housing shortage

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NESTINBOX: Building on ”Vertical Ground”

In many big cities around the world buildable land is in shortage and commands high prices. At the same time there is a great shortage of housing; the population is constantly increasing, there are problems with finding space for all of us and to buy land and build housing requires a lot of money.
However, we need not necessarily build on the ground, we can learn from the animals. Many animals, including birds, build their nests in trees, under roof tiles or in rock crevices – above the ground. In northern Scandinavia, and other mountainous parts of the world, including in and around the city, there are plenty of cliff walls. Cliff walls would function exceptional well for mounting and attaching small houses if equipped with a load-bearing structure integrated in the frame.

Nestinbox © is a small house made of wood with an integrated steel structure which can be mounted on a cliff wall created by the team of Michel Silverstorm, Elisabetta Gabrielli and Pontus Öhman . The House hangs like a birdhouse, freely in the air, with one side against the cliff, where an indentation in the façade gives way to a footbridge from which one can reach the entrance at the back. In the design process of the small house we have started from the idea of how you usually build a birdhouse: a wooden box at the height, with a simple sloping roof. This is the basic form, which we then modified and developed into a full-fledged home for 1-2 people.

A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America

In 1933, faced with a housing shortage, the federal government began a program explicitly designed to increase — and segregate — America’s housing stock. Author Richard Rothstein says the housing programs begun under the New Deal were tantamount to a “state-sponsored system of segregation.”

The government’s efforts were “primarily designed to provide housing to white, middle-class, lower-middle-class families,” he says. African-Americans and other people of color were left out of the new suburban communities — and pushed instead into urban housing projects.

Rothstein’s new book, The Color of Law, examines the local, state and federal housing policies that mandated segregation. He notes that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which was established in 1934, furthered the segregation efforts by refusing to insure mortgages in and near African-American neighborhoods — a policy known as “redlining.” At the same time, the FHA was subsidizing builders who were mass producing entire white subdivisions — with the requirement that none of the homes be sold to African-Americans.

Rothstein says that these decades-old housing policies have had a lasting effect on American society. “The segregation of our metropolitan areas today leads … to stagnant inequality, because families are much less able to be upwardly mobile when they’re living in segregated neighborhoods where opportunity is absent,” he says. “If we want greater equality in this society, if we want a lowering of the hostility between police and young African-American men, we need to take steps to desegregate.”

I end up reading a lot of home living magazines while waiting in doctor’s offices and such, and based on the articles contained therein, I’ve come to the conclusion that there’s a chunk of the population for whom financial planning is basically performance art - and I don’t think they actually realise it.

Like, just today I spotted an article about a case study in creating affordable home-building solutions by assembling houses out of old shipping containers. I’m figuring, all right, sort of a low-income housing initiative, right?

What I actually ended up reading was a rambling story that starts with the owner borrowing fifty thousand dollars from her parents to pay for materials and permits, off-handedly mentions getting her architect stepfather to draw up the plans for her, continues with her three brothers - all of them experienced builders due to overseeing their own hobby renovation projects - taking a week off work to help her put the place together, and caps off with a funny anecdote about how come the first winter, all the plumbing froze, so she had to go live with her mom for a few months anyway.

Basically, she used her family connections to score an interest-free five-figure loan, access to rare expertise, and hundreds of hours of free skilled labour, and plowed it all into a cramped, ugly playhouse that’s only livable for part of the year.

The unfathomable part is, based on how how the article framed the whole thing, it’s clear that both the subject and the author honestly believe that they’ve discovered some sort of amazing money-saving life hack. They’re seriously convinced that this is the magic-bullet solution to the country’s affordable housing shortage, and not an expensive and impractical vanity project that ultimately failed to produce a house people can actually live in.

Just blows my mind. And this is the segment of the population that basically all of our politicians and business leaders are drawn from!

HELLO FRIENDS! NEED HELP FINDING ROOM 4 RENT IN WA STATE BY NEXT WEEK

HERE’S THE SITCH:

After years of trying to save up money and after several jobs falling through i finally have a job offer in Bellevue, Washington. Some of you might know that my sister lives in Seattle, and I eventually want to live with her. Since i live in California and there is a lot of housing shortages in Washington, and it is very expensive, I’m having trouble finding something. I’d like 2 have a couple options by next week so i can tell my employer for sure whether i will be there or not. 

Here’s what i need out of a room: 

BETWEEN BELLEVUE AND SEATTLE OR IN BELLEVUE ACROSS FROM MERCER ISLAND FOR AROUND $500 OR LESS / MONTH 

my job is in Bellevue but my sister is in Seattle and i don’t want to be too far away from her that i can’t see her on weekends. 

Thank you for all your help !!! 

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WHY LIBERAL STATES WON AMERICA’S TAX EXPERIMENT

For years, conservatives have been telling us that a healthy business-friendly economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages. Are they right?

We’ve had an experiment going on here in the United States that provides an answer.

At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.

At the other end is California, featuring among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; lots of regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; and high wages.

So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.

Actually, it’s just the opposite. For years now, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank.  Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.

But what about so-called over-taxed, over-regulated, high-wage California? California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. In other words, conservatives have it exactly backwards.

So why are Kansas and Texas doing so badly? And California so well?

Because taxes enable states to invest in their people – their education and skill-training, great research universities that spawn new industries and attract talented innovators and inventors worldwide, and modern infrastructure.

That’s why California is the world center of high-tech, entertainment, and venture capital.

Kansas and Texas haven’t been investing nearly to the same extent.

California also provides services to a diverse population including many who are attracted to California because of its opportunities.

And California’s regulations protect the public health and the state’s natural beauty, which also draws people to the state – including talented people who could settle anywhere.

Wages are high in California because the economy is growing so fast employers have to pay more for workers. And that’s not a bad thing. After all, the goal isn’t just growth. It’s a high standard of living.

Now in fairness, Texas’s problems are also linked to the oil bust. But that’s really no excuse because Texas has failed to diversify its economy. And here again, it hasn’t made adequate investments.

California is far from perfect. A housing shortage has been driving rents and home prices into the stratosphere. And roads are clogged. Much more needs to be done.

But overall, the contrast is clear. Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public health. And true economic success results in high wages.

So the next time you hear a conservative say “low taxes, few regulations, and low wages are the keys to economic business-friendly success, just remember Kansas, Texas, and California.

The conservative formula is wrong.

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The Plaster Housing Projects in Nouakchott, Mauritania by L'Association pour Le Développement d'une Architecture Et d'un Urbanisme Africain [1977-1983]. The association wanted to create a cheap, fast, and effective solution for the acute housing shortage in the Mauritanian capital. The projects are made of basic gypsum plaster shaped into domed vaults. The gypsum was taken from the large gypsum dunes 40 km from the city already in the form of powder, thus being the cheapest building material available. While cheap, it is extremely effective in insulating the structures which is important considering the region is one of the hottest in the world. The construction allows for natural ventilation further cooling the interiors of the structures. Each of the units were so cost effective and affordable that they could be purchased in full by the many refugees seeking homes after both the dramatic cycle droughts and floods that constantly ravaged Mauritania from the 50’s through the 90’s.

anonymous asked:

What's so bad about immigration?

Unchecked immigration.  Immigration is fine if it is legal, regulated and spaced properly as to fill employment gaps.

Illegal immigration, like that of Mexico to the US, or unchecked immigration, like that of Eastern Europe into the UK, cause a suppression of wages.  In some cases, depending on the nation, it can also strain the country’s welfare system, result in housing shortages and create cultural ghettos.

California versus Trumpland

California is now the capital of liberal America. Along with its neighbors Oregon and Washington, it will be a nation within the nation starting in January when the federal government goes dark.

In sharp contrast to much of the rest of the nation, Californians preferred Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump by a 2-to-1 margin. They also voted to extend a state tax surcharge on the wealthy, and adopt local housing and transportation measures along with a slew of local tax increases and bond proposals.

In other words, California is the opposite of Trumpland.

The differences go even deeper. For years, conservatives have been saying that a healthy economy depends on low taxes, few regulations, and low wages.

Are conservatives right? At the one end of the scale are Kansas and Texas, with among the nation’s lowest taxes, least regulations, and lowest wages.

At the other end is California, with among the nation’s highest taxes, especially on the wealthy; toughest regulations, particularly when it comes to the environment; most ambitious healthcare system, that insures more than 12 million poor Californians, in partnership with Medicaid; and high wages.

So according to conservative doctrine, Kansas and Texas ought to be booming, and California ought to be in the pits.

Actually, it’s just the opposite.

For several years, Kansas’s rate of economic growth has been the worst in the nation. Last year its economy actually shrank.  

Texas hasn’t been doing all that much better. Its rate of job growth has been below the national average. Retail sales are way down. The value of Texas exports has been dropping.

But what about so-called over-taxed, over-regulated, high-wage California?

California leads the nation in the rate of economic growth — more than twice the national average. If it were a separate nation it would now be the sixth largest economy in the world. Its population has surged to 39 million (up 5 percent since 2010).

California is home to the nation’s fastest-growing and most innovative industries – entertainment and high tech. It incubates more startups than anywhere else in the world.  

In other words, conservatives have it exactly backwards.

Why are Kansas and Texas doing so badly, and California so well?

For one thing, taxes enable states to invest their people. The University of California is the best system of public higher education in America. Add in the state’s network of community colleges, state colleges, research institutions, and you have an unparalleled source of research, and powerful engine of upward mobility.

Kansas and Texas haven’t been investing nearly to the same extent.

California also provides services to a diverse population, including a large percentage of immigrants. Donald Trump to the contrary, such diversity is a huge plus. Both Hollywood and Silicon Valley have thrived on the ideas and energies of new immigrants.

Meanwhile, California’s regulations protect the public health and the state’s natural beauty, which also draws people to the state – including talented people who could settle anywhere.

Wages are high in California because the economy is growing so fast employers have to pay more for workers. That’s not a bad thing. After all, the goal isn’t just growth. It’s a high standard of living.

In fairness, Texas’s problems are also linked to the oil bust. But that’s really no excuse because Texas has failed to diversify its economy. Here again, it hasn’t made adequate investments.

California is far from perfect. A housing shortage has driven rents and home prices into the stratosphere. Roads are clogged. Its public schools used to be the best in the nation but are now among the worst – largely because of a proposition approved by voters in 1978 that’s strangled local school financing. Much more needs to be done.

But overall, the contrast is clear. Economic success depends on tax revenues that go into public investments, and regulations that protect the environment and public health. And true economic success results in high wages.

I’m not sure how Trumpland and California will coexist in coming years. I’m already hearing murmurs of secession by Golden Staters, and of federal intrusions by the incipient Trump administration.

But so far, California gives lie to the conservative dictum that low taxes, few regulations, and low wages are the keys economic success. Trumpland should take note.  

Virginia Tech Freshman Guide

Hey Hokies! I know you’re all super excited about your first year in Blacksburg but maybe you’re a bit nervous and don’t quite know what’s what just yet. Well luckily for you I am a rising sophomore with way too much time on my hands so I constructed this little guide to hopefully help you guys feel better about life at Tech.

I’m going to break this into sections for you:

·        Dorm life

·        Football games

·        Food

·        Classes

·        Getting involved

·        Campus life

Dorm life

So I know the first thing you’re worried about is where you’ll be living. Unfortunately, the new cadet dorm won’t be finished in time for this semester so that means we have a housing shortage on campus. They are offering $2,000 to all upperclassmen to move off campus just so they’ll have more room for you guys! This means that some of you might be tripled or even placed in a lounge converted into a room (that especially sucks because I don’t think you’ll have a sink then).

              My freshman year I lived in Lee hall which I would say is a pretty average. Some are better (like the AJ’s) and some are worse (like Slusher). You’ll each be given a closet, dresser, desk, desk chair, bed, and you’ll have one sink. The sink and closets pretty much take up an entire wall so you essentially have 3 walls to work from. I recommend both of you at least half lofting your beds (I full lofted mine and my roommate half lofted because she’s scared of heights). This will give you more floor space and open up the room in general. Here’s what my room looked like back in August before we fully decorated and it became a total disaster.

             As for roommates my number one tip is to be honest with each other. My roommate and I have a ‘no shit’ policy meaning that we’re both extremely honest with each other about any issues that might come up. I regularly yell at her to take out her trash and she yells at me to clean up under the sink. We are the only roommates I know that haven’t gotten in some weird passive aggressive fight because we stick to being straight up with each other. We’re rooming together this year too so clearly it works.

               The building itself won’t be bad either. In Lee the floors are separated by gender but honestly living on a co-ed floor won’t be an issue either. I have seen boys walking to the bathroom in just their towels and they have seen me doing the same. Think back to those first couple of days in 7th grade when you had to change for gym for the first time. Everyone was super self-conscious and you changed in a bathroom stall so no one would know that you’re on your period. Now think about the last day senior year when girls strutted around the locker room in nothing but thongs and it wasn’t weird at all. That’s what walking to the bathroom to take a shower will be like. It’ll be weird at first but you’ll turn into that thong wearing senior in no time I promise.

Protip: They don’t clean the bathrooms on the weekends so if it’s Sunday night wait until tomorrow to take that shower. Trust me.

              You’re RA is not some scary person out to get you! They’re actually the nicest people in your building and if you’re cool to them they’ll be cool to you. If something is bothering you in the building (roommate issues, gross bathrooms, loud neighbors, broken elevator, etc.) they are the people to talk to. Contrary to popular belief they’re not out to get you either. As long as you’re not disturbing everyone around you and you’re not a danger to yourself or people around you they most likely won’t write you up for being drunk. It’s only when they see alcohol with their own eyes or you’re throwing up all over the place that they HAVE to step in. I’ve gotten an RA to let me into my room at 3am while I was visibly wasted and my roommate and friends waited in the bathroom for the all clear and they didn’t care. Be responsible, respectful, and coherent and they won’t write you up.

Protip: If an RA hears you throwing up in the bathroom they HAVE to call an ambulance by law so if you have a little stomach bug (or knocked back one too many drinks) your sink is your best friend.

Football Games

              I’m going to write this section as if I was writing to my past self. I knew how to play football and I regularly watched NFL games (fly Eagles fly!) but I didn’t know people got so excited over college sports (I’m from the north I’m sorry!). So here is your basic northern girl’s guide to Beamerball.

              First off this man,

Frank Beamer, is the most winningest active coach in college football and if you don’t love him now you will by the end of the season. Hokie football is regularly referred to as Beamerball because of his unique coaching style. Personally, I love him most for the creation of the Fantastic Frank, but that’s a story for the food section.

              Our quarterback is Michael Brewer

He threw the most interceptions of any quarterback in all of college football last season but he did beat Ohio State and he kind of looks like Zac Efron so people have varying opinions about him. Apparently we just got a freshman that will be a lot better than him so fingers crossed!

              Your first game is going to be a bit insane because we were the only team to beat Ohio State last season and you guessed it, we’re playing them first! Plus Sands is giving us the next day off so if nothing else be excited over that!!

              Now for Lane Stadium… The side with the scoreboard is the North end zone aka the student section. If you’re in the student section (which you want to be) expect to never sit down. People have shirts that say “you can sit when you graduate” and they mean it. This is the section that’s always on TV and is the representation of our school. If you’re not going batshit crazy then are you really a student here? In front of the students in this end zone is the Marching Virginians. They have set songs for each situation on the field and you will know all of them by heart by the end of the season. South end zone is home to the cadets and their marching band (yes we have 2 marching bands). When we score they’ll do pushups on the hands of other cadets. They get to wear fancy uniforms and is probably the most fun they have all year to be honest. You will love the cadets.

              If all you care about is being a good spectator, all you need to know is jump for Enter Sandman, don’t sit, yell like crazy whenever the other team has the ball, shake your keys on “key plays” (when the other team is on 3rd down), every 1st down and touch down we get you will chant “H-O-K-I-E-S Hokies!!”, Skipper (the cannon) will be fired every time we get a field goal or touch down (don’t be scared it’s fun), and if you hear “LET’S GO!” you respond by screaming “HOKIES!” at the top of your lungs. Also we love horses on treadmills. Don’t ask just cheer.

Food

              Apparently they don’t do a good job at teaching you guys about this stuff. Basically the bigger your plan is the more money you have to spend throughout the semester. Everything is bought using that money. It is not a swipes per week system. If you buy steak 24/7 you’re going to run out of money pretty dang quick but if you live off of nothing but coffee you’ll have extra money left over at the end of the semester. Everything is 50% off with the meal plan so that $10 steak will only take $5 off of your meal plan. Every dining hall has these little cards that tells you how much money you should have left by what date so you can tell if you’re on track or if you should lay off the sushi for a couple weeks. Try your hardest to stick by them. I get the smallest meal plan because you can always add more at the end if you need it.

              I’m going to break down all of your food options by dining hall here so this section may be a bit long.

Owens

 Although it’s not the fanciest looking dining hall it still has amazing food. Here you have stands for smoothies, sandwiches, locally grown organic food (closed on the weekend), Chicken and mac and cheese, pasta, Chinese food, burgers, Mexican food, “cheesesteaks” (I use the term very loosely), sweets, and a salad bar.

Personal favorites: Fantastic Franks from Frank’s Deli, Buffalo chicken sandwiches from Flips, and of course chicken parm from the pasta place (this is a special and is only offered every other Wednesday and Friday. People actually go nuts for it I once waited a half hour for it and I have zero regrets).

Warnings: I’m from South Jersey and let me tell you that “Philly style steak sandwich” is NOT a cheesesteak. If any variation of a cheesesteak has the word “Philly” before it do yourself a favor and don’t get it. I could go on an entire rant about how bad this “cheesesteak” was but let’s just leave it at I almost threw up and I became very homesick and craved the real thing for 3 months until I finally went home and got a real cheesesteak. No one should try it but if you’re from the Delaware Valley I’m sorry but you can kiss cheesesteaks and Wawa goodbye for as long as you’re in town.

Hokie Grill

               Attached to Owens is Hokie Grill. There’s not much to say about this place. There’s a Chick Fil A, bbq place, Pizza Hut, and Dunkin Doughnuts. Protip: doughnuts are only 49 cents on the meal plan.

West End

              West End was the world’s first pay for what you get dining hall in the world and is what earned us the #1 spot in food. Here you can get burgers, sandwiches, wraps, steak and lobster, salads, sweets, smoothies, pizza and pasta.

Personal favorites: Steak from JP’s, chicken Cesar wrap from Wrap World (best bargain on campus if you ask me), hot wings from the Fighting Gobbler, and the Cajun cream sauce special at the pasta place.

Warnings: Super crowded from 5:30-7pm. Go early or late if you don’t want to wait ages for your food.

D2

              This is the only all you can eat dining hall on campus. Because of that it’s a bit more on the pricier side. Don’t go here unless you’re really going to get your money’s worth. Definitely go here if it’s a themed day (CHOCOLATE DAY IS A REAL THING AND IT’S GLORIOUS) and be sure to stop by at least once for Sunday brunch (which lasts until 3pm).

Personal favorites: Everything on chocolate day, eggs benedict on Sunday brunches at the Chinese place.

Warnings: This is probably the worst dining hall on campus which means it has pretty good food. If this is your worst food than you are in the right place my friend.

Dx

              Located on the first floor of D2 is Dx. Basically take a crappier version of Wawa and shove it into a hallway and make all the customers drunk and you’ll have Dx. Since it is the only food option on campus after midnight (it closes at 2am) it is a popular place to go after a night out. You will find yourself stumbling through here at one point.

Personal favorites: Corndog nuggets and the butterscotch pudding with Heath bar crumbles.

Warnings: The sushi is gross and a lot of people get sick from the food here (I never have so I don’t know what their problem is). Basically this is what normal schools have as their actual food and this is your crappy late night place so be happy.

Deet’s

              This whole building is basically all dining halls. Deet’s is your typical little coffee shop. They have ice cream, coffee, baked goods, and even paninis. It’s open until midnight and there are lots of chairs so I usually find myself there late at night working on group projects with people.

Personal Favorites: Blacksburg sunset (get lemonade for sour, sprite for sweeter) and the southwest chicken panini.

Warnings: No outlets for your computer so come charged up if you plan on staying awhile.

Squires

              Although mainly the student center Squires still houses Burger 37 and ABP. It’s all a bit pricier but it’s on the meal plan and you won’t find a better burger or milkshake on campus.

Personal favorites: B7 burger and the chipotle mayo for the fries at Burger 37, free refills of lemonade at ABP.

Warnings: Super crowded most of the time but worth it.

Turner

              The only dining hall on the academic side of campus! It’s closed on the weekends but here you can get bagels, convenient store stuff, coffee, crepes (crepe guy is super attractive), sushi, hibachi, salads, Qdoba, southern fare, steak and fish, smoothies, and pizza. Check out the cadet room on the first floor it’s one of my favorite places to study.

Personal Favorites: Beef at the hibachi place (only at lunch), custom salad at the salad place, taco salads at Qdoba, and salmon from Fire Grill.

Warnings: closed on the weekends and always packed between classes.

Classes

              Now the part you all hate: actual learning. This is more going to be little tips and tricks than anything since I don’t know your major. I am majoring in Mechanical engineering with a minor in Biomedical engineering so if you happen to be doing one of those feel free to ask me about more specific questions!

              Please don’t be afraid to go to office hours! Your teacher will help you I promise and sometimes they’ll even give you little tips or benefits that won’t be offered to other students. I’ve gotten extensions, extra credit, news before everyone else, and candy just from dropping by my teacher’s offices. Trust me it’s worth it and a whole lot better than failing and feeling alone.

              Do your work as soon as you can. Life happens and you will have unexpected events come up that you didn’t plan for. Would you rather fall to just 4 days ahead of schedule and go out and play bumper soccer with your friends or stay up until 3am doing that chem lab you haven’t looked at since lab day? You will have so much more fun (and sleep!) by staying on top of your work.

              Plan out your next semester schedule early. Look up your proposed degree path and see what you should take in the spring. Go to Hokie Spa and sift through the timetable of classes for the spring until you’ve found that perfect schedule and request those classes. When you don’t get any of the classes you requested, use coursepickle to tell you when the classes you want are open and get your perfect schedule. Protip: schedule free time for 8am and never be scheduled an 8am ever again!

Getting involved

              This one is the most important if you ask me. Classes are one thing but being a part of the Hokie nation is another. Every year in September we have this thing called Gobblerfest which is basically this event where almost every club on campus comes out to the drillfield and tells you information about their club. This is a great time to explore your interests and find where you belong at school. Thanks to Gobblerfest I’m now a sister of a sorority, on a design team, public relations officer of the Undergraduate Biomedical Engineering Society, and vice president of Engineering World Health (and all of this in one year!). I met some of my best friends from these clubs. If nothing else you’ll get tons of free things at Gobblerfest (all of the sunglasses I own are from this event) so make sure you go and check out clubs!

              However, clubs aren’t the only way to get involved. In the spring Tech has The Big Event, the largest collegiate Relay for Life in the world, the 3.2 for 32, and so much more. Get a group of friends together and spend you weekends helping people and having fun. You don’t have to commit to a club, just one day. It’s a lot of fun and I promise you you’ll come out feeling like you were really a part of something bigger than yourself.

Campus life

              As a freshman you’re guaranteed campus housing. But what is campus like? Are there traditions I’m not aware of? Are there shortcuts to places I’m not aware of? Don’t worry! I’ll break it all down for you here!

Traditions

              By this point you probably have seen the drillfield and know the two distinct features in front of Burruss and Torg Bridge.

The pylons each represent Virginia Tech’s principles. In the center sits a cenotaph, DO NOT TOUCH THIS!!! The cenotaph is there representing all of the Hokies who have received a purple heart. We don’t touch it as a sign of respect to them. If you see someone touching it (or using it like a coffee table like I once saw) kindly tell that person why we don’t touch it. Hokie respect people.

              This is the April 16th memorial. After the shooting that took place on April 16th, 2007 a group of students were sitting on the drillfield wondering how they could honor their fallen Hokies. They decided to go to the quarry and take 32 Hokie stones (one for each live lost) and place them in a semicircle in front of Burruss. These makeshift stones were eventually given to the families of the victims and were replaced with today’s Hokie stones (which have each of their names engraved into them). Every April 16th a memorial service is held here and cadets guard each stone with pride. It is easily the prettiest place on campus during that week.

              The next tradition occurs on the first snowfall of every year. The cadets vs. civilians snowball fight happens on the drillfield and is easily the most epic snowball fight you’ll ever be a part of. Last year I saw people with lab googles, Captain America shields, American flags, and even the Hokiebird took part in it! Keep a look out on Facebook when it snows because that’s where the date and time will be announced.

              Each and every class at Virginia Tech creates their own class rings. After the rings are given out there is a huge dance to celebrate it. It’s kind of like the college version of prom except you’ll actually have fun at this dance.

              Similarly, the Military Ball takes place every year. Cadets HAVE to bring a date so get out there and find a cadet to dance the night away with!

Getting around

              So now you know some of the traditions on campus but how do you get around easily? Well you can’t go wrong with walking. If you have a crazy schedule like me and you need to go to Litton Reaves to Randolf in 15mins (good planning on my part I know) you might want to invest in a nice bike. Make sure you register it! It’s free and it will stop you from getting a ticket with VT parking services or will help VTPD track down your bike if something happens to it. If bikes aren’t your style I’ve seen people on skateboards, longboards, scooters, unicycles, tricycles, you name it. If you plan on bringing your car make sure you get a parking pass and be careful where you park! Getting a parking ticket is on the Hokie bucket list because it happens so often. When in doubt don’t park there.

              If you need to go off campus Blacksburg Transit is your best friend. Download the BT4U app to see which bus will take you where and at what time. Below is a list of places I went to often and which bus will take you there. I know it’s scary at first. (Note: there are 2 Krogers in Blacksburg. “Ghetto” refers to the smaller, older one next to the math empo; “Gucci’ refers to the bigger, newer one on South Main (no I didn’t make these nicknames up.))

University Mall- Ghetto Kroger, Math Empo, the “mall” (like 4 stores and the empo lol), Panera Bread, Wells Fargo, Starbucks, and Macado’s.

University Boulevard- Literally all the same places as U Mall you might just have to walk like 3 feet extra.

South Main- Gucci Kroger, Cookout, Our Daily Bread, and downtown (if you’re super lazy).

Two Town Trolley- CHRISTIANSBURG, Walmart, the hospital (only on week days), the Christiansburg mall (aka the closest thing to civilization you’re going to get down here), and the movies.

Originally posted by vtdsa

I hope this whole thing helped someone out there and I can’t wait to see you all in Blacksburg in just a couple weeks!

Queens of Darkness spinoff

half-hour web series that goes with Once. small town, big magical drama.

Maleficent gets some tedious taxes and paperwork job for the town, because Regina’s out of the office often saving the town, going to Camelot and the Underworld but governing still has to happen. It is mind-numbingly complicated and involves so many forms, mayoring used to be a full time job for Regina, after all, before the Snow Queen and Peter Pan and the Camelot invasion. 

She secretly loves it. It’s like being able to horde an entire town. She’s also very patient, and meetings take a distinctly different tone. 

Ursula returns from the far oceans because she misses the internet , and indoor plumbing. Her father and other merfolk visit, occasionally. She opens a bar. Hilariously, at first it’s just ‘the dive bar’ but it sticks. It has a strange sort of underwater and antique aesthetic and she performs several nights a week. 

Since Storybrooke has a housing shortage, Ursula and Maleficent live together in a big old Victorian house (like the Dark Swan house). Ursula takes forever in the shower, but she sings beautifully. Maleficent has a collection of various kinds of hot sauce that takes up a whole cupboard. 

Cruella discovers she can haunt them both, as she’s now queen of the underworld. (turns out it’s meant to be a ghastly place, and she’s really quite good at convincing people to move on in one way or another). She appears in mirrors, in glasses of water, anything reflective, and she can occasionally possess animals, to hilarious effect. (squirrels, rabbits, the neighbor’s cat). 

She jokes that she could possess Maleficent in dragon form, but they’re trying to get along. Cruella didn’t really abandon Lily in the woods, she brought her to a fire station and left her with some very attractive firefighters. How was she supposed to know that Lily wouldn’t stay there and grow up with them? She would have left herself there if she could have. 

Lily gets pissed off and accidentally destroys her apartment by turning into a dragon and has to move in with them because no one else will rent to her. Leading to the hilarious problem where everyone but Lily knows Regina is Lily’s other mother. (Cruella promises not to tell because she wants to see Lily’s face when Mal eventually has to tell her). 

Maleficent’s quietly unrequited love for the Evil Queen turned heroic Mayor of Storybrooke is hilarious to Cruella (She’s gone soft, how can you find that attractive, Mal, really?) and Ursula (Well, the chances of actually having a successful relationship are much better now that you’re both reformed, less curses, less heroes causing trouble.)

Kathryn returns from law school, now a real lawyer and sets up a magic friendly legal practice, as well as helping Maleficent with the town business when Regina’s away. She’s also their neighbor, who has a cat that Cruella keeps possessing.

They have over the fence style discussions and garden together (Ursula can uproot anything and Maleficent is very good at weed control). Kathryn helps them navigate.

Keep reading

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Hogwarts Class Scheduling

Back when I was young and had more time on my hands, I sat down and figured out the Hogwarts class schedule.

(And by young I really do mean young–check out the last modified date on this!)

Here was the information I had to work with:

  • There is, apparently, only one teacher per subject.
  • A class can be comprised of students from two houses. (But from what we see in the books, no more than two.)
  • After 5th year OWLs, all classes become much more advanced, and students only take the ones that pertain to their career path and NEWTs.

I took that info and ran with it, as well as throwing in some headcanons of my own. For example, I gave Hogwarts a block schedule. (There’s really no way to get by with only one teacher per subject if each class is held every day.) I also made upper-level elective classes inter-house. (Again, the teacher shortage is difficult to work with.) The only class not on this schedule is Astronomy. I figured that since that class could only be held at night, each house/year group would only have it once a week at most.

I wish I’d had tumblr back in 2012, because no doubt I had a lot more thoughts on this than what I’ve remembered and written down above, but hopefully this can help any fic authors trying to keep track of who’s where and when. :)

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The colossal concrete buildings captured in Laurent Kronental’s series Souvenir d’un Futu are more than 60 years old. These modernist buildings, known as grand ensembles, were France’s response to a severe post-war housing shortage.   Erected in the suburbs of Paris between 1954 and 1973, the towering public housing structures embodied the prevailing idea that modernist architecture could help foster a utopian state by improving people’s lives.

Find out more about the history and future of these buildings.

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Tatiana Bilbao’s $8,000 house | Sustainable Housing Prototype

“Social housing has become one of the most important issues in our present day architectural agenda”, say the architects, “with one of the fastest population growth rates in Latin America, the housing shortage in Mexico constitutes a total of 9 million homes”.

“The first phase of the house includes two bedrooms, 1 bathroom, 1 kitchen and a 5 meter height dining/living room. When completed, the third phase contemplates space for the same rooms and 5 separate bedrooms, with the possibility of adapting each separate house according to each family’s specific needs”

The minimal federal requirement of 43 sq. Meters (463 sq. ft) per house was expanded, the home is built around a central core of rigid materials (concrete blocks) and different surrounding modules of lighter/ cheaper materials (wood pallets) can be added or taken away. So the house allows for future expansions in different phases at different times if required, while the outside appearance of a completed house is always preserved. The house is simple to construct and adapts to each family’s budget, needs and desires.

architects: tatiana bilbao estudio

Murray Bookchin, “The Bernie Sanders Paradox: When Socialism Grows Old” (1986)

The posters that appeared all over Burlington — Vermont’s largest city (pop: 37,000) in the winter of 1980-81 were arresting and provocative. They showed an old map of the city with a label slapped across it that read: “For Sale.” A bold slogan across the top, in turn, proclaimed that “Burlington Is Not for Sale,” and smiling amiably in the right-hand corner was the youngish, fairly well-known face of Bernard Sanders, sans tie, open-collared, almost endearingly shy and unpretentious. The onlooker was enjoined to rescue Burlington by voting for “Bernie” Sanders for mayor. Sanders, the long-time gubernatorial candidate of Vermont’s maverick Liberty Union, was now challenging “Gordie” Paquette, an inert Democratic fixture in City Hall, who had successfully fended off equally inert Republican opponents for nearly a decade.

That Sanders won this election on March 3, 1981, by only ten votes is now a Vermont legend that has percolated throughout the country over the past five years. What gives Sanders almost legendary qualities as a mayor and politician is that he proclaims himself to be a socialist — to many admiring acolytes, a Marxist — who is now in the midpoint of a third term after rolling up huge margins in two previous elections. From a ten-vote lead to some fifty-two percent of the electorate, Sanders has ballooned out of Burlington in a flurry of civic tournaments that variously cast him as a working-class hero or a demonic “Bolshevik.” His victories now make the New York Times and his trips outside of Burlington take him to places as far as Managua, where he has visited with Daniel Ortega, and to Monthly Review fundraising banquets, where he rubs shoulders with New York’s radical elite. Sanders has even been invited to the Socialist Scholar’s Conference, an offer he wisely declined. Neither scholarship nor theory is a Sanders forte. If socialist he be, he is of the “bread-and-butter” kind whose preference for “realism” over ideals has earned him notoriety even within his closest co-workers in City Hall.

The criss-crossing lines that deface almost every serious attempt to draw an intelligible sketch of the Sanders administration and its meaning for radicals result from a deep-seated paradox in “bread-and-butter” socialism itself. It trivializes this larger issue to deal with Sanders merely as a personality or to evaluate his achievements in the stark terms of lavish praise or damning blame. A sophomoric tribute to Sanders’ doings in the Monthly Review of a year ago was as maladroit as the thundering letters of denunciation that appear in the Burlington Free Press. Sanders fits neither the heaven-sent roles he is given in radical monthlies nor the demonic ones he acquires in conservative letters to moderate dailies.

To dwell heavily on his well-known paranoia and suspicious reclusiveness beclouds the more important fact that he is a centralist, who is more committed to accumulating power in the mayor’s office than giving it to the people. To spoof him for his unadorned speech and macho manner is to ignore the fact that his notions of a “class analysis” are narrowly productivist and would embarrass a Lenin, not to mention a Marx. To mock his stolid behavior and the surprising conventionality of his values is to conceal his commitment to thirties’ belief in technological progress, businesslike efficiency, and a naive adherence to the benefits of “growth.” The logic of all these ideas is that democratic practice is seen as secondary to a full belly, the earthy proletariat tends to be eulogized over the “effete” intellectuals, and environmental, feminist, and communitarian issues are regarded as “petit-bourgeois” frivolities by comparison with the material needs of “working people.” Whether the two sides of this “balance sheet” need be placed at odds with each other is a problem that neither Sanders nor many radicals of his kind have fully resolved. The tragedy is that Sanders did not live out his life between 1870 and 1940, and the paradox that faces him is: why does a constellation of ideas that seemed so rebellious fifty years ago appear to be so conservative today? This, let me note, is not only Sanders’ problem. It is one that confronts a very sizable part of the left today. 

Sanders is by no means the sole focus of this paradox. The fact is that Sanders’ problems, personal as they seem, really reflect problems that exist in Burlington itself. Contrary to the notion that Vermont is what America used to be, the state — and particularly, Burlington — is more like what America is becoming than what America was. The major corporations in the city and its environs are IBM and GE — and the GE plant in Burlington makes the only Gatling gun in the United States, a horrendous fact that should by all rights trouble any socialist mayor. The Old North End, Sanders’ sans-culottes wards (Numbers Two and Three), consists in large part of home-bred Vermonters who work in service, repair, and maintenance jobs when they have jobs at all. The remaining four wards are filled with newcomers to the city and with elderly people who have the luck to own their homes.

Basically middle-class in work and values, the form a pepper mix of old Vermonters and “new professionals,” a term that embraces anyone from insurance brokers, real-estate operators, and retailers to doctors, lawyers, and professors. Hippies still mingle freely with Yuppies; indeed, in egalitarian Vermont, there is a reasonable degree of intercourse between the wealthy, the well-to-do, and the poor. What is most important: Burlington is a town in frenzied transition. A sleepy little place some fifteen years ago with bacon-and-egg diners, hardware stores, clothing emporiums, and even a gun shop in the center of town, it is becoming a beehive of activity. Electronics in all its forms is moving into Vermont together with boutiques, inns, hotels, office buildings, educational institutions — and in Burlington, particularly, a thriving academic establishment that draws thousands of students and their parents into its commercial fold.

The problems of “modernization” that confront the town produce very mixed reactions — not only in its inhabitants but in Sanders. A large number of people feel plundered, including some of the plunderers, if you are to believe them. Burlington is living evidence that myth can be real, even more real than reality itself. Accordingly, myth holds that Burlington is small, homey, caring, crime-free, independent, mutualistic, liberal, and innocently American in its belief that everything good can happen if one so wills it to be. This glowing American optimism, in my view one of our national assets, often lives in doleful contradiction with the fact that if everything good can happen, everything bad does happen — including union-busting, growing contrasts between rich and poor, housing shortages, rising rents, gentrification, pollution, parking problems, traffic congestion, increasing crime, anomie, and growth, more growth, and still more growth — upward, inward, and outward.

The tension between myth and reality is as strong as between one set of realities and another. Burlingtonians generally do not like what is happening, although there are far too many of them who are making the most of it. Even the alleged “benefits” of growth and modernization are riddled by their own internal contradictions. If there are more jobs and little unemployment, there is lower pay and rising living costs. If there are more tourists and a very amiable citizenry to receive them, there is less spread of income across social lines and more robberies. If there is more construction and less labor shortages, there are fewer homes and more newcomers. Office-building and gentrification go hand in hand with fewer small businesses and far too many people who need inexpensive shelter.

Very crucial to all of this is the conflict of values and cultures that “modernization” produces. Basically, Burlingtonians want to keep their city intimate, caring, and liberal. They like to believe that they are living an older way of life with modern conveniences and in accord with fiercely independent values that are rooted in a colorful past. It is this underlying independence of Vermonters generally, including newcomers who are absorbed into Burlington, that makes the clash between a lingering libertarian Yankee tradition and a corrosive, authoritarian corporate reality so inherently explosive. Ironically, Bernard Sanders owes his present political career to the irascible public behavior this libertarian tradition produces, yet he understands that behavior very little. To Sanders, Burlington is basically Detroit as it was two generations ago and the fact that the town was “not for sale” in 1981 carried mixed messages to him and his electorate. To the electorate, the slogan meant that the city and its values were priceless and hence were to be guarded and preserved as much as possible. To Sanders, all rhetoric aside, it meant that the city, although not on an auction block, had a genuinely high price tag.

Whether the electorate who voted for him was less “realistic” than Sanders is not relevant: the fact is that both saw the “sale” of the city from different, if not radically opposing, perspectives. Both, in fact, were guided by varying “reality principles.” The electorate wanted a greater say in the city’s future; Sanders wanted to bring more efficiency to its disposition. The electorate wanted to preserve the city’s human scale and quality of life; Sanders wanted it to grow according to a well-designed plan and with due regard for cost-effectiveness. The electorate, in effect, saw Burlington as a home and wanted to keep its emphasis on old-style values alive; Sanders, together with many of his opponents, saw it as a business and wanted its “growth” to be beneficial, presumably to “working people.” 

This is not to deny that Burlington has its fair share of economic predators and political operators or that property taxes are very important and material problems ranging from shelter to the cost of food are very real. But this town also has a deep sense of municipal pride and its highly independent, even idiosyncratic, population exudes a form of local patriotism that fades as one approaches larger, less historically conscious, and less environmentally oriented communities. Sanders would never admit that for Burlingtonians, the electorate’s independence has begun to clash with his fading regard for democratic practice; that technological “progress” and structural “growth” can arouse more suspicion than enthusiasm; that the quality of life runs neck and neck as an issue with material benefits. Indeed, for Sanders and his administration (the two are not necessarily identical), thirties socialism is notable for the fact that it rescues the marketplace from “anarchy,” not that it necessarily challenges the market system as such and its impact on the city. In Sanders’ version of socialism, there is a sharp “business” orientation toward Burlington as a well-managed corporate enterprise.

Herein lies the greatest irony of all: all rhetoric aside, Bernard Sanders’ version of socialism is proving to be a subtle instrument for rationalizing the marketplace — not for controlling it, much less threatening it. His thirties-type radicalism, like Frankenstein’s “monster,” is rising up to challenge its own creator. In this respect, Sanders does not make history; more often than not, he is one of its victims. Hence to understand the direction he is following and the problems it raises for radicals generally, it is important to focus not on his rhetoric, which makes his administration so alluring to socialists inside and outside of Vermont, but to take a hard look at the realities of his practice.

Sanders’ Record 

SANDERS’ CLAIM that he has created “open government” in Burlington is premised on a very elastic assumption of what one means by the word “open.“ That Sanders prides himself on being "responsive” to underprivileged people in Burlington who are faced with evictions, lack of heat, wretched housing conditions, and the ills of poverty is not evidence of “openness” — that is, if we assume the term means greater municipal democracy and public participation. What often passes for “open government” in the Sanders cosmos is the mayor’s willingness to hear the complaints and distress signals of his clients and courtiers, not a responsibility to give them any appreciable share in the city’s government. What Sanders dispenses under the name of “open government” is personal paternalism rather than democracy. After six years of Sanders’ paternalism, there is nothing that resembles Berkeley’s elaborate network of grassroots organizations and councils that feed into City Hall. 

When it comes to municipal democracy, Sanders is surprisingly tight-fisted and plays his cards very close to his chest. Queried shortly after his 1981 election on a local talk-show, You Can Quote Me, Sanders was pointedly asked if he favored town-meeting government, a very traditional form of citizen assemblies that has deep-seated roots in Vermont townships. Sanders’ response was as pointed as the question. It was an emphatic “No.” After expressing his proclivity for the present aldermanic system, the mayor was to enter into a chronic battle with the “Republicrat” board of aldermen over appointments and requests that were to be stubbornly rejected by the very system of government that had his early sanction. 

Sanders’ quarrels with the board of aldermen did not significantly alter his identification of “open government” with personal paternalism. As an accepted fixture in Burlington’s civic politics, he now runs the city with cool self-assurance, surrounded by a small group of a half-dozen or so aides who formulate his best ideas and occasionally receive his most strident verbal abuse. The Mayor’s Council on the Arts is a hand-picked affair, whether by the mayor directly or by completely dedicated devotees; similarly, the Mayor’s Youth Office. It is difficult to tell when Sanders will create another “council” — or, more appropriately, an “office” — except to note that there are peace, environmental, and gay communities, not to speak of unemployed, elderly, welfare, and many similar constituents who have no “Mayor’s” councils in City Hall. Nor is it clear to what extent any of the existing councils authentically represent local organizations and/or tendencies that exist in the subcultures and deprived communities in Burlington. 

Sanders is a centralist and his administration, despite its democratic proclivities, tends to look more like a civic oligarchy than a municipal democracy. The Neighborhood Planning Assemblies (NPAs) which were introduced in Burlington’s six wards in the autumn of 1982 and have been widely touted as evidence of “grassroots democracy” were not institutions that originated in Sanders’ head. Their origin is fairly complex and stems from a welter of notions that were floating around Burlington in neighborhood organizations that gathered shortly after Sanders’ 1981 election to develop ideas for wider citizen participation in the city and its affairs. That people in the administration played a role in forming assemblies is indisputably true, but so too did others who have since come to oppose Sanders for positions that have compromised his pledges to the electorate. 

Bernard Sanders’ view of government appears in its most sharply etched form in an interview the mayor gave to a fairly sympathetic reporter on the Burlington Free Press in June, 1984. Headlined “Sanders Works to Expand Mayor’s Role,” the story carried a portrait of the mayor in one of his more pensive moods with the quote: “We are absolutely rewriting the role of what city government is supposed to be doing in the state of Vermont.’ The article leaped immediately into the whole thrust of Sanders’ version of city government: "to expand and strengthen the role of the [mayor’s] office in city government:” This process has been marked by an "expanding City Hall staff,” an increased “role in the selection of a new fire chief,” “a similar role in the Police Department,” and "in development issues, such as the proposed downtown hotel.” In response to criticism that Sanders has been “centraliz-ing” power and reducing the checks and balances in city government, his supporters “stress that citizen input, through both the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies and expanded voter output, has been greatly increased.” That the Neighborhood Planning Assemblies have essentially been permitted to languish in an atmosphere of benign neglect and that voter participation in elections hardly equatable to direct participation by the citizenry has left the mayor thoroughly unruffled. 

A FAIR CONSIDERATION of the results produced by Sanders’ increased role in city affairs provides a good test of a political strategy that threatens to create institutional forms for a Burlington version of New York’s Mayor Koch. The best case for the mayor appears in the Monthly Review of May, 1984, where a Pollyanna article written by Beth Bates, “a writer and farmer,” celebrates the virtues of Sanders’ efforts as “Socialism on the Local Level” — followed, I might add, by a prudent question mark. Like Sanders’ own claims, the main thrust of the article is that the “socialist” administration is “efficient.” Sanders has shown that "radicals, too, can be fiscal conservatives, even while they are concerned that government does the little things that make life more comfortable” like street repair, volunteer aid to dig paths for the elderly after snowstorms, and save money. The administration brings greater revenues into the city’s coffers by modernizing the budgetary process, principally by investing its money in high-return institutions, opening city contracts to competitive bidding, centralizing purchasing, and slapping fees on a wide range of items like building permits, utility excavations, private fire and police alarms, and the like. 

That Sanders has out-Republicaned the Republicans should not be taken lightly. Viewed in terms of its overall economic policies, the Sanders administration bears certain fascinating similarities to the Reagan administration. What Sanders has adopted with a vengeance is “trickle-down” economics — the philosophy that “growth” for profit has a spillover effect in creating jobs and improving the public welfare. Not surprisingly, the City’s 1984 “Annual Report” of the Community and Economic Development Office (a Sanders creation) really begins with a chunky section on “UDAG Spur Development.” UDAGs are Urban Development Action Grants that are meant to “leverage” commitments to growth by the “private sector.” The Office celebrates the fact that these grant requests to Washington will yield $25 million from “the private sector” and “create an estimated 556 new full-time, permanent jobs, and generate an additional $332,638 per year in property taxes.” Among its many achievements, the grant will help the owners of the Radisson Hotel in Burlington (an eyesore that is blocking out part of Burlington’s magnificent lake view, and a corporate playground if there ever was one) expand their property by “57 guest rooms and an additional 10,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space. A new 505 space parking garage with covered access to the hotel will be constructed. The Radisson Hotel will now be able to accommodate regional and association conventions. The project also includes expansion of retail space (32,500 square feet) within the Burlington Square Mall. Construction has begun, and the project is scheduled for completion in late 1985.” The other grants are less lascivious but they invariably deal with projects to either construct or rehabilitate office, commercial, industrial, and department-store construction — aside from the noxious Sanders waterfront scheme, of which more shortly. 

One seriously wonders who this kind of descriptive material is meant to satisfy. Potential employees who commonly sell their labor power for minimum wage-rates in a city that is notoriously closed to unionization? The Old North Enders who are the recipients of scanty rehabilitation funds and a land-trust program for the purchase of houses, an innovative idea that is still to fully prove itself out? A few small businessmen who have received loans to develop their enterprises or others who have had their façades improved in what Sanders celebrates as an attempt to “revitalize” the Old North End, an area that is still one of the most depressing and depressed in Vermont? The ill-housed and elderly for whom the office-building spree makes the limited amount of low-income housing construction seem like a mockery of their needs? Apart from the condos and so-called “moderate-income” houses that have surfaced in part of the city, housing for the underprivileged is not a recurring theme in Sanders’ speeches except when the mayor is on an electoral warpath. After a tentative stab at some kind of “rent control” which was defeated at the polls on the heels of a huge propaganda blitz by well-to-do property owners, the administration has been reticent about raising rent-control issues generally, let alone making a concerted effort at educating the public about them. Burlington, in effect, is witnessing what one journalistic wag has appropriately called “gentrification with a human face.” Indeed, such crucial issues as housing for the poor and elderly, unionization of the grossly underpaid, environmental deterioration, and the rapid attrition of old, socially useful, small concerns that can no longer afford the soaring downtown rentals — all have taken second place during the past year to big structural schemes like a waterfront plan. More so than any other Sanders proposal, this plan has opened a long overdue schism between the mayor and his popular supporters in the Old North End, the most radical constituency in Burlington.

SANDERS’ WATERFRONT PLAN is burdened by a highly convoluted a history that would take an article in itself to unravel. The 24.5-acre property, owned partly by the Vermont Central Railroad, the Alden Corporation (a consortium of wealthy locals), and the city itself, faces one of the most scenic lake and mountain areas in the northeast. Paquette, Sanders’ predecessor, planned to "develop” this spectacular site with highrise condos. Sanders has made the demand for a “waterfront for the people” a cardinal issue in all his campaigns. Civic democracy was ostensibly served when an open meeting was organized by the administration in February, 1983, to formulate priorities which the public felt should be reflected in any design. Broken down by wards in NPA fashion, the meeting’s priorities centered around walkways, open space, public access, restaurants and shops, even a museum and wildlife sanctuary — and, in addition to similar public amenities, mixed housing. Whether these priorities could have been met without a UDAG is highly problematical. What is fascinating about Sanders’ response, even before the UDAG was refused, was the clutter of structures that grossly compromised the whole thrust of the public’s priorities: a second version of a Radisson-type hotel, a retail pavilion that spanned half the length of the city’s pedestrian mall, a 1200-car parking garage, an office building, a narrow public walkway along the lakeside — and an ambiguous promise to provide three hundred mixed housing units, presumably “available for low and moderate income and/or handicapped people:” Even so, this housing proposal was hedged by such caveats as "to the extent feasible” and the need to acquire “below-market financing” and rent-level “subsidies.” 

Following the refusal of the UDAG, the plan resurfaced again from City Hall with two notable alterations. Mixed housing disappeared completely even as a promise — to be replaced by 150 to 300 condos priced at $175-300,000 each (a typical Burlington houses sells for $70-80,000) and public space, meager to begin with, was further attenuated. From a residential viewpoint, the “waterfront for the people” had become precisely an “enclave for the rich,” one of the verbal thunderbolts Sanders had directed at the Paquette proposal.

The privileges accorded by the waterfront plan to moneyed people are a reminder that only token aid has been provided to the poor. The methods employed by Sanders to engineer public consent for the plan have been especially offensive: the blitz of ads favoring the mayor’s and Alden Corporation’s version of the scheme, in which Sanderistas found their names listed with those of the most notorious union-busters in the state, stands in sharp contrast with the relatively weak campaigns launched by City Hall on behalf of rent control and improved housing. 

Public reaction came to a head when the electorate, summoned to vote on a bond issue to cover the city’s contribution to the plan, produced startling results. Despite the sheer frenzy that marked the mayor’s campaign for a "yes” vote, the ward-by-ward returns revealed a remarkable shift in social attitudes toward Sanders. Although a two-thirds majority is needed to carry a bond issue in Burlington, Wards 2 and 3 of the Old North End voted down the bond issue flatly. So much for the reaction of Sanders’ “working-class” base which had given the mayor his largest pluralities in the past. Ward 4, a conventional middle-class district, regaled the mayor with barely a simple majority of five votes, and Ward 5, the most sympathetic of his middle-class constituencies, a flat fifteen-vote rejection. Sanders’ highest returns came from Ward 6 — “The Hill,” as it has been called — which contains the highest concentration of wealth in the city and its most spacious and expensive mansions. 

For the first time, a Sanders proposal that patently placed the mayor’s public credibility on the line had been soundly trounced — not by the wealthiest ward in Burlington which alone supported the bond issue by a two-thirds vote, but. by the Old North End, which flatly rejected his proposal. A class issue had emerged which now seems to have reflected a disgust with a rhetoric that yields little visible results. 

THE ULTIMATE EFFECT Of Sanders’ aging form of “socialism” is to facilitate the ease with which business interests can profit from the city. Beyond the dangers of an increasingly centralized civic machinery, one that must eventually be inherited by a “Republicrat” administration, are the extraordinary privileges Sanders hasprovided to the most predatory enterprises in Burlington — privileges that have been justified by a “socialism” that is committed to “growth,” "planning,” “order,” and a blue-collar “radicalism” that actually yields low-paying jobs and non-union establishments without any regard to the quality of life and environmental well-being of the community at large.

Bernard Sanders could have established an example of a radical municipalism, one rooted in Vermont’s localist tradition of direct democracy, that might have served as a living educational arena for developing an active citizenry and a popular political culture. Whether it was because of a shallow productivist notion of "socialism” oriented around “growth” and “efficiency” or simply personal careerism, the Burlington mayor has been guided by a strategy that sacrifices education to mobilization and democratic principles to pragmatic results. This “managerial radicalism” with its technocratic bias and its corporate concern for expansion is bourgeois to the core — and even brings the authenticity of traditional “socialist” canons into grave question. A recent Burlington Free Press headline which declared: “Sanders Unites with Business on Waterfront” could be taken as a verdict by the local business establishment as a whole that it is not they who have been joining Sanders but Sanders who has joined them. When productivist forms of “socialism” begin to resemble corporate forms of capitalism, it may be well to ask how these inversions occur and whether they are accidental at all. This question is not only one that must concern Sanders and his supporters; it is a matter of grim concern for the American radical community as a whole. 

Source: Socialist Review 90 (November-December 1986), pp. 51-62

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Jerusalem: Hitting Home
In East Jerusalem, Palestinians whose houses are declared illegal by Israel are being forced to raze their own homes.

The city of Jerusalem lies at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and property, housing and Israeli settlements are burning issues.
The Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem has forced thousands of Palestinians from their homes and created a serious housing shortage. Since 1967, the Palestinian population has quadrupled, climbing to over 300,000 - nearly 40 percent of the population. Yet the Israeli municipal authorities in East Jerusalem deem that Palestinians can build property on only nine percent of the land.

For Palestinians, construction permits are prohibitively expensive and bureaucratic processes make them difficult to obtain. Many Palestinians have had no choice but to build their own homes without permits, even with the threat of demolition hanging over their heads.
Israel has now declared around 20,000 of these buildings to be illegal and has ordered their demolition
Rather than paying the high costs of fighting demolition orders in court, or paying the fines for getting Israeli crews to pull down their homes, Palestinian families are making the difficult choice to bring them down themselves. Forced to demolish their own homes, many have been made homeless, or pushed away from the city centre. Others have chosen to remain in the ruins of the properties they themselves have pulled down.
Jerusalem: Hitting Home examines how these demolitions are not just changing the face of the city but also the lives of the people who live there.
The film follows three families who have been forced to take hammers to their own homes. It traces the events that led to the demolitions, where the families have gone afterwards, and the emotional and economic impact it has had on them. The filmmaker also charts how city planning and municipal policies have led to a set of building rules that many argue are pushing Palestinians towards the outskirts of the city, disrupting their lives and shifting the city’s demographics in favour of the Israeli majority.