"The reason your neighborhood increasingly resembles a hometown mall is because somebody’s banker prefers it that way," writes Patrick Clark at Bloomberg.com. [more inside]
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]
In 2008 the late Robert Fitch, author of "The Assassination of New York", was asked to foretell an Obama presidency before the Harlem Tenants Association:
If we examine more carefully the interests that Obama represents; if we look at his core financial supporters; as well as his inmost circle of advisors, we’ll see that they represent the primary activists in the demolition movement and the primary real estate beneficiaries of this transformation of public housing projects into condos and townhouses: the profitable creep of the Central Business District and elite residential neighborhoods southward; and the shifting of the pile of human misery about three miles further into the South Side and the south suburbs... Obama’s political base comes primarily from Chicago FIRE—the finance, insurance and real estate industry. And the wealthiest families—the Pritzkers, the Crowns and the Levins.
Are you a young middle-class creative type (probably white) who has chosen to live in an urban neighborhood that your parents would have shunned? Have the families that formerly lived in your neighborhood (probably not white) been pushed out by soaring rents and real-estate prices to the city fringes or suburbs? The New Republic on demographic inversion.
DC Suburbs slowly getting denser I've been a participant for the past 5 years in what is easily the 2nd-3rd most insane housing market in the US: Washington DC. Apartment occupancy is 99% in the desirable areas, and "affordable starter homes" (in finger quotes) are priced at $250-$350k. People with good jobs can barely afford this. So what happens to folks who are just getting their feet on the ground in the country? More the merrier. How do you strike a balance between providing affordable housing that is accessible to living-wage jobs without running out the existing neighbors?
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.