Calatrava told me that it wasn’t his job to monitor the budget. “It is very difficult,” he said. “I have never estimated anything in this project, because there was a whole team, maybe 25 people, working the whole time on cost estimation and cost control. But I kept looking at those fellows and telling them this is like geology: You only know what you have under your feet when you excavate.” — nymag.com
How much more does it cost the public to build infrastructure and provide services for sprawling development compared to more compact neighborhoods? A lot more, according to this handy summary from the Canadian environmental think tank Sustainable Prosperity.
To create this graphic, the organization synthesized a study by the Halifax Regional Municipality [PDF] in Nova Scotia, and the research is worth a closer look. — streetsblog.org
The current, temporary trade center station serves... only 10,000 more than use the unassuming 33rd Street PATH terminal in Midtown Manhattan.
In fact, the hub, or at least its winged “Oculus” pavilion, could turn out to be more of a high-priced mall than a transportation nexus, attracting more shoppers than commuters. The company operating the mall, Westfield Corporation, promises in a promotional video that it will be “the most alluring retail landmark in the world.” — nytimes.com
Researchers have known for years that hosting large sporting events like the Olympics always costs more than expected and always yields less revenue and useful long-term infrastructure than estimated. Now voters and politicians in democratically elected countries are starting to realize the same thing.
Potential host cities are dropping out of the bidding process for the 2022 Winter Olympics like crazy. — Business Insider
[Cooper Union], which announced last April that it would charge undergraduate students tuition for the first time, released figures on Friday that showed overall applications were down this year by just over 20 percent. [...]
The new figures indicate that the admission rate nearly doubled, from 7.7 percent last year to 14.4 percent this year, which still places Cooper Union among the most selective schools in the country. — The New York Times
The freshmen class of Fall 2014 will be the first in Cooper Union's history to pay tuition. It remains to be seen whether Cooper Union's reputation overtime will falter, as quality considerations are matched against tuition rates and student debt, and students are given fewer options to pursue...
The city of Los Angeles is considering a proposal from Councilman Bernard Parks that would pass the cost of retrofitting apartment buildings on to tenants. Currently, only 50% of major renovation costs may be passed along to tenants, with landlords and building owners paying the cost of retrofitting. — scpr.org
David Boyle did not build his house out of shipping containers to be hip, though he does live in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. He left the water pipes exposed not in pursuit of an industrial chic aesthetic, but to make them easier to fix. [...]
Their goal, he said, was not style, but a place immune to the neighborhood’s rising rents, built out of materials cheap enough that it could inspire other urban homesteaders to do the same. — nytimes.com
Last January, Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, did something that no other city its size had done before: It made all public transit in the city free for residents. [...]
One year later, this city of 430,000 people has firmly established itself as the leader of a budding international free-transit movement. [...]
What’s less clear on the first anniversary of free transit in Tallinn is whether it has actually changed commuting behavior all that much. — Citiscope
As it turned out, Tallinn's bold move last year to offer free-transit to its residents did not have a very dramatic effect on its own ridership. But the experiment has clarified some subtle issues in public transit:Free-transit as a "second-best pricing scheme": if a city wants to curb...
Affordability, along with a minimalist aesthetic, were the reasons she decided on a prefab house — points on which Mr. Buryk, who had years before remodeled a 100-year-old house in Portland, Ore., wholeheartedly agreed. “I, similar to Zoe, was coming from a place of not wanting to do that again,” he said.
But it wasn’t quite as affordable as they had hoped. The house cost $260,000 to build, from start to finish (the kit itself was $47,000) — nearly $100,000 more than they’d expected. — nytimes.com
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