California may be a capital of cosmetic surgery, but it’s not just noses and eyelids falling under the knife. A hot housing market is driving buyers to pay exorbitant sums for old, frumpy houses, knowing they’ll pay plenty more to remake them to modern tastes. Others currently own dowdy houses and choose to renovate rather than relocate. — Wall Street Journal
"While the dynamic is playing out in a number of U.S. cities, California’s plight is particularly intense because of Proposition 13, a 1978 amendment to the state constitution. It set property taxes based on 1975 assessments and capped future property-tax increases at 2% a...
Through the program, property owners will pay a small assessment that will go toward maintaining and improving parks, plazas, gardens, sidewalks and more. It’s modeled after the Community Benefit District (CBD) program, but geared toward greening a residential area, as opposed to promoting commercial shopping districts, like more conventional CBDs. [...]
“This provides a way for us to not only maintain them [the public spaces], but provide capital improvements over time.” — NextCity
Targeted specifically in the Dogpatch and Northwest Potrero Hill neighborhoods of San Francisco, the impetus for the Green Benefit District plan began years ago, as development rates were quickly beginning to outpace public green spaces in the area. The GBD program would provide a continual source...
What a National Register [of Historic Places] listing really means is a 20% federal tax credit for structural investing, along with any state tax incentives, but that's often not enough to make preservation a more appealing option over razing and starting over. [...]
Listing on the National Register certainly gives something of an economic incentive for preservation, as well as a national profile for these sites [...]
However, what historic sites ultimately need is sustainable funding. — Atlas Obscura
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...
The controversial artist has already received more than 6,000 yuan ($958,000) from more than 22,200 people.
While many have sent money via post and the internet, other have resorted to rather unconventional methods -- folding bank notes into paper planes and throwing them into Ai's garden at night. — cnn.com
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