The New Normal

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Dow Jones Industrial Index

Monday 24 august 2015 12:45 pm EST

This morning felt a bit like 9-11-2001 except that I don’t have CNN anymore—I cut the cable in 2010. Back then I was assessing whether the planes were aiming at the weak point in the towers in order to cause maximum structural damage. The lower the hit, the higher the stress created by the dead load left above the point of impact. The analysis was spot on. The first tower to go down was the one hit lowest. Today, QE (quantitative easing) is being stress-tested although no one on the Street appears to notice.

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China Ripples

China

After three consecutive devaluations to the yuan totalling a 4.5% drop in value, today the People’s Bank of China, the central bank, stayed the course. The long view sees this as a small correction in the long march of 1.3 billion-strong population to modernization and prosperity. Yet, the last 12 months have issued clear signals of more trouble ahead.

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The Story of the 2005 GM Electric Car

This post could be titled: “Ending the Middle East Conflict, Breathing Clean Air and Making Livable Cities”.

When cars in Asia, Europe and the Americas convert to electric power the consumption of fossil fuels will plummet; dependence on oil trading will end; and many many long-sought results will be triggered including clean air and the restructuring of local economies. The change will be of a scale as great as the French Revolution (ushering representational government), the Great Depression (restructuring the economy from horse-and-buggy to rubber-oil-and-steel), or the Second World War (implementing air flight, weapons of mass destruction, centralized planning and telecommunications).

The real question of course is whether it has to be as messy the second time around, or whether we can make a major shift in our economy while managing unwanted and unforeseen consequences.  Continue reading

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The Truth About Developers

Cheesegrater

The ‘Cheesegrater’ London (Google Images).

The truth about developers: they are exploiting planning authority and ruining our cities.

The Guardian, September 2014

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Urban Economics, Politics & the Environmental Crisis

David Harvey HARDtalk at the BBC (2012)

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TED Talks About Cities

Amanda Burden

A collection of 20 minute chats or Ted Talks by a wide cross-section of prominent contemporary figures.

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The Revolt Against Vancouverism

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“Vancouverism”

photo: google image commons

Time magazine called it “Hong-couver” in the 1990s. Between Expo 1986 and the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics planning in Vancouver took a turn for the worse building a tower-and-podium typology many hoped would make the city ‘world class’. However, as tower developers drive into the neighborhoods in search of cheap land a different Vancouver is being loudly proclaimed. Continue reading

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