perimeter benches and culled even more palms and shade trees, so that office workers and shoppers could move through the park without being “accosted by derelicts and ‘bums.’” Sunlight was weaponized. “Before long, pedestrians will be walking through, instead of avoiding, Pershing Square,” the Times declared. “And that is why parks are built.” 19"



"High-concept architecture is one way to transform the shadescape of Los Angeles. Street trees are another. Unfortunately, the city’s most ubiquitous tree — the iconic Washington robusta, or Mexican fan palm — is about as useful in that respect as a telephone pole.

Palm trees have been identified with southern California since 1893, when Canary Island date palms — the fatter, stouter cousin — were displayed at the Chicago World’s Fair. On the trunk of one of those palms, boosters posted the daily temperatures at a San Diego beach, and the tree itself came to stand for “sunshine and soft air.” In his indispensable history, Trees in Paradise, Jared Farmer traces the palm’s transformation from a symbol of a healthy climate to a symbol of glamour, via its association with Hollywood. 26

Despite that early fame, palm trees did not really take over Los Angeles until the 1930s, when a citywide program set tens of thousands of palms along new or recently expanded roads. They were the ideal tree for an automobile landscape. Hardy, cheap, and able to grow anywhere, palm trees are basically weeds. Their shallow roots curl up into a ball, so they can be plugged into small pavement cuts without entangling underground sewer and water mains or buckling sidewalks. As Farmer puts it, palms are “symbiotic infrastructure,” beautifying the city without making a mess. Plus, as Mary Pickford once pointed out, the slender trunks don’t block the view of storefronts, which makes them ideal for window-shopping from the driver’s seat. The city’s first forester, L. Glenn Hall, planted more than 25,000 palm trees in 1931 alone. 27

Hall’s vision, though, was more ambitious than that. He planned to landscape all of Los Angeles’s roads with 1.2 million street trees. Tall palms, like Washingtonia robusta, would go on major thoroughfares, and side streets would be lined with elm, pine, red maple, liquidambar, ash, and sycamore. A Depression-era stimulus package provided enough funds to employ 400 men for six months. But the forestry department put the burden of watering and maintenance on property owners, and soon it charged for cutting new tree wells, too. Owners weren’t interested. So Hall concentrated his efforts on the 28 major boulevards that would serve the 1932 Olympics — including the now-iconic Ventura, Wilshire, Figueroa, Vermont, Western, and Crenshaw — and committed the city to pay for five years of tree maintenance. That may well have bankrupted the tree planting program, and before long the city was urging property owners to take on all costs, including the trees themselves.

This history partly explains the shade disparity in Los Angeles today. Consider the physical dimensions of a major city street in Hall’s time. Between the expanding road and narrowing sidewalks was an open strip of grass, three to ten feet wide, known as the parkway. Having rejected a comprehensive parks system, Los Angeles relied on these roadside strips to plant its urban forest, but over time the parkways were diminished by various agencies in the name of civic improvements — chiefly, road widening. 29 And the stewardship of these spaces was always ambiguous. The parkways are public land, owned and regulated by the … [more]
losangeles  trees  shade  history  palmtrees  urbanplanning  electricity  inequality  2019  sambloch  mikedavis  urban  urbanism  cars  transportation  disparity  streets  values  culture  pedestrians  walking  heat  light  socal  california  design  landscape  wealth  sidewalks  publictransit  transit  privacy  reynerbanham  surveillance  sun  sunshine  climatechange  sustainability  energy  ericgarcetti  antoniovillaraigosa  environment  realestate  law  legal  cities  civics 
24 days ago by robertogreco
The Myth of a Desert Metropolis: Los Angeles was not built in a desert, but are we making it one? – Boom California
"The question is posed like this. You’ve probably heard it or asked it yourself. Perhaps at a cocktail party. Probably not in LA—but hey, maybe even here in the heart of the folly.

Why on Earth would you build a city for millions of souls in a desert?

Someday, and maybe sooner rather than later, the water is going to run out, and Los Angeles will dry up and blow away.

Alex Prud’homme, author of Ripple Effect: The Fate of Water in the Twenty-First Century, prophesied that Perth, Australia, “could become the world’s first ‘ghost city’—a modern metropolis abandoned for lack of water.” And, he warned, “similar fates may await America’s booming desert cities: Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Los Angeles.”[1] Prud’homme’s description of Los Angeles as a “desert city” has a distinguished lineage. Boyle Workman, a 1930s booster, recalled Los Angeles’ “desert” beginnings when he described the Los Angeles Aqueduct as a triumph of human ingenuity and engineering. Workman praised “the men who diverted streams into ditches and fed waving fields of grain, vineyards, glossy orange groves and rich gardens that blossomed where once desert brooded.”[2] A 1977 article by the famed aqueduct critic Remi Nadeau was headlined “Los Angeles is by Far the Largest City Ever Built in a Desert.”[3] And nine years later in Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water,[4] Marc Reisner referred to Los Angeles as being second only to Cairo as the most populous desert city on earth.

The myth of desert Los Angeles suggests that if not for the Los Angeles Aqueduct—and if the city were ever to lose the water that comes from Owens Valley—LA could be Ozymandias: that “colossal wreck, boundless and bare,” around which “the lone and level sands stretch far away,” in the immortal words of the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley. But is Los Angeles the once and future desert? And should the LA Aqueduct be seen as Mulholland’s greatest gift? Or a curse because it gave rise to an ultimately unsustainable metropolis?

That Los Angeles is a “desert city” is, in large part, a myth. Writers have chipped away at the myth of the desert metropolis before.[5] Here my objective is not simply to dispel the myth but to explore the history that underlies the mythology and to consider its potential for becoming true—because sometimes myths have a strange way of becoming true. Could we, through our own actions, be transforming the myth of desert LA into a self-fulfilling prophecy? It turns out, we have in fact gone a long way down that road.



Water Wars, Real Estate and the Birth of the Desert City Myth

So, where did the “Los Angeles is a desert city” myth originate? Historian Ralph Shaffer has laid the blame on Harrison Gray Otis, the Chandler family, and their use of Los Angeles Times as a propaganda vehicle to secure water and ensure development.[12] However, I think it’s a little more complex than that. In the writings of city boosters during the first real estate boom in the 1880s, one finds no overt reference to Los Angeles as a desert. The following assessment in Los Angeles Times comes from 15 August 1886: “The water supply of Los Angeles is abundant, and while not everything that it should be or can be made, it is better than the water of Boston, Philadelphia, and other Eastern cities.”

There were, however, other forces at work that may have contributed to conceptions of Los Angeles as a desert at the time. The 1877 Desert Lands Act classified as desert those tracts of land that “will not, without irrigation, produce an agricultural crop.”[13] Private citizens could be granted title to such lands if they intended to “reclaim” them through the provision of irrigation waters. The area of Rancho Cucamonga in San Bernardino County east of Los Angeles was a region of such activity, although it is arguably not a true desert either.[14]

Closer to Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley in the 1880s was explicitly referred to as desert that could be made to bloom with irrigation.[15] Here is one example from Los Angeles Times, on 4 June 1886: “It was said by somebody years ago, that the man who made a blade of grass grow where none grew before was a public benefactor. What can we say of the man who brings water from the bowels of the earth and causes a fresh, pure living stream to flow where there never was one since the world’s creation? Streams shall break out in the desert, and the thirsty lands become pools of water.” We begin to see the desert city myth taking hold in what would become the greater Los Angeles area, appropriately enough in the San Fernando Valley, where water from the LA Aqueduct would enable urban development in the twentieth century.[16]

The image of Los Angeles collapsing and returning to desert can be seen in a remarkable Los Angeles Times article, “When the Desert Came Back,” which was published29 May 1927, just twelve years after the aqueduct first brought water to the city. Nathaniel Davis’s ostensible subject was the Roman ruins at Timgad, Algeria, but he used the occasion to warn about the potential environmental collapse of Los Angeles and the need for the conservation of water and surrounding forest lands. Uncannily, his voice can seem to speak directly to us from over eighty years ago about topics starkly relevant today. As many would do after him, Davis employed the desert motif in his plea: “I stood on the heights of Hollywood’s hills and looked seaward and then toward the mountains. It is a stirring panorama, a drama in orchards, steel and stone, and brawn and brain and heart. And I was pessimistic enough to imagine that self-confident Los Angeles had forgotten Babylon, Palmyra, Palestine, China and Timgad. What I now saw was our own beloved land. And I saw sand dunes, sage brush, aridity, stately ruins, idle derricks, desolation.” Much of what has since been written about Los Angeles’ fated return to desert echoes this refrain.

What About William Mulholland?

But what about William Mulholland, the father of the LA Aqueduct? Did he ever subscribe to this view of the desert city? Or use it to sell the aqueduct? In 1905, Mulholland claimed that he originally thought the city would never need water from anywhere else. “Thirteen years ago Fred Eaton first told me that Los Angeles would one day secure its water supply from Owens Valley,” Mulholland told Los Angeles Times. “At that time the Los Angeles River was running 40,000,000 gallons of water daily, and we had a population of less than 50,000. I laughed at him. ‘We have enough water here in the river to supply the city for the next fifty years,’ I told him. ‘You are wrong,’ he said, ‘You have not lived in this country as long as I have. I was born here and have seen dry years, years you know nothing about. Wait and see.”’ Mulholland concluded: “Four years ago I began to discover that Fred was right. Our population climbed to the top and the bottom appeared to drop out of the river.”

The cause was drought. Mulholland’s case for the aqueduct was not built on making a barren desert bloom, but accommodating population growth and providing protection against drought, arguments that have been used to justify importing more water to the city ever since.[17]

In 1907, Mulholland urged voters to support bonds that were critical to building the aqueduct, arguing: “Our population has doubled since 1904, while our water supply has diminished. At times we have faced a veritable water famine.”[18] Drought, of course, was no stranger to Angelenos even prior to Mulholland’s arrival. A devastating drought from 1862 to 1865 eviscerated the region’s cattle-based economy.[19] A prolonged dry spell from 1893 to 1904, coupled with dramatic population growth—the city tripled in size during that period—motivated Mulholland’s quest, not a vision of creating a city in the desert.

Myth Made Real?

But are we turning the city into a desert? To see, let’s get a view from on high, above the city, from a satellite orbiting Earth, which gathered data to create an image while I was writing this piece. What has Los Angeles become since the pastoral eighteenth and nineteenth century views we encountered earlier?

Now we see the gray tones of our metropolitan area blanketing the entire Los Angeles basin, San Fernando Valley, Santa Clarita Valley to the north, and Inland Empire to the east. The San Gabriel and San Bernardino Mountains, which seem so imposing from the ground and separate us from the true desert to the east, appear like tiny green islands in a sea of city and desert. Indeed, because it now veritably merges with Palmdale, Lancaster, Victorville, and Palm Springs, it is the growth of the megacity that encroaches upon the Mojave Desert and not vice versa. The cities merge physically and in terms of the daily flows of people, energy, and commerce. Taken as a whole, Greater Los Angeles has grown from its Mediterranean core outward and has merged with the true deserts to the east. The “fertile vales” that once separated city from desert are no more. This image shows a huge city that blends in with vast deserts to the north and east.

That is not all. Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases, to which Los Angeles has contributed directly, threaten to bring the true desert climate closer to the city’s core. A recent projection of the impacts of climate change shows the city of Los Angeles warming by some 3 to 4 degrees Fahrenheit by the middle of this century, while foothill, mountain, and desert regions could warm even more.[20] At the same time, other models suggest that precipitation patterns are likely to change in ways that will reduce the snowpack in our mountains and diminish our water supply. The result is likely to be increasing general aridity in the Southwest, Southern California, and the Los Angeles region coupled with longer droughts that will tax an already stressed … [more]
losangeles  california  myth  2017  deserts  glenmacdonald  cities  climate  history  williammulholland  realestate  future  water  landscape  ralphshaffer  propaganda 
may 2017 by robertogreco
the three hot trends in Silicon Valley horseshit – Freddie deBoer – Medium
"For a long time I told the same basic joke about Silicon Valley, just updating as some new walled garden network replicated long-existing technology in a format better able to attract VC cash and, presumably, get them ad dollars.

2002, Friendster: At last, a way to connect with friends on the internet!
2003, Photobucket: At last, a way to post pictures on the internet!
2003, Myspace: At last, a way to connect with friends on the internet!
2004, Flickr: At last, a way to post pictures on the internet!
2004, Facebook: At last, a way to connect with friends on the internet!
2005, YouTube: At last, a way to post video on the internet!
2006, Twitter: At last, a way to post text on the internet!
2010, Instagram: At last, a way to post pictures on the internet!
2013, Vine: At last, a way to post video on the internet!
2013, YikYak: At last, a way to post text on the internet!

You get the idea. An industry that never stops lauding itself for its creativity and innovation has built its own success mythology by endlessly repackaging the same banal functions that have existed for about as long as the Web.

It seems, though, that SnapChat will be the last big new player in “social” for awhile, at least until the kids get their dander up for something new. What’s the new hotness in an industry that exemplifies 21st American capitalism, in that it’s a cannibalistic hustle where only the most shameless hucksters survive? As someone who rides the New York subway every day and is forced to look at its ads, let me take you on a journey.

[1] Give Away the Razors, Make Your Money on DRM-Infected Blades

Juicero deserved all of the attention it got and more — it was so pure, so impossibly telling about the pre-apocalyptic American wasteland. It was also just one of a whole constellation of companies that now operate under an ingenious model: take some banal product that has been sold forever at low margins, attach the disposable part to a proprietary system that pretends to improve it but really just locks pepole into a particular vendor, add a touch screen manufactured by Chinese tweens, call it “Smart,” and sell it to schlubby dads too indebted to buy a midlife crisis car and too unattractive to have an affair. As the Juicero saga shows us, you don’t even really have to honor the whole “make the initial purchase cheap” stage. Just ensure that you market your boondoggle to the kind of person who stood in line to buy an $800 “smartwatch” that poorly duplicates a tenth of the functions already present in the phone in their pocket. (You know, those dead inside.) Then get them “locked into your ecosystem,” which means “get their credit card number and automatically charge them every month for your version of a product that can be purchased at the supermarket for a third of the price.” Profit, baby, profit.

Are you the kind of person who is so worn down by the numbing drudgery of late capitalism that you can’t summon the energy to drag a 2 ounce toothbrush across your gums for 90 seconds a day? Well, the electric toothbrush has been a thing for a long time. And that means that it’s not good enough. After years of deadening your limbic system through psychotropic medication, video games, and increasingly-extreme internet pornography, you need something new. Enter Quip, the company disrupting the toothbrush. Quip wants you to know that its product is inexpensive, despite the fact that it will charge you $40/year for for its “refill plan” and I just bought 5 perfectly functional regular toothbrushes for $1 in the most expensive city in the country. Of course, you’re also buying the convenience of automation — who wants to run down stairs to the bodega for a toothbrush when you can hand over your banking info to a toothbrush company? Bonus points to Quip for emphasizing simplicity while hawking a product that employs an engineering team to innovate the concept of a brush.

[2] I’ve got one word for you, Benjamin, just one word: rents.

It’s one thing to take a product that is already cheap and just fine and replace it with a vastly more expensive version that locks people into exploitative proprietary systems for years in exchange for giving them a 15 second hit of dopamine derived from Going Digital. I mean, Quip and Juicero and whatever Silicon Valley dildo company is selling dongs with DRM-equipped replaceable heads are actually fundamentally selling you a product. It’s a horribly, uselessly expensive product that could only be embraced by chumps, but it’s a tangible thing. The real next level is just inserting yourself into someone else’s transaction and collecting a % while offering nothing. (When this is a job, we call it “consulting.”) Why charge a lot for the blades when you can charge a lot for literally nothing?

RentBerry is useful here because the word “rent” is literally in the name. Here’s the value proposition that RentBerry offers. For landlords who are already raking in record profits, RentBerry provides a chance at making even more, as potential tenants must set upon each other in a dystopian nightmare auction system that compels them to ask, how much am I willing to pay to avoid sleeping in the park, really? For tenants, RentBerry offers… well, the opportunity to pay more in a pre-existing housing crisis, the chance to make the process of finding an apartment an even more horrific exercise in stress and disappointment, a reason to hate faceless strangers with even more intensity, and more reason to view city life as a ceaseless Nietzschean struggle from which they will never escape. What RentBerry gets in return is, eventually, a % of your already hideously overpriced rent, for the duration of the lease. I bet you can’t wait to know a portion of your rent check is going not just to the landlord you hate but also to a company that did nothing beyond giving him the ability to take more of your money! Of course, if you live in New York, your “landlord” might very well be a hedge fund that also funded RentBerry! Sweet, right?

RentBerry will tell you that tenants might get a deal thanks to the auction system. Of course, it’s landlords who chose to use RentBerry, not tenants, and if landlords thought they were losing money on the deal they’d never use it, meaning the service’s very reason for being necessarily entails grabbing more and more tenant money. Details!

Why is everything so expensive? Because Silicon Valley and Wall Street are taking huge percentages out of transactions they once didn’t. That’s why. The Juiceros make inexpensive and functional products far more expensive and often less functional; the RentBerrys cut out the middleman by just becoming middlemen. Dare to dream.

[3] We Love Doers So Much We Want to Give Them a Hellish Existence of Endless Precarity

This is the type of company that has become inescapable in NYC subway advertising. Not coincidentally the time I spend contemplating stepping in front of the train to enjoy the sweet oblivion of death is also up dramatically. There’s legit dozens of these companies out there.

The basic idea here is that 40 years of stagnant wages, the decline of unions, the death of middle class blue collar jobs, the demise of pensions, and a general slide of the American working world into a PTSD-inducing horror show of limitless vulnerability has been too easy on workers. I’m sorry, Doers, or whatever the fuck. The true beauty of these ads is that they are all predicated on mythologizing the very workers who their service is intended to immisserate. Sorry about your medical debt; here’s a photo of a model who we paid in “exposure” over ad copy written by an intern who we paid in college credit that cost $3,000 a credit hour. Enjoy.

The purpose of these companies is to take whatever tiny sense of social responsibility businesses might still feel to give people stable jobs and destroy it, replacing whatever remains of the permanent, salaried, benefit-enjoying workforce with an army of desperate freelancers who will never go to bed feeling secure in their financial future for their entire lives. These companies are for people who think temp agencies are too coddling and well remunerative. The only service they sell is making it easier to kill minimally stable, well-compensated jobs. That’s it. They have no other function. They valorize Doers while killing workers. They siphon money from the desperate throngs back to the employers who will use them up and throw them aside like a discarded Juicero bag and, of course, to themselves and their shareholders. That’s it. That’s all they are. That’s all they do. They are the final logic of late capitalism, the engine of human creativity applied to the essential work of making life worse for regular people.

Our society is a hellish wasteland and I am dying inside.
freddiedeboer  siliconvalley  business  internet  society  technology  capitalism  middlemen  technosolutionism  precarity  finance  2017  juicero  subscriptions  drm  rent  rentseeking  latecapitalism  inequality  realestate  housing  socialresponsibility  stability  instability  economics 
may 2017 by robertogreco
Local Code : San Francisco - Nicholas de Monchaux
"In a world ever-more mediated by data about place, Local Code : Real Estates is a project that seeks to identify and engage legally and socially abandoned urban sites, transforming undocumented, and marginal conditions through emergent, digitally mediated methods into a social, and ecological resource. It takes as its starting point an instrumental, and unfinished project by Gordon Matta Clark: Fake Estates : Reality Properties.

Between 1971 and 1974, it took Matta-Clark months of sifting through microfiche to locate the fifteen vacant and moribund sites – fragments of New York real estate – that form the work. (Photographs, maps, and property deeds for the sites, collected by Matta-Clark, were assembled by his widow, Jane Crawford, into exhibitable artworks after 1980.)

Today, using a Geographic Information System, or GIS, the same search can be accomplished in minutes, and locates thousands of marginal, city-owned vacant lots throughout the five boroughs of New York. When Matta-Clark’s Fake Estates were first presented together in 1992, the mere fact of their documentation, was cause for attention. Today, however, Fake Estates may be essential in considering how we might respond to a revolution that has occurred since that time, in the information architecture of the city.

This is especially true since New York is, at least in this regard, far from unique. Analysis of other North American cities shows a similar pattern of urban vacancy; thousands of remnant parcels, and hundreds of acres of fallow
public land."
sanfrancisco  nicholasdemonchaux  gordonmatta-clark  realestate  nyc  gis  unfinished  matta-clark 
january 2017 by robertogreco
How to Get Rid of Your Landlord and Socialize American Housing, in 3 Easy Steps | The Nation
"Homelessness, unaffordable urban real estate, devastating gentrification, and the housing bubble are all rooted in privatized housing."



"More fundamentally, though, what we call private housing is actually public land that government has set aside for private purposes. Land, save the bits beneath one’s feet, can’t be “possessed,” as a phone or a shirt can. What a “land owner” possesses is a deed—a voucher one may redeem with the government to marshal violence (through policing) to exclude all competing claimants. The government established this location-exclusion program, designating pieces of nature as being solely for the use of the deed holders, and devoting its violent capabilities to enforcing that designation. In the 19th century, the government enacted homesteading laws to allow frontier settlers to claim indigenous lands as their own. If those deeds were challenged, the federal government sent troops to back them up. Or look at the 20th century, when the government funded highways and commuter transit—the Federal Housing Administration extended loan guarantees to new housing developments in order to create a massive suburban private-housing stock. The entire apparatus by which housing is privately “owned” is created by the government’s decisions to subsidize or protect certain interests.

Ostensibly, the government pursues the public interest, but treating real estate as privately owned wealth, as a financial asset, has devastating public effects. On a grand scale, treating land as an asset allows speculators to create bubbles large enough to threaten global economic collapse. The housing bubble—really a land bubble—of the last decade bid the price of land up so high, concocting such dangerous “complex financial instruments” to turn out so many sub-prime mortgages, that the burst was enough to sink some of the world’s most profitable firms, plunge us into the Great Recession, extinguish the majority of all black wealth in the United States, bankrupt pension funds worldwide, and destroy the governments of Greece, Iceland, and other nations.

Closer to home, private ownership of land underlies racist segregation. The aforementioned FHA policy, for instance, designed to protect homeowners’ access to gains in their houses’ location value, provided white people with the incentive to take their capital and flee urban centers for sprawling exurban developments, there to adopt racial exclusivity covenants, in order to prevent black people from moving in and undermining the location price—thus, the plot of A Raisin in the Sun. In the resulting “inner city,” which the public Home Owners’ Loan Corporation “red-lined” on its residential security maps, black people who were locked out of “middle-class” neighborhoods were conscripted to capital-starved, decaying ghettos, where parasitic slumlords reigned supreme.

Finally, developers have an incentive to snap up urban land and then leave it vacant until it appreciates in value, driven by community development around it, and then sell it. Meanwhile, residents have to live with the social repercussions of a community riddled with vacant lots.

What to do?

There are a few ways to turn land and housing stock toward the public good.

An exclusion fee …

Community land trusts …

Public housing …

Gentrification, home-mortgage bubbles, homelessness, skyrocketing rent—these are not facts of nature. They are the outcomes of the policies that consign the basic human need of location to the whims of rent-obsessed landlords and chop-licking speculators looking for an easy flip. Private land policies are as evil today as they were almost 4 centuries ago when the Pilgrims near Bridgewater, Massachusetts, arrested Wampanoag people for hunting on a tract of land after the Pilgrims had “purchased” it. “What is this you call property?” the sachem, Massasoit, argued on that occasion. “It cannot be the earth, for the land is our Mother…. everything on it belongs to everybody and is for the use of all. How then can one man say it belongs to him only?” There was no satisfactory retort then, and there isn’t one now."
2015  jessemyerson  housing  realestate  ownership  land  gentrification  history  race  inequality  capitalism  policy  politics  vienna  eminentdomain  boston  communitylandtrusts  exclusionfees  publichousing  publicinterest 
january 2017 by robertogreco
A Boom Interview: Mike Davis in conversation with Jennifer Wolch and Dana Cuff – Boom California
"Dana Cuff: You told us that you get asked about City of Quartz too often, so let’s take a different tack. As one of California’s great urban storytellers, what is missing from our understanding of Los Angeles?

Mike Davis: The economic logic of real estate and land development. This has always been the master key to understanding spatial and racial politics in Southern California. As the late-nineteenth century’s most influential radical thinker—I’m thinking of San Francisco’s Henry George not Karl Marx—explained rather magnificently, you cannot reform urban space without controlling land values. Zoning and city planning—the Progressive tools for creating the City Beautiful—either have been totally co-opted to serve the market or died the death of a thousand cuts, that is to say by variances. I was briefly an urban design commissioner in Pasadena in the mid-1990s and saw how easily state-of-the-art design standards and community plans were pushed aside by campaign contributors and big developers.

If you don’t intervene in the operation of land markets, you’ll usually end up producing the opposite result from what you intended. Over time, for instance, improvements in urban public space raise home values and tend to become amenity subsidies for wealthier people. In dynamic land markets and central locations, nonprofits can’t afford to buy land for low-income housing. Struggling artists and hipsters inadvertently become the shock troops of gentrification and soon can’t afford to live in the neighborhoods and warehouse districts they invigorated. Affordable housing and jobs move inexorably further apart and the inner-city crisis ends up in places like San Bernardino.

If you concede that the stabilization of land values is the precondition for long-term democratic planning, there are two major nonrevolutionary solutions. George’s was the most straightforward: execute land monopolists and profiteers with a single tax of 100 percent on increases in unimproved land values. The other alternative is not as radical but has been successfully implemented in other advanced capitalist countries: municipalize strategic parts of the land inventory for affordable housing, parks and form-giving greenbelts.

The use of eminent domain for redevelopment, we should recall, was originally intended to transform privately owned slums into publicly owned housing. At the end of the Second World War, when progressives were a majority in city government, Los Angeles adopted truly visionary plans for both public housing and rational suburban growth. What then happened is well known: a municipal counter-revolution engineered by the LA Times. As a result, local governments continued to use eminent domain but mainly to transfer land from small owners to corporations and banks.

Fast-forward to the 1980s. A new opportunity emerged. Downtown redevelopment was devouring hundreds of millions of dollars of diverted taxes, but its future was bleak. A few years before, Reyner Banham had proclaimed that Downtown was dead or at least irrelevant. If the Bradley administration had had the will, it could have municipalized the Spring-Main Street corridor at rock-bottom market prices. Perhaps ten million square feet would have become available for family apartments, immigrant small businesses, public markets, and the like, at permanently controlled affordable rents.

I once asked Kurt Meyer, a corporate architect who had been chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency, about this. He lived up Beachwood Canyon below the Hollywood Sign. We used to meet for breakfast because he enjoyed yarning about power and property in LA, and this made him a unique source for my research at the time. He told me that downtown elites were horrified by the unexpected revitalization of the Broadway corridor by Mexican businesses and shoppers, and the last thing they wanted was a populist downtown.

He also answered a question that long vexed me. “Kurt, why this desperate, all-consuming priority to have the middle class live downtown?” “Mike, do you know anything about leasing space in high-rise buildings?” “Not really.” “Well, the hardest part to rent is the ground floor: to extract the highest value, you need a resident population. You can’t just have office workers going for breakfast and lunch; you need night time, twenty-four hour traffic.” I don’t know whether this was really an adequate explanation but it certainly convinced me that planners and activists need a much deeper understanding of the game.

In the event, the middle class has finally come downtown but only to bring suburbia with them. The hipsters think they’re living in the real thing, but this is purely faux urbanism, a residential mall. Downtown is not the heart of the city, it’s a luxury lifestyle pod for the same people who claim Silverlake is the “Eastside” or that Venice is still bohemian.

Cuff: Why do you call it suburbia?

Davis: Because the return to the center expresses the desire for urban space and crowds without allowing democratic variety or equal access. It’s fool’s gold, and gentrification has taken the place of urban renewal in displacing the poor. Take Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris’s pioneering study of the privatization of space on the top of Bunker Hill. Of course, your museum patron or condo resident feels at home, but if you’re a Salvadorian skateboarder, man, you’re probably headed to Juvenile Hall."



"Jennifer Wolch: Absolutely. However it’s an important question particularly for the humanities students, the issue of subjectivity makes them reticent to make proposals.

Davis: But, they have skills. Narrative is an important part of creating communities. People’s stories are key, especially about their routines. It seems to me that there are important social science skills, but the humanities are important particularly because of stories. I also think a choreographer would be a great analyst of space and kind of an imagineer for using space.

I had a long talk with Richard Louv one day about his Last Child in the Woods, one of the most profound books of our time, a meditation on what it means for kids to lose contact with nature, with free nomadic unorganized play and adventure. A generation of mothers consigned to be fulltime chauffeurs, ferrying kids from one commercial distraction or over-organized play date to another. I grew up in eastern San Diego County, on the very edge of the back country, and once you did your chores (a serious business in those days), you could hop on your bike and set off like Huck Finn. There was a nudist colony in Harbison Canyon about twelve miles away, and we’d take our bikes, push them uphill for hours and hours in the hope of peeking through the fence. Like all my friends, I got a .22 (rifle) when I turned twelve. We did bad things to animals, I must confess, but we were free spirits, hated school, didn’t worry about grades, kept our parents off our backs with part-time jobs and yard work, and relished each crazy adventure and misdemeanor. Since I moved back to San Diego in 2002, I have annual reunions with the five or six guys I’ve known since second grade in 1953. Despite huge differences in political beliefs and religion, we’re still the same old gang.

And gangs were what kept you safe and why mothers didn’t have to worry about play dates or child molesters. I remember even in kindergarten—we lived in the City Heights area of San Diego at that time—we had a gang that walked to school together and played every afternoon. Just this wild group of little boys and girls, seven or eight of us, roaming around, begging pennies to buy gum at the corner store. Today the idea of unsupervised gangs of children or teenagers sounds like a law-and-order problem. But it’s how communities used to work and might still work. Aside from Louv, I warmly recommend The Child in the City by the English anarchist Colin Ward. A chief purpose of architecture, he argues, should be to design environments for unprogrammed fun and discovery."



"Wolch: We have one last question, about your young adult novels. Whenever we assign something from City of Quartz or another of your disheartening pieces about LA, it’s hard not to worry that the students will leave the class and jump off of a cliff! But your young adult novels seem to capture some amount of an alternative hopeful future.

Davis: Gee, you shouldn’t be disheartened by my books on LA. They’re just impassioned polemics on the necessity of the urban left. And my third LA book, Magical Urbanism, literally glows with optimism about the grassroots renaissance going on in our immigrant neighborhoods. But to return to the two adolescent “science adventure” novels I wrote for Viggo Mortensen’s wonderful Perceval Press. Above all they’re expressions of longing for my oldest son after his mother moved him back to her native Ireland. The heroes are three real kids: my son, his step-brother, and the daughter of our best friends when I taught at Stony Brook on Long Island. Her name is Julia Monk, and she’s now a wildlife biologist doing a Ph.D. at Yale on pumas in the Andes. I’m very proud that I made her the warrior-scientist heroine of the novels, because it was an intuition about her character that she’s made real in every way—just a remarkable young person."
mikedavis  2016  interviews  economics  california  sanfrancisco  losangeles  henrygeorge  urbanism  urban  suburbia  suburbs  jenniferolch  danacuff  fauxurbanism  hipsters  downtown  property  ownership  housing  populism  progressive  progressivism  reynerbanham  planning  urbanplanning  citybeautiful  gentrification  cities  homeless  homelessness  michaelrotundi  frankgehry  richardlouv  gangs  sandiego  friendship  colinward  thechildinthecity  architecture  fun  discovery  informal  unprogrammed  freedom  capitalism  china  india  england  ireland  famine  optimism  juliamonk  children  teens  youth  development  realestate  zoning  sanbernardino  sciarc 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Experts Predict Spike In Migration From San Diego To Tijuana | KPBS
"San Diego has long been a popular place for Mexican immigrants to make their home. But real estate experts predict Tijuana will develop a large community of expatriates from the north.

“Each day I see more and more people from San Diego turning to Tijuana," said César Leal Partida, director of business development for Seica, a Mexican construction company based in Tijuana. "Before, I think they looked at us as not a nice part."

Leal was one of dozens of business leaders who attended the "The Future of U.S./Mexico Real Estate" conference at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Thursday. Among other topics, speakers discussed a predicted spike in Americans moving to Tijuana.

They said the cheaper cost of living in Mexico and the comparatively low unit prices are already inspiring numerous San Diegans to move south of the border.

"When they see what they can get — the quality of construction they can get, the quality of their building, the quality of life — they're like, 'Wow, and still I'm a 20-minute drive from downtown San Diego,'" Leal said.

He said San Diegans who move to Tijuana often continue working north of the border, which they cross using the trusted traveler program called Sentri. According to Leal, this new community is solidifying the San Diego-Tijuana identity as a region of literally cross-border citizens, adding that he considers himself one of them.

"I don’t live in Tijuana; I live in Tijuana and San Diego," he said.

Leal's company is behind Mexico’s second LEED certified building in Tijuana: VIA Corporativo, a skyscraper that has attracted unprecedented interest from foreign food lovers because it houses Misión 19, the city's most famous restaurant. Leal said the rising food scene — both street food and fine dining — is helping Tijuana capture the attention of foreigners.

Near VIA Corporativo, Seica is developing a large Tijuana condominium project called Arboleda Residencial, which Leal said is already luring American buyers.

Speakers at the real estate conference noted that Tijuana has long been a destination for migrants from lower-income areas of Central America and southern Mexico. But they said the city is starting to appeal to Americans.

Investments in Tijuana are also shifting from low-wage, low-skill industries to those that are higher-profile and higher-value, partly thanks to cross-border collaboration, said Cristina Hermosillo, president of Tijuana's Economic Development Corporation, which helped organize the real estate conference.

She said the conference is meant to provide a platform for industry leaders from both sides of the border to work together on the evolution of the region.

"We feel that putting together both of our strengths, we can actually market our region more efficiently as a globalized mega-region that integrates talent, innovation, infrastructure and advanced manufacturing," Hermosillo said.

Leal agreed, noting that Tijuana has a surplus of engineers graduating from university while San Diego has a deficit. He said cross-border companies and residents can turn local idiosyncrasies into regional strengths.

He recalled going to school in Monterrey, Mexico and encountering surprise when he told his friends he was moving back to his home town of Tijuana, a smaller city.

"They said, 'Why would you? Monterrey is bigger than Tijuana,'" Leal said. "And I said, 'Yeah, if you compare Tijuana with Monterrey, I agree. It's bigger and more important, whatever you want to call it. But if you put together Tijuana and San Diego, we burn Monterrey easily.'""
sandiego  tijuana  border  borders  housing  costofliving  realestate  2016  migration  viacorporativo 
april 2016 by robertogreco
being an artist and parent in a city of riches? w/Tim Devin by a-small-lab
"Part of a series of 'art' conversations for summer art, not-school 2016 in and around Mairangi Bay Arts Centre - small-workshop.info/sans2016/

Tim Devin (www.timdevin.com/) is a Boston-based artist, librarian, parent and more. His work supports the need for information and feeling connected that are essential for people having a say in their communities and the world at large. This discussion starts from three points coming out of his project "How to be an Artist and a Parent?" - how to be a "good parent" and also do the other stuff you need to do, the question of what happens to a community life pressures slowly hinder people from being creative, and the fact that both Boston and Auckland are going through huge transformations right now.

Provided in collaboration with Mairangi Arts Centre, with support of Creative Communities Scheme"

[Shared on Twitter: "Listening…"
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288610660757504

"making some connections to friendships, community, and housing https://tinyletter.com/metafoundry/letters/metafoundry-54-nominative-determinism … + http://www.vox.com/2015/10/28/9622920/housing-adult-friendship … + http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2015/10/how-friendships-change-over-time-in-adulthood/411466/ "
https://twitter.com/rogre/status/686288881134649344 ]
parenting  art  chrisberthelsen  2016  timdevin  community  cities  neighborhoods  somerville  japan  newzealand  realestate  slow  local  politics  housing  zoning  urban  urbanism  activism  friendship  age  aging  education  unschooling  deschooling  aukland  labor  work  gentrification  development  children  creativity  cognitivesurpluss  lcproject  openstudioproject  small  rents  inequality  economics 
january 2016 by robertogreco
SDLofts
"SDLOFTS is a Jonathan Segal Development Company. Differing from the norm, Jonathan Segal Development plays the role of designer, architect and builder. Jonathan Segal is considered one of San Diego's most successful and pioneering residential architects/developers and has a reputation for providing superior housing at a lower cost than comparable properties.

We were among the first in San Diego to create lofts with function that follows form. We design with imagination. Our buildings work for the people inside them - and the city beyond. The results: a variety of spectacular spaces where urban residents and workers thrive together.

To learn more visit http://www.jonathansegalarchitect.com "

[See also: http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/news/2014/jun/07/north-parker-segal-apartments-design/ ]
sandiego  rentals  apartments  realestate  jonathansegal  lofts 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Dispossessed in the Land of Dreams | New Republic
"Those left behind by Silicon Valley’s technology boom struggle to stay in the place they call home."
siliconvalley  realestate  inequality  homeless  homelessness  paloalto  libertarianism  nimbyism  california  monicapotts  sunnyvale  sanjose  displacement 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Architecture of Segregation - The New York Times
"Fifty years after the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development — and nearly that long after the passage of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 — the fight against the interlinked scourges of housing discrimination and racial segregation in America is far from finished. Economic isolation is actually growing worse across the country, as more and more minority families find themselves trapped in high-poverty neighborhoods without decent housing, schools or jobs, and with few avenues of escape.

This did not happen by accident. It is a direct consequence of federal, state and local housing policies that encourage — indeed, subsidize — racial and economic segregation. Fair housing advocates have recently been encouraged by a Supreme Court decision and new federal rules they see as favorable to their cause. Even so, there will be no fundamental change without the dismantling of policies that isolate the poor and that Paul Jargowsky, a professor of public policy at Rutgers University-Camden, and others call the “architecture of segregation.”

As things stand now, federally subsidized housing for low-income citizens, which seems on its face to be a good thing, is disproportionately built in poor areas offering no work, underperforming schools and limited opportunity. Zoning laws in newer suburbs that rest on and benefit from infrastructure built with public subsidies prevent poor, moderate-income and minority families from moving in. Discriminatory practices exclude even higher income minority citizens from some communities.

The economic expansion of the 1990s brought wage increases and low unemployment, diluting poverty and cutting the number of people living in high-poverty neighborhoods by about 25 percent. Many policy experts believed at the time that the era of urban decay was coming to an end. But as Mr. Jargowsky observes, that’s not how things worked out. In a new analysis of census data, he finds that the number of people living in high-poverty slums, where 40 percent or more of the residents live below the poverty level, has nearly doubled since 2000.

Meanwhile, he writes, poverty has become more concentrated: More than one in four of the black poor, nearly one in six of the Hispanic poor and one in 13 of the white poor now live in a neighborhood of extreme poverty. Impoverished families are thus doubly disadvantaged — by poverty itself and by life in areas ravaged by the social problems that flow from it.

The Fair Housing Act was supposed to overcome these problems. But presidents in both parties declined to enforce it vigorously, and governments at all levels simply ignored it. No one knows that story better than former Vice President Walter Mondale, a co-sponsor of the act, who spoke eloquently at a fair housing conference at HUD on Tuesday.

“When high-income black families cannot qualify for a prime loan and are steered away from white suburbs, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled,” he said. “When the federal and state governments will pay to build new suburban highways, streets, sewers, schools and parks, but then allow these communities to exclude affordable housing and nonwhite citizens, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled. When we build most new subsidized housing in poor black or Latino neighborhoods, the goals of the Fair Housing Act are not fulfilled.”

Among the recent positive moves, in a June ruling the Supreme Court reminded state and local governments that housing discrimination is illegal even when unintentional and that the Fair Housing Act bars them from spending federal money in a manner that perpetuates segregation.

The following month, HUD ended decades of equivocation by issuing new rules under a provision of the act that requires state and local governments to “affirmatively further” fair housing goals by making legitimate efforts to replace “segregated living patterns with truly integrated and balanced living patterns.”

These actions, plus growing concern over racial isolation in places like Ferguson, Mo., and Baltimore, have inspired hope among fair housing advocates. But given the high social costs of entrenched segregation, governments at all levels must do far more."

[via: https://twitter.com/quilian/status/640508410325282816 ]
poverty  racism  realestate  zoning  us  segregation  discrimination  hud  housing  cities  urban  pauljargowsky  urbanplanning  fairhousingact  ferguson  baltimore  race  economics  politics 
september 2015 by robertogreco
Historian Says Don't 'Sanitize' How Our Government Created Ghettos : NPR
"Fifty years after the repeal of Jim Crow, many African-Americans still live in segregated ghettos in the country's metropolitan areas. Richard Rothstein, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, has spent years studying the history of residential segregation in America.

"We have a myth today that the ghettos in metropolitan areas around the country are what the Supreme Court calls 'de-facto' — just the accident of the fact that people have not enough income to move into middle class neighborhoods or because real estate agents steered black and white families to different neighborhoods or because there was white flight," Rothstein tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

"It was not the unintended effect of benign policies," he says. "It was an explicit, racially purposeful policy that was pursued at all levels of government, and that's the reason we have these ghettos today and we are reaping the fruits of those policies.""
housing  us  history  race  racism  2015  richardrothstein  wealth  government  policy  urbanpolicy  fha  via:jannon  realestate  blockbusting  redlining  segregation  cities  ghettos  slums 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Rent-a-Foreigner in China - Video - NYTimes.com
"In this short documentary, housing developers in China hire ordinary foreigners to pose as celebrities, boosting flagging property sales."
china  realestate  forhire  2015  sales  authenticity  otherness  exoticism  marketing  capitalism 
may 2015 by robertogreco
York & Fig | Marketplace.org
"York Boulevard & Figueroa Street is a most interesting intersection.

It’s the crossroads of a large neighborhood (pop. 60,000) called Highland Park in northeast Los Angeles. Here, at any given time of day, all of your senses are treated to both the cultural traditions of this historical community and the many ways this neighborhood is rapidly changing. One of the latest changes you can find at York & Fig is a storefront – one that doesn’t sell anything, but rather invites residents and passersby in to share their stories about Highland Park. The space belongs to Marketplace, a national public radio program based in Los Angeles. Marketplace’s four-person Wealth & Poverty team of reporters and producers occupies this community bureau and we’re here on a mission: to examine how an area changes when wealth moves in — a process commonly referred to as gentrification – and identify the forces driving that change.

Why?

Well, the answer to that can be found in the personal budgets of most Americans. The cost of housing is steadily increasing across the country. We pay roughly 58 percent more on housing today than we did in 2000. On average, those leasing homes spend about 43 percent of their income on rent. This major line item doesn’t just affect low-income people, it affects middle and upper-income earners too. It affects all of us.

Why Highland Park?

The 90042 zip code is where, according to RealtyTrac, home values have soared about 200 percent from March 2000 to 2014. Last year, Redfin declared Highland Park the hottest “up and coming” neighborhood in the country. Rents are also rising, and the demographic makeup of this majority Latino neighborhood is undeniably shifting. We want to know how local families are dealing. Are they skimping on other necessities, like fuel and food? Are they being displaced, moving to more affordable neighborhoods? And how are urban landscapes changing as populations swell in cities like Los Angeles, New York, DC and San Francisco?

The G-Word

People feel really strongly about the word gentrification. We know it’s a loaded one. That’s because at the heart of the idea, it’s about bringing big and small changes to the places we call home. Some think it’s good, freely using positive phrases like “urban renewal” and “neighborhood improvement.” Others lament displacing residents who’ve weathered years of disinvestment and the loss of cultural and community traditions that can occur when new dwellers arrive. Our team is paying rent through the fall at an intersection where we hope to learn more about what we all mean when we talk about gentrification. And we’re documenting this project all along the way. We’ll use our bureau to work, conduct interviews and have conversations about the nuances of gentrification with people who are experiencing this kind of community transformation. Inside, there’s an office and a booth where we’ll record stories from residents. And we’ll host events relating to development, transportation, art, storytelling and more.

A place for neighborhood stories

We’re a radio show. We want your stories and your input on this project of ours. If you’re in LA, come by and say hello. We’re at 6187 N. Figueroa Street with hours Monday through Friday, 10 am – 6 pm and some Saturdays by appointment, too.

If you’re not in LA, no worries. You can still be a part of our storytelling. Email us day or night at wpdesk@marketplace.org and we’re on Twitter and Instagram @MPWealthPoverty. Submit your ideas and images to us with the hashtag #gentrificationis and finish the following phrase to join the conversation: “You know your neighborhood is gentrifying when _______.”"
losangeles  highlandpark  2014  gentrification  economics  housing  wealth  development  realestate  neighborhoods  change 
december 2014 by robertogreco
Dear Gov. Corbett – How Many Kids Must Die? | Practical Theory
"You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

And while the nursing services have gotten worse in the current budget crisis, this is a long-standing problem for Philadelphia District schools for a long time. Our city schools have been under-resourced for years, which makes the current crisis all the more painful.

The arterial road you see in that map is City Line Avenue. It is, quite literally, the city line of Philadelphia. Above Philadelphia is Lower Merion School District. One of its two high schools is Harriton HS. Harriton HS has 1188 kids and four full-time nurses. Science Leadership Academy has 490 kids, and we have a nurse two days a week. This year, the average per pupil expenditure in Philadelphia hovers just under $10,000 per child while Lower Merion is able to spend over $25,000 per child. The way we fund schools in this state is criminal, and it has to change.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this.

The way we fund schools in Pennsylvania quite possibly cost Laporshia Massey her life, and yet Governor Corbett is holding up $45 million dollars of state money until he gets the work rule concessions he wants from the teachers’ union. $45 million dollars translates into 400 more professional employees (teachers, counselors and nurses) to work with our kids. When schools have no counselors, when schools don’t have full-time nurses, that is the equivalent of blackmail.

And it has cost at least one young woman – Laporshia Massey - her life. I wonder if Governor Corbett even knows that she died.

You aren’t allowed to be surprised by this. But you better be outraged by it."
2013  philadelphia  schools  policy  pennsylvania  inequality  funding  chrislehmann  realestate 
may 2014 by robertogreco
The Natural Disaster — Medium
"And it’s important, because gets at the way in which the city’s housing market seems to be less of a market these days and more of a casino. I heard Daniel deliver a longer version of his piece at a reading recently, and there, he added the sharpest, most succinct description of San Francisco’s problem I’ve yet heard:

“People are afraid to move.”

Simple as that. All of this wailing and gnashing of teeth about culture and money and corporate buses—none of it would rise to the level of crisis if that statement wasn’t true. But it is. This great influx of wealth has not made San Francisco nimble, lively, and exciting; it has made it static, grasping, and fearful. This is not how a city should function. Or, maybe a sharper phrasing is called for: a city cannot function this way."
robinsloan  mobility  sanfrancisco  housing  realestate  2014  cities  diversity  fear  gentrification 
march 2014 by robertogreco
In World's Best-Run Economy, House Prices Keep Falling -- Because That's What House Prices Are Supposed To Do - Forbes
"When Americans travel abroad, the culture shocks tend to be unpleasant. Robert Locke’s experience was different. In buying a charming if rundown house in the picturesque German town of Goerlitz, he was surprised – very pleasantly – to find city officials second-guessing the deal. The price he had agreed was too high, they said, and in short order they forced the seller to reduce it by nearly one-third. The officials had the seller’s number because he had previously promised  to renovate the property and had failed to follow through.

As Locke, a retired historian, points out, the Goerlitz authorities’ attitude is a striking illustration of how differently the German economy works. Rather than keep their noses out of the economy, German officials glory in influencing market outcomes. While the Goerlitz authorities are probably exceptional in the degree to which they micromanage house prices, a fundamental principle of German economics is to keep housing costs stable and affordable.

It is hard to quarrel with the results. On figures cited in 2012 by the British housing consultant Colin Wiles, one-bedroom apartments in Berlin were then selling for as little as $55,000, and four-bedroom detached houses in the Rhineland for just $80,000. Broadly equivalent properties in New York City and Silicon Valley were selling for as much as ten times higher.

Although conventional wisdom in the English-speaking world holds that bureaucratic intervention in prices makes for subpar outcomes, the fact is that the German economy is by any standards one of the world’s most successful. Just how successful is apparent in, for instance, international trade. At $238 billion in 2012, Germany’s current account surplus was the world’s largest. On a per-capita basis it was nearly 15 times China’s and was achieved while German workers were paid some of the world’s highest wages. Meanwhile German GDP growth has been among the highest of major economies in the last ten years and unemployment has been among the lowest.

On Wiles’s figures, German house prices in 2012 represented a 10 percent decrease in real terms compared to thirty years ago. That is a particularly astounding performance compared to the UK, where real prices rose by more than 230 percent in the same period. (Wiles’s commentaries can be read here and here.)

A key to the story is that German municipal authorities consistently increase housing supply by releasing land for development on a regular basis. The ultimate driver is a central government policy of providing financial support to municipalities based on an up-to-date and accurate count of the number of residents in each area.

The German system moreover is deliberately structured to encourage renting rather than owning. Tenants enjoy strong rights and, provided they pay their rent, are virtually immune from eviction and even from significant rent increases.

Meanwhile demand for owner occupation is curbed by German regulation. German banks, for instance, are rarely permitted to lend more than 80 percent of the value of a property, thus a would-be home buyer first needs to accumulate a deposit of at least 20 percent. To cap it all, ownership of a home is subject to a serious consumption tax, while landlords are encouraged by favorable tax treatment to maximize the availability of rental properties.

How does all this contribute to Germany’s economic growth? Locke, a prominent critic of America’s latter-day enthusiasm for doctrinaire free-market solutions and a professor emeritus at the University of Hawaii, notes that a key outcome is that Germany’s managed housing market helps smooth the availability of labor. And by virtually eliminating bubbles, the German system minimizes the sort of misallocation of resources that is more or less unavoidable in the Anglo-American boom-bust cycle. That cycle is exacerbated by tax incentives which encourage citizens to view home ownership as an investment, resulting in much hoarding and underutilization of space.

In the German system moreover, house-builders rarely accumulate the huge large land banks that are such a dangerous distraction for U.S. house-builders like Pulte Homes, D. R. Horton, Lennar, and Toll Brothers. German house-builders just focus on building good-quality homes cheaply, secure in the knowledge that additional land will become available at reasonable cost when needed."
economics  germany  housing  politics  realestate  2014 
march 2014 by robertogreco
Disrupting Slumlords — Weird Future — Medium
"This is the Taskrabbit economy in full swing. The sharing economy which allows car owners, home dwellers, and free-time havers, to extract every bit of value from their resources needs people desperate for a little extra cash. Some chunk of that 62% of people who are using Airbnb to keep their homes are people who wouldn’t be putting up with the hassle if times weren’t tough.

The sharing economy benefits greatly from a collapsed normal economy. Airbnb and Blackstone are two sides of the same dark coin. Airbnb doesn’t have a multi-billion dollar valuation for being friendly."
timmaly  2013  taskrabbit  airbnb  blackstone  realestate  finance  economics  sharing  mortgages  foreclosures  housing  housingcrisis 
november 2013 by robertogreco
The Real Estate Deal That Could Change the Future of Everything - Neighborhoods - The Atlantic Cities
"Why can’t you be an investor in one of our deals? You live nearby, you’re young, you get it. Why is it that you don’t have this option? That’s unnatural, almost."

"Most American cities as we know them today weren't built this way. Historically, hotels and restaurants and shops were built by local people investing in their own neighborhoods."

"The history of modern financial investment has been the story of people and their money moving farther apart into abstraction, to the point where most of us don't know where our investments (if we have any) have gone. But shorten the distance between those two points, and things start to change. Put your money into a building you can see in your neighborhood, and suddenly you might care more about the quality of the tenant, or the energy efficiency of the design, or the aesthetics of the architecture. This proposition is like "Broken Windows on steroids," Ben says."
local  benmiller  danmiller  westmillcapital  chrisleinberger  regulation  kickstarter  danielgorfine  realestatedevelopment  community  communities  investment  sec  willsharpe  erikbruner-yang  tokiunderground  maketto  washingtondc  hstreetcommunitydevelopment  crowdinvesting  crowdfunding  ericgarcetti  neighborhoods  cities  development  economics  economy  finance  realestate  dc  from delicious
november 2012 by robertogreco
Google+: Robin Sloan thread on the Borders bankruptcy
[See also: http://www.slate.com/id/2299642/pagenum/all/ ]

"Public service announcement: I think the Borders bankruptcy isn't essentially about the book business. In fact it's much more closely tied to the real estate business. Borders had a ridiculously expensive portfolio of stores: huge spaces on glitzy corners with long-term leases (and an average of ~8 years still left on the lease, per store) that they couldn't walk away from, even as the fundamentals of their business changed beneath them.

But!—that's not like The Inevitable Fate of Bookstores Everywhere. By all accounts, Borders was just really poorly managed. The company could have struck smarter deals for those spaces, or approached its lease portfolio more cautiously, etc., etc., but didn't. It was reckless and profligate.

This bums me out, b/c I feel like Borders' bankruptcy is now part of that Death of Bookstores narrative—when in fact it's much less exciting than that. It's just the story of a company run badly."

[Read the thread too.]
thisandthat  borders  business  bankruptcy  mismanagement  realestate  money  finance  internet  web  booksellers  books  retail  2011  from delicious
july 2011 by robertogreco
James Enos talks about Clairemont on Vimeo
His informal presentation on the critique of Clairemont from Pecha Kucha on April 20th. The piece discussed in his rant is currently on show at MCASD in La Jolla's "Here Not There" opening.
1951  tracthomes  clairemont  jamesenos  informal  sandiego  architecture  herenotthere  mcasd  pechakucha  housing  alterations  art  design  vernacular  entitlement  dwellmagazine  dwell  clairemonterasure  suburbs  suburbia  parametricarchitecture  juxtaposition  realestate  commentary  tracthousing  criticalpractice  whatwewant  socal  buildingboom  southpark  humor  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
ULI San Diego/Tijuana
"The ULI San Diego/Tijuana District Council provides leadership in the responsible use of land to enhance the total environment. The District Council addresses issues involving land use, real estate, housing, transportation and urban development."
sandiego  tijuana  uli  urban  urbanism  housing  transportation  development  urbandevelopment  realestate  landuse  from delicious
june 2011 by robertogreco
Kevin Slavin on Lift 11: Geneva - live streaming video powered by Livestream
Quotes transcribed by David Smith: "things we write but can no longer read"; "three problems … opacity, inscrutability … The third one is darker and a little bit harder to describe — I don't even know what to call it yet"; flash crash; dark pools; 60% of all movies rented on Netflix are rented because Netflix recommended them; 70% of current Wall St trades are algorithms trying to be invisible or other algorithms trying to find the invisible algorithms"
kevinslavin  technology  algorithms  evolution  wallstreet  cities  darkpools  netflix  trading  finance  invisibilealgorithms  financialservices  realestate  nyc  manhattan  songs  film  television  tv  opacity  inscrutability  elevators  lift11  roomba  robots  from delicious
february 2011 by robertogreco
David Galbraith’s Blog » How to Solve Berlin’s Gentrification War.
"Berlin’s slow-burn emergence as Europe’s cultural capital has resulted in a deep rooted creative scene, but that is being threatened. Berlin’s artists are now rebelling against a Yuppy invasion.

One of the problems with gentrification is that the people that originally make an area more desirable (artists) don’t gain and the people that gain (yuppies), often make it less desirable. The reason for this is that creatives rent and can’t buy, and yuppies buy but don’t create.

But imagine a property fund that was based on a simple rule - follow the artists, it would make a fortune. It should be possible then to fund the arts through some mechanism that capitalizes on this.

An arts fund that created artists mortgages with the expectation that they increase the value of properties without normally benefiting (as happened in Shoreditch) could really help mitigate this kind of change, without any external subsidy…"
davidgalbraith  berlin  art  artists  realestate  housing  renting  gentrification  yuppies  money  finance  from delicious
january 2011 by robertogreco
egg shaped mobile home
"undoubtedly one of the most interesting project getting featured on the world wide web, the egg-shaped mobile home by twenty-four year old dai haifei is a response to beijing's soaring rental prices. haifie, a recent architecture school graduate, has designed and lived in this temporary unit for the last two months.

the 'egg', measuring six feet in height sits on two wheels and is constructed from basket woven bamboo splints. the exterior features a patchwork of small sacks containing seeds of grass that will grow to eventually provide insulation. a south facing solar panel 'provides' power to a single lamp on the inside. during the day, natural daylight enters through an opening in the ceiling. the entrance can be propped open to facilitate natural ventilation.

given the small size and simple shape, the layout is minimal: a half circumference bed and low, built in storage line the perimeter, making the space efficient for bare living. "
design  architecture  mobile  mobility  neo-nomads  nomads  realestate  china  housing  homes  minimalism  small  tinyhomes  from delicious
december 2010 by robertogreco
Historical Census of Housing Tables - Home Values
"Median home values adjusted for inflation nearly quadrupled over the 60-year period since the first housing census in 1940. The median value of single-family homes in the United States rose from $30,600 in 1940 to $119,600 in 2000, after adjusting for inflation (see graph). Median home value increased in each decade of this 60-year period, rising fastest (43 percent) in the 1970s and slowest (8.2 percent) in the 1980s. Both home values adjusted and unadjusted for inflation are presented. These values refer to owner-occupied single-family housing units on less than 10 acres without a business or medical office on the property."
housing  bubble  census  data  economics  realestate  money  prices  statistics  us  from delicious
august 2010 by robertogreco
Throwing Money Away (Buying vs Renting) | Messy Matters [To save myself the time when this topic comes up again]
"I’m tired of hearing people explain that paying rent is throwing money away. Of course, they don’t mean that literally. You’re getting something for that money (a place to live). But with a mortgage you’re building equity, right? Doesn’t that fundamentally make more sense than renting? No. “Building equity” just means turning some of your money into a house. That’s one of many ways you could invest your money.

Practically speaking, there are some reasons why buying instead of renting really is a good idea for a lot of people..."
bubble  economics  finance  housing  investing  realestate  rent  renting  rentersrights  money  nyc  investments  investment  homebuying  via:robinsloan 
july 2010 by robertogreco
Real Estate Bust: How Creatives Are Carving Up L.A.'s Empty Space - Core77
"I bring this up now because probably every designer, architect or artist I've ever spoken with has expressed the desire to open and operate a space: a gallery, a store, a classroom. And I would say this is the time. There's a reason this is the age of the pop-up shop: space is available, and it's yours for the taking. ... Here in Los Angeles, groups like Phantom Galleries (modeled after another group in San Jose) work with artists and temporarily empty businesses to create installations. The entire city of Glendale, an L.A.-adjacent enclave, is launching its own program to fill its (many) empty superstores. Recently the art show Manifest Equality placed the work of 200 artists in a former Big Lots supermarket in the heart of Hollywood. Groups like these are working in every city, looking for designers, architects and artists to activate their vacant spaces."
art  artists  losangeles  realestate  urban  gentrification  entrepreneurship  core77  phantomgalleries  machineproject  lcproject  glvo  temporary  galleries  exhibits  oogabooga  stores  popup  pop-ups 
april 2010 by robertogreco
Today We Collect Nothing | varnelis.net
"We will need at least a decade to absorb the excess housing currently in the market...Mobility will rise, but homes will become less the spaces of self-realization that they were...& more shells to be filled temporarily, with only a few, highly-intelligent objects in one's possession...Is this an end condition to architecture? Maybe. But when hasn't architecture been in an end condition?...But maybe there are other possibilities? It strikes me that architects are missing a major opportunity here. All of this is very similar to what the Eameses were up to when they moved away from construction to media. They built the best house of the century but architecture couldn't hold their attention. It was too slow. Instead, they turned to media. Today's media are more spatial than film ever could be. Hertzian space—and the interface to it—is the new frontier. Architects should be sure not miss out."
neo-nomads  nomads  mobility  modernism  eames  architecture  kazysvarnelis  housing  housingbubble  realestate  future  reynerbanham  stevejobs  postdisciplinary  design  glvo  cv  unschooling  deschooling  gamechanging  change  hertzianspace 
march 2010 by robertogreco
The Ruse of the Creative Class | The American Prospect
"Cities that shelled out big bucks to learn Richard Florida's prescription for vibrant urbanism are now hearing they may be beyond help." ... "There is a long tradition of charismatic economic--development troubadours. In the 1990s, it was Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor who swept into inner cities with his theories of industry clusters. But Florida has taken the art to a new level, wielding his "creativity index" and making each city feel that, whatever its shortcomings, it has the potential to move up the ladder.
creativeclass  richardflorida  gentrification  inequality  development  planning  creative  millennials  realestate  sustainability  urbanism  geography  creativity  cities  economics  architecture  boosterism 
january 2010 by robertogreco
Morgan Stanley’s Commercial Jingle Mail | The Big Picture
"Here is a fascinating twist on the underwater homeowner walking away fromt heir bad purchases: This time, its Morgan Stanley.
morganstanley  finance  banking  defaults  realestate  2009 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Mute magazine - Culture and politics after the net
"California dreaming turns to California nightmare as decades of agribusiness, real estate development and exploitation of migrant workers take their toxic toll. Gifford Hartman takes us on a guided tour of the Golden State's darkside"
technology  art  culture  internet  economics  media  geography  activism  michaelpollan  california  politics  capitalism  crisis  economy  ecology  marxism  us  agribusiness  agriculture  realestate  labor  via:grahamje 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Slow Home
"Slow Home was launched in fall 2006 from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Our goal is simple: to help people learn about the principles of good residential design and how to apply them in a variety of real world situations. We provide the basic knowledge and skills necessary for people to become more informed residential consumers and empower them to make smarter choices about where and how they live."
blogs  homes  design  architecture  slow  cities  green  housing  urbanism  longnow  sustainability  realestate  environment  lifestyle 
october 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit UnReal Estate Agency
"Detroit Unreal Estate Agency will produce, collect and inventory information on the ‘unreal estate’ of Detroit: that is, on the remarkable, distinct, characteristic or subjectively significant sites of urban culture. The project is aimed at new types of urban practices (architecturally, artistically, institutionally, everyday life, etc) that came into existence, creating a new value system in Detroit."
detroit  via:regine  art  architecture  realestate  urban  cities  urbanism  activism  homes  housing 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Artists vs. Blight - WSJ.com
"Artists have long been leaders of an urban vanguard that colonizes blighted areas. Now, the current housing crisis has created a new class of urban pioneer. Nationwide, home foreclosure proceedings increased 81% in 2008 from the previous year, rising to 2.3 million, according to California-based foreclosure listing firm RealtyTrac. Homes in hard-hit cities such as Detroit and Cleveland are selling for as little as $1. Drawn by available spaces and cheap rents, artists are filling in some of the neighborhoods being emptied by foreclosures. City officials and community groups seeking ways to stop the rash of vacancies are offering them incentives to move in, from low rents and mortgages to creative control over renovation projects.
art  artists  recession  detroit  cleveland  housing  development  gentrification  redevelopment  buffalo  blight  realestate  urban  urbanism  economics  cities 
may 2009 by robertogreco
Historic St. Louis Schools Face Uncertain Future : NPR
"The city of St. Louis is trying to decide what will become of many of its historic school buildings and the neighborhoods that they anchor.
stlouis  schools  buildings  realestate  history 
april 2009 by robertogreco
Op-Ed Contributor - For Sale - The $100 House - NYTimes.com
"But the city offers a much greater attraction for artists than $100 houses. Detroit right now is just this vast, enormous canvas where anything imaginable can be accomplished. From Tyree Guyton’s Heidelberg Project (think of a neighborhood covered in shoes and stuffed animals and you’re close) to Matthew Barney’s “Ancient Evenings” project (think Egyptian gods reincarnated as Ford Mustangs and you’re kind of close), local and international artists are already leveraging Detroit’s complex textures and landscapes to their own surreal ends."

[via: http://www.boingboing.net/2009/03/17/artists-buying-cheap.html ]
detroit  art  architecture  economics  urban  urbanism  housing  realestate  artists  sustainability  community  cities 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Seth's Blog: Where have all the agents gone?
"To thrive in a world of self-service, agents have to hyperspecialize, have to stand for something, have to have the guts to say no far more than they say yes. ... The second thing agents must do to make a smart transition is to consider who they are selling to. Should talent agents only sell to Hollywood? Literary agents only to book publishers? Should ad agencies specialize in Google Adwords, not just Super Bowl spots? When markets change, agents can lead the way, not follow along grudgingly."
realestate  travel  trends  agents  literary  management  business  administration  tcsnmy  change  sethgodin 
march 2009 by robertogreco
Outside buyers drawn to Detroit's foreclosed homes - Yahoo! Finance
"Despite a stagnant retail housing market, real estate sales of foreclosed homes are booming. Shannon regularly fields calls from eager prospects, and recently sold 30 homes in one day to one buyer. A trio of U.K. investors has bought a half-dozen and plans many more."
detroit  realestate 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | March 2009 | How the Crash Will Reshape America | Richard Florida
"But another crucial aspect of the crisis has been largely overlooked, and it might ultimately prove more important. Because America's tendency to overconsume and under-save has been intimately intertwined with our postwar spatial fix -- that is, with housing and suburbanization -- the shape of the economy has been badly distorted, from where people live, to where investment flows, to what's produced. Unless we make fundamental policy changes to eliminate these distortions, the economy is likely to face worsening handicaps in the years ahead."
culture  future  richardflorida  realestate  meltdown  crisis  2009  finance  2008  recession  urbanism  urban  cities  change  globalization  trends  geography  demographics  politics  economics  history  us  business 
march 2009 by robertogreco
The Great Restructuring « BuzzMachine [via: http://blog.wired.com/sterling/2009/03/the-great-restr.html]
"I try to argue in my book that what we’re living through is instead a great restructuring of the economy and society, starting with a fundamental change in our relationships - how we are linked and intertwined and how we act, nothing less than that. ... entire swaths and even sectors of the economy will disappear or will change so much they might as well disappear: ... suto industry ... financial services ... newspapers ... magazines ... books ... broadcast ... advertising ... retail ... entertainment ... business travel ... energy ... real estate ... health care ... computers ... universities ... We should be so lucky that elementary and secondary education will also face such pressure. ... consumer products ... government ... There are opportunities here, of course. There always is in change if you’re willing to see and seek it. ... startups ... platforms ... networks ... Education is a growth opportunity but not in its current institutions. ..."
jeffjarvis  recession  umairhaque  innovation  businessmodels  transparency  economics  culture  sharing  2009  change  restructuring  sociology  markets  education  schools  society  realestate  business  community  strategy  startups  networks 
march 2009 by robertogreco
FT.com | Willem Buiter's Maverecon | Home loans in the US: the biggest racket since Al Capone?
"The extreme fiscal largesse bestowed on residential housing, directly and indirectly through mortgage interest deductibility, has led to a massive misallocation of investment in the US. There has been overinvestment in the private residential housing stock and underinvestment in just about every other form of fixed capital: infrastructure, public amenities of all kinds (sports facilities, public recreational facilities, parks etc.), commercial structures, plant and equipment. It is time to correct the distorted incentives that are at the root of this misallocation. The easiest way to do this, in the current tax system, is to end the deductibility of mortgage interest in the personal income tax, close down Fannie and Freddie and end the role of the US government in the provision of residential mortgages."
economics  housing  realestate  meltdown  crisis  finance  policy  mortgages  taxes  mortgagededuction  investment  stimulus  willembuiter  housingbubble 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Goodbye Dubai | Smashing Telly - A hand picked TV channel
"Short of opening a Radio Shack in an Amish town, Dubai is the world’s worst business idea, and there isn’t even any oil. Imagine proposing to build Vegas in a place where sex and drugs and rock and roll are an anathema. This is effectively the proposition that created Dubai - it was a stupid idea before the crash, and now it is dangerous.
via:kottke  dubai  collapse  crisis  economics  realestate  architecture  culture  design  cities  planning  debt  bubbles 
february 2009 by robertogreco
Last One Out Turn Out the Lights | varnelis.net
"Soon Dubai will abandoned to sink back into the sands. I think it'll be much more interesting that way, with feral animals running wild, Chernobyl-style, in the ruins. As for the Times, at a symposium last Saturday at Columbia someone said "What if the Times closed, they have dozens of reporters in the Baghdad bureau… How could bloggers replace them?" Yochai Benkler stated "But they are responsible for the war! Remember Judith Miller?" He is so right. What if our news from Baghdad came from actual Iraqs, people who understand the context and speak the language? Oh tired, old Grey Lady, maybe it's time to shut the doors on the Foster building and call it a day? The face-lift didn't work, it just made things worse. Your structural function as an enabler for the growth machine has been a non-stop embarrassment for all involved and now its time to pay the price."
kazysvarnelis  dubai  bubble  economics  growth  nytimes  cities  architecture  dept  finance  capitalism  journalism  collapse  oma  remkoolhaas  china  iraq  war  cheerleading  realestate  2009 
february 2009 by robertogreco
New York, New York: America’s Resilient City - Economix Blog - NYTimes.com
Anthony Townsend is buying this "Those people who are continuing to pay high prices for Manhattan real estate are implicitly betting that New York’s human capital will continue to come up with new ways of reinventing the city."

[http://www.iftf.org/node/2478], but I don't. At least, I hope we don't see any more of the financial creativity that has us where we are now.

See the comments for more opinion...
nyc  realestate  creativeclass  economics  history  future  crisis  2008  prediction  reinvention 
december 2008 by robertogreco
The Atlantic Online | December 2008 | Why Wall Street Always Blows It | Henry Blodget
"So what can we learn from all this? In the words of the great investor Jeremy Grantham, who saw this collapse coming and has seen just about everything else in his four-decade career: “We will learn an enormous amount in a very short time, quite a bit in the medium term, and absolutely nothing in the long term.” Of course, to paraphrase Keynes, in the long term, you and I will be dead. Until that time comes, here are three thoughts I hope we all can keep in mind." [via: http://askpang.typepad.com/relevant_history/2008/12/the-atlantic-on-financial-bubbles.html]
wallstreet  markets  2008  finance  realestate  politics  history 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Optimal Home Location [via: http://news.cnet.com/8301-17939_109-10114589-2.html]
"* Find your family's specific Optimal Home Location that minimizes your combined commute. Save on gas and avoid traffic frustration.
maps  mapping  realestate  mashup  community  housing  lifestyle  green  relocation  local 
december 2008 by robertogreco
Michael Lewis' Mansion - Portfolio.com
"The real moral is that when a middle-class couple buys a house they can't afford, defaults on their mortgage, and then sits down to explain it to a reporter from the New York Times, they can be confident that he will overlook the reason for their financial distress: the peculiar willingness of Americans to risk it all for a house above their station. People who buy something they cannot afford usually hear a little voice warning them away or prodding them to feel guilty. But when the item in question is a house, all the signals in American life conspire to drown out the little voice. The tax code tells people like the Garcias that while their interest payments are now gargantuan relative to their income, they're deductible. Their friends tell them how impressed they are-and they mean it. Their family tells them that while theirs is indeed a big house, they have worked hard, and Americans who work hard deserve to own a dream house. Their kids love them for it."
homes  housing  culture  society  class  subprime  realestate  michaellewis  debt  crisis  economics  money 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Is 190 Bowery the Greatest Real-Estate Coup of All Time? -- New York Magazine
"The building at 190 Bowery is a mystery: a graffiti-covered Gilded Age relic, with a beat-up wooden door that looks like it hasn’t been opened since La Guardia was mayor. A few years ago, that described a lot of the neighborhood, but with the Bowery Hotel and the New Museum, the Rogan and John Varvatos boutiques, 190 is now an anomaly, not the norm. Why isn’t some developer turning it into luxury condos? Because Jay Maisel, the photographer who bought it 42 years ago for $102,000, still lives there, with his wife, Linda Adam Maisel, and daughter, Amanda. It isn’t a decrepit ruin; 190 Bowery is a six-story, 72-room, 35,000-square-foot (depending on how you measure) single-family home."
nyc  housing  homes  excess  art  architecture  design  photography  realestate  interiors 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Trulia's New iPhone House Finder
"The free app lets iPhone-toting house hunters find listings and open houses in their vicinity. But it's not the only smartphone real estate tool "
iphone  trulia  applications  realestate  ios 
august 2008 by robertogreco
What Could Make Someone Want to Leave New York and Move to Buffalo? -- New York Magazine
"What could possibly make someone want to leave New York and move to Buffalo?" “I don’t miss my old life in New York. I only miss the life in New York I know I never would have had.”
buffalo  newyork  gentrification  realestate  urbanism  urban  creativeclass  economics  cities  renaissance  detroit 
august 2008 by robertogreco
The Frontal Cortex : Buying the Wrong House
"Ap Dijksterhuis (an expert on unconscious thought), has done some cool studies that look at how people shop for "complex products," like cars, apartments, homes, etc. and how they often fall victim to what he calls a "weighting mistake"."
economics  psychology  housing  realestate  bubble  decisionmaking  culture  us  neuroscience  bias  weightingmistake 
july 2008 by robertogreco
City Heat Maps | Zillow Real Estate
"Use our heat maps to compare neighborhood values in your city! We divided Zestimates® of homes by their square footage to show which neighborhoods are more or less expensive."
visualization  zillow  realestate  pricing  housing  maps  neighborhoods  property  price  via:tomc 
june 2008 by robertogreco
Marginal Revolution: How to choose an apartment
Tyler Cowen answers a reader question and solicits comments: "So, readers, when we are looking for an apartment, what is the bias we are most likely to have?
economics  happiness  life  realestate  apartments  renting  homes  psychology  lifehacks  commuting  transportation  mobility  neo-nomads  nomads  time 
april 2008 by robertogreco
Housing + Transportation : Center for Neighborhood Technology
"Planners, lenders, & most consumers traditionally measure housing affordability as 30 percent or less of income. [this index] takes into account not just cost of housing, but also intrinsic value of place, as quantified through transportation costs"
housing  realestate  sprawl  transit  transportation  travel  urban  urbanism  maps  mapping  money  community  visualization  costs  affordability  sustainability  demographics  urbanplanning  statistics  suburbs  calculator  economics  planning  geography  gis  data 
april 2008 by robertogreco
The Next Slum?
"The subprime crisis is just the tip of the iceberg. Fundamental changes in American life may turn today’s McMansions into tomorrow’s tenements."
us  architecture  housingbubble  capitalism  bubble  housing  recession  slums  sociology  subprime  suburban  suburbia  suburbs  sustainability  theatlantic  economics  realestate  urbanism  walking  transportation  urban  mortgages  demographics  future  green  cities  crime  culture  planning  politics  poverty  property  dystopia  neighborhoods  collapse  environment 
february 2008 by robertogreco
dot homes: the real estate search engine
"The DotHomes site allows home seekers across the UK, South Africa and the US to search thousands of real estate Websites from one place, linking through directly to the original source of information, the listing agent / broker."
realestate  homes  search  housing 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Calculated Risk: Wachovia: Homeowners just Walking Away
"1 of greatest fears for lenders (+investors in mortgage backed securities) is...socially acceptable for upside down middle class Americans to walk away from homes...homeowners with "capacity to pay...just decided not to." Wachovia is seeing that happen n
bubbles  homes  realestate  housingbubble  via:migurski  business  finance  economics  credit 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Mapping Data to Enhance Local Content
"Urban Mapping produces map data to enhance the value of interactive content. We also manufacture the award-winning Panamap print map. Read about what we do, our customers, and what we have to say."
api  data  local  location  locative  mapping  maps  reference  realestate  spatial  urban  visualization 
january 2008 by robertogreco
Home Sweet Gadget: How Our Technolust Helped Bring Down the Housing Market
"In 1993, just 48 percent said they hoped their next house would be newly built. By 2004, that number had grown to 74 percent."
homes  housing  markets  realestate  bubble  housingbubble  electronics  technolust  society 
december 2007 by robertogreco
Trulia - Real Estate, Homes For Sale, Sold Properties, Real Estate Maps
"We are a real estate search engine that helps you find homes for sale and provides real estate information at the local level to help you make better decisions in the process."
realestate  homes  housing  apartments  search  googlemaps  data  demographics  community  geography  schools 
november 2007 by robertogreco
Cool Tool: Redfin
"This website/service can save you ten thousand dollars or more when you buy a house in certain cities. It is an online real estate broker that rebates 2/3rds of the usual agent sales commission back to you."
budget  realestate  homes  housing  finance  services 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Trulia Hindsight » Maps of Properties Through Time
"Trulia Hindsight is an animated map of homes in the United States from Trulia. The animations use the year the properties were built to show the growth of streets, neighborhoods and cities over time."
history  housing  mapping  maps  realestate  time  timelines  visualization  us  stamendesign  geography  architecture  cities  demographics  urbanism  urban  population  satellite  statistics  timelapse  locative 
may 2007 by robertogreco
Where the Coffee Shop Meets the Cubicle
"Co-working facilities blend the appeal of an independent environment with many of the advantages of the traditional office"
alternative  architecture  business  cities  coffee  commons  culture  property  realestate  offices  sharing  sociology  space  studio  technology  work  coworking  telecommuting 
april 2007 by robertogreco
canadianarchitect.com - Canadian Architect - 3/6/2007
"A Critique of the Last 20 Years of Vancouver's Approach to Downtown Living Asks Some Difficult Questions About Where the Future Lies for Canada's Ocean Playground."
architecture  cities  criticism  development  urban  urbanism  vancouver  canada  design  realestate  land  downtown 
march 2007 by robertogreco
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