USC Extorted by the City of Los Angeles

With California State Redevelopment Agency money gone, the city of Los Angeles ought to welcome new large-scale private development, and the economic stimulus and job creation it brings, with open arms. City Hall, faced with an anemic municipal budget, could also use the increased tax revenue. One such project that would help abate the city’s budget woes and create new jobs for the city is the University of Southern California’s proposed $1.1 billion “The Village at USC” project.  read more »

Houston's Walled Garden

My friend Neal and I were in a tall building recently looking out over the city, and noted that there is an interesting phenomenon in Houston.  There are now enough tall buildings to almost outline a new zone.  read more »

A Better Plan to Save the Astrodome

Setting aside my own wishes for the Astrodome, and just looking at the plan recently presented by the HCSCC to Commissioners Court, there is a very simple fix that will make saving the Astrodome *much* more likely.

Current Plan  read more »

Development Plans for Old Hong Kong Airport Announced

The government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has outlined plans to create a "second central business district" at Kai Tak in eastern Kowloon, site of the now former international airport. Kai Tak airport was abandoned in 1998 when the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chep Lap Tok opened.  read more »

Blight Envy - How Development Works in LA

I never thought I’d say this, but I think I want to live in a blighted neighborhood. Well, actually, a community redevelopment area (CRA). They used to be one and the same, but no longer. Apparently you have to live or do business in a redevelopment area to get any “love” in Los Angeles … love being when the government takes your tax dollars and gives them to someone else no more needy.

Let me explain.  read more »

Zhengzhou Ghost City Alive!

Zhengzhou, Henan, China (March 28, 2011): In December, London’s Daily Mail reported that the Zhengzhou New Area was China’s largest “Ghost City.” A visit to the Zhengzhou New Area indicates exactly the opposite. Chinese “Ghost Cities” are large areas of new development that are virtually unoccupied. The most famous example is Ordos, a new and reportedly empty city, built to replace an older city in Inner Mongolia.  read more »

Vancouver Olympic Villiage Scandal Gets Worse

The Vancouver Olympic Village scandal continues to worsen.  During construction, the City of Vancouver was forced to take over financing of the project, as the developer’s initial lender backed out due to cost overruns.  At the end of last August, the developer fell behind its payment schedule, and the City placed the property into receivership in November.  The development has been a spectacular failure, with fewer than half of the 737 units being sold.  read more »

English Goddess

Chandra Bhan Prasad, a political activist from Northern part of India, has recently constructed a temple enshrining “Goddess English” in Bankagaon, near Lakhimpur in Utter Pradesh, India. The statue resembles the Statue of Liberty (but no crown; just a hat), carries a copy of the Indian constitution, and holds a fountain pen. Representing the unshaken belief by many Indians that English is a passport for good education, well respected and good paying jobs, and a modern outlook, no wonder the Goddess English stands on a personal computer.  read more »

A New Word in Development

In the old days a "blurb" was a positive promotional recommendation statement on a book jacket. I have done a few myself. Now we are informed by the developer of Civita, an urban infill project in San Diego, that "blurb" really means a cross between suburban and urban.

Are they going to put a picture of it on a book jacket?  read more »

Satellite Cities for Beijing? Yes, But....

China Daily ran an article on the continuing urbanization of Beijing. In Build upward or outward: City’s growth dilemma, Daniel Garst notes that Beijing is not as centralized as other urban areas, with its multiple business districts and comparatively low density in its inner areas.  read more »