ruminations about architecture and design

Sunday, November 29, 2015

the victory of osama bin ladin

The economic impact of 9-11 can be measured in a variety of ways. The dollar cost associated with the attacks and their subsequent effect on airline travel are only one part of the account. The more significant long-term cost are the extra hours spent waiting in lines for the security theater. Over the past decade and half these hours have added up to centuries of lost productive time. The social benefit of waiting in line with strangers at an airport is thoroughly negative. Security improvements inside the aircraft--hardened cockpit doors--have probably discouraged would-be hijackers to a greater extent than the conveyor carts full of shoes and cellphones.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

a blog of feeling

Towers of ilium is not known expressions of sentimentality. This qualifies.

It's not too late to make another prediction that will turn out to be wrong. Trump will not win the nomination for the Republican party. Rubio and Jeb have equal chances at this point.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

not dead yet

However, the residential real estate market in the Boston metro region has settled into a period of complacency.

What happened in the late 80's is the stuff of legend--the great condo housing boom and bust. The housing boom of the 2000's was really never a boom, but compared to the current "recovery" it's significant. 

The issue here is that the Boston Metro region has run out of geographic space and political space for the housing that would satisfy demand. Projects take a long time to get approved and developers try to focus on high return projects. Large scale work has to be branded as "luxury" to get off the ground.

Towers of ilium doesn't subscribe to graphology, but it's hard to imagine a scenario where housing starts get back to the apparently sustainable levels of the late 1990's. 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

the end is nigh

Towers of ilium will close its doors on or about the 1000th post. The loyal readership will be able to spend time doing more productive things, like perusing The Oatmeal. Some people have noted that posts dropped off in volume about a year ago. This was the consequence of a new job that actually required that I do work throughout the business day. So it goes.

A recent Boston Globe article provided a breakdown of real estate development costs for new housing. It was a good article, but it made the error of attributing the housing shortage to high development costs in terms of dollars. The real high cost of development arises from the amount of time that is required to obtain permits for new construction in every community. In addition, suburban zoning bylaws and existing housing stock patterns prevents the development of higher density housing.

High prices will persist in the Boston Metro region until Harvard University goes out of business.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

coming soon to a village near you

Luxury housing in Singapore that should inspire and amaze us all. They are air conditioned of course.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

the perfect HVAC

The Perfect HVAC has the following attributes:

-It is effective at achieving and maintaining the desired air temperature and humidity level regardless of outdoor conditions or internal loads.

-It is energy efficient.

-It can be installed and repaired easily.

-Mechanical components have a lifespan of 20 years or more.

-It is compact.

-It is quiet.

-It is affordable.

-It is unobtrusive.

As far as towers of ilium is aware, it does not yet exist. The modern heat pumps are getting close, but they aren't there yet.