Remembering Jonathan Larson, who died 20 years ago this week, weeks shy of his 36th birthday. The 20th anniversary tour of the show that began previews the night of his death, RENT, will launch this fall. [more inside]
Rewrite the rules to benefit everyone, not just the wealthy - "If there's one thing Joseph Stiglitz wants to say about inequality, it's that it has been a choice, not an unexpected, unfortunate economic outcome. That's unnerving, but it also means that citizens and politicians have the opportunity to fix the problem before it gets worse." (via) [more inside]
Life in a Studio Apartment with my Wife and Two Sons - Between July 2011 and August 2015 I lived in a ~400sqft studio apartment in San Francisco. I moved in a bachelor but by the time I moved out, I was one member of a four person family. Here are some things I learned along the way. (via)
You can look up property records and confirm the person you are going to meet is in fact the owner of the building, but that only proves that the name on the property record and the name on the Craigslist email you received match. So then you start searching online for photographs, to make sure the person you meet matches the photo of the person he or she claims to be [...] You’re doing all of this in about 10 minutes, by the way, because you need to be the first person to the listing after it posts.The People You Have to Trust to Rent an Apartment
For those workers that currently earn the state’s minimum of $8.75 per hour, there are no neighborhoods in which median asking rent could be paid affordably. The extent to which rent growth has outpaced income growth in New York City means low-wage workers face three options: find several roommates to lower their personal rent burden, take on more than one job, or move out of New York City.The High Burden of Low Wages: How Renting Affordably in NYC is Impossible on Minimum Wage
...an interactive map that shows both the median rents in [some] New York City neighborhoods right now as well as their evolution in those areas over the last seven years—a period that has been marked by significant new developmentMapping New York Neighborhoods Hit Hardest by High Rents
Joe Stiglitz on Inequality, Wealth, and Growth: Why Capitalism is Failing (video; if you don't have 30m, skip to 20m for discussion of political inequality, wealth, credit and monetary policy) - "If the very rich can use their position to get higher returns, more investment information, more extraction of rents, and if the very rich have equal or higher savings rates, then wealth will become more concentrated... economic inequality inevitably gets translated into political inequality, and political inequality gets translated into more economic inequality. The basic and really important idea here is that markets don't exist in a vacuum, that market economies operate according to certain rules, certain regulations that specify how they work. And those effect the efficiency of those markets, but they also effect how the fruits of the benefits of those markets are distributed and the result of that is there are large numbers of aspects of our basic economic framework that in recent years have worked to increase the inequality of wealth and income in our society... leading to a society which can be better described, increasingly, as an inherited plutocracy." [more inside]
Journalist Felix Salmon brings us up to speed on the increasingly strange and complicated saga of The Cooper Union School For The Advancement Of Science And Art, one of the last historically free schools in the US for Art, Architecture and Engineering, which may be brought down by shameless trustees, incompetent management, the State Attorney General, or pure greed. (Cooper Union charging tuition previously. Cooper Union students occupying the president's office previously)
In what is being heralded as a "neo liberalist capitalist dystopic future present nightmare", a "UK version of American Psycho" or simply the "end of days", an upmarket property agency in England releases a (serious) video advert for luxury London apartments. Social media is abuzz with analysis, wondering about his day job / cover, and photoshopping, while the Independent newspaper gapes with incredulity. Comments on the video have been disabled. [more inside]
One Year Lease is an 11 minute film that was featured at the Tribeca Film Festival documenting almost entirely through voice mail messages, One Year Lease documents the travails of Brian, Thomas, and Casper as they endure a year-long sentence with Rita, the cat-loving landlady. "
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]
I tend to measure most of my work in rent. Freelance game critics, like most freelance writers, probably measure most things in rent. I also like to measure my wellbeing in whether I can afford a bottle of Sailor Jerry that month. This only reflects a little of the type of person I am. The Sailor Jerry sort of helps to cope with the fact that I am my own worst commenter. Sailor Jerry is also very useful for coping with actual commenters and the hell of the internet.Cara Ellison: How to write about a game.
Huntbnb is a new service that helps landlords and neighbors find Airbnb listings within their own buildings. While Airbnb does not list actual addresses for listings, HuntBnB matches user-entered exact addresses to Airbnb listings within close proximity. [more inside]
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.
In 2013, 85% of new houses in London were sold to non-UK buyers. Many stand empty and decaying, held as investments instead of homes. On the other end of the scale, desperate renters turn to leaking barges on the Thames.
Markers of Gentrification: Mapping Rent as a Share of Income Heatmaps showing median rent as a percentage of median income. Note the heatmap colors are not baselined across the cities displayed in the blog post.
The return of "patrimonial capitalism": review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st century (pdf) - "Thomas Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st century' may be one of the most important recent economics books. It jointly treats theory of growth, functional distribution of income, and interpersonal income inequality. It envisages a future of relatively slow growth with the rising share of capital incomes, and widening income inequality. This tendency could be checked only by worldwide taxation of capital." [more inside]
The Worst Room is a Tumblr where people can submit their worst NYC rental pictures, via Craigslist.
A dozen ultraleft voluntarists arguing about shower schedules is a noise complaint; 120,000 downwardly mobile yuppies doing it out of necessity is a substratum. The material realities of declining wages, ballooning debt, and skyrocketing rents at the core of the neoliberal city have conspired to herd young people into unprecedentedly dense, poor, and precarious kinds of living arrangements. - Andrew Fogle on how the economic crisis is changing how people live together.
A Confederacy of Bachelors [NYT] Meet the brotherhood of Fortress Astoria: Danaher Dempsey, Luke Crane, Rick Brown and Shyaporn Theerakulstit, best friends and artists. They have no children, no linear career histories, no readily disposable savings. The four men, all heterosexual, approaching 40 and never married, have lived together for 18 years, give or take a revolving guest roommate, cohabitating in spaces like an East Village walk-up, a Chelsea loft and, now, a converted office space in Queens. [more inside]
How many hours per week does a person have to work in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment at minimum wage? Following a report (PDF) by the National Low Income Housing Coalition, a rather striking infographic has been making the rounds (NYT) on the web. The bottom line: nowhere in the USA is it possible to afford a two-bedroom apartment on forty hours per week of minimum wage work.
The Incentive Bubble (ungated pdf) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
Why Nations Fail - In a nutshell: "Proximately, prosperity is generated by investment and innovation, but these are acts of faith: investors and innovators must have credible reasons to think that, if successful, they will not be plundered by the powerful. For the polity to provide such reassurance, two conditions have to hold: power has to be centralised and the institutions of power have to be inclusive." [more inside]
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.
Welcome to Vegas Punk House. Don’t break shit! Frontman, Fat Mike, of the punk band NoFX recently opened a "Punk House" available for renting while staying in Vegas. Complete with a mini golf course, 3 bedrooms (one with six bunk beds), punk flyers all over the walls, beer vending machine, and a "paltry" museum, for $400 dollars per 3 day stay, you can maintain you're punk lifestyle, albeit in luxury. (VIDEO)
How do you split the rent when one room is tiny and has no closet while the other is large and has great windows? Based on a not really scientific survey, Jonathan Bittner has come up with a decisive way to answer those 'who should pay how much' questions when it comes to apartment sharing.
"If you want to marry a show, I'll marry you." Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, steals the show at an NY gubernatorial debate.
Moving to or within NYC soon? Check to make sure your potential landlord isn't on this list of 153 by the NYC Public Advocates Office. [more inside]
Residents of the Fuggerei in Augsburg pay an annual rent of just one Rheinischer Gulden, the same as in 1520. There are a few conditions: one must be poor, Catholic, an Augsburg resident for two years, and pray thrice daily for the souls of the Fuggers.
Portland's got white ones, Austin has yellow ones, Vassar has them in pink. What are they? Community bikes. Colleges, universities, even whole cities are seeing the benefits of offering their students and citizens an alternative to cars, fossil fuels, and parking lots. Want to start a shared bike program in your community? Here's how. (previously)
How far away from work do you live? How much of your pay gets used up to get you to and from work, get you around town, and pay for where you live? As gas and food prices continue to rise, "affordability" has become a more critical notion for everyday Americans. The Center for Neighborhood Technology developed their Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, which aims to help better inform renters and owners about the relationship of transportation options to where one lives.
Nearly 12 Years Old, ‘Rent’ Is to Close. The 1996 Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning musical will close its doors at New York's Nederlander Theatre on June 1st. The 7th longest-running musical in Broadway history, it is based on Puccini's La Boheme and is credited with bringing young people to musical theatre and the invention of Broadway Rush ticketing - it sold its first two rows for $20: first in , first served on the day of the performance. [more inside]
"A Ninja Pays Half My Rent" (YouTube 5:23) A short film directed by Steven K. Tsuchida.
Gloria Trembicky is a bad landlord. Ever wish you knew more about your new landlord before signing the lease? Hopefully Gloria Trembicky won't have any more unsuspecting tenants. This well-documented story of disrepair, deceit and disorder should keep any landlord-Googler away (especially with the growing contributions emailed from former tenants). Also, it provides some great Schadenfreude for those of us not renting in NYC.
Do you feel bad about cutting down a tree in the prime of its life just for Christmas? If you live in San Francisco or Portland, OR you can rent a tree instead.
Wanted: the perfect housemate! You just need to meet a few, um, requirements.
And I thought the market was tight in Boston... A man was charged with killing two people -- one of whom was dismembered -- so he could move into their apartments, police said.
Scary calculation of the day: I spend about $750/mo. on rent in LA, and while I was checking the price range on apartments in San Francisco, what I wanted was about $2500 per month. So in LA, I spend $9,000 per year on rent (actually it's half that, since I split it with my girlfriend), but in SF, it'd be $30,000 (!!!). For that cost, I could pay for a house in just a handful of years in any other state. Maybe Salon is right, or maybe they aren't.