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GEOGRAPHY EDUCATION

Supporting geography educators everywhere with current digital resources.

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housing

Inside Hong Kong’s cage homes

Hong Kong is the most expensive housing market in the world. It has been ranked as the least affordable housing market on Earth for eight years in a row, and the price per square foot seems to be only going up. The inflated prices are forcing Hongkongers to squeeze into unconventionally small spaces that can affect their quality of life.

Source: www.youtube.com

Land scarcity is usually the main culprit behind extremely high real estate markets in the world’s most expensive housing markets.  Silicon Valley, New York City, and other urban areas that are magnets for a young, well-educated workforce have very high costs of living.  The rising property values and rents make living in a city on the rise difficult for many of the residents that aren’t a part of the economic rising tide (gentrification is just particular example).   

Hong Kong is a very peculiar example were land scarcity is only a part of the situation.  Bad land use (3.7% zoned for high density housing) policy and land management are bigger culprits.  The government essentially owns all the land in Hong Kong and leases it to developers, so developers are incentivized to drive up that rates, given that the government doesn’t want to tax the corporations for the land that they occupy.

Season 2 of Vox borders has 5 episodes about Hong Kong:

  1. How British rule shaped Hong Kong
  2. China is erasing its border with Hong Kong
  3. Feng shui shaped Hong Kong’s skyline
  4. Decline of Hong Kong’s neon glow
  5. Hong Kong’s cage homes (profiled above)

Scoop.it Tags: housingurban, spatialdensity, planning, urbanism, China.

WordPress TAGS: housing, urban, spatial, density, planning, urbanism, China.

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How to Build a Smart City

We are in the midst of a historic (and wholly unpredicted) rise in urbanization. But it’s hard to retrofit old cities for the 21st century. Enter Dan Doctoroff. The man who helped modernize New York City — and tried to bring the Olympics there — is now C.E.O. of a Google-funded startup that is building, from scratch, the city of the future.

Source: freakonomics.com

Urbanism isn’t just the study of urban geography as it is, but it also looks to use ideas of design, architectural, transportation, and sustainability to create better cities.  This Freakonomics podcast looks at ways that New York City has changed, with ideas of how to start a new city being experimented with in Toronto.  This 99PI podcast looks at European urbanist ideas that shaped many cities that were damaged during WWII (part II).  Successful cities bring in more residents which bring higher housing costs–so can a city be too successful for it’s own good?  San Francisco grapples with changing economic issues as it is too expensive to hire workers to fill low-skill jobs

 

Tagsurbanism, podcast, architecturetransportation, housing, place, planning.

The Geography of AC

“The modern built environment in the United States is now totally dependent on air conditioning. A lot of our buildings would be uninhabitable in the summer without AC, and all of the electricity needed to keep it running.”

Source: 99percentinvisible.org

Like so many 99 percent invisible podcasts, this blends urban design, social geography, local history in a way that deepens our understanding of place. Air conditioning has powerfully reshaped so many geographic patterns that many of ways.  Some mentioned in this podcast include: a) the rapid expansion of the Sun Belt, b) less climatically and regionally distinctive architecture can now be found in the cultural landscape, and c) an enormous amount of energy is consumed to maintain our hyper-cooled buildings (the U.S. now uses as much electricity for air conditioning as it did for all purposes in 1955). 

 

Tagspodcast, architecturehousing, landscape, place planning.

Hong Kong’s ‘coffin homes’ reveal a housing crisis

A shortage of developable land have pushed Hong Kong’s housing prices skyward, leading some to live in spaces the size of closets.

Source: www.businessinsider.com

Overpopulation doesn’t feel like a serious issue when you live in a land characterized by wide open spaces, but in some densely settled urban centers, the issues become quite personal.  Hong Kong is currently facing a housing shortage. This article nicely explains the difficulties that living in the so-called coffin homes makes for the residents.  This photo gallery humanizes this difficult living condition.

 

Tags: housingurban, place, neighborhoodspatialdensity, planning, density, urbanism.

Why 80% of Singaporeans live in government-built flats

Lots of countries show off their public-housing projects, but few are quite as devoted to them as Singapore, where four-fifths of the permanent population live in subsidised units built by the government, most of them as owner-occupiers. The city-state’s suburbs bristle with HDB towers, painted calming pastel hues. This vast national housing system surprises visitors who think of Singapore as a low-tax hub for expatriate bankers and big multinationals. But HDB is a linchpin of economic and social policy and an anchor for the ruling People’s Action Party (PAP), which has led Singapore since independence. It is also a tantalising but tricky model for Singapore’s fast-urbanising neighbours to follow.

Source: www.economist.com

Singapore is such a fascinating case study.  Over 90% of the Singapore’s land is owned by the government and the American ideal of independent home ownership is seen as antithetical to cultural norms.  The government heavily subsidies young couples to live near their parents and create tight-knit communities with homelessness was eradicated (that’s the optimists’ perspective).  This is all well and good for young, straight couples that choose to support the ruling political party, but critics often point out that the housing focus has also created a paternalistic component to the government that is much stronger in Singapore than in other countries.  This article nicely goes with the 2017 APHG reading professional development talk entitled “The Geographies of Home” that focused on Singaporean and Japanese examples.    

 

Tag: Singapore, urban, neighborhood, economicplanning, housing, cultural norms.

More young adults are living with their parents

Across much of the developed world, researchers have found that more young adults are living at their parents’ home for longer periods of time.

 

Across the European Union’s 28 member nations, nearly half (48.1%) of 18- to 34-year-olds were living with their parents in 2014, according to the EU statistical agency Eurostat.  The Scandinavian countries have the lowest rates, with Denmark coming in at 18.6%. Southern and eastern European countries tend to have higher rates, led by the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia: 72.5% of 18- to 34-year-olds reportedly were living with their parents.

Source: www.pewresearch.org

This isn’t news because this trend gradually became a new part of the economic and cultural norms of the developed world–but the impact is enormous.  In the United States, more young adults live with parents than partners (for the first time in the 130 years that the statistic has been collected).  The world isn’t what it was in 1880.  

32.1% of young adults in the U.S live with parents, and 48.1% of young adults in the European Union Union live with parents.   

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some contributing factors to this trend in the United States and Europe?  What does this say about housing costs, economic, and cultural conditions? 

 

Tags: socioeconomic, housingstatisticspopulation, cultural norms, culture.

For First Time In 130 Years, More Young Adults Live With Parents Than With Partners

“For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.  Less educated young adults are also more likely to live with their parents than are their college-educated counterparts — no surprise, Pew notes, given the financial prospects in today’s economy.  Black and Hispanic young people, compared with white people, are in the same situation.  But the overall trend is the same for every demographic group — living with parents is increasingly common.  Still, young Americans are still less likely to live with their parents than their European counterparts, Pew says.

Source: www.npr.org

I find that the best statistics have great explanatory power, make sense when placed in the right context, and STILL manage to leave you amazed.  These stats fit that bill for me and as the school year is ending, it’s a milestone that doesn’t mean what it did for generations past.  32.1% of young adults in the U.S live with parents, and 48.1% of young adults in the European Union Union live with parents.   

 

Questions to Ponder: What are some contributing factors to this trend in the United States and Europe?  What does this say about housing costs, economic, and cultural conditions? 

 

Tags: socioeconomic, housingstatisticspopulation, cultural norms, culture.

Developing World Cities and Population Density

Without a question, we are living in an urban era. More people now live in cities than anywhere else on the planet and I’ve repeatedly argued that cities are our most important economic engine. As a result of these shifts, we’re seeing megacities at a scale the world has never seen before.

Source: sustainablecitiescollective.com

As our cities have massively expanded in the last 70 years, so has the ecological footprint of these metropolitan areas.  This article discusses some of the challenges confronting megacities and their functions within the global urban network. 

Tags: sustainabilitydensity, megacities, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities. 

The Rise of Innovative Districts

“Today, innovation is taking place where people can come together, not in isolated spaces. Innovation districts are this century’s productive geography, they are both competitive places and ‘cool spaces’ and they will transform your city and metropolis.”

As described by the Brookings Institution in their exploration regarding innovation districts, they are geographic areas where leading-edge companies, research institutions, start-ups, and business incubators are located in dense proximity. These districts are created to facilitate new connections and ideas, speed up the commercialization of those ideas, and support urban economies by growing jobs in ways that leverage their distinct economic position.

Tags: density, sustainability, housing, urban, planning, unit 7 cities, labor.

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