Archive for June, 2010
Silicon Valley has always been a safe haven for risk-takers, entrepreneurs, and big thinkers. But, it is also home to one of the most innovative public-private partnerships in the country: Joint Venture Silicon Valley.
As the fourth feature in our series, Creative Capstones, we interviewed Russell Hancock, president of Joint Venture Silicon Valley, to learn more about Silicon Valley, Joint Venture, and the organization’s current initiatives to “build the next (and greener) Silicon Valley.”
Creative Class Group (CCG): Tell us about Silicon Valley. What makes it a special place to live?
Russell Hancock: We’re a sun-kissed land with countless amenities, but I love Silicon Valley because it is an amazing collection of people. They’re talented, they’re creative, they’re from all over the world, and they are doing innovative things. The culture here is all about risk-taking and there’s a high tolerance for failure, and this has made it possible for innovation to blossom here more than most any other place you might name. You can feel it when you’re here – the buzz and the energy – and it brings out the best in people. In Silicon Valley everything seems possible – inventing a better mousetrap, inventing a new energy future, making a niftier gadget, planning communities that have fabulous urban designs… there’s a sense that if you can’t do it here, you can’t do it anywhere. (more…)
A former mortgage professional writes:
I spent 10 years in the mortgage business… and I still cannot figure out why the interest on second mortgages and lines of credit is tax deductible? I used to see people buy boats and Corvettes with their lines of credit and it frosted me that all of us tax payers were subsidizing the interest. This area must be addressed. I think that a tax deduction for the interest paid on a mortgage should be limited to the primary mortgage only.
Commenting on this earlier post, Jack Burns writes:
Renting is a service I gladly pay for. We spend about $40 a day for use of a nice three bedroom townhouse on a quiet street, with a private yard, a larger park for kids in the complex and a city park 5 houses away. The AGO is at the end of the street. Walk to work, got rid of the car and no equity buried in concrete, dirt and drywall. I like my equity earning interest and dividends and accessible when I need it. I also like having money set aside for a surprise like a weekend trip to Manhattan, or a night at the Opera instead of a blown water heater or a leaky roof. I know many homeowners and they like it. It enables you to be fixated on a world of a couple thousand square feet knowing you need not think beyond that world. It’s very comforting, like being a religious fundamentalist.
Market forces are already causing a significant reset in America’s housing system – and a lot quicker than most people imagine.
Earlier this week, I argued that America’s penchant for homeownership distorted the economy, and that it makes good economic sense to tilt the balance of homeownership back from its high point of 70 percent to roughly 55 or 60 percent – about the level found in the most innovative, affluent, and highly skilled regions. The Urban Land Institute projections (PDF) already predict the homeownership level will fall back to 62-64 percent as a result of the downturn, tighter credit conditions, and demographic shifts.
Earlier this week, the American College of Sports Medicine released its new version of the American Fitness Index, which tracks the health and fitness level of America’s 50-largest metropolitan regions. The index is defined as a “composite of preventive health behaviors, levels of chronic disease conditions, health care access, and community resources and policies that support physical activity.” The table below shows the fitness levels for these 50 metros.
Source: American Fitness Index
Want an example of how to shift from ownership to rental? Here it is via the Wall Street Journal. It’s a doozie. And it’s a model of what the federal government – instead of propping up the mortgage and home-ownership markets – can and should do more of. The Miami Development Community Corp. is buying up “busted” condo developments and turning them into affordable rentals.
The public-housing agency recently paid $5.7 million for the 35-unit Neptune Beach, one of the many failed condo conversions remaining from the housing boom, in prime South Beach … The Mediterranean-style building, which boasts high-end porcelain floor tiles and Italian kitchen cabinets, will be used as affordable rental housing for employees of nearby stores and restaurants, says Roberto Datorre, the development agency’s president. Renters will pay from $550 to $650 a month. The agency already has snapped up a 16-unit failed condo conversion in North Beach for a little more than $1 million out of foreclosure. Another purchase is in the works. The city of Miami Beach and the state of Florida helped make the deals possible.
The rate of homeownership in America is already starting to fall back on its own. From a high of almost 70% during the bubble years, homeownership has fallen to roughly 67%; slightly less than 39% of Americans between ages 18 and 35 own their own home, down from 43% in 2005. The Urban Land Institute projects that homeownership may fall to 62% over the next decade or two.
Richard Florida posted about The Great Car Reset, talking about how America’s passion for cars might be waning a bit. In another story, with video, Florida talked about how we should rethink home ownership …
I grew up thinking home ownership was the goal. I have a loft in northern Massachusetts that’s about 955 square feet, with a wife and two kids and two cats in it. It’s a wee bit small. So, I’ve been thinking about homes and clicking the occasional real estate link that Kat sends me. But do I want to own?
We use to think homes were important places to store equity. Wow, that sure didn’t work out for a lot of people in the last few years. Even if a home stores equity, you can’t actually get at that money until you sell, so it’s money that’s not being used. In essence, it’s not earning you anything if it’s just sitting there in the home, still. So, a home as a simple residence isn’t exactly a great investment these days (at least by some people’s thinking).
Tyler Cowen asks: “Which are the least bohemian cities?”
“In the United States, I would name San Antonio as the most non-bohemian major city, or maybe El Paso, with Atlanta as a runner-up. Might there be somewhere very non-Bohemian in northern Florida? Does Richard Florida have an index for this somewhere?”
As luck would have it, I do – at least for the United States and Canada that is.
We keep an updated Bohemian Index handy here at the Martin Prosperity Institute. The index charts the concentration of working artists, musicians, writers, designers, and entertainers across metropolitan areas. We measure it as a location quotient, which basically compares regional employment to the national norm, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau and StatsCan. The table below shows the 10 most and 10 least bohemian large metros – those with more than one million people – in the U.S and Canada.