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Found 6 results

  1. Influx of South Americans Drives Miami’s Reinvention By LIZETTE ALVAREZ JULY 19, 2014 MIAMI — As the World Cup played out over the past month, yellow-clad Colombians packed the Kukaramakara nightclub downtown, Aguila beers in hand, shouting, “Colombia, Colombia!” Outside, Brazilians in car caravans blasted samba music. Argentines, some in blue-and-white striped jerseys, jammed into nearby steakhouses and empanada joints. Around town, children filed into Sunday Mass, their jerseys ablaze with their futbol heroes from across Latin America. It was less a commentary on soccer than a tableau vivant of the new Miami, which has gone from a place defined by Cuban-Americans to one increasingly turbocharged by a surge of well-educated, well-off South Americans in the last decade. Their growing numbers and influence, both as immigrants and as visitors, have transformed Miami’s once recession-dampened downtown, enriched its culture and magnified its allure for businesses around the world as a crossroads of the Spanish-speaking world. “It’s now the indisputable capital of Latin America,” said Marcelo Claure, a Bolivian millionaire who founded Brightstar, a global wireless distribution company based here. “The Latin economic boom in the last 10 years has led to the creation of a huge middle class in countries like Brazil, Peru and Colombia, and they look at Miami as the aspirational place to be.” The transformation, the latest chapter in the city’s decades-long evolution, is especially apparent amid the building cranes, street life and nightclubs downtown. But it is seen across Miami-Dade County, where highly educated South American immigrants and second-home owners have increasingly put down roots and played a major role in jump-starting a region that not long ago was ravaged by recession. Their relative wealth has allowed them to ramp up businesses like import-export companies and banks, and to open restaurants that dish out arepas from Venezuela, coxinhas from Brazil and alfajores from Argentina. Partly as a result of that influx, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale region eclipsed Los Angeles in 2012 as the major metropolitan area with the largest share — 45 percent — of immigrant business owners, according to a report by the Fiscal Policy Institute, a research group. The South American presence has also reshaped politics and radio here. More moderate than traditional Cuban-Americans, South Americans have nudged local politics toward the center. Radio stations no longer cater exclusively to Cuban audiences; they feature more news about Latin America and less anti-Castro fulminating. Last week, Charlie Crist, who is running for governor as a Democrat, named a Colombian-American woman from Miami, Annette Taddeo-Goldstein, as his running mate. Colombians, who first began to settle here in the 1980s, are the largest group of South Americans. They now make up nearly 5 percent of Miami-Dade’s population. They are joined by Argentines, Peruvians and a growing number of Venezuelans. Brazilians, relative newcomers to Miami’s Hispanic hodgepodge, are now a distinct presence as well. The Venezuelan population jumped 117 percent over 10 years, a number that does not capture the surge in recent arrivals. Over half of Miami’s residents are foreign born, and 63 percent speak Spanish at home. Continue reading the main story The influx is expanding the borders of immigrant neighborhoods in places like West Kendall, the Hammocks and Doral. Their numbers are growing across the county line into Broward, where one city, Weston, has gained so many Venezuelans that it is jokingly called Westonzuela. Jorge Pérez, the wealthy real estate developer for whom the the new Pérez Art Museum Miami is named, said the latest surge of South Americans was turning the city into a year-round destination and luring more entrepreneurs and international businesses. Latin American banks have proliferated as they follow their customers here. Most noticeably, they are snapping up real estate in Miami, Miami Beach and Key Biscayne, a wealthy island two bridges away from Miami. Real estate developers credit South Americans for spurring the current housing boom. “South Americans are the game changers — they are the ones that allowed the housing market to bounce back,” Mr. Pérez said. Cubans still dominate Miami, making up just over half the number of Hispanics and a third of the total population, and Central Americans have flocked here for decades. But in an area where Hispanics have gone from 23 percent of the population in 1970 to 65 percent now, what is most striking is the deepening influence of South Americans. Many came here to flee a political crisis, as the Venezuelans did after the presidential election of Hugo Chávez in 1998 and then his protégé, Nicolás Maduro, or to escape turbulent economies, as the Argentines and Colombians did more than a decade ago. But the latest wave of South Americans adds a new twist. It includes many nonimmigrants — investors on the lookout for businesses and properties, including second homes in Miami and Miami Beach. For them, Miami is an increasingly alluring place to safely keep money and stay for extended periods. Spanish, which has long been the common language in much of Miami, now dominates even broader sections of the city. In stores, banks, gyms and even boardrooms in much of Miami, Spanish is the default language. “You can come here as a businessman, a professional, and make five phone calls, all in Spanish, to set up the infrastructure for your business,” said Guillermo J. Grenier, a sociology professor at Florida International University. The effect on real estate is especially visible in the Brickell area, Miami’s international banking center, and in once-bedraggled parts of downtown. The South American infatuation with urban living has led to the explosion of lavish new condominium towers, with more to come. There is even rooftop soccer, like the kind offered in South America. Last year, David Beckham and Mr. Claure announced that they would bring a Major League Soccer team to Miami, though they are still in negotiations for a suitable stadium site. Sit in a restaurant and you hear a range of accents — the lilt of Argentine patter, the clarity of Colombian Spanish, the liveliness of Venezuelans and the speedy rat-a-tat of Cubans. Brazilians have sprinkled Portuguese into the mix. The flurry of condo construction now rivals the one before the 2008 crash, raising the specter for some housing analysts of another risky housing bubble. A Miami Downtown Development Authority study found that more than 90 percent of the demand for new downtown and Brickell residential units came from foreign buyers; 65 percent were from South America. “Status is having a condo in Miami,” said Juan C. Zapata, the first Colombian to serve as a Miami-Dade County commissioner and, before then, in the State Legislature. The suburbs, too, continue to swell as more South Americans move into areas anchored by people from their countries. Doral, a middle-class city near the airport, is now a panoply of South Americans, most of them Venezuelans. Eighty percent of Doral is Hispanic, and in 2012, a Venezuelan, Luigi Boria, was elected mayor. “Every year, we get more and more Venezuelans,” said Lorenzo Di Stefano, the owner of El Arepazo 2, a Venezuelan restaurant there. This year, with the economy worsening in Venezuela, Mr. Di Stefano said he expected another large wave. But, Mr. Crist’s running mate and Mr. Boria aside, the South American influx has not translated into widespread electoral success. South Americans lag far behind Cuban-Americans in political power, in part because their citizenship rate is lower. Many do not vote or run for office, a reality that Mr. Zapata said must change. “What you see in Miami is a change economically; it’s much more diverse than it used to be,” Mr. Zapata said. “But the Cubans grew economically, and turned it into political power.” That transformation, Mr. Zapata said, will be Miami’s next chapter. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/20/us/20miami.html?smid=fb-nytimes&WT.z_sma=US_IOS_20140721&bicmp=AD&bicmlukp=WT.mc_id&bicmst=1388552400000&bicmet=1420088400000&_r=2
  2. Foreclosures, immigration linked in report Areas hit hardest have high percentage of foreign-born heads of household By Timothy Pratt (contact) Wed, May 13, 2009 (2 a.m.) Las vegas Sun Counties with high foreclosure rates also tend to have large immigrant populations, according to a Pew Hispanic Center report released Tuesday. The study ranked Clark County sixth nationwide in foreclosure rates last year with 8.9 percent of the valley’s houses in the courts. Nearly 1 in 4 heads of household locally were foreign-born, much higher than the national rate of 4.7 percent. Half of those immigrants were Hispanic. But the study’s main author, Rakesh Kochhar, cautioned that focusing on those factors can lead to a “chicken and egg situation.” “The two things appear together, but is there a causal relationship? Not necessarily,” he said. Kochhar noted that jobs building houses drew many immigrants to the Las Vegas Valley in the past two decades. An unknown number of those workers bought homes. The report also shows that Hispanics, blacks and minorities in general entered subprime mortgages at higher rates than the rest of the population. Nationwide, for example, 27.6 percent of home loans to Hispanics in 2007 were high-priced and a third of loans to blacks were in the same category. Only 1 in 10 loans to whites were high-priced. So areas with higher shares of minorities tend to have higher numbers of homeowners with loans at risk of entering foreclosure. Kochhar’s report, titled “Through Boom and Bust: Minorities, Immigrants and Homeownership,” shows that counties with high foreclosure rates exhibit other factors, including rising unemployment rates and sinking home values. Clark County’s unemployment rate for March was 10.4 percent, tenth-highest among major metropolitan areas nationwide. The Pew report looks at unemployment rates only for 2008 as a whole, which in Clark County was 6.5 percent. The construction sector is among the hardest-hit in terms of job loss. And home values in Las Vegas dropped 31.7 percent in 2008, second most in the nation behind Phoenix, according to a recent Standard & Poor’s report. So there are several factors related to high concentrations of immigrants, each somehow related to another. As Kochhar wrote, “the presence of immigrants in a county may simply signal the effects of a boom-and-bust cycle that has raised foreclosure rates for all residents in that county.” Ian Hirsch, who manages Fortress Credit Services and has taken on hundreds of clients seeking to adjust their mortgages to avoid or get out of foreclosure, said the report’s conclusions match his on-the-ground experience. “It doesn’t surprise me,” Hirsch said. He pointed to the dozens of minority and immigrant clients he has seen who say, “This is not what I was told I was getting into” when they come to his office for help. The adjustable rates in their mortgages and the lack of financial assets they brought to the table lead many of those clients to foreclosure, he added. Some of those clients worked in the construction industry, building the homes that came with the boom. Now, Hirsch noted, with the construction of CityCenter and other large commercial projects nearing an end, unemployment may continue to rise in the coming months. This could bring more foreclosures and failed businesses. “Unfortunately,” Hirsch said, “I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.”
  3. J'aime les anecdotes qui ont valeur symbolique... By DAMIEN CAVE Published: January 12, 2009 MIAMI — A financial adviser from Indiana disappeared into the Alabama woods early Monday after faking a distress call and parachuting from a small plane that crashed in Florida. The police in three states were looking for the pilot, identified as Marcus Schrenker, 38. No one was hurt in the crash. According to the police in Santa Rosa County in the Florida Panhandle, where the plane went down, Mr. Schrenker turned up safely about 220 miles north of there. And there is evidence that Mr. Schrenker was an experienced pilot who might have been trying to fake his own death. His life seemed to be unraveling. Court records show that Mr. Schrenker’s wife filed for divorce on Dec. 30. A Maryland court recently issued a judgment of more than $500,000 against one of three Indiana companies registered in his name — and all three are being investigated for securities fraud by the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office, a spokesman, Jim Gavin, said. Mr. Schrenker has at least a decade of experience as a pilot, according to the airport in Anderson, Ind., where he departed Sunday evening. But the police said that within hours of taking off, he issued a distress call. He told air traffic controllers that he was bleeding profusely and that the windshield of his Piper PA-46 turboprop had imploded. The control tower told him to try to land nearby, but instead he “appears to have intentionally abandoned the plane after putting it on autopilot over the Birmingham, Ala., area,” the police in Santa Rosa County said. He next appeared in Childersburg, Ala., about 30 miles to the southeast, when he approached local officers at a store and said he had been in a canoeing accident. He was wet from the knees down and carried what the police described as “goggles that looked like they were made for ‘flying.’ ” After checking his Indiana license, the officers drove Mr. Schrenker to a hotel. After learning of the abandoned plane, they returned, but his room was empty. Witnesses said a man believed to be Mr. Schrenker wearing a black toboggan cap had run into the woods next to the hotel. He has not been seen since. The telephones at Mr. Schrenker’s home and one of his companies, Heritage Wealth Management, have been disconnected. His piloting skills, however, can be seen in a YouTube video in which he flies under bridges in the Bahamas. “This stunt,” it says, “should not be tried by any pilot that wishes to stay alive.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/13/us/13plane.html?_r=1&hp#
  4. Lecture intéressante!! CARY PLANTATION, Me. — Up here, near the end of Interstate 95, a single main road ridged with stately conifers runs past the odd house that at night casts an orange glow over the snow. There is no school. No police department. Not even a stoplight. But there are property taxes. And some residents say the taxes’ growth has pushed this community of about 200 to the brink. To save Cary Plantation, they say, they want to dismantle it. “What do you do, what does the town do, when they can’t pay their bills? Do we go bankrupt? Do we lose our homes?” asked Diane Cassidy, a former nursing assistant. “There was no answer, other than deorganization.” Ms. Cassidy is leading an effort to dissolve the local government and join the Unorganized Territory, a vast swath of forest and townships in north, central and eastern Maine run by a partnership between the state and the counties. Last month, residents here voted, 64 to 0, to continue the process. At a time of rising municipal costs, local governments around the country are looking for ways to rein in tax bills, pursuing privatization, the consolidation of services, mergers and even bankruptcy. But in northern Maine, as operating costs have increased, the economy has stagnated and the population has aged and dwindled, a handful of struggling towns have pursued the unusual process of eliminating local government entirely. In the West, citizens are protesting to constrain government power. And over all, Americans tend to resist ceding their local authority. But these communities are handing their governing power over to the state and the county. “Knowing how dependent towns are in Maine on the property tax, they may have just reached a point where they’ve decided, ‘We’d be better off just not existing as a town,’ ” said Elizabeth K. Kellar, the chief executive of the Center for State and Local Government Excellence in Washington. Under state law, dismantling a local government takes 12 complex steps, often over at least two years, including legislative approval and a series of local votes. When a town deorganizes, state agencies and the county administer its services, like snow removal, policing and firefighting. Children are assigned to appropriate schools, often in a nearby district. Town-owned buildings and land are sold or held in trust by the state or the county. And every local government job is eliminated. Thus, there are no local officials’ salaries to pay and no infrastructure to maintain locally. And the cost of servicing each township is spread across the Unorganized Territory either in each county or statewide. “It’s basically like a company: There’s so much less overhead,” said Paul G. Bernier, the public works director for Aroostook County, who is responsible for overseeing services to the unorganized territories at the very top of Maine. “Sometimes it’s half of what they were paying.” In Aroostook County, Bancroft, population 60, completed the process last summer and now exists in name only. Besides Cary Plantation, Oxbow, about an hour northwest, is well on its way, although both have legislative approval and a final vote yet to go. State officials said that an effort to deorganize Atkinson, which began in 2013, may soon take a step forward, and that more municipalities had told the state that they were interested. Advertisement Continue reading the main story “Just the price tag to keep their local governments up and running is more or less untenable,” said Mark Brewer, a professor of political science at the University of Maine. “It’s the final step in this long, drawn-out process, which really starts with population decline.” Marcia McInnis, the fiscal administrator for the Unorganized Territory, estimated there have been 41 deorganizations in Maine’s history, about half of them during the Great Depression. But “it has become recently more common than it has been in the last, really, two decades,” she said. The last town to deorganize before Bancroft was Centerville, population two dozen, in 2004. There have also been deorganization attempts that failed at the local level, often because residents did not want to lose local control, or in some cases did not secure legislative approval. Photo A map of Cary Plantation. Residents there recently voted unanimously to continue the deorganization process. Credit Tristan Spinski for The New York Times “I attribute the recent increase in interest in deorganizing as a direct result of the economic Great Recession and in the loss of jobs in the logging industry,” Ms. McInnis said. Steve Sherman, a lifelong resident of Oxbow, where roughly 50 people are spread across six miles, began working to disband the government after years of watching the local labor market for papermaking and farming shrink along with the population. In November, 21 residents voted unanimously to move forward with deorganization; a third vote will take place in the future. “We’re not growing here. We’re headed the other way, it would seem,” said Mr. Sherman, a logger and Christmas tree farmer. “That’s just life, in northern Maine especially.” In Oxbow and in Cary Plantation, local government is already all but gone. Local meetings in Cary are held in Ms. Cassidy’s heated garage. With no public building, records are generally stored in officials’ homes. And most services are already contracted out. “I figure the state can do a better job,” Ms. Cassidy said. Other states have unorganized or unincorporated areas, but in Maine about half of the land is Unorganized Territory. The area predates the state itself — it was laid out when Maine was still part of Massachusetts and new settlers were expected to flock there. But the harsh climes of Maine’s wild lands, as they used to be known, never filled out with enough people to self-govern. “Maine has this oddity of having all of this space in an area of the country that cherishes town meetings and town governments,” said Kenneth Palmer, a professor emeritus at the University of Maine. “These tiny towns don’t have enough people to generate the municipal staff to really run the town. It’s this abandonment of a town structure.” But some in Cary say deorganizing is a way to give the community a new lease on life, not to abandon it. “I think it’s going to bring more people in,” said Kai Libby, 55, a retired Border Patrol agent who became the town’s first assessor last year to help shepherd the deorganization effort through the multistep process (and thus eliminate his own position). Mr. Libby and his wife, Tina, who led the withdrawal of Cary from its school district, live in the only house on their road, with a vast tract of land, enough space for four dogs and stacks of documents related to deorganization near their kitchen table. “There’s privacy, and it’s so quiet,” said Ms. Libby, 51. “We want to stay here. And to do that, it needs to be affordable for us to stay here.” http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/17/us/in-maine-local-control-is-a-luxury-fewer-towns-can-afford.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&_r=0
  5. en cherchant un peu partout sur internet je suis tombe sur cet article (de blog) que j'ai trouve interessant, qui fait par de la situation de Atlanta, qu'elle decrit comme un 'dense sprawl': Tuesday, August 4, 2009 “Spatial Mismatch” and Why Density Alone Isn’t Enough by Sarah Goodyear on August 4, 2009 Density, density, density. It's something of a mantra in sustainable transportation circles. But in today's featured post from the Streetsblog Network, UrbanCincy points to the cautionary example of Atlanta -- a place that could perhaps best be described as dense sprawl. The skylines of Atlanta. What has happened in Atlanta is something that should be learned from. Atlanta is arguably the king of sprawl in modern day America, but some might say, well Fulton County has a higher population density than does Hamilton County. Similar arguments can be applied to other less urban regions than Cincinnati. The fact is that Fulton County is just about built out with the exception of some land in the far southern reaches of the county. Furthermore, this built-out county has extraordinarily dense suburban areas including the central Perimeter area which includes 30-story office towers, residential towers and 12-lane highway systems to boot. The traffic is abysmal like much of the rest of Atlanta and the problem is only going to get worse. The reason is a combination of densities and form. The suburban areas of Atlanta, and even much of the urban areas, are almost entirely car-dependent. So a low-density suburban area that is car-dependent is one thing, but a high-density area of the same makeup is nightmarish. The "spatial mismatch" is exacerbated to a degree seen nowhere else in America than Atlanta and Los Angeles (Los Angeles County is the most populated county in the country at 9+ million). The people living in one area are working in another creating a spatial mismatch that is exacerbated by the high densities. They are not walking, biking or taking transit to a level enough that would offset its densities. When you hear of the next "new urbanist" neighborhood on the fringes of a metropolitan area, or the next lifestyle center that pitches itself as being the next best thing to an authentic urban shopping experience, be wary. These are not real communities where store owners live in addition to running their business. The residents are most likely hopping in their car that is parked nicely within one of their two (or more) dedicated parking spaces and driving into the center city for work. Higher densities in our suburban areas are not the answers to our sprawl issues. A correction of the spatial mismatch is what's needed to truly create a sustainable metropolitan area. Natural systems need to be preserved in their truest form and our most fertile food-producing regions need to be maintained for their highest and best use. Higher densities in the core with high-density satellite neighborhoods connected by high-quality transit options are the best possible solutions. Other news from around the network: Kansas Cyclist reports on efforts in Iowa and Colorado to ban bikes -- that's right, ban bikes -- from some roads. Meanwhile, CommuteOrlandoBlog is back from a bike trip through Amish country and has a very thought-provoking post on the culture of speed vs. the culture of trust. And Trains for America links to a debate over the relative merits of high-speed and maglev trains. je me demandes si montreal n'est pas un peu en train de vivre ce genre de transformation lente, avec nos dix-30, nos developements en peripheries (pensez a toutes ces tours a l'entour des galleries d'anjou, par example), et la volonte que certain semblent vouloir exprimer de garder le centre-ville bas et de l'etendre au besoin (griffintown, radio-can, toute a l'ouest de Guy). ca ne fait que renforcer mon argument que le developement devrait etre encourage a etre non seulement dense mais central, et que toutes ces petites tours de 65 metres sont du gaspillage d'espace et une potentielle source de problemes de transport comme on le vois a Atlanta ou Los Angeles. (ps, j'suis passe par atl en janvier pis c'est clairement une ville de char, a peu pres 12 voies d'autoroute qui en devient 24 via diverses routes de contournements ici et la ... c'est intense!)