Research: increased resident participation in city planning produces extreme wealth segregation

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Urban planning advocates like Jane Jacobs argued that people who live in neighborhoods should be active in the planning decisions around their homes. Read the rest

Banksy painting comes with free house!

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If you purchase Banksy's "Spy Booth" mural for $300,000, you get a three-bedroom Victorian home in Cheltenham, England for free! The house, in dire need of renovation, features the Banksy artwork on an outside wall. It's now fenced in as the mural was defaced in 2014 and then restored.

From the New York Post:

The mural was painted in the wake of — and apparently in support of — Edward Snowden’s leak of National Security Agency documents, which revealed startling information about global surveillance.

But why is “Spy Booth” located in this English town, and not, say, in Washington, DC? Because Cheltenham is home to the UK Government Communications Headquarters, Britain’s intelligence and security agency, which actually uses this artwork on its website.

Property listing: Fairview Road, Fairview, Cheltenham, GL52

Read the rest

Price cut on 'Silence Of The Lambs' House

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On the market for some time, the house of Buffalo Bill from Silence of the Lambs has been cut in price by $50,000. More than an hour out of town, the four-bedroom home has another serious flaw: there's only one bathroom.

If the hose doesn't even reach the basement, how do they expect to find a buyer? Read the rest

Live in your very own haunted mental asylum

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For $1.5 million, you can be the proud new owner of Westland, Michigan's Eloise Complex, a building that started in 1839 as a poorhouse and has served as a tuberculosis ward and insane asylum before closing in 1984. During the Great Depression, it had as many as 10,000 residents. Oh, did I mention that it's haunted?

The main five-story building is 150,000 square feet wile the site contains a 19th century fire station, decommissioned power plant, and two maintenance building. Bonus, it backs up to an eighteen hole championship golf course!

Here's the real estate listing.

"Own a former mental asylum" (MLive)

"Haunted Former Mental Asylum For Sale in Michigan" (Mysterious Universe)

Read the rest

What's on the menu at the Eloi Plantation subdivision?

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I suppose that the "Eloi" in the Eloi Plantation subivision in Lafayette, LA is a reference to the French name, and not the post-human species of weak and foolish sybarites whom the Morlocks consume for food in HG Wells's classic novel "The Time Machine." Read the rest

Things to add to your building lobby's CCTV warning

Someone in JWZ's building put up a "THIS BUILDING IS MONITORED BY CLOSED-CIRCUIT CAMERAS" sign in the lobby where only the residents and their guests go, so he's been updating it with messages like "FEAR THE UNKNOWN - MONSTERS ARE REAL." Read the rest

Buy Buffalo Bill's home from Silence of the Lambs

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Buffalo Bill's home from Silence of the Lambs is for sale in Perryopolis, PA. The four-bedroom home is listed at $300k but sadly doesn't actually have a pit in the basement, so it will have to find somewhere else to rub the lotion on its skin. Read the rest

For sale: massive ranch larger than NYC and Los Angeles combined

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The Waggoner ranch, covering six counties in Texas, is the largest ranch within a single fence in the United States. For $175 million, it can be yours. Read the rest

Live in Frank Sinatra's 1960s mountain hideout, now for sale

For just under $4 million you can live in Frank Sinatra's Villa Maggio, a five acre home on a mountain above California's Palm Desert. Read the rest

Bilbo Baggins' Hobbit hole would cost $14m if it were in the Shires of England

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A U.K. realtor valued the subterranean residence at £8.5m (~$14m), on the assumption that it is situated in Worcestershire, the county J.R.R. Tolkien supposedly had in mind when creating the homeland for his doughty, half-height, very well-to-do hero.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

The Metro's experts value Winterfell at $200m, though. It's a stark reminder of the wealth of the aristocracy. Read the rest

Rent a camping tent in someone's backyard near Google X for $46/night

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Need a place to stay near Google X in Mountain View? John Potter is renting out a 9' x 7' Coleman tent in his backyard on Airbnb for $46/night. You're allowed one shower per day and can eat inside too.

"It kind of is (outrageous)," Potter told CBS SF Bay Area. "But maybe they should build more affordable housing in Mountain View."

"Tent in garden next to google x" (Airbnb) Read the rest

eBay forbids woman from selling property on the Sun

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Alex Boese has a great article on About Entertainment on the history of people who claimed ownership of stars, moons, and planets and then sold deeds to plots of land on the heavenly bodies. And they had buyers!

In 2013, Maria Angeles Duran began selling plots of land on eBay. That, in itself, isn't unusual, but the land she was selling was located on the sun. She offered square-meter plots for the price of 1 euro each. By 2015, she had over 600 buyers, but then eBay pulled the plug on her, saying her auctions violated its "intangible goods" policy.

Duran didn't take this lying down. She sued the auction site for violation of contract, arguing that the sun is, indeed, a tangible object, and a Spanish court agreed to hear her case.

The Weird News Guide to Extraterrestrial Real Estate: Meet the people who own the sun, moon, and all planets everywhere Read the rest

Hedge funds buy swathes of foreclosed subprimes, force up rents, float rent-bonds

When a giant hedge fund is bidding on all the foreclosed houses in a poor neighborhood, living humans don't stand a chance -- but that's OK, because rapacious investors make great landlords. Read the rest

Mark Zuckerberg just dropped another $100M to protect his privacy

Remember when Mark Zuckerberg declared that the age of privacy was over? Read the rest

Realtors hire ruined millionaires to pretend to live in vacant megamansions

How do you imbue an empty mansion with the indefinable "energy" that comes from daily habitation? Find distressed rich people with nice furniture and precarious jobs at McDonald's to move in. Read the rest

Live in a San Francisco Ikea bunk-bed in a mass hacker dormitory for a mere $1k/mo

Here's a Craigslist ad for a "hub for entrepreneurs" where you can be barracked in one of dozens of bunk-beds ranked in rows for a mere $999/month. But you also get access to plenty of whiteboards and brainstorm areas, and will no longer have to endure the misery of "hop[ping] from coffee shop to coffee shop" as you seek to launch your tech business.

When I moved to San Francisco in the late nineties, I lived in half an illegal sublet for about $2K/month, and that was a deal by the standards of the day. But I had it better than the guy paying $800/month for the Sears shed in the back-yard -- I got a toilet! Read the rest

Should you short the London property bubble?

Economist Tim Harford answers my question: How would you short the London property bubble? in a column that also asks the important question: should you? Read the rest

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