Paris just passed a new law that allows anyone to plant an urban garden within the city’s limits. Upon receiving a permit, gardeners can grow plants on walls, in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. They can cultivate greenery in front of their homes or offices. They can grow flowers, vegetables, and fruit. Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s goal is to create 100 hectares of living walls and green roofs by the year 2020, with one third of that greenery dedicated to agriculture.
The architects collaborated with engineering firm WSP Finland to design this tram, cyclist and pedestrian bridge, the name of which translates to Crown Bridges in Finnish. The €259 million…
The Dutch-Chinese firm NEXT Architects has a well-deserved reputation for designing eye-catching bridges. Their latest project, a bright red, Mobius strip-like pedestrian bridge for the Chinese city of Changsha, is set to become another jewel in their portfolio.
185 metres long and 24 metres tall, the “Lucky Knot” bridge will span the Dragon King Harbour River in Changsha’s ‘New Lake District’ development. The bridge will offer views of the nearby Meixi Lake and the mountain range that surrounds the city.
The annual list of the best planning, design, and development websites, representing some of the top online resources for news, information, and research on the built environment.
Not typically a big Hadid fan but this is definitely on “to visit” list.
Source: Rendering to Reality: Zaha Hadid’s Crystalline Port Authority Arrives in Antwerp – Architizer
Construction workers, cashiers and janitors are moving out of Washington, D.C., while doctors, economists and software developers are moving in. As the cost of housing increases in the city, it’s part of a larger trend, says the District of Columbia’s Office of Revenue Analysis (ORA), which has low-wage workers fleeing for the suburbs, and higher-wage workers flocking to urban cores.
The reading marks a change from almost unbridled consumer optimism in a housing market that has carried the Canadian economy since the 2008 global financial crisis, even as policy makers warn price gains in some cities are unsustainable.
Source: Fear Spreads of a Housing Crash in Canada | Alternative Economics
Bubbly cities like Singapore and Vancouver have started punishing foreign housing investors that have pushed up property prices to unaffordable – and unsustainable – rates. Foreign investors are now being taxed in many of these areas, and as a result, their real estate markets have begun to tank.During this housing burst, the most high-end, desirable locations will be hit the hardest.
Source: The Global Real Estate Bubble Is OFFICIALY Bursting | Seeking Alpha (sic)
In its recent issues, The Architectural Review has been on a mission, highlighting a phenomenon that they have named “Notopia.” Characterized by a “loss of identity and cultural vibrancy” and “a global pandemic of generic buildings,” Notopia is – in overly simplistic terms – a consequence of the cold logic of market forces combined with a disinterested populace. The AR’s campaign therefore aims to analyze this “thing of terror” and push back by raising public awareness and by proposing alternatives. And they need your help.
Globalization has winners and losers. Surprise, surprise the losers aren’t happy. Who’d have thunk.
The Brexit vote shows that globalisation leaves people behind – and that ignoring this for long enough can have severe political consequences
Fascinating photos of European subway stations. Also check out link to site on Montreal’s stations.
Montreal Subway Stations
Rapid housing price growth raises concerns about a housing bubble in China’s largest cities. Over the past year, residential real estate prices in 10 Chinese…
The point here is that while the housing market has recovered – the media should be asking ‘Is that all the recovery there is?’
With 30-year mortgage rates below 4%, we should be in the middle of the next housing bubble with prices and home ownership rising. The question the media should be asking is “why?” Furthermore, what happens if the “bond market bears” get their wish and rates rise?
The housing recovery is ultimately a story of the “real” unemployment situation that still shows that roughly a quarter of the home buying cohort are unemployed and living at home with their parents. The remaining members of the home buying, household formation, contingent are employed but at lower ends of the pay scale and are choosing to rent due to budgetary considerations. This explains why household formation is near its lowest levels on record despite the “housing recovery” fairytale whispered softly in the media.
While the “official” unemployment rate suggests that the U.S. is near full employment, the roughly 94 million individuals sitting outside the labor force would likely disagree. Furthermore, considering that those individuals make up 45% of the 16-54 aged members of the workforce, it is no wonder that they are being pushed to rent due to budgetary considerations and an inability to qualify for a mortgage.
The risk to the housing recovery story remains in the Fed’s ability to continue to keep interest rates suppressed. It is important to remember that individuals “buy payments” rather than houses, so each tick higher in mortgage rates reduces someone’s ability to meet the monthly mortgage payment. With wages remaining suppressed, and a large number of individuals not working or on Federal subsidies, the pool of potential buyers remains contained.
The real crisis is NOT a lack of homes for people to buy, just a lack of enough homes for people to rent. Which says more about the “real economy” than just about anything else.
While there are many hopes pinned on the housing recovery as a “driver” of economic growth in
2013, 2014, 2015,2016 – the lack of recovery in the home ownership data suggests otherwise.
An ambitious new plan in Norway would install a series of “submerged floating bridges” to help travelers easily cross the nation’s many fjords. At present, the only way to travel across the bodies…
The physical heart of Cleveland is a 10-acre civic space called Public Square, but until recently it wasn’t exactly pulsing with life. Two of downtown’s busiest roadways, Ontario Street and Superior Avenue, bisected the square, and its four quadrants felt neglected and forgotten. Instead of being a destination, it was a place people avoided.
Yet now, following a 15-month, $50 million renovation, Public Square is reopening as a dramatically re-envisioned centerpiece of the city’s ongoing redevelopment efforts. Designed by James Corner Field Operations, the architects behind New York’s High Line, it now has a lush green lawn, unobstructed city views, a full-service cafe with outdoor seating and a mirror pool that reflects the landmark buildings lining the square.
Perhaps most significantly, traffic has been eliminated through the park except for buses.
For places that were meant to be unseen, alleys take up a not-insubstantial amount of space. A 2011 report by Mary Fialko and Jennifer Hampton, graduate students at the University of Washington*, found that in Seattle, there are 217,000 square feet of public alley space downtown, 85 percent of which are underused. The report estimated that reinvigorating alleyways could increase the number of total public space in the city by 50 percent.Alleys, too, are vital players in a city’s overall ecosystem. As the need for cities to rely on more sustainable approaches has become more pressing, the proliferation of trash and flooding in alleyways has come to be seen not only an aesthetic blight, but an environmental one.And as Daniel Freedman of the Los Angeles Sustainability Collaborative says, there’s a lot of crossover between sound environmental practices and livability. Revitalizing an alleyway creates an opportunity to introduce green infrastructure, but also, Freedman says, it invites the surrounding community to collaborate on improvements and make use of the space.
Last week the New York Public Library made over 180,000 images from their digital archives available in the public domain, and free for high-resolution download. Not only are the images available for download, but since they are in the public domain and free of any copyright restrictions, users have the freedom to get creative and alter, modify, and reuse the images in any manner they see fit. Featuring a wide variety of images including drawings, engravings, photographs, maps, postcards, and in some cases, digitized copies of entire books, the collection has been noted for fascinating historical artifacts such as a set of color drawings of Egyptian gods and goddesses, and a digitized book from the 18th century containing over 400 color plates depicting various current and historical fashion trends.
The British Library has continued to release images from its digitized collection, now bordering over one million images on public image-sharing platform Flickr, reports Quartz. Since 2013, the institution’s “Mechanical Curator” has been randomly selecting images or other pages from over 65,000 public-domain books from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
The word Precariat was popularized five or so years ago to describe a rapidly expanding working class with unstable, low-paid jobs. What I call the Middle Precariat, in contrast, are supposed to be properly, comfortably middle class, but it’s not quite working out this way.
There are people like the Floridian couple who both have law degrees—and should be in the prime of their working lives—but can’t afford a car or an apartment and have moved back in with the woman’s elderly mother. There are schoolteachers around the country that work second jobs after their teaching duties are done: one woman in North Dakota I spoke to was heading off to clean houses after the final bell in order to pay her rent.
Many of the Middle Precariat work jobs that used to be solidly middle class. Yet some earn roughly what they did a decade ago. At the same time, middle-class life is now 30 percent more expensive than it was 20 years ago. The Middle Precariat’s jobs are also increasingly contingent—meaning they are composed of short-term contract or shift work, as well as unpaid overtime. Buffeted by Silicon Valley-like calls to maximize disruption, the Middle Precariat may have positions “reimagined.” That cruel euphemism means they are to be replaced by younger, cheaper workers, or even machines.
These days, hardly a week goes by without a new report about struggling retailers and rising vacancies in Manhattan.
Average retail asking rents fell year over year in seven of the borough’s 12 main retail submarkets in the first quarter of 2016, according to Cushman & Wakefield. And several prime shopping districts now have availability rates well over 20 percent, while stretches on Bleecker Street and Broadway have become notorious for their empty storefronts.
These signs of trouble are coinciding with record spending by retail investors and the rise of the retail condo.
Investors have shelled out $25 billion on Manhattan retail properties since the beginning of 2011, according to data from Real Capital Analytics. And in recent years, buyers have been more willing to dig deeper into their wallets and accept higher per-square-foot prices — forcing them to find tenants willing to pay high rents to justify their purchases.
Since 2000, RCA’s database counts 24 Manhattan retail condo sales that were priced at $10,000 per square foot or more. All of them closed after July 2011 and 17 closed in 2014 and 2015.
“I don’t want to say it’s a bubble but it’s been constantly bid up for six years,” Lee & Associates Managing Principal Peter Braus told The Real Deal.
Consolo added that retail condo sales prices have gone into the “stratosphere” in recent years.
“It is clear that there were numbers that were far too aggressive and the market just couldn’t keep up,” she said.
While real estate insiders are reluctant to call it a retail bubble, many acknowledge that a correction is imminent.
Michael Weiser, president of commercial brokerage GFI Realty Services, said the best indicator of whether Manhattan’s retail market is weakening is vacancy.
Availability rates — which measure the amount of retail space that is vacant or will become available — rose in all but one of Manhattan’s main retail submarkets between the first quarters of 2015 and 2016, according to Cushman.
Among those neighborhoods, several stand out: On Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 49th streets, a staggering 31 percent of retail space was available for lease. Meanwhile, Soho clocked in with a 25 percent availability rate followed by Herald Square and the Meatpacking District (both at 22 percent), Times Square (20 percent) and Madison Avenue (17 percent).
Braus said that owners who paid a steep price for retail space are more reluctant to accept lower rents. “That’s one reason why you’re seeing a lot of vacancies in those neighborhoods,” he noted.As it happens, those six districts were also home to the bulk of the priciest Manhattan retail purchases in the last two and half years, accounting for 57 of the 73 sales priced at $100 million or more recorded by RCA since January 2014. (That excludes office properties with retail components.) They are also among the neighborhoods where asking rents saw the steepest rise over the past two years, the numbers from Cushman & Wakefield show.
Worth the time to read the entire article here: