The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) is signaling improving conditions for the overall design and construction industry. [...] The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the June ABI score was 53.5, up from a mark of 52.6 in May. This score reflects an increase in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 66.4, up noticeably from the reading of 63.2 the previous month and its highest level in a calendar year. — calculatedriskblog.com
The practice of using corporate largess to finance restoration projects for public antiquities was once fairly rare here. But with the nation struggling with a stagnant economy and crushing public debt — Rome is flirting off and on with bankruptcy — politicians are now looking to private companies and international sources to help preserve Italy’s cultural heritage. — nytimes.com
Skyscrapers and shanties, gleaming malls and rundown markets, palatial houses and the piss-poor guys who build them: Those are the divides in cities like Mumbai, Nairobi and Manila. Rich and poor do not much mingle.
But a movement is afoot to change that. It aims to integrate the poor into the urban bloodstream, instead of shunting them from sight. For this "inclusive cities" movement, urban renewal doesn't require razing slums and markets. — npr.org
Founder Norman Foster... sold a 40pc stake in the firm for £84m in 2007 when commercial property valuations were soaring.
The private equity group is selling its stake back to Foster & Partners for £108m, plus a further £40m interest payment.
Foster & Partners faced a challenging environment during the recession and while estimates valued the business at £300m in 2007, it had amassed a debt burden of £340m by the year ending April 2009. — telegraph.co.uk
The skyline of Yujiapu in the Chinese city of Tianjin looks more like an expensive, abandoned movie set than it does “China’s new Manhattan,” as the financial district was once billed. A patina of dust covers the glass doors of the 47 office buildings and hotels that still sit empty, and in come cases unfinished. — qz.com
Construction spending posted modest gains in April, driven by an uptick in home building and government construction that lifted total activity to the highest level since March 2009.
Spending rose 0.2 percent in April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $953.5 billion [...]. — 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
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) has reverted into negative territory for the last two months. [...] The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the [April] ABI score was 49.6, up slightly from a mark of 48.8 in March. This score reflects a decrease in design activity (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 59.1, up from the reading of 57.9 the previous month. — calculatedriskblog.com
Late last week, Chilean police arrived at Santiago’s Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral and removed a white bin of gray ash — allegedly all that remained of $500 million worth of student debt notes.
In the video, which went viral last week in Chile, Papas Fritas confessed he had recently stolen the documents from the for-profit Universidad del Mar. Then he set them ablaze in a defiant, brazen act of art. — washingtonpost.com
One problem with our obsession with gentrification as the end-all of urban equity issues is that it discourages us from talking about other important things happening in our cities. In some instances, gentrification has become such a dominating narrative that it has completely erased broader trends that we really ought to be concerned about.
Case in point: Brooklyn is getting poorer. — danielkayhertz.com
All-cash deals hit a record 43% of home sales during the first three months of 2014, according to RealtyTrac. That's up from 19% a year earlier and the highest level reported since RealtyTrac began tracking the deals in early 2011.
The jump is due to two main factors: strict lending standards that make it difficult to get a mortgage and intense buyer competition. — CNNMoney
Brazil’s burgeoning middle class have an important place in the country’s slums. This finding is part of a survey released by the newly created Instituto Data Favela which established that, in 2013, 65% of the country’s slum-dwellers belonged to the middle class. In 2003, this proportion was 33%. [...]
“But we are not only interested in the middle class,” he argues, “We want to benefit all community residents through sustainable and comprehensive development, achieved through economic avenues.” — thisbigcity.net
That's because, as the economists Richard Koo and Masaya Sasaki show in a report, 15 years after being built the average house is worth nothing. [...] "It's not environmentally sustainable but also not financially sustainable. People work very hard to pay off a mortgage that's ultimately worth zero."
[...] It has also produced a huge number of architects, who are kept busy by buyers wanting a new house that reflects their lifestyle. — theguardian.com
Today we call those changes “inequality,” and inequality is, obviously, the point of the McMansion. The suburban ideal of the 1950s, according to “The Organization Man,” was supposed to be “classlessness,” but the opposite ideal is the brick-to-the-head message of the dominant suburban form of today. — salon.com
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