Housing

Jeff Bezos Is Right at Home in the D.C. Swamp, but Amazon Might Have Bit Off More Than It Can Chew with the Big Apple

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It turns out that tech oligarchs aren’t much better than old dogs at learning new tricks. By splitting his much coveted supposed second headquarters between New York City and greater Washington D.C., Amazon’s Jeff Bezos is repeating what worked for him in Seattle while saying “yes, sir” to power.  read more »

Resolving California's Housing and Homeless Crisis

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On any given night in California, there are about 134,278 people without a home. California, with 12 percent of the U.S. population, has 25 percent of the nation’s homeless people. California’s homeless population increased 13.7 percent between 2016 and 2017. About 36 percent of the homeless population are families with children. About 25 percent of the homeless population have jobs.  read more »

The Causes of California's Housing Crisis

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The homeownership rate in California equaled the national rate from 1950 well into the 1960s. Yet, by 2005, California’s homeownership rate was 13.3 percent below the national average and the 49th lowest in the nation. In the second quarter of 2018, the homeownership rate in California was 54.3 percent, the third lowest in the nation, and 10 percent below the national average of 64.3 percent.  read more »

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Driverless Cars Threaten Guru’s Vision

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Urban planning guru says driverless cars won’t fix congestion,” says the New York Times. Naturally, the Times is referring to Peter Calthorpe, one of the few people who might be considered an urban planning guru and the one who has the most to lose if driverless cars are successful.  read more »

Understanding California’s Housing Affordability Crisis

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According to an October 21, 2018 Los Angeles Times article, experts “agree that the fundamental issue underlying the state’s housing crisis is that there are not enough homes.” In contrast, according to the article, is that “the public doesn’t believe it.” Only 13 percent of registered voters cited “too little homebuilding” as a principal reason for California’s housing unaffordability, in a USC/Dornsife Los Angeles Times poll.  read more »

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California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class

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Is the California Dream unraveling? Joel Kotkin and Marshall Toplansky warn how California is headed towards an increasingly feudal future in their latest report, "California Feudalism: The Squeeze on the Middle Class." Click the PDF link below to read the full study.  read more »

Length of Residential Tenure: Metropolitan Areas, Urban Cores, Suburbs & Exurbs

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America is becoming less mobile than in the past, but there are some major metropolitan areas --- and areas within them --- that have fewer people move in and out than others. US households tend to live longer in their present residences where population growth has been more modest. The data also indicates that across all major metropolitan areas, households tend to have lived longer in suburbs and exurbs than in the urban core.  read more »

California Becoming More Feudal, With Ultra-Rich Lording Over Declining Middle Class

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In the imaginations of its boosters, and for many outside the state, California is often seen as the role model for the future. But, sadly, California is also moving backward toward a more feudal society.

Feudalism was about the concentration of wealth and power in a relative handful of people. Historically, California created fortunes for a few, but remained a society with enormous opportunity for outsiders, whether from other states or countries.  read more »

Methodist Urbanism: Ocean Grove

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Here’s the ubiquitous American landscape with a dash of central New Jersey local color. It’s not the rain and dark skies that make it look so bleak. No amount of sunshine can brighten this much asphalt, synthetic stucco, and vinyl siding. There’s no point in complaining about any of it. It exists and will continue to do so for the duration. Shrug.  read more »

The Mines

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There’s a literary trope in which an ambitious young man goes to work in the mines for a few years to earn an income with which to go back home. In the US it’s bundled into narratives of the Wild West (where incomes were very high until well into the 20th century), but it also exists elsewhere. For example, in The House of the Spirits, the deuterotagonist (who owns an unprofitable hacienda) works in the mines for a few years to earn enough money to ask to marry a society woman.  read more »