Monday, January 25, 2010
Sunday, January 24, 2010
what a great use for vacant urban land - creates jobs, rids blight, gets fresh food into cities, cuts down on the long distance transport of fresh food....... read the whole story here.
Detroit was once the 4th largest city in America and it held the title of Motor City because most of America’s cars came from there. Flash forward 40 years, and Detroit’s population has dwindled from a high of 2 million people to just over 800,000. The average price for a home in Detroit is $15,000, the lowest in the country. With so many empty spaces, criminals have no shortage of hideouts and drug factories. And with America’s auto industry still reeling from the recession, as well as having outsourced many jobs to other states (or countries), the future looks bleak for Detroit’s long-deferred recovery.
Unless one millionaire gets his way, and turns the city into farms. Yes, farms.
John Hantz is one of the few remaining millionaires in Detroit, where the median family income is under $30,000. And the urban sprawl that Detroit encompasses is larger than Boston, Manhattan, and San Francisco combined. There is a lot of unused land in Detroit. This John Hantz thinking about how to use all of that vacant land. He is pitching a proposal to turn Detroit into a modern farming community. I think he might be on to something.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Paul Cardis, CEO of AVID Ratings Co., which conducts an annual survey of home-buyer preferences, said there are 10 "must" features in new homes:
Large kitchens, with an island. "If you're going to spend design dollars, spend them where people want them -- spend them in the kitchen," McCune said. Granite countertops are a must for move-up buyers and buyers of custom homes, but for others "they are on the bubble," Cardis said.
Energy-efficient appliances, high-efficiency insulation and high window efficiency. Among the "green" features touted in homes, these are the ones buyers value most, he said. While large windows had been a major draw, energy concerns are giving customers pause on those, he said. The use of recycled or synthetic materials is only borderline desirable.
Home office/study. People would much rather have this space rather than, say, a formal dining room. "People are feeling like they can dine out again and so the dining room has become tradable," Cardis said. And the home theater may also be headed for the scrap heap, a casualty of the "shift from boom to correction," Cardis said.
Main-floor master suite. This is a must feature for empty-nesters and certain other buyers, and appears to be getting more popular in general, he said. That could help explain why demand for upstairs laundries is declining after several years of popularity gains.
Outdoor living room. The popularity of outdoor spaces continues to grow, even in Canada, Cardis said. And the idea of an outdoor room is even more popular than an outdoor cooking area, meaning people are willing to spend more time outside.
Master suite soaker tubs. Whirlpools are still desirable for many home buyers, Cardis said, but "they clearly went down a notch," in the latest survey. Oversize showers with seating areas are also moving up in popularity.
Stone and brick exteriors. Stucco and vinyl don't make the cut.
Community landscaping, with walking paths and playgrounds. Forget about golf courses, swimming pools and clubhouses. Buyers in large planned developments prefer hiking among lush greenery.
Two-car garages. A given at all levels; three-car garages, in which the third bay is more often then not used for additional storage and not automobiles, is desirable in the move-up and custom categories, Cardis said.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Wednesday, January 6, 2010