I’ve been following this for a while and writing about it on NewGeography.com since March – not all mortgage-backed securities (MBS) are actually backed by mortgages. So when the homeowner goes into bankruptcy, there’s no way for the MBS holder to prove a lien on the house and the judge awards the bondholder bupkus. read more »
Set aside for a minute whether high-speed rail (HSR) makes sense or not on a cost-benefit basis. Regardless of whether it does or not (and some smart people are arguing not), I'd like to make the argument that federal funding has no place in HSR. Instead, it should be left to individual states or regional state coalitions.
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According to Railway Technology, Taiwan’s struggling high speed rail line, the only fully private and commercial high speed rail system in the world, will be taken over by the government his week. The line has been plagued by disappointing ridership levels totaling approximately one-third projected levels. The company has generated insufficient revenues to meet its debt obligations and had previously renegotiated its bank credit to substantially lower interest rates. read more »
Not every local official is smitten with the romance of high-speed rail. Graphic evidence of this was provided by Springfield, Illinois mayor Tim Davlin, who expressed his concern that the proposed rail overpasses would slice the city in half. Davlin told the State Journal Register that the “Whole city would look like crap.” This is a problem faced not only by historic Springfield, the state’s capital and location of many Abraham Lincoln sites. read more »
Not long ago, I saw an urban planner speak about the “Popsicle test” as a barometer for healthy urban design: in an ideal community, a child is able to safely walk a short distance from their home to buy a Popsicle. In such a community, kids have the freedom and independence to enjoy a carefree childhood walk without having to worry about traffic or neighborhood bullies. read more »
The Windy Citizen pointed me at coverage of metro area job losses in the recession. Here is how the 12 cities I principally cover in this blog stacked up, sorted in descending order of percentage losses: read more »
Soon after President Obama took office, a proposed plan to “develop federal policies to induce states and local communities to embrace ‘smart growth’ land use strategies” was announced.
This “Livable Communities Program” is intended to save land and clean up the environment. It is seen as encouraging denser housing arrangements to deter automobile use and accommodate the transit industry, according to goals set by the Secretaries of HUD, EPA and Transportation. read more »
The current economic recession has tarnished the Golden State’s employment opportunities in a major way.
A report released on Sunday by the California Budget Project says that two of five working-age Californians do not have a job. read more »
Mark Hovind over at Jobbait.com released his monthly job market report, and this month he's expanded it significantly with sector-level data by state and metropolitan area.
Mark offers the numbers in an easily digestible format organized by state in color coded tables. It's a great way to get a feel for what's happening in your region or nationally.
Mark hopes this will help identify sectors with job prospects, even in regions where overall employment is declining. read more »
Dwell Magazine and inhabitat.com have combined forces to sponsor the first ever “Reburbia Design Competition,” a design competition dedicated to re-envisioning the suburbs.
Citing the current housing crisis, the sub-prime mortgage meltdown, and rising energy cost, as well as limited natural resources available to increased exurban growth, the two companies have called upon “future-forward architects” and “renegade planners” to reinvent the suburbs. read more »