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Habeas Domus

Newcastle Az - What Happens When You Lower The Rent...

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This needs to be shared more widely, what about we prioritise allowing people to use the city instead of locking up the most valuable land for bankers and investors.

...The neoclassical post office and the Victoria—Australia’s second-oldest theater—both sat vacant. The street could have doubled as a set for The Walking Dead.

Now the sidewalks were bustling. The windows of the David Jones department store, another recent casualty, were filled with sculptors, milliners, jewelers, and stonemasons publicly plying their trades. Families sipped flat whites and leisurely ate breakfast at outdoor cafés. Compared to the desolate scenes of just a few years ago, the transformation was startling, especially considering it all stemmed from a bit of legal sleight-of-hand.

To demonstrate, Westbury ducked inside the store, whose yawning interior had been subdivided by plywood. A false wall rested on dusty display cases and was supported by sandbags. “This is not architecture,” he said, because the building’s historic status prevented any changes to the interior. And besides, according to the rules of the arrangement, Newcastle’s artisans could use vacant properties like this for free as long as they promised not to alter their interiors (and thus their tax statuses). Newcastle wasn’t saved by an influx of hipsters or developers, but through exploiting the right loopholes.

Full article: https://newrepublic.com/article/124470/hacking-city

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The article seems to imply that the idea is a temporary thing filling retail space effectively on giveaway rental terms until boom comes back again - and (some) landlords seem to accept the idea on that basis.

If the global recession/depression is as bad as many suspect it is then they just might have to face up to the fact that their properties just aren't worth anywhere near what they thought they were worth.

Edited by billybong

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I think the most interesting aspect of this project is that it is making politicians wake up to the fact that allowing land and property to become unaffordable is like applying a huge brake to economic growth, which in turn limits the taxes they can raise.

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