I think I may have a reason why this recovery is floundering, and it all has to do with housing. Now stay with me a second, this is not subprime loans, nor predatory markets, or anything else that has already been blamed, this is a simple shift in how America lives and how that has affected our abilities to innovate and recover. Yes, I am talking about the shift from single family residences to Condo and Town home living, and the lovely association rules that come with both of those housing styles. Last year, when I decided to start my own architecture firm (studiosml.com) I, like many prospective small business owners, hit upon a major stumbling block – my condo association bylaws. Specifically, they prohibit operating any business out of your unit. At the time, this felt like just another hurdle to get over, but now that I’ve had some distance and i’ve wathced our slow recovery, I have to wonder whether rules like this are impedeing others as well. Let me explain. I wanted to start my architecture firm, and at least in the beginning, operate it out of my house. This is one of the very common and traditional [...]
The Washington Post ran an article recently highlighting the human side of how this recession (depression?) is affecting architects in the DC area.
One of the people they interviewed is a former co-worker of mine from a few years back. I’m saddened to hear that she is also going through what I am dealing with. Like most of us unemployed architectural professionals, she is a hard worker and team player and does not deserve to be jobless. Unfortunately she is in a worse situation than I. She’s a foreign national and when she lost her job she lost her work visa. I can’t imagine having to deal with the pressure of knowing that not only do you need a job to pay the bills, but also to keep living here.
In light of my current situation, I was happy to find that Architecture Record is finally good for something other than product mailings and precedent studies for architecture students. The most recent issue is dedicated to surviving the current recession, including articles for the unemployed and the firms that are still operating. The advice they have to offer for the unemployed is mostly common sense, but the article on starting your own firm peaked my interest. Now if I was only licensed …
In light of the recent 2 week’s financial news I have been a little preoccupied with reading the news blogs and playing fake day-trader on updown.com and have not found many articles to write about. That being said, I would like to write an extra special post detailing how an economic collapse, or at least a shaky market, will affect the architecture world as we know it. Unfortunately I do not have the knowledge or research to make any grand predictions or explanations. Instead, i will just make my own observations. Here goes the list of things that we might see happen due to recent economic events: Due to a decrease in speculative lending, new construction loans will become harder to get, and many private commercial projects will be tabled. Because of the economic slow down there will be less capital and therefore less commercial growth, so the drop in commercial projects will be compounded by their being less demand. This may be beneficial to the projects that do seek financing, because there will be less fingers in the pie Less commercial growth, in turns creates less personal disposable income and reimbursable business expenses. This can translate to a slow [...]
Planetizen has an article about a new online mapping website by CNT that tracks housing prices and transportation costs as a function of the geographic median income. While I am leery that this information will always skew in favor of the urban centers, I do think that this website starts a dialogue about why the housing crunch is affecting so many people. When you overlay the data of housing costs and transportation costs in Northern Virginia alone, its easy to find areas where the total monthly average expenditure is approaching 50%. In a healthy economy this would be dangerous, but in our unstable tables this is a scenario rife for trouble.