Friday, March 30, 2012

Noodling for March

I thought to start out this end of the month’s Noodle I would throw out some quotes on the process of city planning:

You got to be careful if you don't know where you're going, because you might not get there.
- Yogi Berra, baseball catcher (1925-present)

In our profession, a plan that everyone dislikes for different reasons is a success. A plan everyone dislikes for the same reason is a failure. And a plan that everyone likes for the same reason is an act of God.
- Richard Carson, Pacific Northwest planner and writer.

Planning lies with men; success lies with heaven.
- Chinese proverb

There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.
- Douglas H. Everett

In Houston, a person walking is someone on his way to his car.
- Anthony Downs, writer

Long-range planning works best in the short term.
- Euripides, poet (480-406 AD).

A hundred years after we are gone and forgotten, those who never heard of us will be living with the results of our actions.
- Oliver Wendell Homes, U.S. Supreme Court justice

The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
- Immanuel Kant

Any town that doesn't have sidewalks doesn't love its children.
- Margaret Mead

The home is where part of the family waits until the others are through with the car.
- Herbert Prochnow

The outcome of the city will depend on the race between the automobile and the elevator, and anyone who bets on the elevator is crazy.
- Frank Lloyd Wright, architect

Boomers and Home Sales:
One result of the Boomer Generation is that at some point during the next ten years a significant number of homes will be coming into the resale market. If this coincides with some reports that the younger generation isn’t in a buying mood then, on top of the current foreclosure issue, we could be faced with numbers of larger homes that will be asking more than the marketplace can bear. When this change comes or even if it comes remains to be seen. US Business: GO HERE.

Tesla and the Brick Issue
The latest issue of Fast Company magazine (actually quite a nice rag on cool high tech and the people behind it), goes into the brain of Elon Musk and Tesla Motors and tries to break it down. A very good article that explains a lot about Tesla, the new Model S car, the engineering, and the dream. I am a skeptic as long as the industry must have government subsidies to succeed, but I’m no fool when it comes to technological advances. As in a lot of things it will be the third investor that makes the money (GO HERE). And BTW they never do answer the question about the batteries turning to a brick if it loses its charge entirely.

Home Sales Up, Down, Sideways, No One Knows
In the San Francisco Bay Area, especially in and around Silicon Valley prices for high end homes are being bid up and up. Foreclosures continue on homes not more than fifty miles away and are selling for one tenth the prices in Santa Clara County. It is all a mish-mash of bank financing, Google and Facebook money, and no one has to mention Apple. Low and moderate income home sales are limping along, there are ongoing arguments over “required” affordable housing issues, and does increasing interest rates push up housing demand (the fear of being left behind syndrome)? For a bit more go HERE and HERE for a taste of the vacation home market.

In Memory – Edna A. Davis
And lastly, on a personal note, this week we lost a wonderful woman who was the quiet anchor to our family. My wife’s mother, Edna A. Davis (nee Peak), passed away. This woman was 98 years old. She supported her daughter and herself for most of their early days and then for herself as she grew older. She was a beautician and hairdresser, I never saw her with one hair out place and even after a stroke and other health issues she was always dressed in style. Think about this: when she was born in a small Ohio town in 1913, the Wright brother’s flight was only ten years earlier, Woodrow Wilson had just been sworn in as president, and half the country still had no electricity, telephones, and indoor plumbing. Edna watched the Great War as a child and feared for her brothers fighting in France during World War Two. One of thirteen children (a brother died in 1902) she watched an America change for the better and for the worse. In the her twenties Cleveland was an world industrial powerhouse with the likes of Ryerson Steel and the growing automobile industry, now dried newspapers blow through its empty neighborhoods. Her small town of Avon is now a typical suburban tract of widened roads, strip malls, and affluence. She was a proud and incredibly strong woman; she is the best example of an independent American woman I will ever know. There was always a proud softness about her that hid the tragedies of her life. We will miss her very much.

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