And this Week – April 30

This is a new feature of At Waters Edge. I hope to send it out each Friday. The first three articles tie in neatly with my newsletters on solving the housing crisis. 

Monocle Minute on Design – April 28, 2021


Inside job

Logements – MARS Architectes – Paris 12ème

The breathtaking design for this residential building in the 12th arrondissement of Paris, tucked in the courtyard of a 1970s apartment block, evolved from pure necessity. “We had to fit all construction elements through an opening only 2.3 metres wide,” says Raphaël Renard of French firm Mars Architectes. “Working with timber was simply the logical solution.” Fortunately so, as its masterful employment elevates this project into a class of its own. Imbued with the natural warmth of the European Douglas fir, each of its 14 apartments boasts a balcony, ceiling-height windows and fine wooden flooring. Residents also have access to an inner courtyard that helps to provide a sense of community.

 Laudably, the architects devoted just as much care to the surroundings, creating a haven of more than 30 regional plant species in what had previously been a barren concrete enclosure. This regard for detail and wellbeing that is frequently lacking in new builds sent Parisians clamouring. On completion last October, rental contracts were snapped up from developer Gecina within a few days. “The feedback from the residents says that they are delighted, so we are happy too,” says Renard. Indeed, 14 Accommodations shows that, in expert hands, architecture is only enhanced by being in a tight spot.

Nate Berg, Fast Company – April 29, 2021


Home Depot Architecture 

Quonset Hut Housing – Detroit, Michigan

If you click on the hyperlink, the article is a four minute read. – Excerpt:

“On a half-vacant block a few miles outside of downtown Detroit sits an unabashed oddity. Nearly 200 feet long and 23 feet high, it’s a gleaming half-cylinder of metal surrounded by trees. Built out of a military-style Quonset hut and plopped into the dwindling remnants of a residential neighborhood, this alienlike arched steel structure may be the world’s most unexpected new apartment building..”

The Economist – April 25, 2021


What history tells you about Post-Pandemic Booms 

This article explores three lessons from previous post-pandemic eras – Excerpt:

“The situation is so unfamiliar that economists are turning to history to get a sense of what to expect. The record suggests that, following periods of massive non-financial disruption such as wars and pandemics, GDP does tend to bounce back. But it offers three further lessons. First, while people are keen to get out and spend, uncertainty lingers for some time. Second, the pandemic encourages people and businesses to try new ways of doing things, upending the structure of the economy. Third, as the example of “Les Misérables” shows, political upheaval often follows, with unpredictable economic consequences.”

The Economist – April 8, 2021


The Biggest Losers from Covid-19 

Worldwide, we may have applauded essential workers but have we really considered their wellbeing


“The pandemic has reminded key workers that without them society would grind to a halt. In its early phase homebound folk in Britain stood outside their front doors once a week and applauded the “heroes”. Yet as Camilla De Camargo and Lilith Whiley, two sociologists, argue in a paper, giving essential workers “an almost mythologised status and value” obscures the human suffering that many have endured.”

Quotation of the week:

“Never wrestle with a pig. You just get dirty and the pig enjoys it” George Bernard Shaw

Lisbon – A City on the Rise?

March 7, 2023

Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]

Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

I Love to Dance

January 29, 2023

I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

NEOM - the Wall

Cities and Towns 7, Cities and Towns Evolve

January 8, 2023

I have postulated that cities and towns evolve. That towns and villages first grow in areas where the basics to support life were plentiful. Typically, that means good agricultural land and good access to water. Other valuable considerations include safety, and resilience. The bonus – access to trade routes.  Walt Disney and the Fully Formed […]

Christmas Poem 2022

December 22, 2022

A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores  The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]