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"These people need homes. These homes need people."

"We were homeless; that’s why we were in the hostel in the first place. We didn’t have anywhere else to go. There were 210 other young women living there. Now it’s luxury flats."
A group of young, homeless mothers have taken over an empty council house in Newham, East London, in protest over the council's plans to rehome them to other parts of the country while selling off social housing and closing the specialist hostel where they were living. The Guardian reports: "For real politics, don't look to Parliament but to an empty London housing estate." [more inside]
posted by Catseye on Sep 27, 2014 - 13 comments

Dead swathes of zombie town

In superheated London, where stratospheric land values beget accordingly bloated developments – authorities are allowing planning policies to be continually flouted, affordable housing quotas to be waived, height limits breached, the interests of residents endlessly trampled. Places are becoming ever meaner and more divided, as public assets are relentlessly sold off, entire council estates flattened to make room for silos of luxury safe-deposit boxes in the sky. We are replacing homes with investment units, to be sold overseas and never inhabited, substituting community for vacancy. The more we build, the more our cities are emptied, producing dead swathes of zombie town where the lights might never even be switched on.
The Guardian's architecture and design critic Oliver Wainright discusses housing development policy in London and the new city it is ushering in. [more inside]
posted by Sonny Jim on Sep 17, 2014 - 19 comments

Built for Living!

The Mar Vista Tract in West Los Angeles, California was designed by Gregory Ain in 1947, in collaboration with Joseph Johnson and Alfred Day. Ain was a significant "second generation" modernist architect who had worked with and was influenced by the first generation of California Modern masters - European immigrants Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler. Ain believed in bringing good design to the masses; he belonged to the school of thought that espoused architecture's potential to shape a more egalitarian world. He is credited as being the first architect to design a house that did not contemplate servants. A lot of Ain’s ideals were achieved in the "Modernique Homes" development, the name under which the Mar Vista Tract was marketed in 1948. The intent of the Mar Vista Tract was to create a housing development that provided cost efficient housing while advancing the cause of Modern architectural design. [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Sep 3, 2014 - 14 comments

Equal parts righteous indignation and pickle juice

A brief history of houses built out of spite.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard on Jul 17, 2014 - 33 comments

Fear is the highest fence.

After years of debates, notoriously contentious public meetings, and the looming specter of a civil rights lawsuit, a federal mediation agreement between the Town of Hamden and the City of New Haven, Connecticut resulted in the removal of a 10-foot chain-link fence that separated New Haven's West Rock public housing projects from Hamden's Woodin Street neighborhood for nearly half a century. NYT's Benjamin Mueller reports: In Connecticut, Breaking a Barrier Between a Suburb and Public Housing. [more inside]
posted by divined by radio on Jul 14, 2014 - 9 comments

The Ghetto Is Public Policy

Ta-Nehisi Coates writes in The Atlantic:The Effects of Housing Segregation on Black Wealth. As the wealth gap widens between whites and blacks in America, and after reading this list and this list, he concludes The Ghetto Is Public Policy. [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Jul 12, 2014 - 31 comments

Living in a Fool’s Paradise

San Francisco must change. "...the current state of permitting regulations for building and the glacial pace of infrastructure projects in San Francisco benefit very few people and risk turning it into a caricature of its former self for tourists and residents rich enough to live in a fantasy, not a living city. If there was ever a time when San Francisco needed to embrace a dynamic, expansive policy for building housing, offices and transportation, it is now." (Previously: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.)
posted by ambrosia on Jul 6, 2014 - 72 comments

Why the Civil Rights Act couldn’t pass today

"Although the Civil Rights Act passed the Senate by 73-27, with 27 out of 33 Republican votes, one of the six Republicans who voted against it was Barry Goldwater of Arizona, who weeks later became the GOP’s presidential standard-bearer and started the long process by which the Party of Lincoln became the party of white backlash, especially in the South. Today, Republicans hold complete legislative control in all 11 states of the Old Confederacy for only the second time since Reconstruction." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Jul 2, 2014 - 19 comments

Airbnb's hidden impact on San Francisco

“In a city that has chronic housing shortages, the number of Airbnb homes that appear to not be available on the rental market is significant"
posted by ellieBOA on Jun 23, 2014 - 113 comments

Real Estate Goes Global

We’re all familiar with the stories of Russian oligarchs buying up mansions in London, but this is a much broader phenomenon. A torrent of capital from wealthy people in emerging markets—from China, above all, but also from Latin America, Russia, and the Middle East—has flowed into the real-estate markets of big cities in other countries, driving up prices and causing a luxury-construction boom. ... The globalization of real estate upends some of our basic assumptions about housing prices. We expect them to reflect local fundamentals—above all, how much people earn. In a truly global market, that may not be the case.
James Surowiecki writing in the New Yorker on the rise of a truly global market in real estate.
posted by Jasper Friendly Bear on May 25, 2014 - 87 comments

Deluxe Apartment In The Sky

The Tower of David skyscraper in Caracas was abandoned in 1994, and remained vacant until 2007 when squatters moved in. There is now a vibrant community living within its walls.
posted by reenum on Apr 26, 2014 - 42 comments

A Report From The Front

TechCrunch's Kim-Mai Cutler delivers a 12,000-word deep-dive on San Francisco's Housing Crisis. Touching on: rent control, the Ellis Act, Dianne Feinstein, the mission, the Fillmore, Angelo Sangiacomo, Howard Jarvis, the failure of the Greater San Francisco movement, the perfidy if the Mountain View city council, and the Byzantine machinations behind the Twitter tax. If some of those names are unfamiliar to you, strap in: the story of San Francisco's property law may have found its Gibbon.
posted by Diablevert on Apr 15, 2014 - 96 comments

No people without houses, no houses without people.

Photojournal of Spain's new squatters: families, young professionals, degree-holders, single mothers, the elderly. "I have grandchildren," she says. "When I die I would like to be able to say to myself that they will have jobs, homes and a happy life. The corralas are important. They set an example to people who are struggling. They show that we can help ourselves and each other. I don't know what the future will hold for any of us, but one way or another I believe that this will be a successful fight. I have to, otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep at night." [more inside]
posted by alona on Mar 10, 2014 - 11 comments

Fighting segregation in housing: There’s a map for that

A single mom, Nicole just completed a degree in early childhood development at the local community college. She has been patching together part-time work around her studies and Joe’s schedule. Until 2009, Nicole and Joe lived in a poor neighborhood in Baltimore. Now they’re in Columbia, Md., half an hour away by car, but a world away in terms of opportunity. At Joe’s former elementary school in Baltimore, 97 percent of the students are low income, and 97 percent are African-American. His middle school in Columbia is one-third low income, with white, Asian, Hispanic and multiracial students making up just over half the population. In their old Baltimore neighborhood, Nicole says, she saw a man get shot in the leg in front of a corner bar as she held baby Joe in her arms.
posted by josher71 on Feb 6, 2014 - 12 comments

The Campaign For Real Poverty

Where Will We Live? is a long essay by James Meek on the housing crisis in the UK. [more inside]
posted by motty on Jan 3, 2014 - 61 comments

"[O]ne of the more egregious failures of the criminal justice system..."

U.S. District Court Judge Jed Rakoff on "Why Have No High Level Executives Been Prosecuted In Connection With The Financial Crisis?" Judge Rakoff, a federal trial judge who sits in the Southern District of New York, writes: "[M]y point is that the Department of Justice has never taken the position that all the top executives involved in the events leading up to the financial crisis were innocent, but rather has offered one or another excuse for not criminally prosecuting them – excuses that, on inspection, appear unconvincing."
posted by jayder on Dec 5, 2013 - 28 comments

Welcome to Pismodise

A healthy, inexpensive, environmentally friendly solution for housing millions of retiring baby boomers is staring us in the face. We just know it by a dirty name. How The Trailer Park Could Save Us All.
posted by SkylitDrawl on Jul 18, 2013 - 90 comments

First world problems. Analyzed.

The high salaries of the Silicon Valley are not enough to send your children to college, buy a house, and retire when looked at alongside living expenses. You need to play the equity game. [more inside]
posted by straight_razor on May 27, 2013 - 212 comments

Would you buy that for a dollar?

What with the American mortgage scandals of a few years back and the resulting global financial death crisis, quite a few cities have had problems with long term abandonment of housing stock. Buffalo is trying to do something about it, by offering houses for sale for one shiny dollar. [more inside]
posted by MartinWisse on May 27, 2013 - 43 comments

''Escrache'' it's direct action.

Mortgage fraud, faux-democracy and escrache in Spain. Those unfortunate enough to lose their homes are also burdened with a debt for life.
Anatomy of an ‘escrache’.
Spanish banks repossessed 30,000 family homes in 2012 and those who take part in doorstep protests may face fines of up to 6,000 euros in Madrid.
Between 2002 and 2008 an average of 754,000 new homes were built in Spain every year. It is currently estimated that up to 6 million homes remain vacant.
posted by adamvasco on Apr 14, 2013 - 17 comments

“He’s just like a noble lion that does not bite.”

The last King of Rwanda, Kigeli V Ndahindurwa, lives on public assistance in low-income housing, at a dead end between US Route 66 and State Route 655 in Oakton, Virginia. 'He ruled Rwanda for just nine months in the 1960's before fleeing a revolt and has spent the last half century in exile, powerless to stop the violence that ripped through his country. He is 76 years old now, his tottering seven-foot-two-inch frame stooped by age and the vagaries of fate.'
posted by zarq on Mar 29, 2013 - 26 comments

There were four in the bed and the little one said "squeeze up"

From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
posted by Mezentian on Feb 3, 2013 - 121 comments

Google Invades

Rebecca Solnit on how Silicon Valley corporations are transforming San Francisco: I weathered the dot-com boom of the late 1990s as an observer, but I sold my apartment to a Google engineer last year and ventured out into both the rental market (for the short term) and home buying market (for the long term) with confidence that my long standing in this city and respectable finances would open a path. That confidence got crushed fast. It turned out that the competition for any apartment in San Francisco was so intense that you had to respond to the listings – all on San Francisco-based Craigslist of course, the classifieds website that whittled away newspaper ad revenue nationally – within a few hours of their posting to receive a reply from the landlord or agency. The listings for both rentals and homes for sale often mentioned their proximity to the Google or Apple bus stops. [more inside]
posted by liketitanic on Jan 31, 2013 - 143 comments

Get a Bird's-Eye View of America's Housing Patterns

See the big picture of how suburban developments are changing the country's landscape, with aerial photos and an architect's commentary
posted by blue_beetle on Jan 25, 2013 - 94 comments

Night City, here we go

Is San Francisco The Brooklyn To Silicon Valley's Unbuilt Manhattan? Much has been said about how San Francisco should build up and become a new Manhattan. (Previously.) Similarly, much has been said about the utterly boring suburban sprawl that is Silicon Valley. (At least in San Jose.) The Awl's Ken Layne points out that there's a lot of underdeveloped land in between that isn't exactly virgin wilderness- and suggests making more out of it: an entire metropolis, in fact. Alexis Madrigal at The Atlantic Cities mentions that Redwood City is the neighborhood of the future. [more inside]
posted by Apocryphon on Jan 9, 2013 - 134 comments

That's me in the corner

The findings for England and Wales from the 2011 British Census have now been released. The BBC provides a handy guide to changes by area while The Guardian has a neat infographic and a set of Top 10 Charts. [more inside]
posted by MuffinMan on Dec 13, 2012 - 18 comments

Welcome to San Francisco. Now what the hell are you doing here?

San Francisco can become a world capital. First it needs to get over itself.
posted by MattMangels on Dec 5, 2012 - 227 comments

Rumble in Bazhou City

In China, people are being evicted from their homes at an alarming rate, according to a recent report by Amnesty International. Eager to spur economic development, local Communist Party officials have used violence and intimidation to force people out of their homes and farmland, including employing private gangs to attack residents who won't comply with eviction orders. In Hebei Province, however, one father-and-son duo, both devotees of Bruce Lee and facing a gang of over 30 men outside their house, decided to fight back--and won. [more inside]
posted by Cash4Lead on Dec 3, 2012 - 31 comments

A real world distopian sports event

Not content with displacing the poor, menacing photographers and blocking ambulances the london olympics now wants ground-to-air missiles, presumably to shoot down rogue skywriters who might misuse it's brand.
posted by Artw on Apr 28, 2012 - 68 comments

We are the tiny house people

In many parts of the world, the dream of owning a large house is being turned on its head #occupythesmallestpossiblespace
posted by Greener_pastures on Apr 24, 2012 - 58 comments

Dymaxion and relaxin'

Buckminster Fuller's prototype Dymaxion House now resides in the Henry Ford Museum. A checkup under the floorboards revealed extensive cracking in the aluminum support beams underneath. The repair process granted a sneak peek into Fuller's remarkable design.
posted by Horace Rumpole on Apr 23, 2012 - 25 comments

This piece would suggest that the door is opening, and people are walking through it

MSNBC Talks To And About Trans People For An Hour, Doesn't F*ck It Up
posted by sendai sleep master on Apr 19, 2012 - 34 comments

Thanks, Housing Collapse!

14 Year Old Buys House in Florida Meet Willow Tufano, age 14: Lady Gaga fan, animal lover, landlord. [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Mar 9, 2012 - 102 comments

Is the dream of home ownership dead?

Despite low mortgage rates (and rising rental demand), home ownership levels among young people remain at their lowest levels in decades--a trend that began even before the housing market crash. Although unemployment and other debts may be precluding many young people from buying a house now, it may also be part of a societal shift where renting is considered just as good as, or superior to, owning. NPR's On Point discussed the question today, as well as linked to NYT and US News stories on the subject. Megan McArdle offers a dissenting view.
posted by Cash4Lead on Mar 7, 2012 - 145 comments

FML Listings

FML Listings posts incredulous commentary about outrageously overpriced real estate listings in Toronto. Look at the run-down bungalows -- in North York! -- listed for a million dollars and despair. Canada's housing bubble, on full display. Via Maclean's.
posted by mcwetboy on Jan 30, 2012 - 74 comments

The Nomad's Ger

A time-lapse video of a Mongolian family assembling a yurt near the Russian border.
posted by gman on Jan 29, 2012 - 22 comments

Realtorsincars.Tumblr.com

Realtors in Cars is one of the strangest sites I've seen in some time. I have no idea how these agencies got their realtors wedged into their cars, or why.
posted by mek on Aug 24, 2011 - 36 comments

זו הכלכלה, טמבל

Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs -- and demanding change. Tent cities have sprung up in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high". [more inside]
posted by zarq on Aug 3, 2011 - 58 comments

Charles Hugh Smith on The Housing Bubble

Exquisitely Corrupt Charles Hugh Smith's predictions on the housing bubble, from almost five years ago, are proving accurate. Previously.
posted by mmrtnt on May 13, 2011 - 61 comments

Let's find as many suckers as we can as fast as we can, because we'll only make more money as more and more shit hits the fan.

The People vs. Goldman Sachs. Matt Taibbi's latest magnum opus (previous coverage) lays out the full case for federal prosecutions against the Vampire Squid according to Sen. Carl Levin's Senate Subcommittee on Investigations. [Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse 650 page pdf].
posted by T.D. Strange on May 11, 2011 - 176 comments

HUD Interactive Map Tool

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has launched a new interactive mapping tool for Community Planning and Development agencies, interested agency partners, and the public. [more inside]
posted by Kpele on May 11, 2011 - 12 comments

A home is where you make it

Could you live in repurposed freight containers? How about a pig sty or a water tower? You can really fix a water tower up nicely. Folks can live in all kinds of things, including an old cement factory. [more inside]
posted by kinnakeet on Apr 20, 2011 - 38 comments

"This tower is a perfect example of anarchy."

Squatters on the Skyline: "Facing a mounting housing shortage, squatters have transformed an abandoned skyscraper in downtown Caracas into a makeshift home for more than 2,500 people." [SLNYTVP]
posted by bayani on Feb 28, 2011 - 27 comments

The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

"Completed in 1954, the 33 11-story buildings of the Pruitt-Igoe housing development was built as an attempt to address the housing crisis the poor faced in St Louis, Missouri. Only twenty years later, at 3pm on the 16th of March, 1972, the buildings were leveled, declared unfit for habitation because of unsafe and unsanitary conditions, coupled with rampant crime. The story of Pruitt-Igoe is a tragic urban fable, a complicated and loaded story of ambition, hubris and failure." (src)
"The Pruitt-Igoe Myth" is a documentary directed by Chad Freidrichs that dives into the complex history of the famed housing project (YouTube or Vimeo trailer). RustWire has an interesting interview with the documentary's creator. More information from Architizer, Homo Ludens, and Magical Urbanism. Be sure to check out the collection of pictures from the area and from the documentary in the creators' Flickr stream. [via Archinect and Mefi Projects] [more inside]
posted by spiderskull on Feb 28, 2011 - 29 comments

The Dead Weight of Debt

"The World", an ambitious real estate project conceived at the height of the real estate boom, is sinking back into the sea.
[more inside]
posted by reenum on Jan 28, 2011 - 34 comments

Smith Tower Living

462 feet above Seattle, a family has transformed the top of the Smith Tower into their rather fantastic residence. Slideshow here. [more inside]
posted by disillusioned on Oct 25, 2010 - 112 comments

Mountains beyond mountains

Earlier this week, Toxie, NPR's cutest toxic asset died. One of the mortgages bundled into this asset was an investment property in Bradenton, Florida, which, like many Florida homes, has never been occupied or served as anything other than a financial instrument. Boston.com's Big Picture recently took a look from above at the effects that this (and previous) housing bubbles have had on the development of Florida's cities and landscapes. How do you design a city that nobody plans to live in? (Previously)
posted by schmod on Oct 1, 2010 - 82 comments

Stripping Down the House

Before they foreclose on your house why don't you get back at the bastards by stripping the place. There are consequences. "Lawyers who represent people facing foreclosure advise them that whatever's nailed down generally stays with the house."
posted by Xurando on Sep 12, 2010 - 138 comments

It is the map that engenders the territory

Radical Cartography has made a lot more maps since greasy_skillet posted it in 2005, including maps showing housing prices and segregation of all kinds in New York, Chicago, DC and elsewhere, counties named for Presidents, the night sky, the US in agriculture, the US as projected to other spots on the globe, and a physical atlas of the world.
posted by l33tpolicywonk on Aug 26, 2010 - 4 comments

"It's awfully small..." "I'd say it's awfully.. cozy!"

Tour of a house that's less than 100 square feet. [slv]
posted by Fizz on Aug 8, 2010 - 117 comments

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