During the pandemic, Lake Tahoe developed a “people problem”—or so a recent Guardian piece argues, describing an “influx of remote workers, second home buyers, traffic gridlock, and packed beaches,” a general overcrowding that has intensified over the past few years. The problem the article describes is a more extreme version of a familiar dynamic, with exploding real estate prices providing windfalls for longtime homeowners while increasing pressure on renters and pricing out prospective buyers. The median home price in Lake Tahoe has tripled between 2012 and 2021, exacerbating the basin’s labor shortage as locals relocate to nearby towns like Reno. On one hand, a “people problem”—a surplus of people—is another way of framing a housing shortage. With more people than housing, you can say there’s either too much of one or too little of the other; the default method for resolving that mismatch, the market, is supposed to balance supply and demand via pricing, eliminating shortages and surpluses altogether. Of course, housing doesn’t work that way. “There is a limit to how much housing can ever be constructed in the basin,” the article notes, in addition to height restrictions that preserve the natural landscape. As ever-rising prices indicate, the number of people who would like to have a place in Lake Tahoe exceeds that limit and is growing faster than the housing supply probably ever can.
Going to miss the numbers, especially as a chronic binge-r. All the more reason to check in more frequently!
I wonder if the impetus for new urban projects to be complex and primed for seamlessness comes from the fact that these sensibilities are baked into our digital technology
Interesting story about Lake Tahoe (idea for a streaming service TV show: 30's something hipster couple flees NYC during COVID for Lake Tahoe, but finds the same problems there, culture clash based hilarity ensues).
In terms of the Saudis' new crazy city, I suspect it will be a lot like the "World Cup Cities" that were recently created, documented excellently by a Youtuber: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d59XSzwxRlo major themes were: this has clearly been thrown together last minute and not thought out, it's totally dependent on literal army of foreign workers, incredibly expensive, and deeply tacky. Anyway reminds me of this classic short bit from the late great Robert Hughes documentary of 20th Century art The Shock of the New about Brasilia, which was once suppose to be the city of the future too: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=he4C7gWEpEU. Remember kids, nothing dates faster than people's fantasies about the future.
"In honor of hitting issue #200 I retired the numbering system."
But kept the naming system- I hope that stays!
P.S. Huge shout for working Pere Ubu in here.