Fresno’s been hit hard by the bursting of the housing bubble, where 12% of the homes there had some type of foreclosure filing in 2009. Few have benefited from this abundance of vacant homes like skaters. Cannonball, from the great new short film blog California is a place, shows how the backyards of Fresno have become one, big skater amusement park.
You think times are tough for you? At least you don’t own a mall. Once a bulwark of American economy, culture and probably its soul, the shopping mall has fallen on hard times. And to see the decline close up you should check out the site deadmalls.com. So what should we do with this new surfeit of empty big boxes surrounded by oceans of asphalt? There are a few good ideas submitted to Reburbia, a design competition to re-imagine suburbia. One suggestion from the Alabama-based architecture firm Forest Fulton suggests that perhaps the mall should see a reversal of a function and go from being:
AT&T is making good money thanks to the iPhone. It gained nearly $1 billion in new wireless net income in this past year. But the company’s wireline business is declining so rapidly all the profits are eaten up and third-quarter profit fell 1.2%, year-over-year.
For those workplaces, there’s no longer a need to turn on the lights, elevators or computers on Fridays—nor do janitors need to clean vacant buildings. Electric bills have dropped even further during the summer, thanks to less air-conditioning: Friday’s midday hours have been replaced by cooler mornings and evenings on Monday through Thursday. As of May, the state had saved $1.8 million.
With less people commuting on Friday, the state estimates the new hours have reduced air pollution by an estimated 12,000 metric tons of CO2. And after surveying workers over the past year, there were other surprising findings: 30 percent surveyed said they exercised more, took fewer sickdays, and increased volunteerism.
If you’re looking for more clues as to how Depression 2.0 started, a good place to start is when the Republican-lead 106th Congress voted on November 5, 1999 to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933.
One Republican Senator, Richard C. Shelby of Alabama, voted against the legislation. He was joined by seven Democrats: Barbara Boxer of California, Richard H. Bryan of Nevada, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, Mr. Dorgan and Mr. Wellstone.
In the House, 155 Democrats and 207 Republicans voted for the measure, while 51 Democrats, 5 Republicans and 1 independent opposed it. Fifteen members did not vote.
…”I think we will look back in 10 years’ time and say we should not have done this but we did because we forgot the lessons of the past, and that that which is true in the 1930’s is true in 2010,” said Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota.
The New York Times has a slideshow of the new tent cities of California. Homeless enclaves have grown in places such as Nashville, Olympia, Wash., and St. Petersburg, Fla., but the situation in Sacramento has received extra attention following a visit from Oprah Winfrey. In Fresno, where the city estimates more than 2,000 of the cities 500,000 residents are homeless, the city planned to begin “triage” on the encampments soon, We’re treating it like any other disaster area, says Gregory Barfield, the city’s homeless prevention and policy manager. Read more about these new shanty towns in our midst.
It’s spooky, at night, to see so much darkness, to hear skittering, to keep an eye out for homeless people trying to break in and sleep, to listen for the sounds of desperate humans and animals. This is not a scene from a post-apocalyptic movie, it’s novelist Susan Straight’s description of her neighborhood in Riverside, California where the unemployment rate is 12.2%.
That 60mpg you’re getting from your Prius just not good enough? Then slap some solar panels on it. SEV, a Southern California solar company has developed a system that improves the fuel economy of Toyota hybrids by up to 29% by putting high efficiency mono-crystalline photovoltaic cells on the roof of the car. The SEV system also qualifies for Federal renewable energy tax credits of up to $2,000.
Here’s a business plan for you: A billion customers in the world, entrepreneur and philanthropist Dr. Paul Polakis was quoted in this New York Times article as saying, are waiting for a $2 pair of eyeglasses, a $10 solar lantern and a $100 house. Take a look at the great, cheap ideas at the Cooper Hewitt show, Design for the other 90%.