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jerryking : land_uses   7

‘Hyper-concentration’ of jobs occurring in Toronto’s downtown, report says
December 3, 2018 | The Globe and Mail | by JEFF GRAY TORONTO CITY HALL REPORTER.

A fundamental economic shift is “hyper-concentrating” new knowledge-economy jobs in Toronto’s downtown as traditional manufacturing employment evaporates across much of southern Ontario, a new report warns, and the trend has major ramifications for public transit and land-use planning......lopsided job growth is a permanent change, not a cyclical pattern. It warns Toronto’s transit system will be placed under further strain. The report also argues smaller communities outside the city should seek to attract the jobs of the future, rather than cling to dying industries.....Overall, the number of jobs in the region has grown. But from 2006 to 2016, Toronto’s downtown gained 67,000 of what the study calls “core” jobs, or jobs that bring income into the region and drive growth, as opposed to jobs such as those in retail that largely serve local residents. Many of those downtown jobs are “knowledge-based,” in industries such as finance or technology or “higher-order business services” such as accounting or law, which tend to cluster together......“It’s not this kind of gentle evolution towards the knowledge economy that’s we’ve seen previously. This is a definite shift.” The GM news appears tailor-made to illustrate that shift. While closing the Oshawa plant, the company has pointed to its new investment in Markham – one of a handful of suburban centres for knowledge jobs identified in the report – where GM plans to hire 700 engineers to work on its designs for driverless cars. GM has also announced plans for an “urban innovation lab” on the east side of central Toronto.....Dr. Blais’s report suggests the Toronto region should look to plan for a “second downtown,” which would need good transit to attract knowledge-intensive jobs.....Richard Florida .....said the numbers demonstrate the clustering of knowledge jobs means places outside Toronto’s downtown core, such as Oshawa, will inevitably become “more of a bedroom community than an economic generator.”
downtown_core  GM  Jeff_Gray  knowledge_economy  manufacturers  Oshawa  public_transit  Toronto  layoffs  Golden_Horseshoe  land_uses  hyper-concentrations 
december 2018 by jerryking
A Texas Farmer on Harvey, Bad Planning and Runaway Growth -
AUG. 30, 2017 | The New York Times | By SEAMUS McGRAW.

Seamus McGraw is the author, most recently, of “Betting the Farm on a Drought: Stories From the Front Lines of Climate Change.” He is at work on a new book about water issues in Texas......Haskell Simon...is a man who has, in nine decades in Texas, developed a deep appreciation for the complex interplay between nature and the world we create......The cycles of storms and droughts are...an inevitable fact of life in Texas..... those storms and droughts are still more destructive than they ever were before, simply because there is more to destroy......in the 16 years since Tropical Storm Allison deluged Houston, that city, which famously balks at any kind of zoning regulation, and the surrounding region, which encompasses all or parts of 15 counties, have undergone a period of explosive growth, from 4.8 million people in 2000 to more than 7 million today. Harris County alone, which includes the city of Houston, has grown to 4.6 million, up from 3.4 million.....That’s millions of people guzzling water when times are dry.....A century’s worth of unchecked growth has brought prosperity to many. But it also has altered the landscape in ways that have made both the droughts and the floods more destructive and made that prosperity fleeting. Much of the region sits atop the overtaxed Gulf Coast Aquifer, and though efforts have made over the last 40 years to limit withdrawals from it, enough water has been sucked out of it that the ground still subsides in some places, altering runoff patterns and allowing flood waters to gather.

What’s more, those more than 2 million newcomers to the region are living in houses and driving on roads and shopping in stores built atop what once was prairie that could have absorbed at least some of the fury of this flood and the next. What once was land that might have softened the storm’s blow is now, in many cases, collateral damage in what could turn out to be a $40 billion disaster.....take a moment to consider how best to rebuild, to pause and rethink how and where we build, to reflect not just on whether we’re altering the weather, but whether there is a way to make ourselves less vulnerable to it. Perhaps we could build differently, or set aside land that would both help recharge the dwindling water supplies in times of drought and slow the floods when they come.
adaptability  climate_change  extreme_weather_events  floods  water  resilience  sustainability  Texas  Houston  natural_calamities  disasters  Hurricane_Harvey  land_uses  droughts  books  collateral_damage  buffering  zoning 
september 2017 by jerryking
Flood. Rinse. Repeat: The costly cycle that must end
May 07, 2017 | The Globe and Mail |GLENN MCGILLIVRAY, managing director, Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction

Once again, homes located alongside a Canadian river have flooded, affected homeowners are shocked, the local government is wringing its hands, the respective provincial government is ramping up to provide taxpayer-funded disaster assistance and the feds are deploying the Armed Forces.

In Canada, it is the plot of the movie Groundhog Day, or the definition of insanity attributed to Albert Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.....First, a homeowner locates next to the river, oftentimes because of the view (meaning a personal choice is being made). Many of these homes are of high value.

Then the snow melts, the ice jams or the rain falls and the flood comes. Often, as is the case now, the rain is characterized by the media as being incredible, far outside the norm. Then a scientific or engineering analysis later shows that what happened was not very exceptional.

These events are not caused by the rain, they are caused by poor land-use decisions, among other public-policy foibles. This is what is meant when some say there are no such things as natural catastrophes, only man-made disasters.

Finally, the province steps in with disaster assistance then seeks reimbursement from the federal government through the Disaster Financial Assistance Arrangements. In any case, whether provincial or federal, taxpayers are left holding the bag.....So what is the root of the problem? Though complex problems have complex causes and complex solutions, one of the causes is that the party making the initial decision to allow construction (usually the local government) is not the party left holding the bag when the flood comes.

Just as homeowners have skin in the game through insurance deductibles and other measures, local governments need a financial disincentive to act in a risky manner. At present, municipalities face far more upside risk than downside risk when it comes to approving building in high-risk hazard zones. When the bailout comes from elsewhere, there is no incentive to make the right decision – the lure of an increased tax base and the desire not to anger local voters is all too great.

Reducing natural disaster losses in Canada means breaking the cycle – taking a link out of the chain of events that leads to losses.

Local governments eager for growth and the tax revenue that goes with it need to hold some significant portion of the downside risk in order to give them pause for thought.
floods  catastrophes  natural_calamities  design  insurance  public_policy  disasters  relief_recovery_reconstruction  sustainability  municipalities  skin_in_the_game  disincentives  Albert_Einstein  complex_problems  land_uses  moral_hazards  man-made  hazards  downside_risks 
may 2017 by jerryking
Mapping Where Torontonians Bike and Run
FEBRUARY 2, 2015 | Torontoist | BY DAVID HAINS

Developers map out the world's most popular spots for walking, jogging, and cycling—and reveal where in this city Torontonians like, and don't like, to get outside and get active.

....the maps show pieces of a larger story. The most popular trails might seem simply like fun places for a run or merely the result of individual choices, but they’re part of a larger context that governs how the city works—how the built and natural environment, a community’s land-use mix, housing affordability, community health options, and other factors affect the way we relate to and use different parts of the city.
affordable_housing  cardiovascular  community_health  correlations  cycling  diabetes  green_spaces  health_outcomes  healthy_lifestyles  land_uses  mapping  neighbourhoods  parks  public_policy  ravines  running  Toronto  self-selection 
january 2017 by jerryking
Toronto’s problem has grown beyond its mayor
Nov. 08 2013 | The Globe and Mail |Richard Florida

Toronto must deal with an even larger schism, the one that divides its booming 21st-century economy from its outmoded growth model and system of governance. It is this – not Mr. Ford – that poses the most serious threat to Toronto’s continued prosperity....Toronto has reached a true inflection point, and the problem is not high taxes or fiscal profligacy, as many have framed it....Toronto’s biggest problem is its growth model, which has far outlived its shelf life.

When a city region like Toronto – or Atlanta, Washington, Dallas or Miami – hits the 5.5 to six million mark in population, it can no longer grow based on cars and sprawl. It has to grow upward as well as outward and has to become much more oriented to transit. Most cities fail to make the required investments and their growth stalls and falters. The truly great cities are able to invest in ways that change their growth trajectory. This is what New York did more than a century ago when it built its rail and subway lines. That’s what Toronto needs to do now if it wants to achieve its ambition to become a truly global city....To do so requires not just massive investments in transit, but more flexible building and zoning regimes that promote greater density at the core and in the suburbs alike. The dysfunction in the mayor’s office means that all this is being put on the back burner....then there is the deep and fundamental problem of the growing geographic inequality that produced Mr. Ford in the first place. ....Inequality has frustrated even the most effective mayors...[Toronto} needs a new governance system that is adequate to the new challenges it faces....Toronto can lead the world by devising a modern system that’s up to the task of investing in governing and investing in a large economically integrated city. ...the basic idea would be to create a new kind of federalism, which extends from the provincial government through the city and all the way down to the varied communities and neighbourhoods that make it up.
21st._century  building_codes  cities  communities  densification  federalism  land_uses  mayoral  neighbourhoods  NYC  Queen’s_Park  regulation  Richard_Florida  Rob_Ford  scandals  schisms  transit  Toronto  zoning  inflection_points 
november 2013 by jerryking
10 Ways to Stumble in Commercial Real Estate -
November 12, 2006 | New York Times |By VIVIAN MARINO

(1) NO FINANCIAL PLAN
“The first step for investing in anything — whether it’s real estate or diamonds — is to have a plan, and your plan is based on your goals,”..... are you looking for a property that can be leased out, generating a monthly cash flow? Or, do you want to make a quick profit with a property that can appreciate in value after improvements?

You will also need to focus on a specific property type, based on personal interest and expertise. Mr. Cummings suggests taking on partners with “personal knowledge or specific talent dealing with this category of property.” He also recommends having an exit strategy,
(2) THINKING LOCATION ONLY
“It’s not location, location, location — it’s location, use and approval,” ......While finding a good location in a well-traveled corridor is important, he explained, you must also ensure that the proposed use for a property fits within zoning and deed restrictions as well as other local laws. That’s a crucial part of due diligence.

(3) NOT RESEARCHING A CITY
Even with zoning laws on your side, you may still be unable to move ahead with plans. “Some communities are getting impossible to develop,”.....Although a site may be properly zoned for such buildings, local planning boards might object that a design and scope of a project are incompatible with the area.

(4) SEEING ALL AREAS AS SIMILAR
“Real estate is a local singular market,” ......“What goes on in San Francisco may appear to be the same as what is going on in Chicago or Miami, but in reality it is not.” You need to explore an area’s demographics — learning, for instance, the average age of the residents and potential customers, as well as household income. And while you’re at it, check on the prevailing rents, along with vacancy rates and property taxes. Some of this information can be found by contacting the local government or Chamber of Commerce, and by talking with neighboring business owners.

(5) NO THOUGHT TO TENANT MIX
you can’t expect to draw much business unless you have the right mix of tenants, both within your property and in the neighborhood. An “anchor,” or a business with a history of successful performance, can help.

(6) MISCALCULATING COSTS
uncover hidden problems in a building — structural, mechanical or environmental. The seller can then decide to fix the problems or renegotiate the sales price........set aside a cushion for future repairs or improvements. (Even tenants with so-called triple-net leases, in which they agree to pay all the continuing operating expenses like property taxes, may need to have a property reconfigured to meet their needs.)

“Many people do not take the time necessary to quantify deferred maintenance — from an antiquated heating system to a leaking roof to holes in the parking lot,”

(7) MISCALCULATING RETURNS
To get an idea of your initial rate of return, or capitalization rate, review expenses and income for the most recent year.

Some brokers and investors base their calculations on occupancy rates at or close to 100 percent. But take into account the likelihood of vacancies,

(8) TAKING ON ONEROUS DEBT
commercial-property land, can come with very onerous terms!!

(9) DOING IT ALL YOURSELF
experienced investors typically have a group of experts in place, including brokers, engineers, lawyers, accountants and property managers, to help with conducting due diligence.

(10) PROCRASTINATION
What good is doing the research if you never put it to use?
anchor_tenants  commercial_real_estate  debt  demographics  exits  financial_planning  hidden  investors  IRR  land_uses  miscalculations  missteps  pitfalls  procrastination  real_estate  rules_of_the_game  zoning 
september 2012 by jerryking

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