Snapshot on links, week to 6 November 2011


Of Cleese, and cheese….

World boomtowns

620 pupils, not one walks to school

Blodget on Occupy Wall St

How the CPI hid the housing bubble

There are more than 1100 direct links to external websites on the Bob Dey Property Report links page. If your site’s listed on the Useful links page, please let me know when you introduce new material. If it’s not listed and it should be, send me an email: [email protected].

6 November 2011:


The return of the Snapshot on links…..


Of Cleese, and cheese….

I was led to a delightful blog today, Making sense of things, to get the John Cleese take on the state of political warfare in Europe (or something like that). Then I read the bloggists’ very simple method of creating brie. Of the authors, I know this: “This blog is authored by Carly (female, 31) & Jean (male, 32), who wish to remain anonymous. It aims at helping us frame & articulate our ideas on topics of interests, including societal, environmental, international & more questions, in order to, ultimately, allow us to construct an ecosophical approach to life.”

Links: Making Sense of Things

John Cleese on ‘Alerts to terror threats in 2011 Europe’ – very funny!

How to make brie cheese at home


World boomtowns


“… a surprising new crop of boomtowns, from the Middle East to Mali, are seeing their populations leapfrog to the top of the list,” Kedar Pavgi wrote in the latest online edition of Foreign Policy magazine. “And no, they’re not all in China,” he added. I’ll be impressed if you pick any of the 7 (I managed one).

Link: The 7 fastest-growing cities in the world


620 pupils, not one walks to school

This link is a reminder of the disparity between what we talk about in the sprawl v compact argument, and what Americans talk about. The item, on the Strong towns blog, highlights a school where not one of the 620 pupils walks from home, not helped by 90kmh traffic whizzing past on 4 lanes, an intersection with another 4-lane road that has no traffic lights, and there’s no footpath.

The kids don’t walk, even those who live a block away. My family reminds me (more often than is reasonable) of the time we were staying in Florida and decided to walk to the shops “a couple of blocks away”. Their blocks can stretch for kilometres and might have nothing between.

We’re quite different in that respect, but we have an issue all the same, between completing the highway network so it functions well and establishing a well functioning public transport network. Each has different imperatives for the proximity of shops, schools, work etc.

In the draft Auckland Plan there is an assumption that 60% of New Zealand population growth will occur in Auckland over the next 30 years, so the plan is being prepared to accommodate another million people.

In the US, many older industrial cities are discovering their populations are shrinking, as much of Europe has also discovered. Along with planning for growth, we should also be asking the questions: Why here rather than there? (Why on the outskirts of Auckland rather than Hamilton or Dunedin?) Should we shrink & compact at the same time – or do neither? How do we accommodate people both better (as in quality of home and in access to services & amenities) and more closely together?

A theme on Strong towns is: We have grown inefficiently, beyond any reasonable means we have to maintain the infrastructure systems we have created. Recognise the concern?

Links: Strong towns blog

The long drive to school: ignoring the new normal 

Blodget on Occupy Wall St

The Occupy Wall Street protest has slowly gained recognition in the US and spread internationally in reaction to the continuing advances of the wealthy top few.

Henry Blodget produced a series of charts a couple of weeks ago showing what the protests are about – but a number of those charts stop at 2007, thus ignore the subsequent downturn. The lead comment provides some balance to the anger side of the equation, but can also leave you with a question: Where to now?

The other question which might be in the back of your mind is: Who is Henry Blodget? He’s editor & chief executive of business news & analysis website The Business Insider, and a host of Yahoo Daily Ticker. He & DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman & Kevin Ryan created Business Insider in 2007.

For the notorious Henry Blodget, go back just a few short years: He entered the securities sector in 1994 and became a highly influential equities analyst at Merrill Lynch during the dotcom bubble in the early 2000s. Emails in which he gave stock assessments conflicting with what Merrill Lynch publicly published led to charges of civil securities fraud and a permanent ban from the securities industry in 2002 – but not, obviously, from writing about it.

Links: Business Insider

Charts: Here’s what the Wall St protesters are so angry about

How the CPI hid the housing bubble

Brisbane economist Cameron Murray has written an intriguing blog entry, How the CPI hid the housing bubble, which may be at least partly applicable in New Zealand as well.

The reweighted CPI (consumers price index) in New Zealand was used for the first time on 25 October, when Statistics NZ published the September quarter CPI. The Australian Bureau of Statistics has also just made changes to its analytical living cost indexes, starting with the September quarter. The analytical series, started in 2003, uses the outlay approach, but according to Mr Murray it hasn’t reflected the land price boom of the early 2000s.

Statistics NZ uses the acquisitions approach for its main CPI index, the same as the Australian bureau, and gives larger weightings to housing & household expenditure than Australia’s bureau (NZ up from 20% of CPI in 2006 to 23.55% in 2011; Australia down from 15.3% in 2003 to 7.1% in 2006). Australia & (since 1999) the NZ CPI have excluded mortgage interest payments from the all groups CPI, but in New Zealand an analytical all groups plus interest series is available. Both Australia & New Zealand appear to have removed the cost of land from their housing component, which contains construction costs for new homes plus fees such as agent & legal.

Mr Murray writes the blog, Observations of an economist environmentalist. His questionmark on how the CPI dealt with the housing bubble appeared under the name Rumplestatskin on MacroBusiness in September and again under his own name in OnLine Opinion in October.

Links: OnLine Opinion, CPI article

MacroBusiness, CPI article

11 October 2011: Statistics NZ reweights CPI

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Attribution: Compiled & story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.

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