The standard yardstick for judging housing affordability is to look at the median level of rents or home prices. As we all remember from statistics, the median is the observation in the middle of the distribution. And while for many purposes, it’s a reliable indicator of typical prices, in some neighborhoods, particularly those with a mix of expensive and cheap housing, the median is actually a weak indicator of affordability. — City Observatory
How much would you be willing to pay to shave a minute off your commute? For New Yorkers, the answer appears to be around $56 per month. That’s how much more New Yorkers pay in rent, on average, for a one-bedroom apartment that’s a minute closer by subway to Manhattan’s main business districts.
That finding...puts an approximate value on the old real estate adage about the importance of location, location, location. — Five Thirty Eight
Where should you travel if you want killer views of the stars unblemished by artificial light?Certainly not the U.S. or Europe, where nearly 100 percent of the population endures some form of light pollution...Italy’s [ISTIL], NOAA, the National Park Service, and elsewhere built one of the most comprehensive atlases of global light pollution to date. They hope their work will set a benchmark for future generations struggling with day blending into night. — CityLab
Copenhagen has become the first city in the world to attempt to monetize its, and others’, data through a city data market.
Traffic snarl-ups, home break-ins, whether it rained or snowed, and how much electricity the city dwellers use each day is among the data to be traded for cash, city officials announced. Interestingly, the city, which is partnering with Hitachi on the project, also wants to incorporate others’ data. — Network World
Canada's University of Calgary paid almost $16,000 ($20,000 Canadian, ~£10,800) to recover crucial data that has been held hostage for more than a week by crypto ransomware attackers.
The ransom was disclosed on Wednesday morning in a statement issued by University of Calgary officials. It said university IT personnel had made progress in isolating the unnamed ransomware infection and restoring affected parts of the university network. — Ars Technica
OK, so this would mean the way to make San Francisco as affordable as (say) Portland would be to either cut everybody’s salary in half, or fire half of them, or allow the city’s population to rapidly grow about 50 percent, to about 1.2 million, while the number of housing units increased even faster. — Michael Andersen, on Medium
Today the U.S. Census Bureau released its 2015 population estimates for counties and metropolitan areas. After volatile swings in growth patterns during last decade’s housing bubble and bust, long-term trends are reasserting themselves. Population is growing faster in the South and West than in the Northeast and Midwest, and faster in suburban areas than in urban counties; both of these trends accelerated in 2015. — citylab.com
The optics of the camera obscura have faithfully served photographers for ages. The recipe has been simple: a lens, aperture, dark box and something to record the light.
But the camera as we know it is changing. A revolution in digital imaging research could surpass the camera obscura in almost every technical way... It’s called computational photography, and it stems from the idea that if you can capture visual data instead of a true image, then the picture can be reconstructed with software. — NY Times
Ventura County, Calif., is the absolute most desirable place to live in America.
I know this because in the late 1990s the federal government devised a measure of the best and worst places to live in America, from the standpoint of scenery and climate. The "natural amenities index" is intended as "a measure of the physical characteristics of a county area that enhance the location as a place to live." — washingtonpost.com
[Jon] Sojkowski worries that these building types, made with materials that are abundant in Africa and sustainable, will soon be lost to history because of a misconception that they are inefficient, outdated and only used by the poor. At one point during his research, he met a man who told him he wanted a Western-style metal roof. 'I asked him why, and he said, ‘Because then I would be somebody,' Sojkowski recalls. — CityLab
The L.A.-Waze partnership is, at least in theory, an initial step toward allowing the city’s planners and engineers to regain a healthier role in mediating the kinds of longstanding cross-town conflicts that Waze has renewed and amplified. Whether the deal will help to resolve fundamental long-term issues related to the city’s growth and inadequate infrastructure is another matter. — newyorker.com
A record-high number of candidates actively working toward an architect license provides more evidence of a thriving talent pool for the architect profession, according to new 2014 data released today by [NCARB]. More than 37,000 aspiring architects were testing and/or reporting experience hours last year, a substantial part of the path to architectural licensure required by the 54 U.S. state and jurisdiction licensing boards. — NCARB
Open data, and the interactive mapping and data visualization that can come of it, has become a de facto engagement and storytelling tool among contemporary journalists, social justice activists, and civic-minded technologists. But despite its allure, open data’s potential for fostering civic engagement and creating transparency and dialogue is plagued by issues of usability, access, and quality control. — urbanomnibus.net
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