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A World Reimagined- Building A City With Autonomous Cars

Carter Boehm discusses how autonomous cars could rule our highways



Something strange is happening in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The shadow of an emerging city creeps over the landscape, and by passers remain mystified by this unknown change, whose presence they can now feel. This shadow, this growing city over the landscape has been called -Mcity. Mcty is a place where transportation consists solely of robotic vehicles that steer themselves without a human at the wheel. This new innovation- driverless cars, must navigate several miles of the urban grid using a complex reliance on software, wireless communications, and sensor technology to get to and from their point of destination. Sounds impressive right? Well Mcity is just a simulation.

The buildings, as Urban Land Institute reports, “ are just facades, and the inhabitants unexpectedly step off curbs are just mechanized mannequins. Jonathan Levine, a University of Michigan professor of architecture and Urban Planning told the magazine “ You wouldn’t mistake it for a movie set, let alone a real city.” A new study introduced this year, relayed that the Boston Consulting Group, major automakers such as General motors are already rushing to add gadgetry that would give these cars an ability to pilot themselves on a low speed, stop and start traffic- jam conditions or in single lanes on highways, or even to find parking spaces and pull into them without human help.

This technology could really change the way we see our landscapes, in the same way that the urban street car or interstate highway was instrumental in developing the suburban and urban landscape in the US. “I think it’s going to be the most important transformational change in 100 years,” says Randall K. Rowe, chairman of Green Courte Partners, an Illinois-based private equity real estate investment firm. “It’s going to change the way we get around, the way we transport goods, and how we look at land use.”

Many experts in varying fields believe that driverless cars could start a revolution in the way we live. In a previous post, I mentioned some of the propositions for a walkable city. Well, not everyone is in full agreement with the Mcity model. Many worry about safety first, even though autonomous vehicle advocates point to Google’s experience, in which its experimental vehicles have travelled for 1.7 million miles on regular road, and a total of 11 minor accidents to its name. There are other debates on the table which present the argument that autonomous cars can free our roads of distracted drivers, and this in turn could make our cities even much more walkable.

Whether a city is walkable or driverless, it is important to remember that technological advancements in society have the ability to impact our landscape in a way that could potentially benefit or drive us out of our living spaces.

To learn more about MCity and the reimagination of a city without drivers, visit this article by Urban Land Institute

Improving Affordable Housing In Berlin

Carter Boehm discusses affordable housing in Berlin


Affordable housing is slowly becoming the thorn in the side of most urban cities. With more people flocking to cities in search of employment opportunities or proximity to resources, it is no wonder various housing authorities are facing challenges in providing housing options for people who are not able to live in neighborhoods with a high income bracket requirement. In covering affordable housing in the international space, City Lab reports on the resurgence of affordable housing in Berlin, and how the city is making unique strides to tackle its growing population.

By next year, many Berlin housing projects can expect a decrease in their rent by almost three thirds of their income. Since the cost of public housing in the city is too high, the tenants will now pay directly to how much they earn. This is new and innovative for most cities, especially one like Berlin.

City Lab reports that, “ In a city with a high number of public housing resident, the effect of the new rule could be striking. Of Berlin’s current 3.5 million residents, about 250,000 people live in housing projects, spread across some 125, 000 apartment.” Berlin city has also a record number of 280,000 apartments owned by four primary state property companies that will likewise be subject to the new rules.

To qualify for this housing, a single person should be earning no more than $18,040 and a couple should earn no more than $27,000. Tenants who also live in apartments without a proper record of income will be subject to a state audit to ensure that these policies are mandated. The question on everyone’s mind is – how did public housing get so damn high?

It is important to note that Berlin typically offers one of the world’s best public housing. In 2014. the average private rent in the city was $8 per square meter. This situation has been attributed a funding problem which covered the cities administration in the past years. Berlin city allowed companies to construct social housing, and they charged high-ish rents that the state then subsidized. This subsidy was eventually cut by 13 percent annually, and the letting companies were allowed to make up for the shortfall. The great thing about this new innovative administration, is its ability to keep low income earners in cities, despite the rising cost of rent. Berlin is still a city where majority of the tenants rent their homes and property. Still, an ongoing visage of a city threatened by rent hikes and evictions continually plagues this discussion on affordable housing. Fears from the middle class, whose housing security is now heightened are also on the forefront. The only question we can ask, at the end of the day, is what will Berlin do?

To learn more about affordable housing in Berlin, visit this article by City Labs

3 Things To Know About Building a Real Estate Career

Real Estate is a versatile field. The ability to wear many hats on and off the ground, as well as the opportunity to engage in communications, government relations, buying and land development capacity is key to the success and understanding of this part of the business. There are many options within the field, and plenty of careers to choose from in development within the commercial or residential side of the business. People who find joy or interest in building homes or living spaces usually find themselves in residential real estate. The commercial end is not limited by personal taste, but is bigger in scale and one will find themselves dealing with larger property. This side of the business attracts people who are sales oriented and interested in commerce.

Here are 3 things to consider when you are looking to begin a career in real estate.

  1. Education and Licensing :Taking a real estate pre-licensing course within your state is important to gain certification. Different states have different rules and mandates in the issue of gaining your license as a real estate agent. Passing state and national licensing exams will also prove to be helpful in gaining the first brokerage experience at an agency.
  2. Brokerage and mentorship experience: Working in a brokerage gives agents the opportunity to gain clients and learn the ins and outs of working at a real estate firm. Brokerages are the offices from which real estate agents and brokers work. Working with a broker is a requirement in order to practice as a real estate agent, contacting a broker before graduating from a real estate course in order to learn more about the business is one of the best ways to learn about the business and what working in a brokerage entails. Most brokers tend to have three additional years of real estate training, and they can provide answers to questions on working within the agency.
  3. Developing a Real Estate Agent Budget: Learning to manage one’s self and finances will go a long way in working in this business. Unlike most professions, the startup costs of working in real estate are relatively reasonable. Some of the costs range from $1,500- 2000. It is often divided amongst business cards, signs, advertising and association fees.

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Being a real estate agent means that you are making money based on commission. It is a commission based business so keeping money aside for a few months is highly encouraged, especially when you are just beginning in the field.

To find out more about real estate and real estate careers see this extensive write up on investopedia