Legends Park

16 thoughts on “Legends Park”

  1. “First, ownership of property has been one of the primary ways people have grabbed hold of the first rung of the wealth ladder.” I don’t think this is necessarily true. For example, low income households in the US are more likely to be homeowners than low income Canadian households (as per census data for both countries), but most would agree that they are not better off. By contrast, some wealthy countries such as Switzerland and Germany have relatively low homeownership rate, and “poorer” countries such as Romania and Slovakia have high homeownership rates. The truth is that owning a home is not necessarily the best thing for low income families if they are not able or prepared to take advantage of it, and is certainly not a good thing if they are being given a loan that they cannot ultimately afford.

    1. Poorer countries with high home ownership rates (to add to yours, Mexico) don’t have as highly developed a mortgage industry, and those higher rates of home ownership are not accompanied by a larger number of larger crippling mortgages. The homes are just smaller to match their means. Richer countries might have higher home ownership rates if there were less regulation with regards to what can be built.

  2. I would like to add you to my contacts list because otherwise you go to my social box, which I check infrequently. I’m hoping by writing back to you, you will be added to my contacts list automatically.

  3. Property owership was and still is a key factor to the stability of our country.We can look back at the land rush with westward expansion or to the earliest settlers, they all wanted a piece of land to call their own.The unfortunate events leading up to the finacial crisis were related to rapid transactions of as many as three or more sales of the same parcel within the same day , and questionable activities between appraisers ,realtors and financers.The large projects costing tens of millions that were total White Elephants led to to failure of many banks .This also happened in The Florida Land Rush 1920-1929 just prior to The Great Depression , it wasn’t a new idea . 2000-2008 Individuals attempted to climb too quickly with ideas of pools ,Mcmansions ,four car garages and were not properly advised .The moral of this being, grow slowly paying as you go , starting out small not allowing peer pressure to cloud your decisions and you will eventually reach your goals.

    1. Property ownership by the masses is key to the stability of the financial system, as it keeps huge swaths of the population in 20-30 year debt service. The only way to keep many of these people believing that homeownership makes financial sense by convincing them (through incentives/subsidies) that their home/commodity will eventually deliver a big payout. This commodification is what leads to the speculative bubbles you mention.

      1. Right, but at the end of those years they are no longer paying “rent” and they own an asset. Plus, in today’s financial environment, buying is in most cases cheaper than renting the same space. And no, it’s not right for everyone.

        Yes, there is maintenance to consider, but if you buy right that can be limited to the HVAC, water heater, plumbing fixtures, appliances and roof. (And here in the Midwest, our homeowner’s insurance premiums tend to pay for our new roof every 10-15 years when we have hailstorms or wind events. I haven’t paid for a roof since 1986.)

    2. North America has arguably been a real estate growth Ponzi scheme for centuries. Still is, due to population growth.

  4. I would add that the general masses have bought into the idea that the State is responsible to provide these places, along with the means for the middle class to perpetuate itself (the middle class being the creation of “higher economic” programs of the State). The idea and need of “progress” (a lie) in our society won’t allow for the simple maintenance, flexibility, and the living of life anymore.

  5. Yesterday while searching for something else I found an old CNU/HUD report from the Clinton era lauding the promise of HOPE VI. I was thinking many of the things you wrote, as my city’s once-heralded project never made it across the finish line. Just now the housing authority is restarting development.

  6. Johnny,
    Jim Kunstler came and spoke at my at my university in about 2002, and many of the architecture faculty got up and walked out when he referred to use of “nature band-aids” and “more of that LeCorbusier (crap)”. Funny and sad.

    Totally agree on your take on the finance aspect, however subtle. The grifters on Wall Street already had “marks” for the “securitized” mortgages, just needed mirror-fogging bodies.

    A look behind headlines show Greece got played in a very similar fashion, a conduit to “save” DB and Societe Generale.

  7. “First, ownership of property has been one of the primary ways people have grabbed hold of the first rung of the wealth ladder.”
    The global financial crisis was partly caused by well intentioned government encouraging mortgage lending to low income people.

    1. I would argue that the housing crisis was the result of federal policies designed to prop up financial institutions on the backs of low income borrowers. Spot the difference?

      1. Or it was the result of financial engineering gone bad. There was a tremendous need to keep the mortgage money machine humming so that the financial engineers could keep raking off transaction fees at every level: origination fees, funding fees, securitization fees, servicing fees…

        1. Agreed, Chris B. It was greed that played into a cultural narrative we all wanted to be true for as many people as possible.

    2. > The global financial crisis was partly caused by well intentioned government encouraging mortgage lending to low income people.

      It was caused by a lot of people working the system for short term benefit (transaction fees, credit default swaps, etc.) at the expense of the long term stability. The government played a role in this by not regulating the mortgage market and the exotic financial instruments that were built on top of it.

      Most regular people, aside from property speculators, don’t play those kind of games with the roofs over their heads. They may have been naive (and who wasn’t at the time), but mostly they weren’t malfeasant players in the crisis.

      Johnny was likely referring to the long post-WWII period where a part of the population, primarily the white working class, were effectively given special support by the government to build wealth via property ownership. This was achieved through government-backed loans that only they could get, exclusionary zoning, redlining, etc. The US economy expanded at such a huge rate during those years that whatever debt those people took on was effectively wiped out by growth and inflation, so there was no financial crisis – unless you were a creditor whose investments in mortgages were being eroded. If you weren’t allowed to participate in that economic miracle as a property owner, you ended up in a relatively poorer place decades later.

      So government played a role in both the greatest, broadest property-based wealth increase in US history, that forms the foundation of the wealth held by Americans today, and also the greatest property based crash in 2008. Government isn’t the differentiating factor between these. There were and still are larger historical factors at play.

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