readingIn case you’ve got time for reading, here’s a batch of good (and relatively short) stuff that’s come across my desk lately.

1) From British Columbia, a fascinating series by Monte Paulsen in The Tyee on Vancouver’s affordable housing problem. Part 1 came out yesterday and Part 2 hit the web today.

Think the falling real estate market is going to solve B.C.’s housing affordability problems? Think again: Home prices would have to plunge 55 per cent before ordinary families will be able to buy homes in this market. And if real estate sinks that low, so will family incomes.

Think falling home prices will lead to lower rents? Think again: Kelowna, Victoria and Vancouver boast rental vacancy rates of roughly 0.3 per cent.

Think empty condos, more housing, or government programs are going to close the gap between what ordinary homes cost and what ordinary families can afford? Well, read on.

2) In The Atlantic Monthly, a good feature article by Richard Florida, How The Crash Will Reshape America.

No place in the United States is likely to escape a long and deep recession. Nonetheless, as the crisis continues to spread outward from New York, through industrial centers like Detroit, and into the Sun Belt, it will undoubtedly settle much more heavily on some places than on others. Some cities and regions will eventually spring back stronger than before. Others may never come back at all. As the crisis deepens, it will permanently and profoundly alter the country’s economic landscape. I believe it marks the end of a chapter in American economic history, and indeed, the end of a whole way of life.

3) And at Daily Kos, an encouraging post by chapter1 on energy conservation, Google, smart grid, and climate change. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean:

Its been months or years since I was last as hopeful about Global Warming as I was yesterday and today.  

Yesterday, a new invention (that no one I know personally had anything to with) was announced.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that by the end of next year, it will reduce American CO2 emissions more than every single wind turbine and solar panel installed until then.  

This diary is not snark and I am not drunk.