Now that the government owns those who give mortgages, how can this power be used for the public good?

Bad mortgages ran the economy into the ditch, and the housing built was often very hard on the environment both directly and indirectly.

Because the finanicial part of the building industry has been largely nationalized, there is a golden opportunity to build in a way that helps all of us. The government can see to it, although this doesn’t mean it will (a new Bush Administration would just milk us and then turn things back to those who made the mistakes).

Here are some environmentally (and economically) friendly ideas. Memo To US Government: Five Ways To Fix The Housing Industry. by Lloyd Alter. Design & Architecture.

To paraphrase from the article.

1. No more low density suburban sprawl — death to new McMansions.
2. Make the housing you own energy efficient. Most of this is low hanging fruit — not expensive.
3. Put a limit on how much carbon a residence can use/emit regardless of its size — more space would require use of alternatives to coal, natural gas, oil energy.
4. No more hurricane bait — houses in places where they get destroyed every 10 or 20 years will not be insured.
5. If you don’t want to abide by these simple standards, don’t ask for a mortgage. Pay cash.

Collapse of the recreational ski village market?

Yesterday I posted an article about the bankruptcy of ultra luxury mountain communities — Yelllowstone Club, Promontory, and Tamarack.

Here is one of a number still unbuilt, and now being canceled.

“An ambitious plan to turn the mostly empty land around Bridger Bowl’s base area into a high-class, king-sized ski, recreation and residential village has been withdrawn.” Developer pulls Bridger Bowl village plan. By Dave Richardson. Bozeman Chronicle.

More. Resort Market not holding, Bridger Bowl Ski Area Developers Withdraw Resort Plans. New West. By Lucia Stewart.

Proposed dam on Cache la Poudre River is controversial in Fort Collins, Colorado

Divide develops over dam. A proposed $431 million dam and reservoir project north of Fort Collins riles those who see it as a disastrous strangling of the picturesque Cache la Poudre River. By Michael Booth. The Denver Post.

The dam is said to be justified by projected growth of new homes. Instead it is a massive subsidy for the continuation of a bad idea and an economy destroying practice.

The governments in this country are having a hard time adjusting to the fact that the home building boom is over. Now they should take a “time out” and consider all they have done to facilitate the creation of an unsustainable hosing market directed at the upper class and the upper middle class* — how many resources were unnecessarily sacrificed. They also need to consider their ethics, or more likely lack thereof, and get out of bed with the developers.

The dollar’s international value is now a joke and the inventory of unsold homes is at least a year from being filled. Nevertheless, we keep hearing proposals for more big developments, ones the average American never could afford to buy into. Many in the West are located in or near scenic mountainous areas where they take a toll on wildlife and require a huge new infrastructure (such as this dam).

If the American economy is to ever prosper again, there needs to be much less investment in housing for the relatively well off and much more in science, technology, environmental protection and remediation, efficient health care, education and reeducation, new energy sources and especially efficient use of energy, etc.

This dam is an illustration of the wrong mentality, and it shows the striking decline in this country is not the work of the Republican Administration in Washington alone.

Related story. Fen-ced in: Protected peat bog blocks growth plan for Grand Valley, Colorado. Grand Junction Sentinel.

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*Ironically, despite the huge number of new homes, few are within the reach of the lower middle class and those with fewer means.