Friday, June 29, 2012

Noodling Florida, Moses, and Housing

The Designer Class Just Went “Poof”
Richard Florida is the darling of the urbannistas. He declared through a couple of his books (The Rise of the Creative Class) and hundreds of speaking engagements (nice gig there), an important contributor to the revival of urban neighborhoods is the in-migration of artists, LGBTs, designers and professionals. This group, The Creative Class, would save these urban areas and change how we live in cities. In an interesting and thought provoking  article by Frank Bures of the Twin Cities’ new magazine Thirty Two, he challenges this whole concept GO HERE. While a fan of the concept, I wonder if there really is enough of these ‘successful’ creatives to really make a difference and why they would even go to some towns on the cool list?

Tuesday’s Wall Street Journal (6-26-12)
Two interesting articles are posted there. Back when I was a young planner I fell into The Power Broker  by Robert Caro (he is the author of the ongoing multi-volume saga of Lyndon Johnson). In this book I met Robert Moses, a man who more than any other individual in New York City’s history physically changed it. For better or worse his goal was a city for the people and the people be damned. This interesting take on the man, in an article by Thomas J. Campanella, is how Moses was also a bike guy – “a keen advocate” of the two wheeled device. Go here for an interesting take and New York’s attempt to become a Paris-like “free bike” paradise. GO HERE 

Housing Made in China
The world of housing and politics got larger, much larger. In this article and video by Dinny McMahon and Robbie Whelan, GO HERE  they alert us to the fact that Lennar Corp (3rd largest American home builder) and China Development Bank (large bank in large country) are in talks for a large loan of $1.7 billion to help jump start two San Francisco based projects, Hunters Point Shipyard and Treasure Island. Both these projects are in difficult straits and Lennar needs all the financial help it can find to push these projects through and, with the assistance of a mayor with Chinese ancestry, they may have it. They have already invested too much to walk away. They are also into partnerships with other San Francisco based development companies (retail and commercial) to help get these projects ramped up. As all things development in San Francisco, I would keep a hand on my wallet and plan for how your grandchildren will benefit.

Housing Roller Coaster
Housing is up in value, housing prices drop, who really knows? People are fleeing cities and moving to the suburbs and small cities according to our keen demographer and essayist, Joel Kotkin and alternatively cities are outpacing suburbs in growth GO HERE.  What is it, and does it make a real difference? As always I am in the Kotkin Camp, demographics are the drivers of growth and change. More people equals more growth, growth begets demand, demand expands business, business expansion means jobs, and jobs means stability and stronger economies, both personally and publicly.

Never Been to Russia (with Love)
Found this time-lapse of Moscow, it is intriguing and makes you wonder what it would be like to visit:

Stay Tuned . . . .

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