Brokers say the very top of the market — consisting of eight- and nine-figure homes — is faring the worst as slowing economies overseas and volatile stock markets have spooked buyers. The supply of homes for the rich exploded as builders aimed at the high end after the financial crisis. — NYT
Beijing has the worst smog levels among the world's capital cities - so bad that playing sports outdoor is often banned - but it could get a stunning new set of lungs in the form of a covered botanical garden, retail and office complex under a giant transparent roof.
Called Bubbles, the architectural concept might seem an unlikely candidate for a high-rise city of 21 million people. But its designers believe it offers something that every urban environment needs. — South China Morning Post
To fund the Bubble, the museum originally turned to Bloomberg, planning to call it the Bloomberg Balloon in honor of a $1 million (or greater) gift. But, perhaps tellingly, the Hirshhorn has not consistently referred to the Bloomberg Balloon as such, suggesting there may still be room—or the need—for a larger donor. Diminishing federal support certainly won’t fund the Bubble, and to date, the museum's board has not stepped up to bridge the funding gap. — tnr.com
Too often during the bubble, banks and builders shunned thoughtful architecture and urban design in favor of cookie-cutter houses that could be easily repackaged as derivatives to be flipped, while architects snubbed housing to pursue more prestigious projects.
But better design is precisely what suburban America needs, particularly when it comes to rethinking the basic residential categories that define it, but can no longer accommodate the realities of domestic life. — nytimes.com
If you believe the adage about real estate -- that bit about the three most important things being location, location, location -- then one would think there are few places worse to own a home than the Gaza strip. [...] And yet, home prices are up sharply. — marketplace.publicradio.org
The danger, experts say, is that China’s municipal governments could already be sitting on huge mountains of hidden debt — a lurking liability that threatens to stunt the nation’s economic growth for years or even decades to come. Just last week China’s national auditor, who reports to the cabinet, warned of the perils of local government borrowing. — NYT
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