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Category Archives: Housing

Visualizing Income Inequality in Boston

The Atlas of Inequality is a project from the Human Dynamics group at the MIT Media Lab and the Department of Mathematics at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. It is part of a broader initiative to understand human behavior in our cities and how large-scale problems like transportation, housing, segregation or inequality depend in part on the emergent patterns of people’s individual opportunities and choices…”

“Economic inequality isn’t just limited to neighborhoods. The restaurants, stores, and other places we visit in cities are all unequal in their own way. The Atlas of Inequality shows the income inequality of people who visit different places in the Boston metro area. It uses aggregated anonymous location data from digital devices to estimate people’s incomes and where they spend their time. Using that data, we’ve made our own place inequality metric to capture how unequal the incomes of visitors to each place are. Economic inequality isn’t just limited to neighborhoods, it’s part of the places you visit every day…”

OECD survey of 21 counties – many people unhappy with public services and benefits

“Many people in OECD countries believe public services and social benefits are inadequate and hard to reach. More than half say they do not receive their fair share of benefits given the taxes they pay, and two-thirds believe others get more than they deserve. Nearly three out of four people say they want their government… Continue Reading

The economic costs and benefits of Airbnb

Economic Policy Institute – No reason for local policymakers to let Airbnb bypass tax or regulatory obligations. “…In our cost-benefit analysis, we find: The economic costs Airbnb imposes likely outweigh the benefits. While the introduction and expansion of Airbnb into U.S. cities and cities around the world carries large potential economic benefits and costs, the… Continue Reading

20 percent of Americans have no emergency savings

Axios: “Nearly 20% of Americans surveyed say they have zero savings in case of emergency, a recent survey by bankrate.com reports. Why it matters: With the jobs outnumbering the jobless, a lowering unemployment rate and wages trickling upward, Americans theoretically should have more money to put away for a rainy day fund. If an economic… Continue Reading

Unpaid Federal Workers Owe $438 Million in Mortgage and Rent Payments This Month

Zillow Research: Federal employees who are not being paid during the shutdown and own their homes make about $249 million in monthly mortgage payments. Those who rent pay about $189 million for housing each month, according to a recent HotPads analysis. About 3,900 mortgage originations are processed each business day for loans backed directly by… Continue Reading

Federal government was bleak workplace for past 2 years and worsened after the shutdown

Washington Post: “Over two years, the Trump administration has dealt blow after blow to government employees — budget cuts, hiring freezes, inept Cabinet secretaries and, for some, open hostility to their fundamental mission. President Trump promised to shake up Washington, and he has. But the country’s 2 million federal workers have mostly soldiered on, believing… Continue Reading

A Lot of Government Information Is Freely Available

GAO Watchblog: “From health and education statistics to budget and spending information, the federal government produces a lot of information, or data. Agencies are making more and more of this data open for everyone to use. Our recent report identified 5 key practices that can help the government’s open data reach a wide range of… Continue Reading

Nearly 75% Of Coastal States Aren’t Prepared For Sea Level Rise

Forbes: “…As climate change progresses, storms will increase in strength,  sea levels will rise more rapidly, U.S. coasts will flood more frequently, and shoreline properties will disappear. Each year, $500 million worth of coastal structures are lost as coastlines disappear. The federal government spends nearly $150 million each year to manage the loss of beaches and coastal real estate. Two-thirds of… Continue Reading

How private equity firms are fueling the housing crisis

New York Magazine – Intelligencer: “Nationwide, single-family homes — white-picketed symbols of the American Dream — are increasingly owned by far-flung investors, with the percentage held by landlords growing from 13 percent nationally to 17 percent between 2008 and 2016, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. These homes are offered to local residents… Continue Reading

CDC data – Large cities still segregated even as nation becoming more diverse

Washington Post: “…Even as the United States becomes increasingly diverse, neighborhood segregation patterns persist in large urban areas, including in the Washington metro region, according to five-year trend data from the Census Bureau. Segregation has remained most entrenched between black and white residents, while segregation between whites and Hispanics and whites and Asians is more… Continue Reading

Letting Algorithms Replace Human Appraisers

UK Daily Mail: Proposed new regulations would allow homes to be bought and sold through electronic valuations rather than human appraisers Home appraisals could be done electronically without the need for a licensed human regulator, according to new proposals   Regulators say the vast majority of homes could be appraised using electronic algorithms which could make house buying… Continue Reading