• Hongkongers pay a price for their low taxes through the world’s most expensive homes and smallest living space. Here’s why | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/business/article/3029820/hongkongers-pay-price-their-low-taxes-through-worlds-most-expensive-homes

    How Hong Kong’s housing problem, cited as one of the biggest motivations for protest rage, is linked to the city’s finances and low taxes.

    23 Sep, 2019 - by Peggy Sito, Eugene Tang - In a new series delving beyond the social unrest in Hong Kong to survey the city’s deep-rooted problems, the Post is focusing on the role of housing in causing great disaffection in society.
    In this first instalment, we examine how the issue of high land prices is linked to government financing and the low-tax environment.

    For two hours a day in the past fortnight, Edward Chan hung around after work at the Prince Edward metro station in Kowloon.

    Teenagers continued to gather at the station, and Chan, who works in logistics, found himself acting as their counsellor, dispensing advice to the youth.

    Hong Kong “is rotten to the core, with many issues affecting our livelihood, even if the city has a great international image on the surface”, according to Chan, who lives in a 350 sq ft flat with his wife and their 13-year-old daughter.

    Chan, 39, is among the tens of thousands of Hongkongers who have been expressing their collective grievances in street rallies in one of the world’s most prosperous urban centres.
    What began on June 9 as a peaceful march by an estimated 1 million people has deteriorated into mayhem on the streets
    , with police using tear gas and water cannons to disperse vandals and rioters in almost daily clashes with protesters.

    The spark that ignited the city’s worst political crisis has shifted from a controversial extradition bill to general rage against the local authorities for their ineffectiveness in addressing some of the most pressing issues affecting life in Hong Kong: housing, job satisfaction, education and future prospects.

    Unaffordable homes, and having to wait a decade to gain access to subsidised public housing, are just two of the myriad of problems confronting Hong Kong, Chan said. “There really is no opportunity for young people at the bottom of the social structure to climb up,” he said.

    While he abhors the violence and vandalism that have made daily headlines for three months, Chan’s comments go some way to explain why two weeks after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor caved in to public rage and withdrew
    her unpopular bill, rallies continue to draw protesters by the thousands to the city’s streets.
    Hong Kong’s economy has taken a beating, with declining property prices, shrinking visitor numbers and plunging retail sales all pointing to a technical recession
    in the final three months of 2019.

    The unprecedented protests, entering their 16th week, are the culmination of many decades of neglect by a laissez-faire government of the underclass, and housing affordability has become the most poignant manifestation of this dissatisfaction.

    The root of the problem can be traced back to Hong Kong’s history, when British administrators created a low-tax system for the former colony, consistent with their strategy of running a worldwide empire. On the basis of low personal income and corporate taxes, with no value-added tax or import duties, Hong Kong quickly grew from a transshipment port and China’s front door into an international finance centre. That low-tax tradition continued after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997.

    Low taxes come with a hefty bill, however, as the government must look for other sources of fiscal income to spend on infrastructure, education, health and public services.

    For decades, the biggest revenue source was the sale of public land to developers for building homes, factories or shopping centres. Land premiums and stamp duties, considered non-stable tax revenue, are projected to make up 33 per cent, or more than HK$197 billion (US$25.2 billion), of the government’s income in the financial year that began on April 1, down from the last financial year’s 42 per cent.

    “Without the big chunk of income from the property market, how can the government support its expenses?” asked Moses Cheng Mo-chi, chairman of the Insurance Authority and chairman of a 2000 task force set up to explore ways of broadening Hong Kong’s tax base. “If we do not have new sources of stable income, the high land price policy will not change. We cannot get out of this” vicious cycle of high land prices, lack of affordability and public grievance, he said in an interview.
    Of course, the government has denied over the years that it has a high land-price policy. The cost of land makes up between 60 per cent and 70 per cent of the total cost
    of a typical residential property project in Hong Kong, more than double the 20 per cent to 30 per cent range seen outside the city, said Far East Consortium International’s managing director, Chris Hoong Cheong Thard
    .

    The land sale process, where the highest bidder takes the prize, creates an upwards cost spiral, as the winning bid in one round becomes the prevailing market price, which must be topped in the next round. As land costs soar, small developers such as Far East – valued at one-36th of Sun Hung Kai Properties
    (SHKP) – are priced out of the city to build overseas.
    That further concentrates the property market, along with the wealth and influence that come along with it, in the hands of a handful of developers
    .

    About 45 per cent of all homes sold in Hong Kong are built by five developers – CK Assets of the Li family, SHKP of the Kwoks, Henderson Land of the Lee family, New World Development of the Chengs and Sino Land of the Ng family.

    That has put them at the top of the wealth list. Eighteen, or 36 per cent, of the 50 richest people in Hong Kong in 2019 were property tycoons, according to Forbes.

    “Capitalism creates a business environment where the winner takes all,” said Ronald Chan, founder of investment firm Chartwell Capital and a member of the Hong Kong stock exchange’s Listing Committee. “Several companies … dominate Hong Kong, consolidating control of sectors from supermarkets to pharmacies, jewellery stores to utilities and telecoms to transport networks.”

    The fortunes of Hong Kong’s 93 wealthiest billionaires – estimated at US$315 billion in 2018 – made up about 86.6 per cent of the city’s gross domestic product, according to Wealth-X’s Billionaire Census.
    The remainder of Hong Kong’s population has become poorer, with a record 1.37 million residents living below the poverty line in 2017
    , eking out a living on as little as HK$4,000 (US$510) a month, according to government data.

    The average Hong Kong household needs 20.9 years of income, without spending anything on food, education, travel or leisure, to afford a flat, according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability Study.
    The average living space per person in Hong Kong is 161 sq ft
    , roughly the footprint of a standard 20-foot shipping container. That is half of Singapore’s average space of 323 sq ft per person. The poorest of Hong Kong’s families must put up with 50 sq ft of living space.

    To be sure, Hong Kong’s government has not been unaware of the problem. Former Financial Secretary Henry Tang Ying-yen and former Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury Frederick Ma Si-han tried in 2003 to implement a goods and services tax based on the recommendations of Cheng’s task force to broaden the fiscal income base, but had to scrap the plan amid opposition by the city’s interest groups, who exert their influence through the functional and district constituencies in the local legislature.

    Will the current political crisis and outpouring of rage provide an opportunity to break the policy gridlock and solve Hong Kong’s housing problem?
    Commentaries published last week by the state-run Xinhua News Agency, People’s Daily and the stridently nationalist Global Times all singled out unaffordable housing as a cause
    of Hong Kong’s street protests.

    “For the sake of public interest, and for the sake of people’s livelihoods, it is time developers show their utmost sincerity instead of minding their own business, hoarding land for profit and earning the last penny,” People’s Daily, the mouthpiece of the Communist Party, said.

    A day before the commentaries were published, Hong Kong’s biggest pro-Beijing political party pushed for the Lands Resumption Ordinance, and called on the local government to build public housing on land taken from private developers, who hold about 100 million sq ft of farmland between them, according to an estimate by Bank of America Merrill Lynch
    .
    Hong Kong’s government responded immediately by pushing ahead with a tax on developers who hoard completed flats
    to create an artificial shortage of homes.

    Public consultation on the proposal started on September 13 and the bill will be ready for legislators to vet in October, when they return from their summer break. Land and housing policies are expected to be the focus of Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s Policy Address, which will be announced next month.
    Some developers are pushing back
    . The Real Estate Developers’ Association (Reda), the powerful industry lobby, said on September 13 that the proposed vacancy tax would intensify a slowdown in the property market, hurt developers’ earnings and exacerbate the city’s economic slump.

    “Can the government solve the city’s housing issue on its own, without the help of private developers?” said Reda chairman Stewart Leung Chi-kin. “If that were the case, the problem should have been solved years ago.”

    Analysts said the low-interest rate environment in Hong Kong will continue and that could pressure Lam into cooling home prices.

    On Thursday, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, the city’s de facto central bank, matched a move by the US Federal Reserve and cut its base rate to 2.25 per cent. But homeowners will not feel their burden ease immediately because commercial banks will keep their prime rate, the rate offered to customers, unchanged. That raises the spectre that declining home prices will hamstring Lam’s reforms.

    Hong Kong is not short of land, where 40 per cent of the city’s land mass is reserved as nature parks. But focusing on land supply was akin to addressing the symptoms of a disease, not finding a cure for the cause, said the Insurance Authority’s Cheng.

    “We need government leaders, political parties, interest groups to realise the importance of harmony. They need to make sacrifices for the greater good, ” he said.

    A short-term solution might be possible through the privatisation of subsidised public housing, which would allow many existing public flats to add to the supply and provide immediate relief, said Richard Wong Yue-chim, professor of economics and the Philip Wong Kennedy Wong Professor in Political Economy at Hong Kong University.

    “Turning public flats into home ownership flats is by far the fastest way to address our housing crisis without increasing land supply”, because land reform was complicated by vested interests and bureaucratic delays, as well as restrictive planning and building codes, he said.

    “Home ownership is a source of savings and wealth accumulation. There is wealth disparity between those who own a flat and those do not, so people feel the inequality,” Wong said. “When young people see no hope of moving forward with their lives, no hope to own a home, they take to the streets.”

    Singapore, a city state where most residents live in high-rise buildings, may offer a solution for Hong Kong. The city state’s Central Provident Fund, as the mandatory pension is called, can be used for paying mortgages, insurance and even education, unlike Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund, which is usable only for retirement.

    Hong Kong’s government could let the MPF subsidise low-interest rate mortgages for certain groups, such as young married couples, to help them get on the property ladder, said Chartwell’s Chan.

    Would that help cool the rage that is fuelling Hong Kong’s protests?

    “It’s so difficult to get onto the housing ladder,” said Chan at Price Edward station. “I’m probably unqualified for a flat because I don’t have a tertiary degree. I hope I can do it one day, but only if I start a business, not by working a regular job.”

    Additional reporting by Liu Yujing

    #Chine #Hongkong #immobilier #logement #crise

    • In my opinion, i come to live in HK in 1995 before the retro-cession. When HK go back to china, any chinese people spend 7 millions HKD in property get residential visa in HK, it’s the way for the chinese to escape communist, and too protect they’r money.
      Second problem, Hk still allow 150 chinese mainland to live in HK every day, already more than 1 million chinese mainland living in HK ! the city of 6 millions Hongkongais grow to 7 millions with the chinese immigrants, but we cannot push the wall in HK, this is insane.

  • Scapegoats or scoundrels? Why ties between Beijing and Hong Kong’s property tycoons are unravelling amid protest crisis | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3030209/scapegoats-or-scoundrels-why-ties-between-beijing-and-hong

    25 Sep, 2019 by Gary Cheung - In a new series delving beyond the social unrest in Hong Kong to survey the city’s deep-rooted problems, the Post is focusing on the role of housing in causing great disaffection in society
    In this second instalment, we examine the close ties between the city’s property tycoons and Beijing, and how a recalibration might be due.

    In January 1996, when Jiang Zemin crossed the vast expanse of a crowded room to shake Tung Chee-hwa’s hand, the Chinese president set off a storm of speculation that the shipping magnate would be Hong Kong’s first chief executive.

    Exactly 11 months later, Tung was elected by a small committee to the top job. But the Post learned recently that well before the famous handshake, Jiang received a letter in late 1995 recommending Tung for the post when the city was returned to China in 1997 after 150 years of British colonial rule.
    The letter was penned by the colony’s richest man, Li Ka-shing
    , and Beijing princeling Larry Yung Chi-kin, head of Citic Pacific, one of the first mainland Chinese companies to set up shop in Hong Kong.

    A source close to Beijing who told the Post about the letter said Jiang viewed its contents positively.

    That Li could confidently offer his view to the Chinese leader revealed just how close Hong Kong’s tycoons and the Beijing elite were at the time. Yung’s father, Rong Yiren, was China’s vice-president and on good terms with the late paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

    Indeed, from as far back as the early 1980s, when talks with Britain on Hong Kong’s future began, the property tycoons were Beijing’s main political allies. As the handover neared, Beijing’s main preoccupation was to ensure Hong Kong’s continued stability, and that meant retaining the confidence of the business community.


    Tycoon Li Ka-shing wielded considerable influence over Beijing’s elite. Photo: Felix Wong

    But two decades later, the relationship is coming under strain. If Beijing once looked to the property tycoons to help keep Hong Kong stable, it now appears to believe that they have failed to deliver.

    There are signs that the partnership has become untenable amid skyrocketing property prices and a severe shortage of affordable public housing in Hong Kong.

    Recent commentaries and editorials in China’s state media indicate Beijing is convinced Hong Kong’s housing crisis is to blame for the increasingly violent anti-government protests now in their fourth month.
    Developers owning massive land banks have found themselves targeted by China’s state media, with tycoon Li himself coming under fire. The 91-year-old drew swift criticism earlier this month for urging those in power to “provide a way out”
    for Hong Kong’s mostly young protesters, whom he described as “masters of our future”. He also said on political issues, justice might have to be tempered with mercy.

    An article published on September 13 in an official WeChat account of Beijing’s political and legal affairs commission seized on his phrase “provide a way out” and equated showing leniency to lawbreakers as being “nothing more than condoning crime”.
    As a major developer
    , it said, Li should be the one instead to provide “a way out” for Hongkongers struggling over the lack of housing.
    Unfazed, Li hit back
    , saying it was regrettable his remarks had been misinterpreted, and that “tolerance does not mean connivance and disregarding any legal procedures”.
    Commentaries also published on September 13 by the official Xinhua news agency and People’s Daily, and an editorial in the tabloid Global Times, singled out unaffordable housing as a “root cause” of the protests
    .

    The message seemed all but clear: the tycoons need to play ball and back the chief executive and the government’s policies or risk some unspecified consequences.

    Soon enough, state media then endorsed a proposal by the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong (DAB), the city’s largest pro-Beijing party, for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor
    to invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance and take back large swathes of unused rural land to tackle the housing problem.

    The Xinhua commentary accused some groups with vested interests of obstructing the government’s bid to boost land supply, by either hoarding or raising prices.

    Taking a tougher line, a bylined People’s Daily commentary said: “For the sake of the public interest, it is time developers show their utmost sincerity instead of minding their own business, hoarding land for profit and earning the last penny.” Ironically however, even as Beijing has been beating the drum on housing, the issue did not figure prominently among younger Hongkongers polled in a territory-wide random telephone survey conducted last month by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute, headed by former University of Hong Kong pollster Robert Chung Ting-yiu.


    Hong Kong is the world’s most expensive property market. Photo: Roy Issa

    Only 58 per cent of respondents aged 14 to 29 said their discontent stemmed from housing problems, whereas 91 per cent cited distrust in Beijing, 84 per cent said they distrusted city leader Lam, and 84 per cent said they were moved by the “pursuit of democracy”.
    A person familiar with the central government’s views on Hong Kong said Beijing was unwilling to make concessions to Hongkongers’ calls for democracy and thus preferred to step up efforts to alleviate social ills, focusing for now on the housing shortage
    .

    In this approach, a mainland Chinese expert familiar with Hong Kong said Beijing was not off the mark as there was a consensus among various sectors in the city itself that the government badly needed to tackle deep-rooted problems like unaffordable housing and the lack of social mobility for the young.

    Asked if Beijing was demanding that Hong Kong developers do more to fix the housing problem, the expert, who declined to be named, said: “We are now talking about social responsibility. It is a matter of fact that developers are key players in Hong Kong, but protecting their legitimate rights and granting them unreasonable favours are entirely different things.”

    So, will Beijing succeed in forcing the developers to recognise their “social responsibility” and how will the relationship be recalibrated?

    A person close to property developers said Beijing’s liaison office in Hong Kong was behind the DAB’s call to invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance to take back unused rural land.

    “Many developers know that Beijing can’t offer any meaningful solutions on political issues in Hong Kong. So it is shifting the focus to deep-seated problems like housing,” the person said. “The developers feel helpless as they can’t do much given Beijing’s growing assertiveness.”

    Lawmaker Abraham Razack, who represents the real estate sector in the Legislative Council, believed the government intends to invoke the Lands Resumption Ordinance more frequently to show it was “doing something” to arrest the decline in its popularity.

    Another source close to developers, however, felt that the government was just making property developers the scapegoat of the protest crisis.

    How powerful are Hong Kong developers?

    There is little doubt that developers wield considerable influence in Hong Kong’s political system.

    Former minister Cheung, a political scientist, said the post-handover political system was designed to protect the interests of the business sector.

    The four-sector committee which selects the chief executive comprises the city’s business elite, professionals, unionists and politicians, and developers are represented strongly among them.

    Research by the Post showed that the 1,194-strong Election Committee which selected the chief executive in 2017 included 96 members directly representing property developers and their business associates. This figure did not include those with indirect and less obvious connections with the property giants.


    The ‘Big Four’ major developers, SHKP, Henderson Land, CK Asset Holdings and New World Development hold a total of 83 million sq ft in Hong Kong. Photo: Roy Issa

    Forty-three of the 96 with direct links to developers were directors, employees or business associates of six major developers – Sun Hung Kai Properties (SHKP), CK Asset Holding, Henderson Land Development, New World Development, Wharf (Holdings) and Sino Land.

    Developers and their associates were represented not only on the real estate and construction subsector of the Election Committee, but also in other subsector groups like those for transport, hotel, finance and wholesale, as well as retail.

    This sprawling influence reflects their dominance of Hong Kong’s economy, with their conglomerates involved in everything from telecommunications to public utilities and supermarkets.

    For example, three of Hong Kong’s four mobile phone network operators are connected to developers: Hutchison Telecommunications is a unit of CK Hutchison, chaired by Li’s son Victor Li; Hong Kong Telecommunications (HKT) is a unit of PCCW, chaired by his younger brother, Richard Li Tzar-kai; and SmarTone Mobile Communications is owned by SHKP.

    Housing’s dreadful decade

    How did developers rise to such a level of power and influence, and how did Hong Kong’s housing situation become so dire?

    One of the first things Tung Chee-hwa did on becoming leader after the handover was to announce ambitious housing targets: 85,000 flats a year, comprising 50,000 public and 35,000 private units.

    But the Asian financial crisis followed and hit the property market so hard that Tung was forced to declare in 2000 that his plan for 85,000 flats a year no longer existed.

    By then, too, the government had introduced an “application list system” through which it published a list of available sites for sale each year. Interested developers could make private offers to the government, and a public auction was arranged if the offers met the undisclosed reserve price.

    “This system allowed developers to take the initiative in controlling land supply,” said Stan Wong Hok-wui, a political scientist at Polytechnic University who has studied the political influence of the real estate elite.

    The system was abolished in 2013.

    Tung’s government also suspended indefinitely the Home Ownership Scheme, which provided subsidised flats for sale to lower-middle-income applicants.

    “It was a tragedy for Tung to close down the public housing programme and allow developers to shrink the supply of private housing,” said Leo Goodstadt, head of the colonial government’s Central Policy Unit think tank from 1989 to 1997.

    That move rescued private developers from the acute pressure of the market in the wake of the financial crisis, he said. But it also removed the element of government competition that came when subsidised public flats provided an alternative to those built by private developers.

    Goodstadt said: “Tung is a businessman and shared what the property developers believed. It’s quite likely that when property developers raised the issue, he agreed with them.”


    Former secretary for transport and housing, Anthony Cheung. Photo: Felix Wong

    Anthony Cheung said Tung had no choice but to cut housing supply in the wake of the Asian financial crisis, which resulted in a substantial number of cases of negative equity.

    “It would also threaten the banking system if the situation got worse. To be fair, anybody who was in that position had to do something to stabilise the property market.”

    The government went on to tighten supply during the administration of Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, the city’s second chief executive. The annual housing supply of private, subsidised and public rental flats was more than halved from 59,800 units in 2006 to 25,700 by 2016.

    A government source familiar with land matters said on hindsight, it was too late for Tsang to resume the Home Ownership Scheme in 2010, eight years after it was suspended. But it is clear that the impact of the further tightening under Tsang is still being felt to this day.

    Another source closely involved in the land mechanism said the government’s hands were tied over land supply because it had scaled back land production more than 10 years ago. “We are now scrambling hard to catch up,” the person said.

    Cheung said Leung Chun-ying, who succeeded Tsang as chief executive in 2012, spared no effort in boosting land supply. “Leung was also never hesitant to take on developers when it came to reining in the red-hot property market,” Cheung added.

    Leung also revived the city’s long-term housing strategy, under which private and public housing targets are set and reviewed annually.

    Leung set an ambitious pledge to provide a total of 480,000 public and private units by 2025, of which 200,000 will be public rental flats, 90,000 will be subsidised flats for sale and 190,000 will be private homes. He failed to meet the target for public housing and was out after one term.

    The ensuing shortage caused home prices to soar over a decade right until the end of last year.

    A massive private land bank

    Today, there is little dispute that developers have the upper hand in land ownership.

    The “Big Four” major developers, SHKP, Henderson Land, CK Asset Holdings and New World Development hold a total of 83 million sq ft in Hong Kong, according to their annual reports.

    A recent report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch said they also held a total of 107.3 million sq ft of farmland – nearly 1,000 hectares – in the New Territories. That is nearly 25 times the size of the waterfront West Kowloon Cultural District.

    Henderson Land is tops in terms of the farmland it owns, with 45.9 million sq ft, followed by SHKP with 31 million sq ft, New World Development with 17 million sq ft, and Li’s CK Assets with 13.4 million sq ft.

    More than a million public flats could be built on the farmland held by the four developers, but the government has yet to identify land to build 67,000 public housing units to meet its 10-year housing supply target.

    Currently, there are 256,100 applications for public rental flats alone, with a waiting period of 5.4 years.

    Goodstadt said senior Beijing officials responsible for Hong Kong affairs must have been looking at what was wrong with the city in the wake of the anti-government protests.

    “What could be causing people to protest like this, in such large numbers? One thing that is dreadful in Hong Kong is housing,” he said.

    Does Beijing’s recent tirade against the Hong Kong developers signal that a 40-year honeymoon is coming to an end?

    Ray Yep, a professor with City University’s department of public policy, does not believe so. “Beijing just wants to rally their support in putting an end to the violence in the city,” he said.

    But others point out that Beijing began cooling its ties with developers well before the current protests, ever since Xi Jinping became president in 2012.

    They note that Beijing leaders hold fewer meetings with Hong Kong tycoons when they visit the city these days compared to the past, to avoid criticism that they care only about the rich.

    In the past Li Ka-shing’s close ties with Jiang were well-documented. Li played host to the former president during his visits to Hong Kong in 1997, 1998 and 2001. Jiang stayed at CK Assets’s Harbour Grand Hotel in Hung Hom and would have breakfast with Li and his sons.

    Such private meetings came to an end when Xi took the helm.

    In the ongoing social unrest, Beijing has made plain its dissatisfaction with property owners who appear to waver over where their loyalties lie.

    Last month, Global Times editor Hu Xijin lashed out at the popular Harbour City shopping centre in Tsim Sha Tsui for “kowtowing” to protesters
    by banning police from entering the premises unless a crime was committed.

    Referring to the notices put up by mall owner Wharf Real Estate Investment, he asked in an article posted on Weibo: “Are you trying to turn Harbour City into a lawless land that is subject to the will of the rioters?”

    The source close to Beijing noted that today, the central government was not at all worried about alienating or offending Hong Kong’s developers.

    He pointed out that Beijing was in a much more powerful position now than in the 1980s when it needed the developers’ support in an uncertain period, and where its own international standing had yet to be firmly cemented.

    Former Hong Kong minister Cheung said Beijing could see that the ongoing protests as largely a youth-led movement must have deeper underlying causes that needed fixing to prevent it festering into the future.

    But Cheung suggested Beijing might not be doing a thorough enough assessment. “I hope Beijing will analyse Hong Kong’s deep-rooted conflicts in a comprehensive way, rather than reduce the root of the crisis to unaffordable housing,” he said.

    Ellen Lau, a 24-year-old university employee who has participated actively in the protests since June, said she was more concerned about Carrie Lam’s poor governance and, more recently, allegations of police brutality.

    “Unaffordable housing seldom comes to my mind when I take part in the protests,” she said. “My grievances and those of many friends of mine would not be eased even if the government tackles housing problem effectively.”

    But Edmund Cheng Wai, a political scientist at Baptist University, felt housing woes did affect some protesters, particularly those born after 1990.

    He noted that 48.4 per cent of more than 6,100 demonstrators interviewed by a research team from Chinese, Baptist and Lingnan universities since June were aged between 20 and 29, the so-called “post-90s generation”.

    “Many suffer from lower social mobility and their career prospects can’t compare with that of the older generations,” he said.

    Steve, a 24-year-old civil servant, said he had attended most of the protests since June to vent his anger at “property hegemony”, a catchphrase used to describe the tycoons’ stranglehold over Hong Kong. Young people like him cannot afford a home and feel left out of the system, he said.

    “And the government is powerless in the face of the property hegemony,” Steve added.

    “The present political system is tilted in favour of property developers. The government is unable to tackle housing issues because property developers wield tremendous influence in the Election Committee and functional constituencies in Legco.

    “Many young people feel they don’t have a stake in society. Some even feel they have nothing to lose.”

    #Chine #Hongkong #immobilier #logement #crise

  • Greece to Offer Limited Number of Citizenships to Major Real Estate Investors

    The Greek government plans to introduce a limited citizenship-granting scheme to non-EU nationals who wish to invest more than €2 million in the country’s real estate market, it was disclosed on Thursday.

    According to media reports, Greek authorities are reviewing ways to introduce a mechanism similar to the ”Golden Visa” plan which currently grants a five-year residency permit to non-EU nationals who buy Greek properties worth more than €250,000.

    According to the same reports, when this program is launched, it will offer a limited number of citizenships, most likely up to two hundred per annum.

    The scheme will incorporate strict terms, among which will be the obligation of the investor to become a permanent resident of Greece.

    Additionally, the investor will have to pay at least €2 million to a Greek bank account upfront.

    This mechanism will also grant citizenship to the partner, children or parents of the investor.

    Up until now, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Cyprus, Malta, and Bulgaria are the only EU member states to grant citizenship to large-scale real estate investors.

    The Greek scheme will be almost identical to that of Cyprus in terms of its conditions.

    Similar programs are understandably extremely popular among wealthy investors, particularly the Chinese and Russians, mainly because by obtaining citizenship in an EU member state, they automatically become EU citizens.

    This grants them the right to freely work and reside anywhere across Europe.

    For this reason, the EU Commission regularly scrutinizes these programs, in an effort to avert incidents of money laundering and criminal activities which may be hidden behind such schemes.

    https://greece.greekreporter.com/2019/09/12/greece-to-offer-limited-number-of-citizenships-to-major-real-e
    #citoyenneté #passeport #Grèce #citoyenneté_en_vente #investissements #immobilier #business #vente #riches #richesse #vente_de_passeports #passeports

    La Grèce comme #Malte :
    https://seenthis.net/messages/688041
    (et peut-être d’autres pays dont je ne me rappelle plus...)

  • Se foutre de la geule des riches

    Héhé, on vend le rêve de la maison sur la plage de Malibu ...

    alors que la réalité ressemble plutôt à ca ...

    A dreamy Malibu beach house designed to withstand climate change
    https://inhabitat.com/this-dreamy-malibu-beach-house-is-designed-to-withstand-climate-change

    Built on the sandy Las Flores beach, just steps from the mighty Pacific Ocean, House Noir has unmatched views of the mountains, sea and Catalina Island. Lorcan O’Herlihy Architects (LOHA) met the challenge of designing an aesthetically pleasing and sustainable home that can also withstand natural disasters and the impacts of climate change: earthquakes, rising sea levels and an eroding coastline.


    Malibu Cal.


    Malibu Las Flores beach

    O.K. les appartements au bord de la mer baltique sont sans doute plus abordables que les condos californiens à $5.7 millions mais il y a l’identique question des dépenses incontournables afin de protéger sa propriété contre les catastrophes météorologiques.


    Olpenitz

    Allez vous faire ... au bord des mers. Au moins vous aurez une impression atténuée du deuil des moins fortunés exposés aus effets du rechauffement climatique.

    #immobilier #rechauffement_climatique #mer_baltique

  • L’Italie vend ses sites historiques Arnaud Lefebvre - 6 Aout 2019 - express.live
    https://fr.express.live/litalie-vend-ses-sites-historiques

    L’Italie a décidé de vendre aux enchères de nombreux bâtiments historiques afin de lever 1,2 milliard d’euros pour réduire sa dette publique.
    L’église San Salvador, située près du pont du Rialto, à Venise, est depuis longtemps propriété de l’Etat. Cependant, cet édifice aura bientôt un nouveau propriétaire. Afin de réduire une #dette publique de plus de 2.300 milliards d’euros, cet ancien monastère consacré au 12ème siècle par le pape Alexandre III est à vendre.

    Vente de biens historiques
    Rome a décidé de tirer profit de son portefeuille d’actifs appartenant à l’Etat en organisant une vente de biens historiques. Parmi les bâtiments mis aux enchères, on trouve des casernes désaffectées, des forts, des monastères ou encore des phares.

    Le prix de départ de l’Eglise San Salvador est fixé à 28 millions d’euros.

    Les futurs acquéreurs pourront également faire des offres pour le château de Civitella Cesi à Viterbe, près de Rome, pour une ancienne prison, située dans le centre de Côme et pour une villa sur les collines de Fiesole, petite ville de Toscane au nord Florence, demeure ayant appartenu aux rivaux des Médicis.

    Programme
    Cette vente aux enchères de bâtiments publics fait partie d’un programme visant à renflouer les caisses de l’Etat avec 1,2 milliards d’euros sur trois ans. Il s’agit en outre de la première étape d’un programme visant à respecter les engagements de l’Italie envers la #Comission_européenne de vendre 17 milliards d’euros d’actifs publics d’ici la fin de l’année afin de réduire la dette publique.

    Les biens de l’Etat mis en vente devraient rapporter un demi-milliard d’euros. Le ministère de la Défense va quant à lui vendre des actifs pour un montant estimé à 160 millions d’euros. Le ministère de l’Economie va se défaire de biens d’une valeur de 610 millions d’euros.

    Selon le gouvernement italien, ces ventes serviront à resserrer les finances publiques, à réduire les coûts d’entretien et à empêcher la dégradation de ces propriétés. Au total, 400 bâtiments publics seront mis en vente. Pour l’heure, 93 propiétés sont déjà offertes. Il s’agit des biens les plus précieux et les plus intéressants pour les investisseurs, soit parce qu’ils génèrent un revenu locatif, soit parce que leur potentiel de développement est important.

    Propriétés plus petites
    Plus tôt cette année, 1.200 propriétés à la valeur moins élevée appartenant aux municipalités et aux régions avaient déjà été mises en vente pour un montant estimé à 38 millions d’euros.

    « Ce qui est proposé est plus proche des besoins du marché du #tourisme et de l’#immobilier de bureau. Certaines propriétés pourraient être très attrayantes en raison de leur histoire ou de leur emplacement », a déclaré Gaetano Casertano, professeur en sciences immobilières à l’université Luiss de Rome.

    Cependant, même une vente totale des biens aura peu de chances de réduire considérablement l’endettement de l’Italie. Pour ce faire, le gouvernement devrait vendre ses participations dans des sociétés multinationales telles que la société pétrolière ENI et la société de défense Leonardo, explique le Financial Times. Toutefois, le dirigeant du Mouvement des Cinq étoiles, Luigi Di Maio, ministre italien du Développement économique, a déclaré qu’il n’acceptait pas cette solution.

    #ue #pillage #adp

  • Eden Bay à Ramlet el-Baïda : une seule solution, la démolition - Raja NOUJAIM - L’Orient-Le Jour

    https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1121011/eden-bay-une-seule-solution-la-demolition.html

    Plus d’un an et demi après l’attribution par le mohafez de Beyrouth, Ziad Chbib, du permis de construire à la société Eden Bay Resort SAL sur la parcelle 3689 Moussaitbé, à Ramlet el-Baïda, le scandale perdure. Le promoteur est en passe d’achever l’hôtel et continue d’empiéter illicitement sur les biens publics en édifiant sur le sable un grand escalier fixe en béton et pierres ; en aménageant une route vers la plage pour ses véhicules ; et surtout en haussant graduellement le niveau du sol sableux tout le long de son projet, le polluant par le rajout de terre afin de créer des passages… Tout ceci afin de pouvoir réserver le bénéfice exclusif de la plage à l’ouest de son bâtiment à son profit et celui de ses clients éventuels !

    #beyrouth #liban #immobilier #scandale_immobilier #Ramlet_el_Bayda

    • A Ramlet el-Baïda, l’Eden Bay Resort inauguré sur fond de manifestations - Suzanne BAAKLINI - L’Orient-Le Jour
      https://www.lorientlejour.com/article/1122651/inauguration-de-leden-bay-resort-sur-fond-de-manifestations.html

      C’était une scène surréaliste hier à Ramlet el-Baïda (plage de sable de Beyrouth). D’un côté le très controversé projet d’Eden Bay Resort inauguré en grande pompe, et de l’autre les militants de plusieurs groupes de la société civile qui manifestaient contre ce complexe touristique construit à même la plage, qu’ils combattent depuis bientôt deux ans. Le groupe de protestataires s’avance très loin sur la plage pour mieux se faire entendre de la foule sur la terrasse, jusqu’à se heurter au « mur » d’agents de l’ordre qui l’empêche d’aller plus loin, malgré sa contestation du fait que la plage forme une continuité indivisible. Bien que les agents aient affirmé que la mesure était « exceptionnelle », en raison de la « célébration » en cours, Ali Darwiche, président de Green Line, assure que « des pêcheurs ont essayé de traverser devant le projet hier (dimanche) et en ont été empêchés par des vigiles sur place ».

    • Le très contesté Lancaster Eden Bay vise un taux d’occupation de plus de 55% cet été

      https://www.lecommercedulevant.com/article/28492-le-tres-conteste-lancaster-eden-bay-vise-un-taux-doccupati

      Inauguré fin juin, l’établissement cinq étoiles bénéficie d’un accès direct à la plage de Ramlet el-Baïda, une localisation, sur l’une des dernières étendues publiques de Beyrouth, qui lui vaut d’être au cœur d’une vaste polémique.

    • Jad Tabet : 80 % de la côte libanaise a été privatisée
      https://www.lecommercedulevant.com/article/28384-jad-tabet-80-de-la-cote-libanaise-a-ete-privatisee

      Plusieurs affaires récentes sont venues rappeler l’appétit des promoteurs immobiliers pour le littoral. Trois projets de développement dans la région de Zouk Mosbeh, Zouk el-Kharab et Damour ont ainsi été approuvés par le Conseil des ministres, malgré leur rejet par le Conseil supérieur de l’urbanisme. En parallèle, à Enfé, l’évêché orthodoxe de Tripoli a lui aussi demandé l’autorisation d’utiliser le domaine public maritime, ranimant les craintes d’un projet de “village touristique” dans l’une des dernières régions préservées du pays. Entretien avec le président de l’ordre des ingénieurs et des architectes de Beyrouth, Jad Tabet, qui suit de près ces dossiers.

    • Itani: Some in municipality culpable in Ramlet al-Baida flooding | News , Lebanon News | THE DAILY STAR
      http://www.dailystar.com.lb//News/Lebanon-News/2018/Nov-17/469462-itani-some-in-municipality-culpable-in-ramlet-al-baida-flooding

      The Daily Star

      BEIRUT: Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani Saturday vowed to hold accountable some in the municipality who he said knew that a major sewer and storm drain had been blocked with concrete, but had remained silent about it.

      “There are people who knew and remained silent, or gave permission, and it’s true that nobody could have [poured this concrete] without someone seeing,” Itani said in a live interview on local news channel LBCI Saturday. The mayor Friday had called for an investigation into the matter after the blocked drain caused the main road at Beirut’s Ramlet al-Baida to flood following heavy rainfall.

    • The untouchable hotel | Executive Magazine
      https://www.executive-magazine.com/real-estate-2/the-untouchable-hotel

      While it is widely assumed that Lebanon’s real estate business is rife with unethical dealings, only a few detailed examples of wrongdoing actually come to light. In the case of Eden Bay, a resort situated along Ramlet al-Baida—Beirut’s last public beach—evidence of violations and fraud piled up throughout 2017.

      The disclosures culminated in the form of a report compiled mid-2017 by the president of the Beirut Order of Engineers and Architects (OEA), Jad Tabet. The report alleges eight violations related to Eden Bay and is informed by building documents released by the Municipality of Beirut. The report’s allegations range from the infringement of public property to the forgery of permit application material. As a whole, Tabet’s report portrays a development project for which legal obstacles were fudged or ignored entirely to deliver the lucrative seafront hotel. Public pressure from media coverage, a unified civil society movement, and even lawsuits initiated by NGOs and the environment ministry have not prevented the completion of the hotel.

    • Beirut’s last public beach: residents fear privatisation of Ramlet al-Baida | Cities | The Guardian

      https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/feb/02/beiruts-public-space-last-beach-residents-fear-privatisation-ramlet-al-

      A private development close to Beirut’s last remaining public beach is sparking anger among residents who fear companies will leave nothing for the poor and middle classes – encroaching further into a city that already lacks public space
      Cities is supported by
      Rockefeller Foundation
      About this content

      Alex Dziadosz in Beirut

      Thu 2 Feb 2017 07.15 GMT
      Last modified on Fri 11 May 2018 13.08 BST

      Take a stroll down the golden sands of Ramlet al-Baida, Beirut’s last public beach, and you’ll see families fishing and smoking shisha in ramshackle palm frond cabanas, boys kicking footballs under battered lamp-posts, and children building sandcastles in the waves. It is a rare outlet in a city where public spaces are few and far between. But at the beach’s southern end, the scene abruptly gives way to looming cranes and men in hard hats driving rebars into a rising edifice of concrete.

    • Beirut Destroys the City’s Last Public Beach
      https://www.oroom.org/forum/threads/beirut-destroys-the-city%E2%80%99s-last-public-beach.51610

      The controversy over the ownership of Ramlet El Bayda first made news headlinesback in 2012,and has since been at the center of a tug-of-war between activists, on the one hand, and real estate developers and officials, on the other.

      InJune 2016, government officials denied any speculation about the closure of the beach for real-estate-development purposes, after some of the installations were destroyed by excavators.

      Ziad Chebib, the governor of Beirut, hadsaid:

      The Ramlet El Bayda public beach will not be closed and any form of restricting citizens from accessing the shores, be it for constructional purposes or by erecting fences to close off the area is strictly prohibited.

      In this case, activists have the law on their side. Indeed,“Article 2 of Order 144,” the lawregulating coastalproperties in Lebanon since 1925, stipulates that the seashore until the farthest area reached by the waves during winter as well as sand and rocky shores are considered public property.

      But despite this law,decree changes and loopholeshave allowed more and more development to happen on the Lebanese coast.

      This is not the first case of coastal development in Lebanon happening at the expense of public property. Just recently, activists heldprotestsagainst the government’s plans to transformKfarabida’s rocky beachin the Batroun district in Northern Lebanon to yet another Yacht Club.

      The legality of this project has also been the subject of much controversy, as many rules are being bent by using ministerial decrees to get the project approved. Six months earlier, the issue of theAdlounbeach in South Lebanon was raised by local media outlets. It was reported that the natural coast was being destroyed in order to be replaced by a port worth26.6 million USDand erasing, in the process, a Phoenician port site of high cultural and archeological value. The excavations began with no proper environmental impact assessment prompting a conflict between the Ministry of Public Works and the Ministries of Environment and Culture.

    • No One Wants to Take the Blame for Friday’s Sewage floods | Blog Baladi
      https://blogbaladi.com/no-one-wants-to-take-the-blame-for-fridays-sewage-floods

      Every time it rains in Lebanon, sewer lines are blocked causing floods all over the road but what happened on Friday was a different story. Ramlet el Baida and Bliss streets were flooded by sewage because the main sewer and wastewater drain lines were blocked illegally.

      Beirut Gov. Ziad Chebib rushed to blame Eden Bay and the Ghobeiri municipality but a daily star article revealed that the governor had stopped works to unblock the sewer line a day before. Moreover, almost everyone in Lebanon is aware that this resort has blocked a sewer line for months now yet no actions were taken. Weirdly enough, Beirut Mayor Jamal Itani wasn’t aware of that blockage and had called for an investigation which will probably be forgotten sometime soon.

    • Legal Agenda
      http://legal-agenda.com/en/article.php?id=3647
      http://legal-agenda.com/uploads/1493812554-Page 5 - ruines-achouriennes.png

      Editor’s note: The following article was written prior to the recent ruling on April 11, 2017, in which the State Shura Council reversed its earlier decision that suspended the construction permit of the Eden Bay resort.

      The Eden Bay resort project (commonly known as the Eden Rock resort), situated at the southern tip of Beirut, has been a major topic of interest for public opinion and the Lebanese media. This is certainly due to several factors, namely that it is one of the few cases related to the protection of maritime public property with a positive, even if initial, outcome. Having issued three successive rulings, the judiciary has asserted itself as a weapon of public action against powerful companies and financiers. Not only has the investing company’s ongoing construction work in defiance of judicial orders infuriated many citizens. It has led to significant implications at the judicial level: because of these actions, the case now is not just one about the environment and protecting a beach, but also about the judiciary’s independence and the fight against corruption.

      In this article, I shall reflect on some lessons that the activist community might be able to draw on from this experience.

      Lesson 1: Access to Information is an Essential Part of the Battle to Annul Administrative Decisions

    • Ramlet el Baida : débordement du Privé sur le domaine public maritime - Cynthia BOU AOUN
      https://libnanews.com/ramlet-el-baida-debordement-prive-domaine-public-maritime-cynthia-bou-aou

      Depuis quelques semaines, les travaux d’excavation défigurent la plage de Ramlet el Baida sur la partie à l’extrême sud de la dernière plage publique restante à Beyrouth en vue de la construction d’un autre complexe touristique, l’ « Eden Bay Resort », ce qui suscita une mobilisation des ONG et de la société civile qui considèrent que le site fait partie du domaine public maritime. Le chantier a démarré après que le gouverneur de Beyrouth Ziad Chbib a libéré les parcelles appartenant à la « Société foncière touristique Eden Rock s.a.l » [3689 – 3690 – 3691 – 3692] en juin 2016, qui justifie cette décision hâtive en affirmant qu’il s’agit de « parcelles privées car à l’origine, elles étaient de nature rocheuse mais le sable les a envahit suite à l’interruption des travaux ». Cette décision s’accompagne de la signature du propriétaire d’un engagement à limiter la construction sur 2 bien-fonds [3691 – 3692] à « 1m maximum au-dessus du terrain naturel » [en d’autres termes à ce que la loi de construction permet pour les sous-sols] et à modifier en conséquence le permis de construire de sorte à relocaliser le projet sur la partie nord de la parcelle [3689 – 2390]. Bizarrement, ce permis à été approuvé sur base de cet engagement, avant même de présenter un nouveau dossier de permis modifié !

    • Development of public beaches sparks outrage in Lebanon
      https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/07/lebanon-public-beach-violations-hotel-tourism.html

      BEIRUT — Lancaster Eden Bay Hotel opened June 25 on Ramlet al-Baida seashore in Beirut, despite all the legal conflicts that occurred with the construction of the project. It had an invalid building permit, and the municipality of Beirut did not grant the hotel an occupancy permit. However, project owner Wissam Achour insisted on opening the hotel as a fait accompli.

      On May 9, Nahnoo — an NGO founded in 2009 that works to protect public property and cultural heritage in Lebanon — published a report b

    • http://lcps-lebanon.org/featuredArticle.php?id=111

      In a public statement last January, Beirut’s mayor reiterated his electoral promise to protect and harness the city’s coast as its most important resource. Yet, nine months after he assumed office, Mr. Itani has yet to make an announcement about how he will address forty illegal buildings that distort and privatize the city’s seafront.[1] In fact, Beirut’s municipal council has so far been publicly unresponsive to activists’ demands, namely that it intervene to stop encroaching development along the coast (and elsewhere). More alarming, the council and its president have remained mute about the Eden Rock/Eden Bay resort saga, the blatantly illegal seven-floor touristic development that was the subject of two decisions from the higher court council (Majlis al-Shura) before the city’s governor—ironically once a judge on the council himself—issued a statement ordering the developer to stop construction.

    • The last public beach in Beirut | 1843
      https://www.1843magazine.com/dispatches/dispatches/the-last-public-beach-in-beirut

      It’s one of the only spaces in Lebanon’s capital where people can mingle for free. But the shadow of private development looms large
      Ellie Violet Bramley | February 4th 2019

      On the afternoon I visit Ramlet al-Bayda beach, a young bride and groom are having their photograph taken. She holds her white dress up carefully, the voluminous skirt hovering a few inches above the sand like a frilly spaceship. Their friends and relatives buzz around them excitedly, playing music from their phones. Other beach-goers sit on plastic chairs close to the water’s edge, chatting, smoking argileh (the Lebanese word for shisha) and taking in the scene. Nearby, children are making the most of a seesaw and swings.

    • Beirut Municipality Removing Violations on #Ramlet_el_Bayda Beach | Blog Baladi
      https://blogbaladi.com/beirut-municipality-removing-violations-on-ramlet-el-bayda-beach

      It’s hard to mention violations on Ramlet el Bayda’s beach without the Eden Bay coming to mind, but it’s no longer a priority apparently or maybe they’re legit now (because Lebanon right?). Remember the sewage floods too last winter? Also forgotten.

      What seems to be a priority to the Beirut Municipality is removing a bunch of illegal bamboo beach bars and benches, set up on a beach infested by sewage waters and garbage, and surrounded by violating restaurants and cafes. Yes we’re all for removing violations but what’s the point of doing so when the beach poses serious health risks to all those swimming or sun-bathing?

      Now one can argue that it is not the municipality’s job to remove other violations, but what about the sidewalks? What about the garbage lying around? What about providing clean and free public beaches and green spaces to its residents? What about clean air? noise pollution? What about bicycle paths and safe pedestrian side walks? Where are we from all that?

      #liban #beyrouth #privatisation #côtes #plage

  • «On a créé des ghettos de vieux riches» : en #Bretagne, les habitants ne font pas de quartier avec les #résidences_secondaires
    https://www.francetvinfo.fr/economie/immobilier/prix-immobilier/on-a-cree-des-ghettos-de-vieux-riches-en-bretagne-les-habitants-ne-font

    Mi-avril, des tags contre les résidences secondaires ont recouvert les murs de treize communes bretonnes. Certains habitants sont vent debout contre ces nouveaux voisins qui font grimper les prix de l’#immobilier. Reportage sur la presqu’île de Rhuys, dans le Morbihan.

    #démographie #finances_locales #vieillissement #tourisme #cohésion_sociale #aménagement_du_territoire #urbanisme #littoral

  • Les opposants à EuropaCity bloquent les travaux de la future gare Alexandre-Reza Kokabi - 26 Juin 2019 - Reporterre
    https://reporterre.net/Les-opposants-a-EuropaCity-bloquent-les-travaux-de-la-future-gare

    Mercredi 27 juin 2019, une soixantaine de citoyens se sont réunis sur le site de la future gare Triangle-de-Gonesse pour bloquer les travaux de terrassement, commencés quelques jours avant. Cette gare en plein champ, selon les opposants, ouvrirait la voie à l’aménagement du projet de mégacentre commercial EuropaCity.

    Ce mercredi 26 juin, au petit matin, une soixantaine d’habitants, d’élus et d’activistes écologistes se sont donné rendez-vous en lisière des champs du « triangle du Gonesse ». Ils protestent contre le début des travaux de la gare Triangle-de-Gonesse, comprise dans le projet de la ligne 17 du futur métro du Grand Paris Express (GPE). Le permis de construire de la gare Triangle-de-Gonesse avait été validé en septembre 2018 et ses opposants avaient alors déposé un recours pour le faire annuler.

    « Il faut lutter, car cette gare ne desservirait pas les Gonessiens : la première habitation serait située à 1,7 kilomètre de la gare ! déplore Steven Januario Rodrigues, du mouvement politique Nous Gonessiens. C’est une aberration, aucun habitant ne rêve de prendre le métro ici. »

    En dépit des préoccupations des habitants, un grand sillon de plusieurs mètres de largeur, s’étendant sur des centaines de mètres, a été creusé par les bulldozers en plein champ de maïs. Michel, retraité, est le premier à l’avoir remarqué. C’était le vendredi 21 juin. « Je passais par là et j’ai vu des machines au milieu du champ avec, dessus, des publicités pour le terrassement, raconte-t-il. Les récoltes avaient déjà été massacrées. »

    « Ça correspond, pour nous, au début des travaux, estime Bernard Loup, président du Collectif pour le triangle de Gonesse (CPTG). Selon les indications rassemblées par le CPTG, ce chantier concernerait la réalisation de la canalisation des eaux usées de la gare. Mais nous ne savons même pas qui est le maître d’ouvrage ! s’insurge Bernard Loup. La Société du Grand Paris ? Grand Paris Aménagement ? Le Syndicat intercommunal Aménagement Hydraulique Vallées ? Nous voulons des réponses ! » Ce mercredi, les opposants à l’urbanisation du triangle de Gonesse avaient prévu de bloquer l’avancée des machines, mais celles-ci ne sont pas apparues. Ils se sont alors attelés à bâtir une butte de sable, de branchages, de pierres, de piquets et de plots pour retarder une nouvelle intrusion.

    « EuropaCity est tout le symbole d’un #monumentalisme complètement décalé avec les enjeux écologiques et sociaux » 

    « Nous ne lâcherons pas, car cette gare, c’est le cheval de Troie qui rendra irréversible l’urbanisation du triangle de Gonesse », prévient Bernard Loup, désireux de protéger ces terres fertiles du nord de Paris. La gare Triangle-de-Gonesse desservirait en fait une zone pensée pour accueillir le gigantesque projet EuropaCity : un demi-millier de boutiques, de quatre hôtels, d’une piste de ski, d’une salle de spectacle, des cinémas, d’un centre aquatique et d’un palais des congrès.

    Le sort du mégacomplexe commercial, culturel et sportif, estimé à 3,1 milliards d’euros, est actuellement ballotté entre décisions politiques et judiciaires. Ses promoteurs, le groupe Auchan et le conglomérat chinois Wanda, restent décidés à l’ériger et aspirent à y attirer près de 30 millions de visiteurs par an. Mais l’opposition est tenace : sur le terrain judiciaire, le plan local d’urbanisme (PLU) et la zone d’aménagement concerté (ZAC) — devant permettre l’urbanisation du triangle de Gonesse — ont pour l’heure été refusés par les tribunaux. Des appels sont en cours.

    Le CPTG et ses soutiens dénoncent une tentative de passage en force, alors que le gouvernement a récemment fait savoir au CPTG et au collectif Carma, qui propose un ambitieux projet d’agriculture périurbaine et de transition écologique pour le triangle de Gonesse, qu’il réfléchissait aux différentes options et que rien n’était décidé.

    « Commencer les travaux de la gare alors que le PLU et la ZAC sont en suspens, ce n’est rien d’autre qu’un déni de démocratie », dit Steven Januario Rodrigues. « On traverse en ce moment une grande canicule, et on va encore imperméabiliser des terres agricoles, bâtir d’énormes infrastructures de béton ? déplore Didier Delpeyrou, porte-parole d’Europe Écologie-Les Verts en Seine-Saint-Denis. EuropaCity est tout le symbole d’un monumentalisme complètement décalé avec les enjeux écologiques et sociaux. »

    Un nouveau rassemblement est prévu sur le triangle de Gonesse dimanche 30 juin, pour organiser la lutte contre la gare. Les opposants envisagent une demande de référé pour obtenir la suspension du chantier. Certains citoyens se sont également dits prêts à mener des actions de désobéissance civile pour éviter que les travaux ne reprennent.

    Le portfolio de notre reportage : https://reporterre.net/Les-opposants-a-EuropaCity-bloquent-les-travaux-de-la-future-gare

    #auchan #mulliez #immochan #immobilier_commercial #centres_commerciaux #europacity #des_grands_projets..._inutiles #agriculture #urbanisme #triangle_de_gonesse #terres #gonesse #ecologie #climat #centre_commercial #Ceetrus #immobilier #grande_distribution #destruction #vianney_mulliez

  • Bruxelles en mouvements n°300 - Mai-juin 2019
    http://www.ieb.be

    Ce numéro a été coordonné par Gautier Briade, Sarah De Laet, Maud Marsin et Andreas Stathopoulos. Illustrations de Philippe Meersseman.
    • Introduction : 286 + 300 = 40 ans d’histoire et de luttes urbaines
    • Planification urbaine & rapports de force sociopolitiques
    • Le Carré des Chardons restera-t-il un espace vert ?
    • Protéger et valoriser l’îlot industriel Citroën à la place de l’Yser
    • Le goût du G ?
    • La guerre des tours
    • Bruxelles, la marque qui tue la mort !
    • Le capitalisme vert est-il une bonne affaire du point de vue social ?
    • IEB et les mobilisations citoyennes : le Quartier Midi
    • La Cityvision, un choix citoyen
    • Réapproprier les espaces publics : pour mieux dominer ?
    • Voyage au centre commercial : la bulle financière

    Éditorial
    • Le journal de l’A-bruxellisation !

    DOSSIER : Il était 300 fois
    Dans ce numéro anniversaire, nous vous proposons de (re)découvrir une série de textes parus au cours de ces deux décennies. Ces textes nous paraissent intéressants par leur actualité persévérante, par l’éclairage qu’ils peuvent apporter à des processus actuels, ou encore pour ce qu’ils peuvent nous dire de l’évolution d’Inter-Environnement Bruxelles (IEB), fédération de comités de quartier et de groupes d’habitants.
    C’est aussi la preuve par 300 que le travail mené par les habitant·e·s et les associations – même s’il s’apparente parfois à celui de Sisyphe et qu’il est parsemé de réussites ou d’échecs –, se révèle bien nécessaire pour préserver la qualité de vie des Bruxellois·e·s et donner forme à une ville qui répond aux besoins de toutes et tous.

    Liste des points de dépôt De bonnes adresses
    Bruxelles en mouvements est distribué dans une série de lieux bruxellois.
    Anderlecht
    • Bibliothèque communale, rue du Chapelain, 1-7.
    • Centre culturel Escale nord, rue du Chapelain, 1-7.
    • Campus CERIA, avenue Emile Gryson, 1.
    • Ecole Ouvrière Supérieure, route de Lennik, 808.
    • Boutique culturelle, rue Van Lint, 16.
    • Centre d’entreprises Euclides, rue du Chimiste, 34-36.
    • CuroHall, rue Ropsy Chaudron, 7.
    • Les Pissenlits, chaussée de Mons, 192.
    • Union des locataires, Chaussée de Mons, 213.
    • Syndicat des locataires, square Albert Ier, 22.
    • Cosmos, rue Docteur de Meersman, 14.

    Bruxelles-Ville – Laeken
    • Bibliothèque Bockstael, boulevard Emile Bockstael, 246.
    • Maison de la Création, place Bockstael.
    • Maison de Quartier Espace S, rue de la Comtesse de Flandre, 4.
    • Maison de Quartier Mellery, rue Mathieu Desmaré, 10.
    • Cité Modèle - Maison de Quartier, avenue des Citronniers, 61.
    • Maison de la Création / Centre culturel BXL Nord, rue du Champ de l’Eglise, 2.
    • Maison de Quartier Willems, chaussée de Wemmel, 37.
    • Bruxelles BRAVVO, rue Moorslede, 54.
    • Parckfarm, parc de Tour et Taxis.

    Bruxelles-Ville – Neder-Over-Heembeek
    • Maison de la Création NOH, place Saint-Nicolas.
    • Maison de Quartier Rossignol, chemin du Rossignol, 18-20.

    Bruxelles-Ville – Pentagone
    • Point-Culture, rue Royale, 145.
    • Facultés universitaires Saint-Louis, boulevard du Jardin Botanique, 43.
    • Bozar, rue Ravenstein, 23.
    • NOVA, rue d’Arenberg, 3.
    • A la Mort Subite, rue Montagne-aux-Herbes-Potagères, 7.
    • Tropismes, Galerie du Roi, 11.
    • HOB, place de la Monnaie, 6.
    • Quartier Latin, place des Martyrs, 13.
    • El Metteko, boulevard Anspach, 88.
    • Le Coq, rue Auguste Orts, 14.
    • Halles Saint-Géry, place Saint-Géry.
    • Centre culturel des Riches Claires, rue des Riches Claires, 24.
    • Bibliothèque, rue des Riches Claires, 24.
    • Fin de siècle, rue des Chartreux, 9.
    • Den Teepot, Rue des Chartreux, 66.
    • Ligue des Droits de l’Homme, rue du Boulet, 22.
    • Onthaal Café, rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains, 5.
    • Passa porta, rue Antoine Dansaert, 46.
    • De Markten, Rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains, 5.
    • Centre Dansaert, rue d’Alost, 7.
    • Micromarché, quai à la Houille, 9.
    • KVS – Koninklijke Vlaamse Schouwburg, KVS Box, quai aux Pierres de Taille, 9.
    • Bruxelles Nous Appartient, rue de Laeken, 119.
    • Théâtre National, boulevard Emile Jacqmain, 111.
    • La Ferme du Parc Maximilien, quai du Batelage, 2.
    • Café Boom, rue Pletinckx, 7.
    • Académie des Beaux-Arts, rue du Midi, 144.
    • Centre Bruxellois d’Action Interculturelle – CBAI, avenue de Stalingrad, 24.
    • Bruxelles Laïque, avenue de Stalingrad, 8.
    • Pêle-mêle, boulevard Lemonnier, 55.
    • IHECS, rue de l’Etuve, 58.
    • Au Soleil, rue du Marché au Charbon, 86.
    • Recyclart, rue des Ursulines, 25.
    • Marché bio, rue des Tanneurs, 58-62.
    • Archives de la Ville de Bruxelles, rue des Tanneurs, 65.
    • Il est une fois, rue du Chevreuil, 20.
    • Chaff, place du Jeu de Balle, 21.
    • L’imaginaire, place du Jeu de Balle.
    • Warm water- L’eau chaude, rue des Renards, 25.
    • Pianocktail, rue Haute, 304.
    • Le 88 asbl, rue Haute, 88.

    Etterbeek
    • Bibliothèque néerlandophone, avenue d’Audergem, 191.
    • Atelier 210, chaussée Saint-Pierre, 210.
    • ATD Quart-Monde Belgique asbl, avenue Victor Jacobs, 12.
    • Centre culturel Senghor, Chaussée de Wavre, 366.
    • Bibliothèque Hergé, avenue de la Chasse, 211.
    • Maison Médicale Maelbeek, rue de l’Etang, 131.
    • Habitat et Rénovation, rue Gray, 81.
    • Maison de quartier Chambéry, rue de Chambéry, 24-26.

    Forest
    • Brass, avenue Van Volxem, 364.

    Ixelles
    • Horloge du Sud, rue du Trône, 141.
    • Bibliothèque Mercelis, rue Mercelis.
    • CIVA, Rue de l’Ermitage 55.
    • Le Pantin, Chaussée d’ixelles 355.
    • Mundo-B, rue d’Edimbourg, 26.
    • Varia, rue du Sceptre, 78.
    • ERG, rue du Page, 80.
    • Peinture fraîche, place de la Trinité.
    • Pêle-mêle, chaussée de Waterloo, 566.
    • Ecole AS IESSID, rue de l’Abbaye, 26.
    • Point Culture - Médiathèque ULB, Campus du Solbosch.
    • ULB - PUB, avenue Paul Héger, 42.
    • Gracq, rue de Londres, 15.
    • Maison des Solidarités, rue du Viaduc, 133.
    • La Cambre, place Eugène Flagey, 19.
    • Bike paradise, rue Américaine, 101.
    • Maison de la Paix, rue Van Elewyck, 35.
    • Point Culture - Médiathèque ULB, Campus de la plaine.
    • La Cambre, Abbaye de la Cambre.
    • La Cambre, avenue Louise.

    Jette
    • Centre Armillaire, boulevard de Smet de Naeyer, 145.
    • Bibliothèque Mercier, place Cardinal Mercier, 10.
    • Café Excelsior, rue de l’Eglise Saint-Pierre, 8.
    • Rouf-Ressourcerie Textile , chaussée de Wemmel, 37.
    • Maison médicale Antenne Tournesol, rue Henri Werrie, 69.
    • Maison médicale Esseghem, rue Esseghem, 24.

    Molenbeek-Saint-Jean
    • Maison des Cultures, rue Mommaerts, 4.
    • Centre communautaire Maritime, rue VandenBoogaerde, 93.
    • La Raffinerie, rue de Manchester, 21.
    • La Fonderie, rue Ransfort, 27.
    • Café de La Rue, rue de la Colonne, 30.
    • Centrum West asbl, rue de Menin, 42.
    • La Rue, rue Ransfort, 61.
    • Buurthuis Bonnevie, rue Bonnevie, 40.
    • Maison de quartier Heyvaert, quai de l’Industrie, 32.
    • Maison médicale Norman Béthune, rue Piers, 68.
    • RBDH (Rassemblement Bruxellois pour le Droit à l’Habitat), quai du Hainaut, 29.

    Saint-Gilles
    • Les 3 frères, place Morichar.
    • La Boule d’Or, avenue du Parc, 116.
    • Brasserie de l’union, Parvis de Saint-Gilles, 55.
    • Brasserie Verschuren, Parvis de Saint-Gilles, 11.
    • Maison du livre, rue de Rome, 24.
    • Centre culturel J. Franck, chaussée de Waterloo, 94.
    • Manuka, rue du Fort, 1.
    • De Piano Fabriek, rue du Fort, 35A.
    • Smart , rue Émile Féron, 70.
    • Cafétéria Village Partenaire, rue Fernand Bernier, 15.

    Saint-Josse
    • Radio Panik, rue Saint-Josse, 49.
    • Amazone asbl, rue du Méridien, 10.
    • Bibliothèque communale de Saint-Josse, rue de la Limite, 2.
    • GSARA, rue du Marteau, 26.
    • FABRIK , rue de la Commune, 62.
    • Filigranes, avenue des Arts.
    • Théatre de la vie, rue Traversière, 45.
    • Ateliers Mommen, rue de la charité.
    • Haecht 51-53, chaussée de Haecht, 51-53.

    Schaerbeek
    • Ecole de promotion sociale, rue de la Poste, 111.
    • CVB, rue de la Poste, 111.
    • L’âne vert - L’âne fou, rue Royale Sainte-Marie, 11.
    • Halles de Schaerbeek, rue Sainte-Marie, 13.
    • Bar du Gaspi, Chaussée de Haecht, 309.
    • Le Barboteur, avenue Louis Bertrand, 23.
    • Les idées à la pelle, avenue Louis Bertrand, 25.
    • Centre Culturel de Schaerbeek, rue de Locht, 91/93.
    • Soleil du Nord, place Gaucheret, 20.
    • Maison médicale Le Noyer, avenue Félix Marchal, 1a.

    Uccle
    • Candelaershuys, avenue Brugmann, 433.
    • Bibliothèque communale, rue du Doyenné, 64.
    • La Roseraie, chaussée d’Alsemberg, 1299.
    • Bibliothèque communale flamande, rue de Broyer, 27.
    • Ecole des Arts, avenue De Fré, 11.
    • Coté Village, chaussée d’Alsemberg, 895.
    • Centre culturel d’Uccle, rue Rouge, 47.
    • ISTI, rue J. Hazard, 34.
    • Centre Montjoie, chaussée de Waterloo, 935.

    Watermael-Boitsfort
    • Espace Delvaux, rue Gratès, 3.
    • Bibliothèque communale, rue des Trois-Tilleuls, 32.
    • Psylophone, rue de l’Hospice communal, 90.
    • La Vénerie, place Antoine Gilson, 3.

    Woluwe-Saint-Lambert
    • Cook & Book, avenue Paul Hymans, 251.
    • Le 75, avenue J.-Fr. Debecker, 10.
    • Chantier du Temps Libre, cours Paul Henri Spaak, 1.

    Abonnez-vous à Bruxelles en mouvements

    http://www.ieb.be/Abonnez-vous-a-Bruxelles-en-mouvements

    Vous pouvez souscrire à un abonnement annuel en nous faisant parvenir vos coordonnées.
    Le montant annuel de l’abonnement pour les particuliers est de 24 euros à verser sur notre compte : IBAN BE33 2100-0902-0446 / BIC GEBABEBB .
    L’abonnement comprend, si vous le souhaitez, l’envoi chaque semaine par courrier électronique, de l’« Inventaire des enquêtes publiques en Région de Bruxelles-Capitale ».
    Offres valables en Belgique. Pour les autres types d’abonnement, nous contacter : Inter-Environnement Bruxelles.

    Dans les #kiosques #Bruxelles #bruxellisation #urbanisme #spéculation #immobilier #bruxellisation #bruxelles_capitale #espace_public #marchandisation #pietonnier #lutte #médias_libres #médias 
 

  • Une brève histoire du périphérique

    La maire de #Paris, Anne Hidalgo, s’est déclarée favorable ce mardi à l’abaissement de la vitesse à 50 km/h sur le #périphérique, ainsi qu’à des mesures préconisées par un rapport d’une mission d’information et d’évaluation. Retour sur l’histoire du #périph', qui n’a pas encore fêté ses 50 ans.

    https://www.franceculture.fr/histoire/une-breve-histoire-du-peripherique

    #histoire #enceinte_de_Thiers #Zone #urbanisme #Transport #pollution

  • Wem gehört #Berlin? Mit einem Geflecht aus Briefkastenfirmen hat di...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9138491

    Wem gehört #Berlin? Mit einem Geflecht aus Briefkastenfirmen hat die Milliardärsfamilie Pears ihre Einkaufstour verschleiert. Längst zählt sie zu den geheimen Großeigentümern der Stadt. Im Schaukasten verweist ein Blatt auf 76 Firmen, die sich den selben Briefkasten teilen. Viele davon sind in Berlin als Eigentümer von Immobilien eingetragen. https://interaktiv.tagesspiegel.de/lab/das-verdeckte-imperium

  • Bürgerrecherche „Wem gehört Berlin?" "Wenn einer meiner Nachbarn au...
    https://diasp.eu/p/9138469

    Bürgerrecherche „Wem gehört Berlin?" „Wenn einer meiner Nachbarn auszieht, verwandelt der Eigentümer die Wohnung in ein möbliertes Appartement, das nur für begrenzte Zeit vermietet wird. Der Eigentümer ist ein Fonds in Luxemburg. Denn dort zahlen die Investoren kaum Steuern. Die Berliner Politik ist ahnungslos.“ #Berlin #wohnen https://correctiv.org/aktuelles/wem-gehoert-berlin/2019/05/31/pears-recherche-immobilien-berlin

  • BVV-Notizen Februar 2019 - DIE LINKE. Steglitz-Zehlendorf : Linksfraktion
    http://www.dielinke-steglitz-zehlendorf.de/index.php?id=43739

    CDU und Grüne scheitern mit einem gegen die Oppositionsparteien gerichteten Antrag

    Gestaunt haben die Bezirksverordneten von SPD, FDP und Linken, als der CDU-Fraktionsvorsitzende zu Beginn der Sitzung einen Antrag auf Abänderung der Tagesordnung stellte. Herr Hippe verlangte, dass drei Tagesordnungspunkte von SPD, FDP und Linksfraktion, die in der Januar-Sitzung der BVV aus Zeitgründen nicht mehr besprochen werden konnten, ganz ans Ende der Tagesordnung der übervollen Februar-BVV verschoben werden sollten. Die Begründung von Herrn Hippe, warum es den Anträgen zum Geisterhaus Gardeschützenweg 3, zur Suche von Mitarbeiter*innen im Bezirksamt und zur Aufwandsentschädigung der Senior*innenvertretung an den Kragen gehen sollte, war ganz schlicht:

    Die Anträge seien unwichtig! Ob dem so ist, mögen die Bürger*innen des Bezirks, die unter Personalmangel leiden und die Senior*innenvertretung Steglitz-Zehlendorf selbst entscheiden. Zum Geisterhaus Gardeschützenweg 3 kann nur wiederholt werden, was der RBB mehrfach berichtete: Torsten Hippe von der CDU Steglitz-Zehlendorf ist der Anwalt des Eigentümers Santosh A. Kann es sein, dass Herr Hippe sein Anwaltsmandat und sein BVV-Mandat verwechselt hat, als er den Antrag aus dem Weg räumen wollte?

    Der Ausgang dieses undemokratischen Vorgangs ist schnell erzählt: Die schwarz-grüne Zählgemeinschaft hat die Abstimmung mit 24 zu 25 Stimmen verloren, da einige ihrer Verordneten fehlten. Torsten Hippe war sichtlich wütend darüber, dass die AfD-Fraktion nicht mit der Zählgemeinschaft für die Änderung der Tagesordnung stimmte. Am Mittwochabend fehlte ebenfalls der AfD-Fraktionsvorsitzende Peer Döhnert. Gut möglich, dass die Herren Hippe und Döhnert eine andere Absprache vor der BVV-Sitzung getroffen hatten. Es wäre nicht das erste Mal gewesen! Bei der Fraktion der Grünen ist übrigens bisher kein offener Protest gegen die Absprachen zwischen CDU und AfD zu erkennen.

    Weiterhin keine Kältehilfe im Bezirk - dafür aber 1,5 Stunden „Diskussion“ über den neuen Radweg im Dahlemer Weg

    Da CDU und Grüne neuerdings festlegen wollen, was in einer demokratisch gewählten Bezirksverordnetenversammlung wichtig und unwichtig ist, muss man es sehr ernst nehmen, dass am Mittwochabend 1,5 Stunden über den neuen Radweg am Dahlemer Weg gesprochen wurde. Die Große Anfrage kam von der FDP, die CDU hatte aber mit drei Rednern und über 30 Minuten den mit Abstand größten Debatten-Anteil. Gegen 22:00 Uhr wurde die BVV-Sitzung auf Antrag der CDU 10 Minuten vor dem offiziellen Schluss beendet.

    Nicht mehr besprochen werden konnte u. a. eine Große Anfrage der LinksfraktionSZ zur fehlenden Kältehilfe im Bezirk.Zur Erinnerung: Es gab und gibt in diesem Winter in Steglitz-Zehlendorf nicht einen einzigen Kältehilfeplatz. Alle anderen 11 Berliner Bezirke bieten Schlafplätze für Menschen ohne Obdach an. Die von Schwarz-Grün angekündigte Eröffnung einer Kältehilfeeinrichtung in der Bergstraße in Wannsee ist ausgeblieben, obwohl ein verlässlicher Betreiber bereitstand. Für die Zählgemeinschaft ist das alles keine Aufregung wert. Sie streitet sich lieber über den Radweg am Dahlemer Weg, der der CDU und ihren drei Abgeordnetenhausmitgliedern sogar ein unfreiwilliges Satirevideo wert ist: https://tinyurl.com/y4obf8kf

    Jede politische Partei legt ihre eigenen Schwerpunkte: Schwarz-Grün ist der Radweg am Dahlemer Weg allem Anschein nach wichtiger als die Kältehilfe, Schulsanierung, die Unterbringung Geflüchteter, Milieuschutz, günstiger Wohnraum usw.

    Erfolgreicher Einwohner*innenantrag zum Gedenk- und Lernort an das Stalag III D in Lichterfelde Süd eingebracht

    Aufgrund der Weigerung von CDU und Grünen und der Enthaltung der SPD bei einem Antrag auf Vorverlegung des Tagesordnungspunktes, mussten die ca. 15 Bürger*innen, die extra zur Einbringung des mit rund 1200 Unterschriften erfolgreichen Antrages „Historischer Gedenk- und Lernort in Lichterfelde Süd“ erschienen waren, fast vier Stunden ausharren, bevor der Zeitpunkt zur Einbringung erreicht war.

    Annette Pohlke von der Initiative KZ-Außenlager Lichterfelde hielt eine bewegende Rede über die Notwendigkeit eines würdigen und angemessenen Gedenk- und Lernorts Strafgefangenenlager III D in Lichterfelde Süd (in Auszügen hier nachzulesen: https://tinyurl.com/y4okhb4h ). Ab Ende 1941 waren am Landweg mehrere Tausende Kriegsgefangene interniert. Heute liegt das Gelände auf dem Baugebiet der Groth-Gruppe.Alle Fraktionen sprachen sich am Abend für die Einrichtung des Lern- und Gedenkortes aus. Besonders interessant war dabei zu beobachten, dass erst die CDU-Fraktion den Erhalt der noch vorhandenen Gebäude am authentischen Ort in Frage stellte und anschließend die Grünen-Fraktion durch Michael Gaedicke wissen ließ, dass das Gelände im Privatbesitz der Groth-Gruppe sei und deswegen die Einrichtung eines Gedenk und Lernortes nicht einfach sei, „vor allem wenn öffentliche Interessen gegeneinander abgewogen werden müssen und die wachsende Stadt zu ihrem Recht kommen will“. Danach lobte Gaedicke noch die Groth-Gruppe, die die Inventarisierung des Geländes durch ihr Geld überhaupt erst ermöglicht habe. Hans-Walter Krause von der LinksfraktionSZ merkte an, dass es sehr auffällig sei, dass CDU und Grüne zwei Anträge von Linken und SPD, die die Einrichtung eines Gedenk- und Lernortes am historischen Ort fordern, zum Teil seit Monaten verschoben haben, anstatt durch Zustimmung den gemeinsamen Willen der BVV auf Einrichtung eines Gedenk- und Lernortes zu bekräftigen und anschließend die Details zu regeln (siehe: https://tinyurl.com/y6coscye und https://tinyurl.com/y4wutmok).

    Wir werden genau beobachten, ob die CDU zusammen mit den Grünen nur das Baufeld für ihren Parteifreund und Großspender Klaus Groth freiräumen will oder ob ernsthaft eine gute Lösung für den Gedenk- und Lernort Strafgefangenenlager III D gesucht wird.

    CDU, Grüne und AfD weiterhin gegen Aufwandsentschädigung der Senior*innenvertretung

    Nachdem CDU und Grüne keinen Erfolg damit hatten, den Antrag von SPD und LinksfraktionSZ für eine „Aufwandsentschädigung für die Arbeit der Seniorenvertretung Steglitz-Zehlendorf“ (https://tinyurl.com/y6k64zte) ans Ende der Tagesordnung und damit bis mindestens Ende März 2019 zu verschieben, hat die Zählgemeinschaft gemeinsam mit der AfD den Antrag abgelehnt. Herr Hippe von der CDU nutzte noch die Gelegenheit und machte sich über anwesende Vertreter*innen der BI Schlachtensee (https://wirinschlachtensee.home.blog) lustig. Wenn er den Senior*innen im Bezirk eine Entschädigung zahlen müsse, dann müsse er wohl leider auch der Bürgerinitiative Schlachtensee Geld zahlen...

    Herr Hippe ist nicht der Kaiser von Steglitz-Zehlendorf, sondern nur Vorsitzender der CDU-Fraktion. Eine Entschädigung würde nicht er, sondern das Bezirksamt zahlen, dem Herr Hippe nicht angehört. Dass bereits fünf andere Bezirksämter in Berlin ihre Senior*innenvertretungen unterstützen, interessierte CDU, Grüne und AfD nicht. Man hat es bei diesen Parteien allem Anschein nach nicht gerne, wenn sich u. a. auch Bürger*innen in die Politik einmischen, die nicht das Parteibuch und die eigene Meinung teilen.

    Anträge der LinksfraktionSZ zum Leerstand, Geisterhaus Gardeschützenweg 3 und dem Ausbau der S1/S7 zwischen Wannsee und Potsdam erfolgreich ins Ziel gebracht:

    Angenommen wurden in der letzten BVV-Sitzung unter anderem drei Anträge, die auf unsere Initiative zurückgehen:

    1) Gemeldeter Leerstand im Bezirk soll statistisch erfasst werden (https://tinyurl.com/y2cu5b8t)

    2) für das Geisterhaus Gardeschützenweg 3 soll die Anwendung des Treuhänder-Modells nach § 4b Zweckentfremdungsverbot-Gesetz geprüft werden (https://tinyurl.com/y3v22fko) und

    3) die S1/S7 soll zwischen Wannsee und Potsdam frühzeitig zweigleisig ausgebaut werden (https://tinyurl.com/y5pnmfdq).

    #Berlin #Steglitz-Zehlendorf #logement #immobilier #histoire #nazis

  • Croix : manifestation “contre les suppressions d’emploi” devant le siège d’Auchan AFP - 23 Mai 2019 - France 3 Régions
    https://france3-regions.francetvinfo.fr/hauts-de-france/nord-0/lille-metropole/croix-manifestation-contre-suppressions-emploi-devant-s

    Près d’une centaine de personnes manifestaient ce jeudi devant le siège d’Auchan Retail à Croix (Nord), à l’appel de la CGT, pour « refuser les suppressions d’emploi » qui menacent la filiale française et réclamer « le remboursement des aides versées par l’Etat ».

    Confronté de son propre aveu à une situation économique « très difficile », Auchan France avait annoncé le 30 avril la prochaine mise en vente de 21 sites jugés insuffisamment rentables, concernant potentiellement 700 à 800 salariés.

    « Un PSE ne se négocie pas, il se combat ! Non aux licenciements », pouvait-on lire ce jeudi sur une banderole déployée devant les grilles du siège. Plusieurs dizaines de salariés, venus notamment de Roubaix, Tourcoing, Valenciennes (Nord) ou encore Amiens (Somme), et quelques « gilets jaunes » en soutien, étaient rassemblés dans le calme.

    « Les salariés sont en colère, inquiets » et « notre première requête aujourd’hui (jeudi), c’est de réclamer l’argent public ! Auchan a profité de plus de 500 millions d’aides d’Etat au titre du CICE [entre 2013 et 2018], qui devait permettre de maintenir l’emploi, le défendre et le développer, et pas le supprimer ! », a martelé Gérald Villeroy, délégué syndical central de la CGT Auchan. Il a assuré que la CGT « ne signerait pas le PSE ».

    « On a 800 personnes qui se demandent ce qu’ils vont devenir alors qu’ils ont donné leur force, leur énergie, leur temps à cette entreprise ! », s’est aussi alarmé Eric Mars, délégué du magasin de Petite-Forêt.
    . . . . . . . . .

    #auchan #mulliez #centres_commerciaux #centre_commercial #immobilier #grande_distribution #hyper_marché #CICE #licenciements

  • Pangea has taken thousands to eviction court. The story of an apartment empire | Feature | Chicago Reader
    https://m.chicagoreader.com/chicago/chicago-evictions-pangea/Content?oid=70318054


    Ce reportage d’un monde capitaliste idéal explique d’une manière très détaillée comment fonctionne l’industrie immobilière pour les pauvres. Pour résumer l’article dans une seule phrase : Les bailleurs des pauvres travaillent comme les usuriers mais sont plus propres sur eux que les marchands de sommeil criminels.

    Connaissant la situation aux États Unis nous sommes quasiment obligés de nous engager pour la protection et l’amélioration des droits des locataires.

    Pangea has taken thousands to eviction court. The story of an apartment empire
    The company has claimed credit for reviving south and west side communities, even as it’s filed more than 9,000 eviction cases since 2009.

    by Maya Dukmasova
    May 16, 2019

    Krystal Horton arrived at the downtown court building that Thursday morning in June with her two kids in tow and only minutes to spare before her 9:30 eviction hearing. She found a long line at security, struggled to get her baby daughter’s stroller through the X-ray, and lost more time scrambling to the Daley Center’s childcare room on the 13th floor, only to learn that the staff can’t admit a kid under two. By the time she made it to the courtroom she figures she was at least 15 minutes late for the hearing.

    A trial had been held without her. She’d been evicted and would have to vacate her apartment immediately or be prepared for sheriff’s deputies to show up any day. A judgment was entered against her, which marked in her credit history that she owed her landlord $2,241.

    This was in 2016. Horton, then 34, had been living with her kids, 1 and 11, in a four-story brick courtyard building in East Chatham for a year and a half. The property had been foreclosed and boarded up and was on the city’s troubled building list until a local real estate company bought and rehabbed it four years before she moved in.

    Horton had been working as a full-time certified nursing assistant with a hospice company—work she got into after caring for her father as he died from ALS. She’d had a lot of challenges in her 20s—marrying right out of high school and getting divorced; suffering a life-threatening bite to the face from her beloved dog, which resulted in reconstructive surgery; dropping out of college after getting pregnant; fighting one ex for years to receive child support for their son; and more fights with another ex over child support for her baby daughter. Still, she has an optimistic and resilient disposition, and the two-bedroom apartment in Chatham represented “independence. That I could do it as a single parent, even with all the struggles I had going on, that I could provide for my family, put a roof over our heads. It gave me sunlight to a brighter future.”

    The exterior of the building was “immaculate,” she remembered. Landscaping that included neat flower beds and crenellation around the roof gave it the air of a castle. Horton was mostly satisfied with her unit: it was roomy, with hardwood floors and good light through its third-floor windows. But there were issues. The toilet clogged easily, and after heavy rain she’d see cracks and mold on the walls. This worried her because of her son’s asthma, but she said it would take several calls to get the landlord to send a repairman, and he wouldn’t do much beyond spray paint over the mold anyway. Her biggest concern, though, was that the gates of the property were frequently broken; since she had a tumultuous relationship with her daughter’s father she didn’t want him to have easy access to her front door.

    Around the time her daughter was born in 2015, Horton was laid off. For several months after she freelanced, driving around the Chicago area to care for dying people in their homes. In April 2016, after her car required more than $2,000 in repairs for a broken transmission, she couldn’t cover the $717 monthly rent.

    She thought she had an understanding with her property manager—she said he’d agreed to let her pay what she could at the beginning of May and take some time to catch up on what she owed. But a new guy who replaced him wouldn’t accept partial payments. The eviction case against Horton was filed on May 20.


    Travis Roozée - Krystal Horton was evicted from a Pangea property in East Chatham in 2016.

    Nearly a month later, a private detective showed up at her door with a summons addressed to someone else living at a building owned by the same landlord a mile away. Horton said that when she pointed out the error, the detective told her to go to court anyway. It didn’t feel right to her. “If my name is on the lease then anything pertaining to the lease is gonna have my name on it.” (Indeed, per state law, serving someone with a summons that isn’t addressed to them or to anyone over the age of 13 at the same address doesn’t constitute service.) The summons included an ominous warning in legalese: “If you do not file an appearance and contest the claim a judgment by default may be entered for the relief requested in the complaint, ordering that you be evicted.”

    Horton was determined to fight her case; she said she wanted to stay in her unit and believed she’d be able to scrape together the back rent soon. She didn’t realize that being late to her June hearing would mean that her eviction would be set in stone. In the courtroom that day, a uniformed bailiff suggested she file a motion to ask the judge to reconsider. Horton did just that. She wrote the motion in neat cursive, requesting “the opportunity to make payment arrangements and continue residing in the unit. I was served the wrong paperwork and would like the chance to represent myself in court.”

    Horton had the right idea: because she wasn’t properly served with a correct summons the eviction judgment could be thrown out and her landlord would have to restart the case from scratch. In fact, tenants can always ask judges to reconsider eviction orders; within the first month any judge can hear their motions, but afterward a tenant has to go back to the same judge that ordered the eviction.

    Her chances looked good. After she filed her motion she got a July 29 hearing date. But once again, she was late. The judge struck her motion—which isn’t the same as a denial. A strike is an erasure of the request rather than a decision that it has no merit. Horton would have to file another motion, and later that day she did.

    Her second motion was struck in early August, “for lack of jurisdiction.” Horton was in court on time but because a month had passed since the eviction was entered, the assigned judge sent the case back to the first judge who had evicted her. She filed a third motion, which was struck again, this time without explanation.

    By then, it was late August. Her hopes of being able to stay in the East Chatham apartment had dwindled. She started packing her belongings, although she said she was under the impression that the sheriff couldn’t put her out while she had motions pending. Things became increasingly chaotic in her personal life around then too. Her daughter’s father punched her son and was arrested (he later pleaded guilty). She was going to court to deal with that case as she was fighting the eviction.

    The fourth and final motion she filed was terse and no longer attempted to challenge the summons. “I am requesting time to pay owed rent and stay in the above unit,” she wrote. She was granted a court date of September 2. The morning after she submitted the motion, August 24, the sheriff’s deputies came to evict at 11:30. Horton was at work, she said, but arrived later that day to a neon-green “no trespassing” sticker on her front door. The locks had been changed. She called the property manager.

    “I said ’Hey, what’s going on? I have legal documents, I have a court date,’” she recalled. She said he gave her a two-hour window the next day to clear out—a day she remembered as a blurred rush to salvage her possessions. “I went into a cougar moment,” she described, trying to pack what was most important and deal with the expensive movers she was forced to hire at the last minute to take her furniture to a storage unit. “I had a full furnished living room, two furnished bedrooms, I had toys, I had a crib—that’s a lot to get out in two hours.”

    She remembered scrambling, leaving mattresses and other furniture in the building’s hallways, thinking she could retrieve them the next day.

    “I was able to get a good half of my things out but I lost lots of my clothes, my ironing board, a lot of my son’s toys, furniture, a high chair, my TV. I had a whole fridge full of food, pots and pans, silverware.” She inventoried these things with a speed that belied the anguish of the losses. “Two big containers of Legos my son had saved up for eight years. I had two totes full of scrubs. . . .” She figured she left at least $5,000 worth of stuff behind.

    Horton wanted to come back to collect more of her things the next day, but had no luck reaching the property manager. One year later, she still couldn’t believe that all of this was over a couple months of back rent. She had figured a large company would be more lenient, give her at least three, maybe even six months to catch up on rent before taking her to court. “On my block alone they had my building, the building across the street, on the corner, on the next corner. They had a block radius of apartments on the block in Chatham where I lived,” she said. “Being put out of the property after two months [of not paying rent] was very discouraging.” It didn’t make sense to her that they wouldn’t want to take her money by the time she’d gotten it together in August. But she also understood the landlord’s perspective. “You gotta cover expenses for the building, you gotta pay for property managers, for the cleanup—all that is costs,” she said. “But when you have someone who fell on hard times and they want to pay and they have the money to pay, I think that’s something they should have considered.”

    It’s difficult to overstate the degree of historical disinterest in the eviction of renters in Chicago, a city where issues of race and poverty have been meticulously scrutinized by academics, the media, and the government for decades. While public housing and its troubles were the stuff of books, studies, TV specials, film, and endless news coverage, rental housing in poor neighborhoods went largely unexamined—particularly the financial and social dynamics between landlords and tenants. The last research study of Chicago’s eviction court was published in 2003 and until now little has been known about the outcomes of the approximately 20,000 cases filed there every year. (County court data isn’t subject to the Freedom of Information Act and is released at the discretion of the chief judge; requests can take months to process.) Evictions have mostly sparked public debate when they’ve touched homeowners, particularly during the Contract Buyers’ League battle against predatory home sellers beginning in the late 1960s and during the recent mortgage foreclosure crisis.

    This inattention to eviction is not unique to Chicago. For much of America’s urban history, eviction has been a phenomenon in the shadows of personal embarrassment about poverty, racist and classist stereotypes about who is being evicted, and political ideologies that place renters’ welfare second to landlords’ property rights. It wasn’t until 2016, when sociologist Matthew Desmond published his book Evicted—a landmark study of the effects of eviction on tenants, landlords, and neighborhoods—that the problem entered into popular consciousness as a massive social issue worth caring about. Desmond found that eviction affects Black women at about the same rate as incarceration affects Black men and that it can plunge low-income households facing an unexpected financial emergency into an unstoppable cycle of poverty.

    Last year, Desmond launched the Eviction Lab at Princeton University and created the first national database of court-ordered evictions. But examining court data offers only a narrow glimpse of the scale of the eviction crisis and doesn’t account for “off-the-books” tenant displacements due to gentrification or landlord neglect. (In Milwaukee, Desmond found, only about a quarter of evictions were the result of a formal court process.)

    The Eviction Lab’s data indicates that national eviction case filings have been on the decline since 2012, in tandem with the economic recovery. (This is true for Chicago, too, a Reader analysis of court records showed.) Even so, in 2016 alone, almost a million of the nation’s 43.3 million renter households were evicted—that’s about how many homeowners were foreclosed on at the height of the recession.

    “If that amount holds up, and we’re seeing that amount of eviction every year, that’s like seeing the foreclosure crisis every year,” sIllustrations by Anna Jo Becaid Lavar Edmonds, a research specialist at the Lab. “For those who, I don’t know . . . have a soul, that should be alarming.”


    Illustrations by Anna Jo Bec k

    Most evictions are prompted by unpaid rent—rent that’s becoming unaffordable to a growing segment of the population. Yet research on how landlords may be driving the affordability crisis is scarce and conversations about profiteering are politically unpopular. In January, Desmond and MIT’s Nathan Wilmers published a paper in the American Journal of Sociology attempting to answer a simple question: “Do the Poor Pay More for Housing?” They found that nationwide, and in Milwaukee in particular, tenants in poor neighborhoods are systematically overcharged for rent relative to the value of their landlords’ properties and that landlords in poor neighborhoods make more profit than those in middle-income and wealthy neighborhoods. But much more research remains to be done on these dynamics in Chicago, where the study of evictions is still in its infancy. While the narrative that emerged from the foreclosure crisis was about irresponsible banks greedily colluding against hapless families striving to fulfill the American Dream, eviction is still typically seen as a deadbeat’s problem.

    To combat this stereotype, eviction researchers have focused on the wider impact of individual tenants’ displacement. “As you see higher rates of eviction you risk tampering with the social cohesion in a neighborhood,” Edmonds said. Studies are now finding that crime rates, employment, mental health, and other markers of neighborhood well-being are affected as tenants churn through buildings and their children churn through schools.

    Indeed, the areas of Chicago where the most evictions occur—Black neighborhoods on the south and west sides—also have the highest rates of joblessness and violent crime. These neighborhoods bore the brunt of the city’s school and mental health clinic closures. These are neighborhoods that have the most city ticket debt and the most bankruptcy filings, where homeowners and small businesses are burdened with unfairly high property tax assessments, and where Chicago police officers conduct the most stops and are most accused of misconduct. These are the neighborhoods where one company saw a golden business opportunity.

    Pangea, the company that owns Horton’s old building and 35 others in a half-square-mile area of East Chatham, started buying buildings in economically beleaguered south and west side neighborhoods in 2009, the year they began operating out of a squat glass office building in River North.

    The company’s history is often told as a tale of benevolent intervention. Amid a disastrous recession, Pangea offered hope for a return of investment in Black neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosures and the folding of community banks that had once financed an ecosystem of mom-and-pop landlords. The company fixed up dilapidated apartment buildings by the block, restoring the architectural character of historic neighborhoods. Often, it bought properties from the city’s troubled building list and successfully restored them to safe habitability, city records and officials confirm.

    Led by a team of young, mostly white men with backgrounds in finance and tech, Pangea—known variably as Pangea Real Estate, Pangea Ventures, Pangea Properties, and Pangea Equity Partners—presented itself as a modern real estate player that stuck to old-school business principles. The company would buy, rehab, and directly operate apartment buildings without involving middle-men property managers. They also used “data and analytics” to screen tenants and triage maintenance.

    Al Goldstein, the company’s founder and now board chair, describes Pangea simply: “We’re good guys” catalyzing economic revival in south and west side neighborhoods and providing affordable housing to the working class. During an interview with the Reader last summer, he said that the company’s mission from the beginning was to build a big, sustainable business on the foundation of high-quality customer service. “Buy these buildings, reinvest in them, make them nice, re-tenant them, and prove to all of the third-party constituents that this can actually work,” he said. By “this,” he means a successful, tech-savvy, non-slum-lordy real estate business reliant on low-income renters.
    Pangea’s apartment empire consists mostly of buildings with more than six units. Nearly three-quarters of their holdings are in South Shore, Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Woodlawn, and Austin. - TRAVIS ROOZÉE


    Travis Roozée - Pangea’s apartment empire consists mostly of buildings with more than six units. Nearly three-quarters of their holdings are in South Shore, Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Woodlawn, and Austin.

    Goldstein is 38 years old, but he looks younger. He’s got muscular arms, gelled hair, slightly sad eyes, and a persistent five o’clock shadow. He dresses casually and though he appears to like talking he always seems slightly shy in the spotlight, whole words nearly disappearing from his quick-clipped speech. But despite this modest manner he’s got a killer instinct and a track record of building successful businesses. Though he once joked that Pangea was named after the ancient supercontinent to reflect the company’s “world dominance aspirations,” he’s since generally adopted a more sophisticated manner in describing the company’s goals. He says it was never Pangea’s intention to flip these buildings or to sit on them and let them deteriorate in anticipation of higher property values. “We have a long-term view: we’re going to own forever.”

    Goldstein and his cofounders pitched Pangea to investors with this narrative: Chicago’s low-income neighborhoods were “in a tough situation because the financial crisis hit them really hard,” and would-be investors had the power to help. Goldstein said it wasn’t a hard sell. He closed deals with visual aids. “You look at the before photo, you look at the after photo, and look at the people that actually move into the buildings. They’re really happy.”

    Pangea grew quickly. In 2009 the company began with a handful of employees and acquired nearly 1,200 apartments in Chicago. The next year its portfolio doubled. By the end of 2012 the company owned more than 4,000 units in Chicago and more in the south and west suburbs. It had also expanded into Baltimore and Indianapolis, and raised about $180 million from investors including Wall Streeters, west coast venture capitalists, and legendary local financiers like Norman Bobins and Jim Reynolds, both of whom sit on Pangea’s board of directors.

    Goldstein made Crain’s 40 under 40 at 32. By the time he took a step back from running Pangea to launch a new company in 2013, an efficient system for acquisition, rehab, and tenant relations was in place. Pangea would spend between $15,000 and $20,000 to purchase each unit, Goldstein explained in interviews with Chicago magazine and on tastytrade.com’s finance talk show “Bootstrapping in America.” Then they’d spend about the same amount to rehab, as the company revived historic masonry and hardwood floors, fixed plumbing and HVAC, and installed new kitchen cabinetry and appliances. The investments paid off.

    Forbes reported that Pangea’s revenue had grown by an impressive 13,323 percent since its founding—from $500,000 in 2009 to $60 million at the end of 2013. That year, Pangea also broke onto Inc.’s list of the 50 fastest-growing companies in the country, and became by far the fastest growing company in Chicago. Soon it would launch a separate property management business to provide services to other apartment building owners and a financial services spin-off company, Pangea Mortgage Capital, to provide loans to real estate investors across the country. Pangea now owns and operates 13,000 apartments across all of its markets and its revenue is estimated at more than $113 million.

    Goldstein and current CEO Pete Martay said Pangea has invested $400 million in private capital into Chicago’s distressed real estate and created 350 full-time jobs in the city. The company’s leaders are particularly proud of its investment in Horton’s old neighborhood, where they said they have infused more than $20 million and brought 716 apartments back to market after the foreclosure crisis.

    This investment has been generously rewarded by the press and Pangea’s peers. Between 2013 and 2016 Pangea got multiple “Upstanding Rehab & Redevelopment” awards from the Chicago Association of Realtors. Forbes judged it to be one of America’s “most promising companies,” Crain’s recognized it as a top job creator, the Tribune recognized it as a “top place to work,” and recruiting firm Brill Street ranked it as one of Chicago’s top 50 employers “for emerging Gen Y talent.”

    And the company has been giving back too, as Goldstein and Martay told the Reader in interviews and e-mail exchanges. Pangea launched a charitable foundation, Pangea Cares, donating more than $1 million for neighborhood beautification, school backpack giveaways, food drives, and internship programs. Goldstein claimed the foundation also invested $250,000 into the creation of the Chicago Police Department’s Strategic Decision Support Centers—a collaboration with the University of Chicago that uses technology for more targeted policing in the neighborhoods where Pangea has many properties. (CPD and U. of C. would not confirm this.) The company has also donated more than $46,000 to local politicians since 2009, including $18,100 to Eighth Ward alderman Michelle Harris and her political organization and $11,000 to Rahm Emanuel. Pangea even collaborated with The Steve Harvey Show to offer a furnished apartment rent-free for a year to a family that was homeless after an eviction.

    “We have a deep-rooted interest in the neighborhoods we serve and have done it the right way,” Martay told the Reader in an e-mail.

    But while the press and start-up watchers swooned over Pangea’s prodigious growth and its apparent participation in a renaissance of struggling neighborhoods, something else was going on too. In a matter of three years, Pangea had become not only one of the largest real estate companies in Chicago; it had also become the city’s most prolific filer of eviction cases.

    A Reader analysis of Cook County eviction court data from 2007 through 2018—which includes 250,000 cases filed against Chicago tenants—shows that since its founding Pangea has taken as many people to court as the next four landlords combined. The company owns and operates 7,500 units in Chicago. In 2018 it filed 1,137 eviction cases. The second most prolific evictor last year, with 247 cases, was East Lake Management, a property management company with 6,000 units in neighborhoods similar to Pangea’s. (Full disclosure: In October 2018 the Reader was purchased by a new investment group headed by Elzie Higginbottom, the founder of East Lake, and two of East Lake’s executives are involved with the company’s board. This investigation predates these relationships.)


    Sue Kwong

    Goldstein told the Reader that Pangea’s evictions are a “nonstory” and that it isn’t fair to compare Pangea, an owner-operator, with the other top filers because companies like East Lake, Habitat, or Kass mostly function as third-party property managers. He also claimed that none of these companies operate in the same neighborhoods at a scale comparable to Pangea’s.

    Nearly three-quarters of Pangea’s holdings are concentrated in South Shore, Chatham, Auburn Gresham, Woodlawn, and Austin, and the company is now responsible for as much as a fifth of all eviction cases in those neighborhoods.

    Over the last year and a half, the Reader has interviewed three dozen current and former Pangea tenants and nearly a dozen current and former employees. We observed hearings for more than 100 eviction cases filed by Pangea and examined records from more than 100 lawsuits filed against the company. We spoke with attorneys and advocates for landlords and tenants, with local and national experts researching housing issues, with city officials, and with Pangea’s neighbors and competitors.

    Two conflicting images of the company emerged from these records, observations, and interviews. On the one hand, Pangea is reviving apartment buildings in neighborhoods reeling from the recession. This is the image the company promotes, and a positive impact on the neighborhoods is discernible. On the other hand, Pangea appears to be subverting its own stated mission of neighborhood stabilization by taking a tremendous number of tenants to court, undermining their housing security both immediately and for years into the future.

    To date, the company has filed more than 9,000 cases against tenants across the city. Pangea’s own data, which the company shared with the Reader (and which shows annual eviction case filing numbers on average 8 percent lower than those reported by the Circuit Court), indicates that it’s taken on average nearly 17 percent of its tenants to eviction court every year between 2013 and 2017. That’s one case filed for every six units. According to Cook County court records, 60 to 70 percent of Pangea’s tenants who are filed on are ultimately evicted. Eviction case filings—even those that don’t ultimately result in evictions—tend to haunt renters for years, limiting their options for safe, affordable housing.


    Sue Kwong

    When asked about Pangea’s eviction filing rates and other problems reported about the company, Goldstein and Martay repeatedly said there are criminal bad actors taking advantage of tenants in the neighborhoods where they operate. They cited the nonprofit Better Housing Foundation and EquityBuild, both of which were mired in scandal last summer—the former for keeping a large number of properties in disrepair while board members enriched themselves, the latter for being an alleged real estate Ponzi scheme. In an e-mail Martay expressed concern that these companies’ collapses “will put a significant strain on the areas they serve and the city building department. . . . Between these two groups they amassed a portfolio of over 2,500 units in Chicago.” He said he worried that these neglected units would fall into chronic disrepair, hurting tenants and neighbors alike. (In March, Crain’s reported that Pangea was moving to buy a 44-unit building in South Shore formerly owned by EquityBuild.)

    Though much is now known about EquityBuild’s and Better Housing Foundation’s operations due to pending litigation, the inner workings of Pangea’s business are opaque. As a privately held real estate investment trust, it isn’t legally obligated to report expenses or revenue, much less profits. Pangea’s investors—other than ex-Governor Bruce Rauner, who was forced to make financial disclosures while in office—remain largely in the shadows. Even the exact contours of Pangea’s empire are hard to confirm. Each building is owned by one of Pangea’s hundreds of shell LLCs, usually bearing vaguely geological, geographic, or elemental names such as “Rodinia,” "Eurasia," or “Seaborgium” or alphanumeric titles such as “PP P7 3.” Assigning each building’s ownership to a different legal entity is common in the real estate business, to protect the owner’s other assets from being seized in case of litigation at one property. The company often transfers buildings between these shell LLCs too. Indeed, some of the lawsuits filed against the company over the years, claiming everything from slippery hallway floors to apartment ceilings caving in, were dismissed because they weren’t filed against the correct Pangea LLC.

    Some observers are concerned about the outsized presence of the company in low-income neighborhoods. In South Shore, for example, Pangea owns approximately 8 percent of the apartment buildings with five or more units, according to data analyzed by Geoff Smith, the director of the DePaul Institute for Housing Studies. That’s “a pretty substantial market share for one private owner,” Smith said. South Shore is part of a swath of Black neighborhoods close to the lakefront where the Institute has found Cook County’s most severe gap between the supply and demand for affordable housing.

    Building ownership consolidating disproportionately in one company’s hands may leave these neighborhoods more vulnerable to future real estate market crises. Even fellow landlords who generally see Pangea as a positive presence said that the health of the real estate business in the neighborhoods where they operate now rests heavily on Pangea’s success. “The only issue with Pangea is if they ever fold, if they ever don’t make it, it’s gonna be chaos,” said Duane Ehresman, a longtime landlord on the west side who owns and operates about 600 units, mostly in Austin. “They’re just so huge.” (As it happens, Ehresman files one case for every eight units—a rate much closer to Pangea’s than the large property managers’.)


    Sue Kwong

    In recent years, Pangea is incrSue Kwong easingly concerning tenant advocacy groups too—not so much for evictions, since filing statistics aren’t reported publicly by the courts, but for the living conditions in its buildings. The Metropolitan Tenants Organization—a nonprofit that educates and organizes renters and runs an advice hotline—now receives more calls about Pangea than any other landlord. While the complaints about mold, rodents, bedbugs, and disrepair are the same as for many other landlords in the low-income apartment market, the organization said no company has as many tenants complain about unexpected fees—for routine maintenance requests and heat repair, and, most notably, for water. David Wilson of MTO said he’s gotten a rash of calls from Pangea tenants reporting that the company billed them for water weeks or months after “the manager told them ’Don’t worry about [a water bill], that’s just on the lease but you don’t have to pay.’” These charges, which Pangea calculates based on a building’s entire water bill divided by the square footage of each unit (rather than a tenant’s individual usage) can add up to an extra $30 or $40 every month.

    Frank Avellone, an attorney and policy coordinator at the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing, said improving housing quality and reviving real estate in low-income neighborhoods isn’t an excuse for nickel-and-diming cash-strapped tenants. “There are some companies that buy dilapidated properties and put them into decent condition and rent them at affordable rates—we know lots of companies that do that, in fact that’s laudable,” he said. “I don’t see why it has to carry with it these more oppressive ways of conducting business,” he continued, describing Pangea. “It sort of feels like a payday lender.”

    Funny he should say that.

    In the summer of 2015, Goldstein sat stiffly in an armchair during a taping of the “Chicago Founders’ Stories” talk show and explained to the host what prompted him to found Pangea at the tender age of 28.

    Following the financial crisis, apartment buildings with fewer than 100 units were “sub-scale” for big-time investors who still had some capital to throw around, he said. “Institutional investors can’t invest in those—but they make up 80 percent of the unit stock. . . . We figured out then we could actually build something really interesting if we used the technology and analytics and operational capability we had used at Enova.” Enova was the reason Goldstein found himself awash in cash right when, in his words, “the world kind of exploded.”

    Goldstein, who emigrated with his family from the Soviet Union when he was eight, began his career at Deutsche Bank in New York City. But he found investment banking overwhelming and “not necessarily super meaningful,” as he put it during an interview with the Reader last summer. He read “a lot of Rich Dad, Poor Dad books” and contemplated going into real estate. His longtime mentor, options trader David Shorr, even agreed to be his first investor. They got a deal on a seven-unit building in Rogers Park. But it was 2003, and when they gamed out what kind of money they could make renting, the math “wasn’t super compelling.” Shorr soon pitched him on a more lucrative idea: payday lending.

    “I’d never even heard of what a payday loan or subprime loan was, or what a check-cashing store actually did,” Goldstein told me. But Shorr convinced him to quit Wall Street. “He had this great line which I actually use to this day: ’I want to put you in a position to benefit from your own hard work.’”

    The two opened their first store, The Check Giant, in January 2004 in the center of the second-poorest census tract in Kenosha, Wisconsin—where, just across the Illinois state line, state regulations didn’t cap interest rates. They made high-interest, small-dollar, short-term loans to people who didn’t have other options for cash in a pinch.

    The early 2000s were boom times for payday lenders; Goldstein and Shorr’s store became profitable within three months. They launched a second location in Racine and let customers apply online through CashNetUSA, which supplanted the brick-and-mortar operation within a year. Goldstein doesn’t have much patience for the idea that payday lending is exploitative, and said critics tend to talk about it “very ideologically and academically and they never think about, OK what if I was in that situation?” The typical industry defense has always been that a high-interest loan is better than no loan—or, you know, better than going to a loan shark.

    During Goldstein’s tenure at the company, CashNetUSA garnered a reputation for not being the worst of online payday lenders. A few lawsuits claiming unfair debt collection practices and interest rates as high as 1,100 percent never went anywhere, and Goldstein described the company as “the best subprime lender that there was.”

    Still, Goldstein said everything he’s done since “is much more interesting and much bigger.” He avoided calling his first businesses by their names, instead referring to his time in payday lending as “the Enova days.” (By mid-2006 CashNetUSA had grown into a company licensed to lend in 27 states. Cash America, a publicly traded pawn shop chain, bought it for $265 million. Forbes once reported that Goldstein pocketed $70 million from the sale, but he declined to confirm that. Cash America eventually spun off CashNetUSA into a new company, Enova International, which operates nearly a dozen online subprime lending businesses across four continents and has reported record profits in recent years.) Indeed the “Enova days” don’t even get a nod on Goldstein’s LinkedIn page.

    After five years in payday lending, Goldstein (and his best friend Steve Joung, who’d also worked at Enova) founded Pangea, and his reputation for generating good returns for investors helped boost their personal start-up capital. As Goldstein explained it, he and his partners “just went back to the same people [who invested in The Check Giant and CashNetUSA], said, ’Hey, we just made you guys a lot of money, we’re personally investing significantly into this new venture. We don’t know much about real estate but we knew even less about digital lending. So we’re moving up in the world.’”

    In early 2013 Goldstein pivoted back to consumer finance and founded Avant, a company specializing in short-term loans with 10 to 36 percent interest rates for the “just below prime” consumer. “It was just a good time for me to step back [from Pangea] and do something new because the business was at a great place,” Goldstein told me. “I just love building companies.”

    Some Pangea investors—most notably venture capitalist Dave Marquardt, an early investor in Microsoft—were pleased enough with the real estate business’s performance that they were ready to put big institutional funds behind Goldstein’s next idea. By 2015 Avant was valued at $2 billion. Though its lending model is generally seen as a step above the predatory approach of payday lenders, this year the Federal Trade Commission filed a suit alleging Avant had overcharged and misled hundreds of borrowers and made unauthorized withdrawals from their bank accounts. In April Avant settled for $3.85 million.

    Avant’s headquarters at Wacker and LaSalle is only six blocks from the building where Pangea started, but it feels worlds apart from the end-of-the-hallway office above an Infiniti dealership where, until last year, Pangea’s executives presided over their real estate empire. (Pangea recently relocated to a loft in the West Loop.) Goldstein has moved on up from a cozy suite with beanbag chairs, board games, and accent walls painted in Pangea’s signature lime green to Avant’s cavernous, two-story tech office mecca with a gourmet kitchen, arcade games, and a 17th-floor terrace. Visitors are required to sign nondisclosure agreements at the front desk. Fully conforming to the stereotype of an understated tech entrepreneur, Goldstein wore a green T-shirt, jeans, and scuffed-up white canvas shoes when we met in one of Avant’s dozens of small, glass-walled conference rooms. He came alone and only brought some water in a well-worn plastic cup with his initials scrawled on it in black marker.

    He seemed both cagey and eager to convince me that Pangea—for which he still feels comfortable speaking despite the fact that he’s retreated from management to board chairmanship—hasn’t done anything wrong. He brought up my “extremely unfair” 2017 article on the scope of the eviction problem in South Shore, in which I had named Pangea as the top filer of cases and for which I’d made numerous attempts to contact the company for comment. Pangea never responded. “I think they felt the agenda was to write a negative article so it was better not to talk to you.”

    Though he didn’t dispute the eviction filing numbers I presented, he argued that they were symptomatic of a phase of intense building acquisition in the company’s early years and not part of the regular operating procedures at Pangea—something directly contradicted by Cook County court data, but we’ll get back to that a bit later.

    The parallels between Pangea and payday lending are hard to ignore upon closer examination of what happens when the company takes its tenants to eviction court. To get a loan from a payday lender, customers typically have to sign lengthy, dense contracts that include mandatory arbitration clauses—this means they’re giving up their right to sue the lender individually or as part of a class action over things like unfair debt collection practices, hidden fees, or usurious interest rates. (In a 2015 Securities and Exchange Commission filing, Enova International acknowledged that attempted federal regulations of mandatory arbitration “could render the arbitration agreements we use illegal or unenforceable,” and that limits to their ability to require customers to sign away their rights to sue could spell steep legal expenses and have an “adverse effect” on profits.)

    While Pangea has been sued dozens of times by tenants claiming unsafe living conditions or negligent management, those lawsuits—the vast majority of which have been dismissed—are not the main arena in which the company flexes its legal muscle. Instead, that happens in eviction court, where Pangea is notorious for “pay-and-stay” deals, in which tenants sign away their right to a trial—and with it, the ability to argue for withholding rent because of Pangea’s inadequate building management.
    Eyevie McHenry was evicted from a Pangea building in Austin in 2018. -


    Travis Roozée - Eyevie McHenry was evicted from a Pangea building in Austin in 2018.

    The building in Austin where Eyevie McHenry lived had a lot of problems. Department of Buildings records indicate tenants complained about leaky ceilings, mice, roaches, and bedbugs once Pangea took over in 2015. When the Reader visited her in early March last year, McHenry, 30, was heating her one-bedroom apartment with the stove because the radiator wasn’t working and her maintenance calls had gone unanswered. She’d lived there for nearly a year with her fiancé and their small scruffy dog, but they hadn’t bothered to get much furniture for fear of the mice eating through it. Squeals from inside the walls periodically interrupted our interview.

    Despite these conditions—and despite the fact that they regularly heard gunshots outside—the rent was $850. Not long after they moved in, in May 2017, her fiancé lost his job. Unable to pay rent in one lump sum, they’d bring the company a few hundred dollars at a time—though they knew they accrued nearly $30 in late fees every month they didn’t pay in full. For three months Pangea took the partial payments. McHenry showed the Reader the receipts they got from the company and said they were never told making partial payments put them at risk of eviction.

    By her calculation she only owed Pangea $100 at the beginning of September. But when she went to the office the property manager couldn’t accept payment—the company had filed for eviction. In court Pangea’s lawyers offered a pay-and-stay deal: she could stay in the apartment in exchange for sticking to a payment plan for her arrears and the ongoing monthly rent; if she didn’t make her payments she agreed to an eviction judgment without a trial. Court records filed by Pangea indicate that on November 16 McHenry made a $1,000 down payment toward her nearly $3,000 debt (which included $400 in court costs Pangea passes on to tenants when making such deals). Going forward, she agreed to pay $930 for rent on the first of the month and $323 toward her debt on the 15th of every month.

    The deal seemed unfair—especially since her rent had been $80 lower until then—but McHenry didn’t have a lawyer and said she didn’t know she could negotiate.

    Over the next three months she paid Pangea $4,759 for rent and back rent. But in February 2018 she was two days late on each payment. Though she said the company took her money, it still moved to evict her for violating the pay-and-stay agreement. (Pangea declined to answer any questions about McHenry’s case.)

    The day she returned to court it took all of two minutes for Judge David Skryd to issue an eviction order while mumbling something that made Pangea’s lawyer, Sheldon Perl, chuckle. Neither of them addressed McHenry as she stood alone next to a “Defendant” sign taped to Skryd’s bench. The courtroom was empty, the silence pierced by the whir of the Daley Center’s HVAC. McHenry, who’s petite with a round face, glasses, and long dreadlocks, wore a black puffer coat and crossbody purse with a plush heart-eyes emoji keychain.

    “Good luck to you,” Perl said with a placid smile, handing McHenry a copy of the eviction order and shaking her hand. She looked over the sheet of paper, tears welling up in her eyes. It said that she still owed the company nearly $2,000. It was as though she’d hardly made any progress toward paying off her debt.

    McHenry’s case is typical for Pangea. It’s impossible to tell from the court data how many of Pangea’s 9,000 eviction cases have included a pay-and-stay deal because they aren’t tracked in a uniform manner, but lawyers familiar with eviction court as well as the Reader’s own court observations indicate that the company tends to offer tenants a legally binding payment plan on their first day in court. When I asked Goldstein why Pangea takes people to court if they’re just going to make a deal, he said that tenants are “not willing to make that deal unless they know you’re serious.”

    It appears that this approach to the eviction process was developed by the company’s first attorney and Goldstein’s University of Illinois college buddy Tom Raleigh, who, since leaving Pangea in 2014, started his own practice to represent landlords in eviction court. (Raleigh declined to be interviewed.)

    Once a tenant agrees to a pay-and-stay deal, the landlord has dibs on their wallets—whatever money they have is more likely to go toward rent first. If the tenant doesn’t hold up her end of the bargain, the landlord can get an eviction order from the judge without having to go to trial and make legal arguments. Any defense the tenant might put up—like “I refuse to pay rent while my heating isn’t working.”—is moot in such an arrangement.

    In contrast to Pangea, most Chicago landlords view eviction court as the last possible resort. It costs $400 to file in Cook County (a price tag so high experts said it may be the reason Chicago’s eviction filing rate is below the national average). Then it costs at least another $600 to hire an attorney specializing in landlord-tenant law (Pangea’s a rare landlord with in-house attorneys). Then it could take weeks or months for a case to be resolved. All the while the tenant isn’t paying. By the time a case is heard by a judge, a landlord’s patience is usually exhausted and they want their lawyers to play hardball.

    Duane Ehresman, the west-side landlord, said he’s adopted Pangea’s approach to eviction court with the help of Raleigh’s law firm. Whereas before he’d give tenants chance after chance to catch up on rent, now he’s filing eviction cases as soon as possible. “By doing it this way, I send them to court, they work out an agreement with my attorney, and the court enters the [eviction] order and the order allows them to stay as long as they pay,” he explained. “There’s nothing nefarious about it, it’s protecting everybody.”

    On the tenant side of the bar, Raleigh—and Pangea—have for years been seen as more benign adversaries precisely because of their preference for payment plans over immediate eviction. The concern, however, is that these deals aren’t made in good faith because most tenants don’t have a lawyer and may not understand what they’re agreeing to. “When the tenant fails the [eviction] order is entered without much discussion,” said Mark Swartz, executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing. “The judges aren’t reviewing the evidence.” Often, he added, tenants agree to deals in cases when, had they gone to trial, the landlord would have likely lost.

    In court, the Reader observed members of the company’s legal team (attorneys Perl, Jennifer Dean, and Elisabeth Ault and paralegal Jose Pantoja) address the gallery of tenants waiting for their hearings: “Does anyone here for Pangea still need to speak to an attorney?” Swartz, who’s witnessed this too, said that kind of neutral phrasing can obscure the adversarial nature of the subsequent conversation. Indeed, McHenry said that during her first conversation with Perl, “I didn’t quite understand that he was their lawyer.”

    When a tenant raises her hand, the paralegal or one of Pangea’s lawyers take her into the hallway or a side conference room to strike the deal. Several tenants interviewed by the Reader said they felt rushed to sign Pangea’s offer; when they asked to see a copy of their ledger, in which the company tracks balances and payments, the lawyers wouldn’t provide it. After the tenant signs, the lawyers do all the talking with the judge and set follow-up court dates to monitor the tenant’s compliance with the deal. If a renter isn’t in the room when the lawyers are ready to bring the day’s stack of cases up to the judge, they’ll almost certainly be evicted. (Though judges tend to accommodate landlords’ attorneys when they’re running behind, the same courtesy is rarely extended to tenants.)

    Despite the pay-and-stay deals, 60 to 70 percent of the cases Pangea files every year end with eviction orders—about average for cases countywide. A quarter of those orders are issued without the tenant present in court (this is what happened to Krystal Horton).

    After an eviction order, most tenants will leave an apartment on their own, but those who don’t will eventually be put out by the Cook County Sheriff’s office. Deputies will come in a group of four, wearing black uniforms and flak jackets. They’ll break down the door if no one answers their loud knocks or the property manager doesn’t have the keys. If someone is inside they’ll be escorted off the property. Then the officers will slap a neon-green “no trespassing” sticker on the front door.

    The deputies won’t remove people’s belongings—they stopped doing that in Cook County years ago—but if a tenant re-enters the unit from that point forward they could be arrested. Tenants have to make arrangements with the landlord to come back to remove their property; if they don’t, it’s on the landlord to clear the unit.

    Early one Tuesday morning last spring, teams of sheriff’s deputies rode out for a day of enforcing evictions in South Shore. The 60649 zip code, which has more evictions than any other in Cook County, tends to make for their busiest days. Seven of the 76 scheduled evictions that day were at Pangea buildings. Deputies are of a positive mind about the company—to them, Pangea’s buildings seem clean and they can always count on someone from the company being on-site to sign all the required paperwork.


    Maya Dukmasova - Cook County sheriff’s deputies perform evictions at Pangea properties in South Shore in March 2018.

    The first Pangea eviction was at a squat, mid-century building with empty storefronts on 75th Street, just east of Jeffrey. Four deputies trudged through a dingy hallway and past tacked-up notices about building rules, dos and don’ts to prevent pest infestation, and $300 refer-a-friend advertisements. One of them knocked loudly. No answer. Because the workers on-site didn’t have the keys, a deputy grunted and slammed a heavy, long-handled mallet against the door, again and again. But even after four, five, six echoing blows it refused to give. Finally, someone inside opened the door.

    Words were quietly exchanged, then Deputy Michelle Mentz announced, her voice rising: “On the chair in the bedroom—weapon.” As a sergeant walked to the back of the apartment to retrieve the gun, the tenant and his girlfriend, both in their early 20s, sat on beige leather loveseats in the living room, their faces disoriented, sleepy. The sergeant emerged with a black 9 mm Glock in one hand and a 30-round extender clip in the other. The bullets rang as he emptied the clip into a metal pan on the disheveled kitchen counter. Mentz scrutinized the tenant’s FOID card and radioed the office to check if the gun’s serial number matched any stolen weapons. It came back clean.

    The sergeant dismantled the gun and put the pieces into a foam-padded lockbox. He escorted the couple out of the apartment and, because the man didn’t have a concealed carry license, brought the box to the trunk of their car. The deputies marveled at the fact that extender clips are still legal in Chicago, then loaded themselves back into their squad cars and drove off.

    There were two Pangea evictions in a large courtyard building about a mile northwest, where the stairway was clean and well lit—revealing that someone hadn’t bothered to complete repainting the walls from greige to white. More Pangea fliers decorated the entry—warning tenants of a $25 monthly fee if they opted for a month-to-month rental agreement instead of renewing their lease, and a $25 fine for “false heat calls” if maintenance has to inspect a unit “with working heat.”

    The first evictee wasn’t home. A gray shag rug and red pillows were staged in front of the decorative fireplace in her sparse, sunny one-bedroom apartment; a few logs were carefully arranged in the alcove. On the built-in shelves there was a photo of a Black couple on their wedding day and pillows embroidered with mantras to “do good” and “never grow up.” One of the deputies used the bathroom before the group stickered the door, then huffed up three flights of stairs to the other evictee in the building.

    An officer pounded on the door, then they waited in silence. A rush of hot air and the smell of freshly baked cookies wafted into the hallway when a shirtless young man finally emerged. His thermostat was cranked up to 80, one of the deputies incredulously noted. “You can’t pack bags and stuff,” Mentz told the man, who pulled on a sweater before storming out. The apartment was bare but for a twin bed, a small kitchen table, and a couple of chairs. One of them was propped up under the back door handle.

    Throughout the day the deputies saw worse places than Pangea’s: apartments with broken walls and no kitchen appliances; buildings with dark, filthy hallways and trash-strewn lawns. What came across in the Pangea units was scarcity. A scarcity of furniture, of food in the pantry, of plants or sentimental knickknacks that fill up homes over time. It seemed like no one had lived in these units long enough to really get settled. Or that they’d owned so little they were able to get their belongings out in time to avoid the sheriff.

    The deputies’ last stop that morning was a two-bedroom in a Pangea building with a neatly trimmed lawn, near 71st and Ridgeland. Someone had moved out in a hurry. A broken camping chair stood alone in the middle of one room, a child’s yellow bicycle lay sideways in the corner of another. In the kitchen, the hood light had collapsed onto the range. A finger painting hung partially attached to the living room wall. Underneath broad, impressionistic smears of blue, yellow, and green someone had neatly written “Noah” in black marker.


    Sue Kwong

    Goldstein told me that evictions are inevitable when buying distressed properties in bulk. Sometimes the buildings Pangea bought were vacant and boarded up, sometimes they had squatters, sometimes they were full of tenants who had been paying rent—but it wasn’t clear to whom, how much, and for how long. Pangea refers to such buildings as “economically vacant.”

    “We went around and met the tenants and asked them to fill out applications, asked them to start paying the rent,” Goldstein said, describing what would happen after the company took over. Pangea also created an algorithm to screen new tenants “which basically tried to filter out for people who are likely not to be evicted over time.”

    To hear him tell it, legacy tenants had to merely pay rent and comply with Pangea’s uncomplicated rules for being a “good person” and they were welcome to stay, or move to one of the company’s other properties while their building was rehabbed. Goldstein admits that in the beginning the company was often called into building court—but he said it was usually for issues created by the prior owners and occupants of the buildings. Yet Steve McKenzie, a longtime attorney for the city who’s brought cases against the company, said Pangea often ran afoul of permitting rules during construction and rehab. “We were finding too many times they were doing it wrong, making mistakes,” McKenzie said.

    In a particularly egregious example, Pangea was sued by the state in 2010 for violating asbestos abatement laws during the rehab of a building in South Shore. The company ultimately settled, paying $27,000 in fines to the state and $18,000 to the city.

    Nevertheless, McKenzie said that things improved over the years as Pangea’s managers got the hang of the building code and permitting procedures. “On the whole they’re not a headache,” he said.

    Some tenants who’ve had to live through Pangea takeovers disagreed. In August 2014, for example, a man named Jose Bratley posted on the company’s Facebook page: “Just wondering if it’s normal for Pangea reps to go to a building they’re trying to evict people from without a court order to do so and remove residents names from mailboxes when people are still living there.”

    Bratley elaborated when I spoke with him last summer. In 2014 he shared a two-bedroom apartment with brothers Robert and Willie Pye in a 28-unit building in North Lawndale. Unbeknownst to the tenants, the previous owner had gone into foreclosure. One day a notice arrived from Pangea offering the roommates $500 to move out, Robert Pye later told me. Bratley said workers then came to the apartment to take measurements “and just acted like we were in the way.” Willie Pye recalled someone from the company trying to break the locks on their and a neighbor’s apartment while they were home. One day residents caught another person from the company scraping tenants’ names off the mailboxes, Bratley said.

    The roommates said the building had issues before Pangea. The back porch was barely holding up and someone had even stolen a radiator from the hallway. City records show that the building was in court for code violations. But it didn’t make sense to Bratley that someone would buy the building and want rent-paying tenants to leave when there were plenty of vacant properties in the area. Ultimately, the roommates found a new place in Austin. Robert Pye said it took weeks of following up with Pangea to finally get their $500.

    Goldstein and Pangea’s current CEO, Pete Martay, declined to answer questions about this particular situation. But “cash-for-keys” deals like the kind Bratley and his roommates described were common in the wake of the foreclosure crisis. They offered a faster, cheaper alternative to eviction court for banks who didn’t want to play landlord and new owners who wanted new tenants.

    Luke Markewych, who began working as a property manager for Pangea in South Shore in late 2010, said the company was doing “a lot” of cash-for-keys deals. If legacy tenants wanted to stay with the company, they had to reapply and pass Pangea’s screening like anyone else. He added that the company would even offer cash for keys to get problem tenants out of a building after they’d rehabbed and re-leased the units as a more expeditious solution than eviction court.

    In the fall of 2013 the city enacted the Keep Chicago Renting Ordinance, prompted by reports of mass displacements from foreclosed apartment buildings. The law required new landlords to offer each tenant in good standing either an opportunity to stay in the building with rent increases capped at 2 percent per year, or to pay them $10,600 to relocate.

    Markewych left Pangea in August 2013 and couldn’t comment on the impact the KCRO had on Pangea’s practices. Pangea didn’t respond to a question about the KCRO.

    Meanwhile, formal eviction proceedings against Pangea’s tenants climbed. Cook County court data shows that Pangea’s eviction filings had grown by 3,594 percent, from 36 in 2009 to 1,330 by the end of 2013. Pangea was now filing more than any other landlord in Chicago, even property management companies with larger portfolios in low-income neighborhoods. As the company has settled into its real estate holdings over the years, Pangea has continued to file a disproportionate number of cases in the city. Its filings declined by 28 percent between 2013 and 2016, and last summer Goldstein told me these numbers would continue to fall because the years of intense evictions, like those of intense building acquisition, were now behind them. Yet, court data obtained by the Reader this winter tells a different story. In 2017 Pangea’s eviction filings climbed once again and broke 1,000 cases for the last two years.

    When asked whether taking roughly one in six of their tenants to eviction court is a sign that the company’s tenant-screening algorithm isn’t working, Goldstein said that Pangea’s rent collections tell the real story: “95 percent of rent charged in a given month gets paid.”

    Goldstein reiterated that Pangea’s buildings are “beautiful, they’re well taken care of, the people living in them by and large are really happy.” He told me to “go spend time at 75th and Coles” and added that “if not for Pangea, the south side would not be what it is today.”


    Travis Roozée - A Pangea building in East Chatham was cited by the city for building code violations in October 2018.

    There are no Pangea buildings right at 75th, but farther south down Coles—past a patchwork of vacant lots, boarded­-up buildings, and tidy homes—the block between 76th Street and 76th Place has three buildings with Pangea’s blue and lime-green signs. The company has often acquired buildings in clusters, opting especially for large brick courtyard buildings and those on corner lots.

    Craig Williams, 55, has lived with Pangea since 2010—"too long," he said with a chuckle, as he left his building on a sunny summer morning wearing jean shorts and a thick gold chain over his red T-shirt. The location is convenient, a short drive from work. And he could stomach the $790 rent for his two-bedroom. But he said the quality of service has deteriorated.

    He sighed. “You have to bitch,” he said, before the company fixes anything. He was tired of loud neighbors making his apartment smell like weed and of the burglaries in the building. It ticked him off when management banned barbecuing on back porches. Just the previous week, the power went out and it took a day to be fixed. (A tenant at another building around the corner told an identical story; in the last two years there have been news reports about Pangea’s lengthy delays in fixing heating, addressing mold, and restoring water service at other South Shore properties.)

    But when it comes to collecting rent money, Pangea is aggressive, Williams said, describing neighbors’ complaints about the company’s collection practices. “They’ll put their foot on your neck.” Since Pangea bought the 38-unit building where Williams lives, it’s filed eviction cases against an average of nine tenants every year, court records show. In 2014 they took 17 people to court—nearly half the building.

    It seems that high tolerance, rather than satisfaction with Pangea, has kept Williams here all these years. But recently and “completely out of the freaking blue,” the company started charging $30 per month for water, he said, and “that is one of the reasons why I can’t wait to get the hell out of here.”

    In Evicted, Desmond writes that low-income people looking for housing or work are often assumed to be “more or less ’rational actors’ who recognize trade-offs and make clear choices.” Through his research, however, he saw people wear out from long, fruitless searches for decent apartments or jobs. The people he encountered could better be characterized as “’exhausted settlers,’ who accept poor housing in a disadvantaged neighborhood or a dead-end or illicit job after becoming depleted and disheartened from trying and trying and failing and failing.”

    The journey from rational actor to exhausted settler is often shaped by age, health, access to resources, and knowledge of rights. People settle when there’s a scarcity of good housing options. Pangea—which Goldstein and Martay repeatedly cast as a white-hat operator in a market rife with slumlords and crooks—smooths the way with a comparatively forgiving tenant screening. Applicants need proof of income for only the last two months (and it only needs to be double the rent). Bad credit isn’t usually a problem. There’s also a move-in fee instead of a security deposit— although you never get that back, it’s only half a month’s rent, sometimes less, and easier to scrape together.

    In Austin, 52-year-old Pangea tenant Lois Staples, who gets around in a power chair, said the bathroom door in her studio at 5501 W. Washington isn’t wide enough for wheelchairs, and there aren’t any grab bars. The elevator in the 150-unit building frequently breaks down and her son has to help her up the stairs. (Department of Building records cite elevator maintenance problems at the property as recently as this month.)

    But Staples said she won’t move because at least she’s not dealing with rats “knocking on the door,” like she was under prior management. Meanwhile, Quincy Miller, 33—another tenant in the building who uses a wheelchair—said that after just a few months in the building he decided he wouldn’t be renewing his lease.

    Miller said he can’t maneuver his wheelchair into the laundry room because a post—apparently installed to prevent theft of the washers and dryers—obstructs the doorway. He described having to hoist himself up flights of stairs to his fourth-floor apartment using his upper body when the elevators are broken. He worried about what might happen to him and at least six other tenants in wheelchairs if there’s a fire. A gregarious man who seemed to know everyone in the building, he said he’d heard tenants complain to Pangea’s workers about bedbugs, roaches, and mice, about overflowing toilets that take forever to fix. He’d seen frustrated neighbors break their lease and move out. (Soon after we met, Miller fell behind on his rent. He entered a pay-and-stay deal with Pangea but couldn’t keep up on his fixed Social Security Disability income. He was evicted a day before his lease was originally set to expire. He’d just qualified for a Section 8 voucher and was afraid he’d lose it with the eviction on his record, but a judge ultimately agreed to seal the case.)

    Several commercial tenants interviewed had similar complaints. Anthony Scott, who runs the Shear Imagination barbershop in a Pangea building at Madison and Austin, said the company is the worst of the three landlords he’s had in 12 years. Pausing mid-haircut one afternoon, he told me that since 2012, Pangea has raised his rent from $1,200 to $1,400 and started charging for maintenance, garbage collection, and water. “They want us to pay for everything and they don’t want to do nothing.” Meanwhile, he sees the building deteriorate. He said his clients who live above the shop complain of trash in the hallways and rodents in the apartments. Scott said previous owners were accessible. But now, even though one of Pangea’s offices is right in the building, he has to route all his service requests through a call center and wait days for an answer.

    Chawanya Hayes, who had owned a nail salon in the same building since the 90s, posted a frustrated message about Pangea on Facebook in 2014. She complained of maintenance delays and that her shop didn’t have air conditioning for two summers. In 2017 Hayes and her aunt, who ran a printing shop in the building, moved out. “It was totally offensive to be long time tenants and have to go around getting petitions signed by other tenants for change,” she told me in a recent text message.


    Matthew Harvey - “Don’t let me get started about Pangea!” said Ronald Hunt Sr., the owner of a red house next door to one of the company’s apartment buildings in South Shore.

    Pangea’s neighbors in nearby buildings and single-family homes were generally keener on the company than tenants. In interviews throughout the south and west sides, they were mostly glad that vacant buildings that were once “drug houses” and eyesores had been revived. One exception was a homeowner living next to a 42-unit Pangea building two blocks south of Craig Williams on Coles Avenue.

    “Don’t let me get started about Pangea!” Ronald Hunt Sr. said, rolling his eyes. He was thrilled when Pangea bought the abandoned, squatter-filled property in 2012. Hunt even let the company use his backyard when they were rehabbing it and said Pangea promised to fix the landscaping destroyed by construction. He said it never happened. (Pangea declined to comment.)

    He offered a tour of his property, pointing out a couch and mattress dumped in the back of the building after an eviction, bags of trash he said Pangea tenants have tossed into his backyard, and pools of yellow grease in the gangway that the same tenants poured from their kitchen windows. He said he’d been complaining to Pangea’s workers and calling the company’s office about these problems to no avail. “They’re not screening their tenants enough, because they’re constantly moving in and out.”

    Is Goldstein aware of the research on long-term consequences of eviction on individuals and communities? “I’m not sure,” he said. He told me that the effect of an eviction filing on a person’s record “is probably not that bad” if they don’t actually get evicted. “What’s the ideal scenario?” he asked with a hint of irritation. “To let people live in units for free or to have them be problems for all the folks around? I think that’s a great hypothetical question, but there’s no actionable answer to that question.”

    Of course, there are plenty of actionable answers. Some big and some small. Some might require the overthrow of capitalism as we know it, others for Pangea to do extra paperwork.

    If tenants face eviction because they don’t have enough money, the solution is for rent to be cheaper, or for people to have more money. Setting aside sweeping policy changes like universal basic income or rent control—neither of which are likely to become a reality in Chicago anytime soon—there are already government programs in place that attempt to alleviate the burden of rent. Section 8, also known as the Housing Choice Voucher program, provides federally-funded subsidies to tenants in the private rental market. And, according to Chicago Housing Authority records, Pangea already takes more tenants with vouchers than any other landlord in the city—some 1,500 of the CHA’s 46,000 vouchered households live in the company’s units. Additionally, both the city and state have homelessness prevention programs designed to help tenants experiencing financial emergencies avoid eviction. Pangea, however, doesn’t take homelessness prevention funds.

    Lynette Barnes is a senior program manager at All Chicago, a nonprofit that administered $1.5 million in state homelessness prevention grants in the city last year, helping nearly 1,000 households stay current on rent or utilities. Pangea is the only landlord she’s ever known who refuses to take the money—up to $2,500 per household. “It’s just crazy,” she said. The Reader heard a similar story from a Pangea tenant who said he’d qualified for $1,400 in assistance from the city’s homelessness prevention program (which is funded through HUD) but that a Department of Family & Support Services case worker warned him Pangea wouldn’t accept it.


    Maya Dukmasova - A Cook County Sheriff’s deputy prepares to perform an eviction in 2017.

    Goldstein didn’t have an explanation when I asked why the company wouldn’t take the grants. Pangea’s head of marketing, Arun Das, followed up in an e-mail: “Pangea will accept payments from all rental assistance programs as long as they don’t restrict our legal remedies or rights under the terms of the rental agreement.” To get the emergency grants, landlords have to agree to suspend any pending eviction proceedings.

    The federal government’s standard for housing affordability is that rent and utilities (or a mortgage) shouldn’t consume more than 30 percent of a household’s income. In Chicago, however, more than 70 percent of the poorest tenants (for example, a four-person household with a yearly income of less than $25,400) pay more than half of their income toward rent. According to the DePaul Institute for Housing Studies, the gap between the supply and demand for affordable housing in the city stood at 119,000 units as of 2016, and it’s grown since the recession. Given these conditions, thousands of tenants will inevitably face eviction every year, and advocates are attempting to make the legal process more fair.

    Chicago’s landlords tend to view eviction court as a venue stacked in tenants’ favor because of the high case filing fees and the city’s Residential Landlord Tenant Ordinance that, at least on paper, guarantees tenants protections—like the right to withhold rent if the landlord doesn’t address maintenance problems. However, the Reader’s analysis of court records show that 60 percent of tenants who wind up in court are evicted and the majority of them don’t have legal representation. This is confirmed by a new database of city eviction records created by the Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing and rolled out this week—while about 80 percent of landlords have lawyers, about 80 percent of tenants don’t. Nearly a third of eviction cases are tried on the first day a case comes before a judge—meaning thousands of tenants are evicted the first time they come to court.

    Legal aid groups and tenant advocates have successfully pushed for the installation of recording equipment in the Daley Center’s five eviction courtrooms. It’s supposed to be up and running by the end of June. Without it, litigants have no meaningful way to appeal judges’ decisions since proceedings aren’t transcribed. This won’t necessarily change the power imbalance between landlords and tenants, but advocates hope it will keep judges in check and ensure fairer case outcomes. As the Reader reported in 2016, a lack of recording turns a courtroom into a “black box” where judges have been observed blatantly violating procedures and misinterpreting the law.

    Other efforts are underway for “plain languaging” court documents like summonses and judges’ orders so they make more sense to average people. Last year, after much debate, the Illinois Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission changed the name of the court order judges issue to tell tenants they’ve been evicted from “order of possession” to “eviction order.”

    Meanwhile, in Springfield, House Bill 4760 proposes automatically sealing every eviction case filed, unsealing it only if a tenant is actually evicted. The bill was introduced last year after a report by Housing Action Illinois and LCBH found that tenants who were filed on but never evicted continued to have difficulties when applying for apartments years later. Credit agencies also collect information on filings—including the debt landlords claim—even if the case was eventually dismissed or the final money judgment entered against a tenant was lower. Multiple tenants interviewed for this story complained that, even though they were never evicted by a judge, Pangea showed up as outstanding debt on their credit reports. Automatic sealing could clear the records of about 6,500 Chicagoans per year, facilitating housing mobility and integration.

    Municipal governments elsewhere have taken more ambitious steps to grapple with evictions. New York and San Francisco have enacted ordinances guaranteeing a lawyer to every tenant in eviction court. But even barring that, existing legal resources, particularly mediation, can help tenants get a fairer shake in pay-and-stay deals. The Center for Conflict Resolution currently mediates about 100 eviction cases in Chicago per year—60 percent of these negotiations end in an agreement, of which 97 percent are fulfilled by both parties. Since mediation is provided by a nonprofit, it doesn’t cost taxpayers a penny, and yet, in observing more than 100 hearings in Chicago’s eviction courtrooms, the Reader heard a judge or other court staff tell litigants about the availability of this service no more than a couple of times.

    Much research remains to be done to understand how the effects of eviction ripple through Chicago neighborhoods. Goldstein and Martay declined to discuss whether evictions constitute a business challenge for Pangea, but the company seems to be thriving despite all the losses involved in putting tenants out. Eviction court judges have awarded the company $11 million in judgments over the last decade—money that landlords stand almost no chance of collecting after tenants are evicted. When it comes to landlords in poor communities, evidence suggests that the profit margins from rents could be high enough for eviction to not constitute a serious threat to the bottom line.

    In their January paper, Desmond and Wilmers write that the perception of the financial risk involved in renting to the poor appears to be out of proportion with the reality. They also discuss policy interventions that could tackle the eviction crisis—from rent control to insurance for protecting landlords in case a tenant defaults—but note that “public policies aimed at easing families’ rent burdens should be grounded in a firm understanding of property owners’ business practices.” This understanding is hard to come by since landlords, particularly those who provide unsubsidized housing, aren’t overseen by any government agencies. While the state attempts to protect tenants from having to live with lead paint or bedbugs, there are currently no limits to how much landlords can profit from rents, no tracking of landlords’ losses, and no way to know whether tenants in any particular neighborhood housing market are being subjected to unreasonable exploitation. It’s hard to have an “actionable answer” to any problem in an information vacuum.

    Krystal Horton is the first to admit that she was late to eviction court—and that things could have turned out differently had she not been. But she’d never been to the Daley Center before that June morning in 2016. She didn’t know there could be long security lines, that the childcare center doesn’t take babies, that being even a few minutes late could mean she’d be evicted. She said she wished she’d had a better understanding of the legal system and knew how and when to assert her rights.

    In the wake of her eviction from Pangea’s building that August, Horton’s life took many turns for the worse. She was suddenly homeless and went to several shelters. With an 11-year-old and a toddler she worried about safety. She found the shelters dirty and wasn’t comfortable sleeping in the open. She was terrified of bedbugs. Her son was starting sixth grade that September and she needed to figure out where to enroll him, so finally she decided to move back to Homewood, her hometown in the south suburbs where she still had friends and relatives, including her mother.

    But she didn’t return home right away because she and her mother weren’t on very good terms. “She thought I made poor choices in relationships.” Besides, she added, “there was a kind of shame” in coming home because of an eviction.

    Horton applied for apartments but said she was repeatedly rejected because of the eviction on her record. She and the kids bounced around friends’ and relatives’ homes and sometimes slept in the car. She worried about where her son would do his homework every night. She saw him struggling with all the upheaval.

    “It was very emotional for him because he felt he had to be the man of the house, he thought he had to protect me and my daughter,” Horton said. In a matter of days his world had been turned upside down, from having his own room and enjoying home-cooked meals to “having to sleep on cots, spraying down our furniture, having to eat food out of paper bags, seeing others pulling clothes out of bags.” He was angry with her for a while “because he thought it was my fault. He said, ’I don’t want this to ever happen to us again.’”

    By October, things were looking up. Horton landed a full-time job at the Amazon warehouse in Joliet and was able to rent an apartment in a small four-unit building across the street from her son’s new school. The rent was $975—36 percent higher than what Horton had been paying Pangea. Though she’d had a difficult on-and-off relationship with her daughter’s father, things had briefly improved and she was pregnant again.

    Then, in November, car trouble hit again. One day she even abandoned it on the highway shoulder and walked for two and a half hours to work. She didn’t want to give Amazon a reason to fire her. The job came with benefits, and as her due date neared she’d need maternity leave. But in March, she said she was fired for spending too much time “off task” as a result of frequent bathroom breaks (these kinds of dismissals are a documented phenomenon at Amazon’s warehouses). Her car was repossessed soon after.

    Just when Horton thought she could get through the next month with her tax refund, she learned that the state of Illinois was garnishing it because she hadn’t responded to a notice to sign up for a student loan consolidation and had gone into default. She said she never received the letter, probably because it had gone to her Pangea address. Meanwhile, her building was sold and she fell behind on rent. Her new landlord filed an eviction case against her 364 days after Pangea first took her to court. Horton was then nine months pregnant and preeclamptic.

    After ruling against her at the beginning of July, the judge gave her an extra month to leave so she wouldn’t be homeless with her newborn daughter. By then, she’d scraped together enough money to pay the landlord back but she said he wasn’t interested. (Reached by text the landlord, who lives in Texas, denied knowing Horton.)

    Unemployed, with her credit wrecked, her car gone, two evictions on her record, no insurance, three kids, and a custody battle erupting with the father of her daughters, Horton moved in with her mother. It hasn’t been easy. She and her mom still butt heads, being a single mom is tough, and work isn’t always steady. But she said she wanted to share her experiences with the Reader so that other people facing similar challenges know that they’re not alone. In retelling her story, Horton sometimes laughed as she chronicled one misfortune after another. She turned serious when I asked how she was able to stay in high spirits while revisiting all that’s befallen her.

    “When life happens and you have no control over it, the most you can do is sit back and take a deep breath and laugh it off to keep from crying. To keep from screaming,” she said. “At the end of the day I still have children looking at me. I still have to keep moving, life still goes on.” She said that it can feel like drinking is helpful, but the problem with drinking is that “it costs more money. What costs free? Nothing but a good laugh.”

    Two years after her second eviction, Horton still lives with her mom. She’s working to repair her credit, and she recently landed a full-time job as a CNA and is studying for a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Horton still wonders where she’d be if Pangea hadn’t evicted her. She remains resentful that, as she sees it, she never got her day in court on that case. But she also understands the situation from Pangea’s perspective—her unit wasn’t generating income.

    She’s anxious about looking for apartments again, knowing she’ll likely face a gauntlet of rejection. She wants to save up enough money to buy her own place, maybe even a two-flat with a second unit she could rent out. “I feel like I can be a better landlord than what I’ve experienced,” she says. “Eviction is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemies.” v

    This story was produced as part of the Social Justice News Nexus fellowship at the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University. Libby Berry, Matthew Harvey, David North, Grace Stetson, and Naomi Waxman contributed reporting to this story.

    #USA #logement #immobilier #spéculation #droit #expulsions

  • Why Hong Kong cannot copy Singapore’s approach to public housing | South China Morning Post
    https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/society/article/3008807/why-hong-kong-cannot-copy-singapores-approach-public-housing


    Le peinurie de logements sociaux à Hong Kong est le fruit de la version néolibérale du colonialisme. L’état de Singapour a resolu le problème en imposant l’achat d’appartements sociaux et en confisquant contre dédommagement des territoires privés.

    The technocratic, highly autonomous and competent Singaporean state took on the role of providing affordable housing on a near universal basis, subsidising home ownership for the vast majority. The development of public housing was effectively land reform and wealth redistribution on a scale unimaginable today in neoliberal Hong Kong, despite the superficial similarities in this sphere between the two cities.

    The state’s autonomy meant it was not subordinate to, or captured by, the interests of social groups, from big business and labour to landowners, property developers or finance. This is not to say the government rode roughshod over these groups, but it did mean it could plan and make decisions for the long-term good of the country, without having to cater too much to well-organised interests. Most citizens accepted this setup as they could see improvements all around, not least in their housing conditions.

    But to tackle the problem comprehensively, the HDB took on responsibility for all aspects of housing, including planning, development, design, building and maintenance. The initial priority was to create properly planned population centres outside the city centre but within easy reach. Between 1960 and 1965, the HDB surpassed its target by building more than 50,000 flats. HDB estates were later also developed with other considerations in mind, such as state industrialisation objectives, the avoidance of ethnic enclaves, and asset inflation.

    On the issue of land, ensuring there was enough for public housing meant repealing the 1920 Land Acquisition Ordinance and enacting the Land Acquisition Act (LAA) in 1966. This allowed the state to acquire land for any public purpose or work of public benefit, or for any residential, commercial, or industrial purpose. A subsequent amendment to the LAA in 1973 allowed officials to acquire private land in exchange for compensation below market value. The acquisitions were seldom challenged in the courts.

    Such draconian rules greatly facilitated housing and industrialisation programmes. State ownership of land rose from 31 per cent in 1949 to 44 per cent in 1960, and 76 per cent by 1985. Land reclamation did play a part in this change, along with the transfer of British military space. But to ensure a perpetual supply, Lee’s government also passed legislation to ensure the leases on state-owned land would not exceed 99 years.

    These methods are unthinkable in contemporary Hong Kong. While legally possible, the compulsory acquisition of private land for public housing is rare and generally eschewed. Although Hong Kong law allows the Land Development Corporation (LDC) to take space away from private owners at market prices, the efficacy of this law is limited. The LDC has to demonstrate there is no “undue detriment” to the interests of landowners, which is often difficult.

    Land reform almost always requires landowners’ interests be subordinate to those of the state, and especially those of the landless. This is not the case in Hong Kong.

    Lastly, to ensure the affordability of public housing, the Singapore government designed its policies to explicitly favour home ownership. The units set aside for this purpose were initially priced such that buying was a more attractive option than renting HDB homes.

    In 1968 the Singapore government went further. It increased the amount of money Singaporeans had to contribute to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) so that citizens could then use these savings to finance home purchases. The CPF was established in 1955 as a pension plan, with employees putting in 5 per cent of their monthly salary.

    The revamped CPF required monthly contributions of 6 per cent from the employee, and 6 per cent from employers. By 1990 the rates had risen to 16 per cent and 24 per cent, respectively. This demanded sacrifice on the part of citizens since it ate into their daily spending.

    Such stringent mandatory savings plans would be unlikely to garner much support in Hong Kong. Many would perceive them as paternalistic and would not accept the lower take-home pay they entail.

    In 2017, two decades after Hong Kong’s return to Chinese sovereignty, only about 36 per cent of households were in public housing and 49 per cent owned their homes.

    Unlike Singapore, where financing is facilitated by affordable public housing prices and CPF savings, ownership of public flats in Hong Kong is not supported by government policy to the same degree. A successful applicant for a flat in Hong Kong under the Home Ownership Scheme does not own the property until he or she pays a land premium determined by the market value. On acquiring the flat, the applicant pays to the government only the cost of its construction.

    Neither Singapore’s past experience nor its present circumstances suggest it should be a model for Hong Kong. While the public housing programme was hugely successful in its first 50 years, some Singaporeans now raise questions about the long-term viability of a policy based (implicitly at least) on perpetually rising flat values. Having put much of their CPF savings into securing a home, many Singaporeans today are worried about the prospect of declining values on their ageing HDB properties.

    Given how unique and context-specific Singapore’s success in public housing was, it is questionable whether it can be grafted onto contemporary Hong Kong’s context – unless its society and politics were to mimic Singapore’s, and how likely or desirable is that for Hong Kong? ■

    Lee Hsin is a PhD student at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore. Donald Low is a senior lecturer and professor of practice in public policy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and is director of its Leadership and Public Policy Programme

    #Hong_Kong #Chine #Singapour #logement #immobilier #capitalisme

  • Team America élimine une centaine d’extrémistes religieux au centre de Paris
    https://www.berliner-kurier.de/news/panorama/macron-verspricht-wiederaufbau-brand-in-zerstoerter-notre-dame-unter

    A Berlin de fiables sources anonymes nous informent sur une nouvelle frappe des marionettes d’élite Team America .

    Les faits : D’après nos sources la marionette incarnant le président de France aurait donné son autorisation préalable à l’intervention de la troupe de choc lors ce que l’ambassadeur étatsunien l’aurait autorisé à choisir entre l’emploi d’une bombe à neutrons laissant intacte la structure du bâtiment et les armes incendiaires dont dispose l’unité spéciale.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lrf29R4H9pQ

    D’intenses négotiations par la marionette chef d’état auraient permis de limiter les dégats par rapport au dernier passage à la capitale française de la Team America .

    16.04.19, 06:05 Uhr - Macron verspricht Wiederaufbau
    Brand in zerstörter Notre-Dame unter Kontrolle

    Paris - Dramatische Bilder aus dem Herzen von Paris!

    Nachdem die weltberühmte Kathedrale Notre-Dame am Montagabend in Flammen aufgegangen war, hat die Feuerwehr den Brand in der Nacht auf Dienstag unter Kontrolle gebracht. Kleine Brandnester sind aber auch am Morgen noch zu erkennen. Zuvor war der 96 Meter hohe Mittelturm eingestürzt, wie Fotos zeigten.

    Schon am späten Abend hatte die Pariser Feuerwehr mitgeteilt: Die Grundstruktur des Gebäudes konnte gerettet werden.

    L’analyse politique : Nos amis politologues pensent que la décision du président reflète l’influence politique croissante de l’industrie du bâtiment par rapport à celle du tourisme. Les jours et semaines à venir nous feront sans doute voir les conséquences de la riposte des cercles touristiques.

    #France #Paris #USA #terrorisme #tourisme #immobilier #wtf

  • 06.04.2019: »Verwertungsdynamik kennt keine Grenzen« (Tageszeitung junge Welt)
    https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/352513.kapitalistische-stadt-verwertungsdynamik-kennt-keine-grenzen.html?s

    Gespräch mit Andrej Holm. Über explodierende Mieten, Verdrängung als Geschäftsmodell und die Forderung nach Enteignung
    Interview: Jan Greve

    Andrej Holm ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Am dortigen Institut für Sozialwissenschaften forscht er zu Wohnungspolitik, Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung. Er ist seit vielen Jahren in stadtpolitischen Bewegungen aktiv. Zwischen September 2016 und Januar 2017 war er kurzzeitig Staatssekretär für Wohnen, berufen von der Berliner Senatorin für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen, Katrin Lompscher (Die Linke). Nach teils hetzerischen Debatten über seinen fünfmonatigen Dienst beim Ministerium für Staatssicherheit der DDR Ende 1989, den er als 18jähriger angetreten hatte, erklärte er am 16. Januar 2017 seinen Rücktritt.

    Trinken Sie gerne Freibier, Herr Holm?

    Ab und zu trinke ich Bier, es muss aber kein Freibier sein. Mit Sicherheit stimmt beim Biertrinken, was auch fürs Wohnen gilt: Man sollte sich weigern, völlig überhöhte Preise zu bezahlen.

    Maren Kern, Chefin des »Verbandes Berlin-Brandenburgischer Wohnungsunternehmen«, strengte diesen Vergleich jüngst mit Blick auf das Volksbegehren »Deutsche Wohnen und Co enteignen« an: »Bei Freibier sind auch alle dafür. Aber einer muss das Freibier immer bezahlen.« Was fällt Ihnen dazu ein?

    Für mich klingt das nach hilfloser Polemik, zumal es ja nicht um Freibier, sondern die Übernahme der Brauerei geht. Aber das Stammtischniveau dieses Vergleichs passt ins Bild: In den Reaktionen aus der Immobilienwirtschaft auf die Enteignungsforderung werden bisher relativ wenige Sachargumente angeführt. Statt dessen gibt es diskreditierende historische Vergleiche, nach dem Motto: »Da kommt die DDR 2.0«. Die Immobilienwirtschaft scheint das Aufbegehren der Mieterinnen und Mieter über Jahre ignoriert zu haben und wirkt jetzt angesichts der Radikalität der Forderungen nicht gut vorbereitet.

    Sie beschäftigen sich seit den 1990er Jahren wissenschaftlich mit Stadtpolitik. Konnte man die aktuellen Zuspitzungen damals absehen?

    Sowohl die wissenschaftliche Begleitung als auch die politische Mobilisierung orientieren sich ja immer an den aktuellen Konfliktlagen. Es ist nicht so, als hätte es etwa in den 2000er Jahren keine wohnungspolitischen Auseinandersetzungen in Berlin gegeben. Damals haben wir vor allem in Ostberliner Innenstadtbezirken über Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung durch Modernisierungen diskutiert. Die meisten waren überzeugt, dass es sich dabei um stadtteilspezifische Prozesse handelt – heute sprechen wir von einer stadtweiten Wohnungskrise. Als der Senat aus SPD und PDS massenweise Quartiere privatisierte, kritisierten das damals nur wenige Aktive aus Gewerkschaften und Mieterorganisationen. Dass Berliner Mietwohnungen irgendwann an der Börse gehandelt werden könnten, ahnten nur wenige.

    Offenbar glaubt man immer wieder, gegenwärtig die Spitze der Entwicklung erreicht zu haben – noch höher könnten Mieten nicht steigen, noch schlimmer könne es nicht werden. Im Rückblick zeigt sich aber: Die Verwertungsdynamik in wachsenden Städten wie Berlin kennt keine Grenzen. Vor fünf Jahren schauderte man, wenn man von Mietverträgen hörte, in denen 15 oder 20 Euro pro Quadratmeter verlangt wurden. Heutzutage tauchen Anzeigen auf, wo Mikroappartements für 40 Euro pro Quadratmeter inseriert werden. Hätte ich das vor zehn Jahren prognostiziert, wäre ich vermutlich in eine Betreuungseinrichtung überwiesen worden.

    Das ist aber nur die eine Seite der Medaille.

    Das sind die Spitzen der Entwicklung. Da sind wir weit weg von dem, was es an ­sozialem Versorgungsbedarf gibt. In Berlin gibt es eine relativ stabile Zahl von armen Haushalten, die so zwischen 750.000 und 800.000 liegt. Unter dem Strich können diese nicht mehr als 4,50 oder fünf Euro pro Quadratmeter zahlen. Eine soziale Wohnungspolitik müsste darauf ausgerichtet sein, solche Mieten dauerhaft zu schützen. Das wiederum hätte man auch schon vor zehn Jahren sagen können: Wir brauchen einen Grundbestand an günstigem Wohnraum, gerade in einer armen Stadt wie Berlin. Hier geht es um einen Bereich, den kein Markt regelt und der daher in öffentlicher Verantwortung organisiert werden muss. Da haben wir es mit einem Widerspruch zwischen sozialem Versorgungsbedarf und privaten Geschäftsinteressen zu tun.

    Wie sieht die Situation gegenwärtig aus? Gibt es aktuelle Zahlen zur Entwicklung von Mietpreisen?

    In den vergangenen zehn Jahren sind die Bestandsmieten in Berlin um weit über 30 Prozent gestiegen. Das sehen wir selbst da, wo es langfristige Mietverträge gibt und wo die hochgelobte deutsche Mietgesetzgebung greifen müsste. Durch die Anpassung an ortsübliche Vergleichsmieten oder die Umlage von Modernisierungskosten sind auch bei laufenden Verträgen die Mieten deutlich stärker gestiegen als die Einkommen. Daneben beobachten wir eine extreme Vergrößerung des Abstands zwischen Bestands- und Angebotsmieten. Wenn wir auf Zahlen von 2008/09 zurückschauen, lagen die Preise bei Neuvermietungen damals im Schnitt vielleicht einen Euro über den Bestandsmieten. Heute liegt der durchschnittliche Neuvermietungsaufschlag bei etwa fünf Euro. Wer jetzt die Wohnung wechselt oder neu in die Stadt kommt, hat sehr schlechte Startbedingungen.

    Aus der Perspektive der Immobilienbranche wiederum stellt sich dieser Abstand zwischen Bestands- und Neuvermietungsmieten als »Ertragslücke« dar. Mit dem schlichten Austausch eines Mietverhältnisses kann, ohne jede zusätzliche Investition, der Ertrag verdoppelt werden. Damit wird Verdrängung zum Geschäftsmodell. Nicht nur in innerstädtischen Lagen ist zu sehen, wie Vermieter alles daran setzen, Menschen zum Auszug zu bewegen, um neu vermieten zu können. Diese Entwicklung ist der Grund dafür, warum sich so viele kleine Nachbarschaftsinitiativen gebildet haben.

    Wird diese Entwicklung immer so weitergehen?

    Ein Ende ist nicht abzusehen. Allein in den letzten zehn Jahren haben sich die Preise für bebaute Grundstücke in Berlin fast verdreifacht. Bebaute Grundstücke sind in der Regel solche mit bewohnten Mietshäusern. Die gestiegenen Kaufpreise müssen am Ende aus der Bewirtschaftung der Gebäude refinanziert werden. Mit hohen Preisen steigt also vor allem die Erwartung, hohe Erträge zu erzielen. Das alles hat einen Flächenbrand von Verdrängungskonflikten in Berlin ausgelöst. Mittlerweile gibt es Haushalte, die zu arm sind, um verdrängt zu werden, weil sie sich auch die Mieten in den schnell teurer werdenden Randbezirken der Stadt schlicht nicht mehr leisten können.

    An diesem Wochenende werden Tausende Menschen gegen steigende Mieten und Wohnungsnot demons­trieren. In mehreren bundesdeutschen Städten finden Aktionen statt, ebenso wie in anderen europäischen Metropolen. Bereits im letzten Jahr protestierten nach Veranstalterangaben rund 25.000 Menschen in Berlin. Wie nehmen Sie den wachsenden Widerstand wahr?

    Es gibt ein kontinuierliches Anwachsen von stadtpolitischen Aktivitäten. Die Besonderheit in Berlin besteht darin, dass sich diese zu einer Zeit entwickelten, als es keinen parlamentarischen Ansprechpartner für die Bewegung gab. Wir reden von Mitte der 2000er, als der »rot-rote« Senat landeseigene Wohnungen privatisierte. Damals – heute ist es glücklicherweise anders – gehörte es noch zum Selbstverständnis der großen Mieterorganisationen, sich hauptsächlich um Rechtsberatung zu kümmern. Allerdings findet Verdrängung häufig auf legalen Wegen statt, kann also mit juristischen Mitteln nicht immer abgewendet werden. Dadurch waren Mietergruppen auf sich selbst zurückgeworfen und mussten ein hohes Maß an Selbstorganisation an den Tag legen, was bis heute nachwirkt. Das unterscheidet die Berliner Protestbewegung von der in anderen Städten. Und es hat dazu geführt, dass wir heute ganz grundsätzlich die Frage diskutieren, ob wir Wohnen gemeinsam in öffentlicher Verantwortung organisieren oder dem Markt überlassen wollen.

    Parallel zur Berliner Demonstration beginnt das Unterschriftensammeln für das Enteignungsvolksbegehren. Es gibt Kritik von verschiedenen Seiten, die die Erfolgsaussichten bezweifeln. Wie sehen Sie die Initiative?

    Es gibt bei der Suche nach den richtigen Konzepten, wie gutes Wohnen für alle gesichert werden kann, keine Patentlösung. Da sind zum Beispiel sogenannte Milieuschutzgebiete, von denen man sagen kann, dass mit ihnen die Situation verbessert wird – aber eben nicht für diejenigen, die außerhalb dieser Bereiche wohnen; von den rechtlichen Lücken ganz zu schweigen. Ähnlich verhält es sich beim sogenannten Mietendeckel, dessen Einführung in Berlin derzeit alle drei Koalitionspartner unterstützen. Auch dies mag die Lage für einige entspannen. Wird diese Grenze aber beispielsweise bei 6,50 Euro pro Quadratmeter angesetzt, ist die für die Haushalte, die bislang 4,50 Euro zahlen, immer noch zu hoch. Ein weiteres Beispiel ist der Neubau, bei dem es um die Quote von Sozialwohnungen geht. Eine prima Sache – aber eben nur für diejenigen, die dort ein Quartier ergattern können. Es gibt keinen wohnungspolitischen Joker, der alle Problem auf einmal löst. Grundsätzlich bin ich deshalb immer misstrauisch, wenn einzelne Instrumente wegen ihrer begrenzten Wirkung kritisiert werden.

    Dadurch lässt sich die Debatte lähmen.

    Genau. Wir haben es mit einem typischen Abwehrdiskurs zu tun, der in der Regel zuerst von der Immobilienwirtschaft geführt wird. Aus Sicht der Mieter ist die Sache klar: Es soll möglichst alles versucht werden. Je mehr Mieterschutz, je mehr öffentlich und gemeinnützig verwaltete Wohnungen und je mehr günstiger und dauerhaft gebundener Neubau, desto besser. Das gilt auch für die Sozialisierung, die mit der Enteignung von Konzernen verbunden ist. Dabei geht es ja nicht um eine Bestrafung von Immobilienunternehmen, denen man ihre Spielzeuge wegnimmt. So, wie ich die Initiative verstanden habe, geht es darum, einen relevanten Sektor zu vergesellschaften, weil dieser in privatwirtschaftlicher Organisation die soziale Aufgabe der Versorgung mit günstigem Wohnraum nicht erfüllt. Das ist eine richtige Forderung unter vielen.

    In den letzten Jahren war vor allem die Losung »Bauen, bauen bauen« zu hören. Damit hat man sich viel zu sehr auf die Logik des Marktmodells eingelassen. Viele scheinen zu glauben, dass Mieten sinken, nur weil mehr Quartiere entstehen. Das stimmt aber höchstens für die Spitzensegmente. Es ist völlig ausgeschlossen, so viel bauen zu können, dass es in der Stadt wieder mehr Wohnungen für 4,50 Euro den Quadratmeter gibt.

    Die »Deutsche Wohnen« als größter privater Vermieter in der Hauptstadt behauptet, gar kein Preistreiber zu sein.

    Der Konzern gibt regelmäßig bekannt, mit seinen Mieten im Schnitt nur knapp über dem Berliner Durchschnitt zu liegen. Wir müssen zunächst schauen, woher deren Bestände kommen. Es waren insbesondere die Privatisierungen, die das Entstehen solch großer Player überhaupt erst ermöglichten. In Berlin war das beispielsweise die GSW mit rund 64.000 Wohnungen, die SPD und PDS verkauften. Die »Deutsche Wohnen« und die meisten anderen größeren Immobilienunternehmen verwalten vor allem ehemals öffentlich geförderte Bestände. Dort wohnen überwiegend immer noch die Leute, für die die Häuser einst errichtet worden waren. Wir reden da in der Regel nicht von luxuriös sanierten Altbauten im Prenzlauer Berg, sondern von Siedlungsbauten aus den 1950er bis 70er Jahren. Wenn die Preise für diese Wohnungen – die eigentlich die günstigsten in der Stadt sein sollten – knapp über dem Berliner Durchschnitt liegen, läuft etwas schief.

    In der Argumentation von der Unternehmerseite klingt teilweise heraus, man handle quasi in Notwehr: Angesichts der Nullzinspolitik müsse man in Immobilien investieren, um irgendwie noch eine »vernünftige« Rendite erzielen zu können. Weckt das Ihr Mitleid?

    Überhaupt nicht. Die Dynamik der Finanzkrise 2008/09 zeigt, dass es zwei Modi zur Lösung der Probleme gibt. Die eine Strategie besteht darin, dass der Staat mit Hilfe riesiger Rettungspakete einspringt und die Profitmargen privater Konzerne sichert. Die andere führte zu Investitionen in privatisierte Bereiche, die bisher soziale Aufgaben erfüllten. Damit waren Konflikte programmiert: Die Versorgung mit günstigem Wohnraum darf nicht davon abhängen, ob irgendwelche Börsenwerte gerade hoch- oder runtergehen. Die Privatisierungen liefen dabei immer nach demselben Muster ab: Bereiche, die zuvor öffentlich organisiert waren und soziale Infrastruktur bereitstellten, wurden ökonomisiert. So sieht es aus, als sei der Staat überflüssig …

    … was im Interesse der Profiteure dieser Entwicklung liegt.

    Ja. Marxistisch gesprochen haben wir es mit einer fortgesetzten ursprünglichen Akkumulation zu tun: Bereiche, die noch nicht der Marktlogik unterworfen waren, werden für private Akteure geöffnet. Es ist skandalös, wenn Nutzerinnen und Nutzer öffentlicher Infrastruktur mit ihrem Geld ein gescheitertes Finanzmarktmodell am Leben erhalten sollen.

    Beim von Ihnen angesprochenen Gedanken ging es Marx darum zu zeigen, wie im kapitalistischen System wiederholt und gewalttätig agiert werden muss, um Profit dauerhaft erwirtschaften zu können. Sehen wir diese Gewalt in den heutigen Verhältnissen?

    Die sehen wir in vielen Bereichen. Etwa in den »kleinen« Rechtsübertretungen, wenn es darum geht, Mieter aus ihren Wohnungen zu ekeln. Oder beim Psychoterror, wenn über Monate hinweg Bauarbeiten vorgetäuscht werden, um Bewohner zum Auszug zu bewegen. Und auch bei Zwangsräumungen, die mit direkter physischer Gewalt einhergehen.

    Städte in kapitalistischen Zentren sind heute nicht nur durch steigende Mieten charakterisiert. Dazu kommen auch die Anwendungen digitaler Technologien, Stichwort »Smart City«, oder repressive »Sicherheitspolitik«, Stichwort Überwachung. Wenn es um Verwertungsinteressen geht, greifen mehrere Entwicklungen ineinander.

    Ja. Es gibt Dutzende Beispiele für die Unterwerfung der Stadtentwicklung unter die Profitlogik. Wie auch beim Wohnungsmarkt ist zu sehen, dass diejenigen, die nicht mithalten können, den kürzeren ziehen. Mit solchen Zuspitzungen wächst aber auch der Protest. In den Diskussionen hier wird ja gerne sehnsuchtsvoll in andere Städte geschaut, etwa nach Wien als Positivbeispiel für soziale Wohnungspolitik. Wenn ich mich aber außerhalb von Berlin mit Leuten unterhalte, merke ich, wie sehr die wiederum neidisch auf die hiesigen stadtpolitischen Debatten blicken. Etwa darauf, dass Nachbarschaftsinitiativen in Kreuzberg 2018 erfolgreich einen Google-Campus verhindern konnten. Oder auf das Enteignungsvolksbegehren.

    Der Berliner Senat hat die Hälfte seiner Amtszeit hinter sich. Kritik gibt es nicht nur von rechts, sondern auch von linken Gruppen, die einige Hoffnungen in die Koalition gesetzt hatten. Sind Sie froh darüber, persönlich nicht mehr als Staatssekretär für Wohnen, der Sie ja kurzzeitig waren, in der Schusslinie zu stehen?

    Es zeigt sich letztlich nur, was schon vorher alle wissen konnten: Politik ändert sich nicht allein dadurch, dass die Regierungskonstellation wechselt. Im besten Fall kann das den Raum an Möglichkeiten erweitern, beispielsweise für Initiativen. Das hat meiner Meinung nach in einigen Bereichen geklappt, in anderen nicht. So gibt es in Berlin immer noch Zwangsräumungen, auch veranlasst von den landeseigenen Wohnungsbaugesellschaften. Zudem wird die Unterbringung von anerkannten Geflüchteten in den öffentlichen Wohnungsbeständen erschwert. Weil der Aufenthaltsstatus regelmäßig überprüft wird, können selbst Geflüchtete mit mehrfach verlängerten Aufenthaltstiteln keine Dokumente mit einer Restlaufzeit von mindestens zwölf Monaten vorweisen, weswegen ihnen die Ausstellung eines Wohnberechtigungsscheins verweigert wird. Es gibt also einige Paradoxien, die sich nicht allein durch eine »rot-rot-grüne« Landesregierung aufgelöst haben. Die Linke in Berlin hat vor nicht allzu langer Zeit plakatiert: »Die Stadt gehört euch.« Für das gemeinsame Gestalten von Stadtpolitik gibt es noch nicht allzu viele Beispiele aus der Praxis. Es bleibt dabei: Die entscheidenden Impulse kommen von außen, siehe Enteignungsvolksbegehren. Auf das gutmütige Abarbeiten von Koalitionsvereinbarungen sollte man nur begrenzte Hoffnung setzen.

    Es war nicht überraschend, dass bürgerliche Kommentatoren beim Thema Enteignung die »DDR-Keule« aus der Schublade holten. Auch Sie versuchte man damit persönlich zu diskreditieren, weil Sie in jungen Jahren für wenige Monate beim Ministerium für Staatssicherheit gearbeitet haben. Wie lange, meinen Sie, wird man in der BRD noch auf dieses »Argument« zurückgreifen?

    Der tiefsitzende Antikommunismus ist ein Kontinuum in der westdeutschen Politik. Das betrifft Konservative, geht aber auch weit ins sozialdemokratische und liberale Spektrum hinein. Darauf kann man sich häufig einigen. Vergleiche mit der DDR sind in der Hinsicht austauschbar. Es gibt offenkundig eine große Angst vor einer Gesellschaft, die nicht marktwirtschaftlich organisiert ist. Der Umstand, dass der Artikel 15 zur Enteignung gegen Entschädigung seit 70 Jahren im Grundgesetz steht, aber noch nie Anwendung gefunden hat, sagt eigentlich schon alles. Die Frage ist, ob ein solches antikommunistisches Ressentiment als Argument noch immer wirkt und wer das ernst nimmt. Ich habe jedenfalls noch keine Mieterin der »Deutsche Wohnen« getroffen, die die Enteignungsinitiative deswegen ablehnt, weil sie befürchtet, künftig in Stacheldraht eingezäunt zu werden.

    #Berlin #logement #immobilier #loyer #capitalisme #spéculation #bulle_immobilière

  • 06.04.2019: »Verwertungsdynamik kennt keine Grenzen« (Tageszeitung junge Welt)
    https://www.jungewelt.de/artikel/352513.kapitalistische-stadt-verwertungsdynamik-kennt-keine-grenzen.html

    Gespräch mit Andrej Holm. Über explodierende Mieten, Verdrängung als Geschäftsmodell und die Forderung nach Enteignung

    Interview: Jan Greve

    Trinken Sie gerne Freibier, Herr Holm?

    Ab und zu trinke ich Bier, es muss aber kein Freibier sein. Mit Sicherheit stimmt beim Biertrinken, was auch fürs Wohnen gilt: Man sollte sich weigern, völlig überhöhte Preise zu bezahlen.

    Maren Kern, Chefin des »Verbandes Berlin-Brandenburgischer Wohnungsunternehmen«, strengte diesen Vergleich jüngst mit Blick auf das Volksbegehren »Deutsche Wohnen und Co enteignen« an: »Bei Freibier sind auch alle dafür. Aber einer muss das Freibier immer bezahlen.« Was fällt Ihnen dazu ein?

    Für mich klingt das nach hilfloser Polemik, zumal es ja nicht um Freibier, sondern die Übernahme der Brauerei geht. Aber das Stammtischniveau dieses Vergleichs passt ins Bild: In den Reaktionen aus der Immobilienwirtschaft auf die Enteignungsforderung werden bisher relativ wenige Sachargumente angeführt. Statt dessen gibt es diskreditierende historische Vergleiche, nach dem Motto: »Da kommt die DDR 2.0«. Die Immobilienwirtschaft scheint das Aufbegehren der Mieterinnen und Mieter über Jahre ignoriert zu haben und wirkt jetzt angesichts der Radikalität der Forderungen nicht gut vorbereitet.

    Sie beschäftigen sich seit den 1990er Jahren wissenschaftlich mit Stadtpolitik. Konnte man die aktuellen Zuspitzungen damals absehen?

    Sowohl die wissenschaftliche Begleitung als auch die politische Mobilisierung orientieren sich ja immer an den aktuellen Konfliktlagen. Es ist nicht so, als hätte es etwa in den 2000er Jahren keine wohnungspolitischen Auseinandersetzungen in Berlin gegeben. Damals haben wir vor allem in Ostberliner Innenstadtbezirken über Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung durch Modernisierungen diskutiert. Die meisten waren überzeugt, dass es sich dabei um stadtteilspezifische Prozesse handelt – heute sprechen wir von einer stadtweiten Wohnungskrise. Als der Senat aus SPD und PDS massenweise Quartiere privatisierte, kritisierten das damals nur wenige Aktive aus Gewerkschaften und Mieterorganisationen. Dass Berliner Mietwohnungen irgendwann an der Börse gehandelt werden könnten, ahnten nur wenige.

    Offenbar glaubt man immer wieder, gegenwärtig die Spitze der Entwicklung erreicht zu haben – noch höher könnten Mieten nicht steigen, noch schlimmer könne es nicht werden. Im Rückblick zeigt sich aber: Die Verwertungsdynamik in wachsenden Städten wie Berlin kennt keine Grenzen. Vor fünf Jahren schauderte man, wenn man von Mietverträgen hörte, in denen 15 oder 20 Euro pro Quadratmeter verlangt wurden. Heutzutage tauchen Anzeigen auf, wo Mikroappartements für 40 Euro pro Quadratmeter inseriert werden. Hätte ich das vor zehn Jahren prognostiziert, wäre ich vermutlich in eine Betreuungseinrichtung überwiesen worden.

    Das ist aber nur die eine Seite der Medaille.

    Das sind die Spitzen der Entwicklung. Da sind wir weit weg von dem, was es an ­sozialem Versorgungsbedarf gibt. In Berlin gibt es eine relativ stabile Zahl von armen Haushalten, die so zwischen 750.000 und 800.000 liegt. Unter dem Strich können diese nicht mehr als 4,50 oder fünf Euro pro Quadratmeter zahlen. Eine soziale Wohnungspolitik müsste darauf ausgerichtet sein, solche Mieten dauerhaft zu schützen. Das wiederum hätte man auch schon vor zehn Jahren sagen können: Wir brauchen einen Grundbestand an günstigem Wohnraum, gerade in einer armen Stadt wie Berlin. Hier geht es um einen Bereich, den kein Markt regelt und der daher in öffentlicher Verantwortung organisiert werden muss. Da haben wir es mit einem Widerspruch zwischen sozialem Versorgungsbedarf und privaten Geschäftsinteressen zu tun.

    Wie sieht die Situation gegenwärtig aus? Gibt es aktuelle Zahlen zur Entwicklung von Mietpreisen?

    In den vergangenen zehn Jahren sind die Bestandsmieten in Berlin um weit über 30 Prozent gestiegen. Das sehen wir selbst da, wo es langfristige Mietverträge gibt und wo die hochgelobte deutsche Mietgesetzgebung greifen müsste. Durch die Anpassung an ortsübliche Vergleichsmieten oder die Umlage von Modernisierungskosten sind auch bei laufenden Verträgen die Mieten deutlich stärker gestiegen als die Einkommen. Daneben beobachten wir eine extreme Vergrößerung des Abstands zwischen Bestands- und Angebotsmieten. Wenn wir auf Zahlen von 2008/09 zurückschauen, lagen die Preise bei Neuvermietungen damals im Schnitt vielleicht einen Euro über den Bestandsmieten. Heute liegt der durchschnittliche Neuvermietungsaufschlag bei etwa fünf Euro. Wer jetzt die Wohnung wechselt oder neu in die Stadt kommt, hat sehr schlechte Startbedingungen.

    Aus der Perspektive der Immobilienbranche wiederum stellt sich dieser Abstand zwischen Bestands- und Neuvermietungsmieten als »Ertragslücke« dar. Mit dem schlichten Austausch eines Mietverhältnisses kann, ohne jede zusätzliche Investition, der Ertrag verdoppelt werden. Damit wird Verdrängung zum Geschäftsmodell. Nicht nur in innerstädtischen Lagen ist zu sehen, wie Vermieter alles daran setzen, Menschen zum Auszug zu bewegen, um neu vermieten zu können. Diese Entwicklung ist der Grund dafür, warum sich so viele kleine Nachbarschaftsinitiativen gebildet haben.

    Wird diese Entwicklung immer so weitergehen?

    Ein Ende ist nicht abzusehen. Allein in den letzten zehn Jahren haben sich die Preise für bebaute Grundstücke in Berlin fast verdreifacht. Bebaute Grundstücke sind in der Regel solche mit bewohnten Mietshäusern. Die gestiegenen Kaufpreise müssen am Ende aus der Bewirtschaftung der Gebäude refinanziert werden. Mit hohen Preisen steigt also vor allem die Erwartung, hohe Erträge zu erzielen. Das alles hat einen Flächenbrand von Verdrängungskonflikten in Berlin ausgelöst. Mittlerweile gibt es Haushalte, die zu arm sind, um verdrängt zu werden, weil sie sich auch die Mieten in den schnell teurer werdenden Randbezirken der Stadt schlicht nicht mehr leisten können.

    An diesem Wochenende werden Tausende Menschen gegen steigende Mieten und Wohnungsnot demons­trieren. In mehreren bundesdeutschen Städten finden Aktionen statt, ebenso wie in anderen europäischen Metropolen. Bereits im letzten Jahr protestierten nach Veranstalterangaben rund 25.000 Menschen in Berlin. Wie nehmen Sie den wachsenden Widerstand wahr?

    Es gibt ein kontinuierliches Anwachsen von stadtpolitischen Aktivitäten. Die Besonderheit in Berlin besteht darin, dass sich diese zu einer Zeit entwickelten, als es keinen parlamentarischen Ansprechpartner für die Bewegung gab. Wir reden von Mitte der 2000er, als der »rot-rote« Senat landeseigene Wohnungen privatisierte. Damals – heute ist es glücklicherweise anders – gehörte es noch zum Selbstverständnis der großen Mieterorganisationen, sich hauptsächlich um Rechtsberatung zu kümmern. Allerdings findet Verdrängung häufig auf legalen Wegen statt, kann also mit juristischen Mitteln nicht immer abgewendet werden. Dadurch waren Mietergruppen auf sich selbst zurückgeworfen und mussten ein hohes Maß an Selbstorganisation an den Tag legen, was bis heute nachwirkt. Das unterscheidet die Berliner Protestbewegung von der in anderen Städten. Und es hat dazu geführt, dass wir heute ganz grundsätzlich die Frage diskutieren, ob wir Wohnen gemeinsam in öffentlicher Verantwortung organisieren oder dem Markt überlassen wollen.

    Parallel zur Berliner Demonstration beginnt das Unterschriftensammeln für das Enteignungsvolksbegehren. Es gibt Kritik von verschiedenen Seiten, die die Erfolgsaussichten bezweifeln. Wie sehen Sie die Initiative?

    Es gibt bei der Suche nach den richtigen Konzepten, wie gutes Wohnen für alle gesichert werden kann, keine Patentlösung. Da sind zum Beispiel sogenannte Milieuschutzgebiete, von denen man sagen kann, dass mit ihnen die Situation verbessert wird – aber eben nicht für diejenigen, die außerhalb dieser Bereiche wohnen; von den rechtlichen Lücken ganz zu schweigen. Ähnlich verhält es sich beim sogenannten Mietendeckel, dessen Einführung in Berlin derzeit alle drei Koalitionspartner unterstützen. Auch dies mag die Lage für einige entspannen. Wird diese Grenze aber beispielsweise bei 6,50 Euro pro Quadratmeter angesetzt, ist die für die Haushalte, die bislang 4,50 Euro zahlen, immer noch zu hoch. Ein weiteres Beispiel ist der Neubau, bei dem es um die Quote von Sozialwohnungen geht. Eine prima Sache – aber eben nur für diejenigen, die dort ein Quartier ergattern können. Es gibt keinen wohnungspolitischen Joker, der alle Problem auf einmal löst. Grundsätzlich bin ich deshalb immer misstrauisch, wenn einzelne Instrumente wegen ihrer begrenzten Wirkung kritisiert werden.

    Dadurch lässt sich die Debatte lähmen.

    Genau. Wir haben es mit einem typischen Abwehrdiskurs zu tun, der in der Regel zuerst von der Immobilienwirtschaft geführt wird. Aus Sicht der Mieter ist die Sache klar: Es soll möglichst alles versucht werden. Je mehr Mieterschutz, je mehr öffentlich und gemeinnützig verwaltete Wohnungen und je mehr günstiger und dauerhaft gebundener Neubau, desto besser. Das gilt auch für die Sozialisierung, die mit der Enteignung von Konzernen verbunden ist. Dabei geht es ja nicht um eine Bestrafung von Immobilienunternehmen, denen man ihre Spielzeuge wegnimmt. So, wie ich die Initiative verstanden habe, geht es darum, einen relevanten Sektor zu vergesellschaften, weil dieser in privatwirtschaftlicher Organisation die soziale Aufgabe der Versorgung mit günstigem Wohnraum nicht erfüllt. Das ist eine richtige Forderung unter vielen.

    In den letzten Jahren war vor allem die Losung »Bauen, bauen bauen« zu hören. Damit hat man sich viel zu sehr auf die Logik des Marktmodells eingelassen. Viele scheinen zu glauben, dass Mieten sinken, nur weil mehr Quartiere entstehen. Das stimmt aber höchstens für die Spitzensegmente. Es ist völlig ausgeschlossen, so viel bauen zu können, dass es in der Stadt wieder mehr Wohnungen für 4,50 Euro den Quadratmeter gibt.

    Die »Deutsche Wohnen« als größter privater Vermieter in der Hauptstadt behauptet, gar kein Preistreiber zu sein.

    Der Konzern gibt regelmäßig bekannt, mit seinen Mieten im Schnitt nur knapp über dem Berliner Durchschnitt zu liegen. Wir müssen zunächst schauen, woher deren Bestände kommen. Es waren insbesondere die Privatisierungen, die das Entstehen solch großer Player überhaupt erst ermöglichten. In Berlin war das beispielsweise die GSW mit rund 64.000 Wohnungen, die SPD und PDS verkauften. Die »Deutsche Wohnen« und die meisten anderen größeren Immobilienunternehmen verwalten vor allem ehemals öffentlich geförderte Bestände. Dort wohnen überwiegend immer noch die Leute, für die die Häuser einst errichtet worden waren. Wir reden da in der Regel nicht von luxuriös sanierten Altbauten im Prenzlauer Berg, sondern von Siedlungsbauten aus den 1950er bis 70er Jahren. Wenn die Preise für diese Wohnungen – die eigentlich die günstigsten in der Stadt sein sollten – knapp über dem Berliner Durchschnitt liegen, läuft etwas schief.

    In der Argumentation von der Unternehmerseite klingt teilweise heraus, man handle quasi in Notwehr: Angesichts der Nullzinspolitik müsse man in Immobilien investieren, um irgendwie noch eine »vernünftige« Rendite erzielen zu können. Weckt das Ihr Mitleid?

    Überhaupt nicht. Die Dynamik der Finanzkrise 2008/09 zeigt, dass es zwei Modi zur Lösung der Probleme gibt. Die eine Strategie besteht darin, dass der Staat mit Hilfe riesiger Rettungspakete einspringt und die Profitmargen privater Konzerne sichert. Die andere führte zu Investitionen in privatisierte Bereiche, die bisher soziale Aufgaben erfüllten. Damit waren Konflikte programmiert: Die Versorgung mit günstigem Wohnraum darf nicht davon abhängen, ob irgendwelche Börsenwerte gerade hoch- oder runtergehen. Die Privatisierungen liefen dabei immer nach demselben Muster ab: Bereiche, die zuvor öffentlich organisiert waren und soziale Infrastruktur bereitstellten, wurden ökonomisiert. So sieht es aus, als sei der Staat überflüssig …

    … was im Interesse der Profiteure dieser Entwicklung liegt.

    Ja. Marxistisch gesprochen haben wir es mit einer fortgesetzten ursprünglichen Akkumulation zu tun: Bereiche, die noch nicht der Marktlogik unterworfen waren, werden für private Akteure geöffnet. Es ist skandalös, wenn Nutzerinnen und Nutzer öffentlicher Infrastruktur mit ihrem Geld ein gescheitertes Finanzmarktmodell am Leben erhalten sollen.

    Beim von Ihnen angesprochenen Gedanken ging es Marx darum zu zeigen, wie im kapitalistischen System wiederholt und gewalttätig agiert werden muss, um Profit dauerhaft erwirtschaften zu können. Sehen wir diese Gewalt in den heutigen Verhältnissen?

    Die sehen wir in vielen Bereichen. Etwa in den »kleinen« Rechtsübertretungen, wenn es darum geht, Mieter aus ihren Wohnungen zu ekeln. Oder beim Psychoterror, wenn über Monate hinweg Bauarbeiten vorgetäuscht werden, um Bewohner zum Auszug zu bewegen. Und auch bei Zwangsräumungen, die mit direkter physischer Gewalt einhergehen.

    Städte in kapitalistischen Zentren sind heute nicht nur durch steigende Mieten charakterisiert. Dazu kommen auch die Anwendungen digitaler Technologien, Stichwort »Smart City«, oder repressive »Sicherheitspolitik«, Stichwort Überwachung. Wenn es um Verwertungsinteressen geht, greifen mehrere Entwicklungen ineinander.

    Ja. Es gibt Dutzende Beispiele für die Unterwerfung der Stadtentwicklung unter die Profitlogik. Wie auch beim Wohnungsmarkt ist zu sehen, dass diejenigen, die nicht mithalten können, den kürzeren ziehen. Mit solchen Zuspitzungen wächst aber auch der Protest. In den Diskussionen hier wird ja gerne sehnsuchtsvoll in andere Städte geschaut, etwa nach Wien als Positivbeispiel für soziale Wohnungspolitik. Wenn ich mich aber außerhalb von Berlin mit Leuten unterhalte, merke ich, wie sehr die wiederum neidisch auf die hiesigen stadtpolitischen Debatten blicken. Etwa darauf, dass Nachbarschaftsinitiativen in Kreuzberg 2018 erfolgreich einen Google-Campus verhindern konnten. Oder auf das Enteignungsvolksbegehren.

    Der Berliner Senat hat die Hälfte seiner Amtszeit hinter sich. Kritik gibt es nicht nur von rechts, sondern auch von linken Gruppen, die einige Hoffnungen in die Koalition gesetzt hatten. Sind Sie froh darüber, persönlich nicht mehr als Staatssekretär für Wohnen, der Sie ja kurzzeitig waren, in der Schusslinie zu stehen?

    Es zeigt sich letztlich nur, was schon vorher alle wissen konnten: Politik ändert sich nicht allein dadurch, dass die Regierungskonstellation wechselt. Im besten Fall kann das den Raum an Möglichkeiten erweitern, beispielsweise für Initiativen. Das hat meiner Meinung nach in einigen Bereichen geklappt, in anderen nicht. So gibt es in Berlin immer noch Zwangsräumungen, auch veranlasst von den landeseigenen Wohnungsbaugesellschaften. Zudem wird die Unterbringung von anerkannten Geflüchteten in den öffentlichen Wohnungsbeständen erschwert. Weil der Aufenthaltsstatus regelmäßig überprüft wird, können selbst Geflüchtete mit mehrfach verlängerten Aufenthaltstiteln keine Dokumente mit einer Restlaufzeit von mindestens zwölf Monaten vorweisen, weswegen ihnen die Ausstellung eines Wohnberechtigungsscheins verweigert wird. Es gibt also einige Paradoxien, die sich nicht allein durch eine »rot-rot-grüne« Landesregierung aufgelöst haben. Die Linke in Berlin hat vor nicht allzu langer Zeit plakatiert: »Die Stadt gehört euch.« Für das gemeinsame Gestalten von Stadtpolitik gibt es noch nicht allzu viele Beispiele aus der Praxis. Es bleibt dabei: Die entscheidenden Impulse kommen von außen, siehe Enteignungsvolksbegehren. Auf das gutmütige Abarbeiten von Koalitionsvereinbarungen sollte man nur begrenzte Hoffnung setzen.

    Es war nicht überraschend, dass bürgerliche Kommentatoren beim Thema Enteignung die »DDR-Keule« aus der Schublade holten. Auch Sie versuchte man damit persönlich zu diskreditieren, weil Sie in jungen Jahren für wenige Monate beim Ministerium für Staatssicherheit gearbeitet haben. Wie lange, meinen Sie, wird man in der BRD noch auf dieses »Argument« zurückgreifen?

    Der tiefsitzende Antikommunismus ist ein Kontinuum in der westdeutschen Politik. Das betrifft Konservative, geht aber auch weit ins sozialdemokratische und liberale Spektrum hinein. Darauf kann man sich häufig einigen. Vergleiche mit der DDR sind in der Hinsicht austauschbar. Es gibt offenkundig eine große Angst vor einer Gesellschaft, die nicht marktwirtschaftlich organisiert ist. Der Umstand, dass der Artikel 15 zur Enteignung gegen Entschädigung seit 70 Jahren im Grundgesetz steht, aber noch nie Anwendung gefunden hat, sagt eigentlich schon alles. Die Frage ist, ob ein solches antikommunistisches Ressentiment als Argument noch immer wirkt und wer das ernst nimmt. Ich habe jedenfalls noch keine Mieterin der »Deutsche Wohnen« getroffen, die die Enteignungsinitiative deswegen ablehnt, weil sie befürchtet, künftig in Stacheldraht eingezäunt zu werden.

    Andrej Holm ist wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter an der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. Am dortigen Institut für Sozialwissenschaften forscht er zu Wohnungspolitik, Gentrifizierung und Verdrängung. Er ist seit vielen Jahren in stadtpolitischen Bewegungen aktiv. Zwischen September 2016 und Januar 2017 war er kurzzeitig Staatssekretär für Wohnen, berufen von der Berliner Senatorin für Stadtentwicklung und Wohnen, Katrin Lompscher (Die Linke). Nach teils hetzerischen Debatten über seinen fünfmonatigen Dienst beim Ministerium für Staatssicherheit der DDR Ende 1989, den er als 18jähriger angetreten hatte, erklärte er am 16. Januar 2017 seinen Rücktritt.

    #Allemagne #logement #immobilier #capitalisme

  • #Saint_Etienne : Le centre commercial Steel, zone d’activité du pont de l’âne

    Steel, le futur pôle du Pont-de-l’Âne commence à prendre forme.
    Un chantier colossal qui donnera naissance à plus de 70.000 m² de surfaces commerciales.
    A côté d’Ikea, le long de l’autoroute, le plus vaste de ces bâtiments accueillera un Leroy Merlin sur 14.000 m².
    De l’autre côté, au bord de la rue Emile-Zola, d’autres bâtiments sont également en construction. Les travaux vont continuer encore pendant de long mois, pour une ouverture prévue en mars 2020.

    https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x736c1t

    Engagements pour une ville durable
    https://www.epase.fr/le-lab/engagements-pour-une-ville-durable

    Reconstruire la ville sur la ville, une ambition forte pour : . . . . . .
    Soutenir durablement l’économie stéphanoise : . . . . . .
    Concevoir des projets adaptés au contexte spécifique de Saint-Étienne : . . . . . .
    Maîtriser l’empreinte environnementale de la ville et améliorer le cadre de vie : . . . . . .
    Placer l’usage et l’usager au cœur de nos projets d’aménagement : . . . . . .

    Placer l’humain au centre de la démarche et impliquer les publics concernés grâce à des méthodes diversifiées, souvent expérimentales, pour alimenter l’innovation et garantir la qualité des réalisations. . . . . . .

    #délire #centre_commercial #des_grands_projets..._inutiles #grande_distribution #destruction #urbanisme #france #terres #grande_distribution #immobilier #centres_commerciaux #immobilier_commercial

  • La Ville de Marseille tait le nombre des personnes évacuées David Coquille et Florent de Corbier - 27 mars 2019 - La Marseillaise
    http://m.lamarseillaise.fr/marseille/societe/75623-la-ville-de-marseille-tait-le-nombre-des-personnes-evacuees

    À défaut de juguler la flambée du nombre d’immeubles en péril, la Ville a choisi de ne plus communiquer de chiffres alors que le seuil des 3 000 personnes évacuées depuis le 5 novembre pourrait vite être atteint.


    228 arrêtés de péril sont déjà publiés sur le site de la Ville Photo d.c.

    Combien de personnes évacuées ? Combien d’immeubles condamnés depuis le 5 novembre ? Depuis bientôt deux mois, la mairie de Marseille ne communique plus aucun chiffre à la presse. Malgré nos demandes, la Ville ne répond pas. C’est sa stratégie de gestion de crise. Les derniers éléments livrés remontent à début février. On comptait alors 2 017 personnes évacuées dont 1 371 hébergées dans des hôtels

    Dans les premiers jours qui ont suivi les effondrements meurtriers de la rue d’Aubagne, les signalements ont explosé au standard d’Allô Mairie au rythme de 50 par jour. La courbe des évacuations est montée en flèche. 13 jours après le drame, plus de 1 000 personnes étaient évacuées et 100 immeubles condamnés. Le 30 janvier, un nouveau seuil a été franchi avec 2 005 personnes évacuées de 247 immeubles considérés comme dangereux. Lors de la dernière assemblée plénière de la Région le 15 mars, où une enveloppe de 100 000 euros d’aide aux sinistrés a été votée, la conseillère régionale (LR) Isabelle Savon a évoqué dans son rapport oral le que « la vie de près de 3 000 personnes » était bouleversée.

    Tickets RTM aux sinistrés
    Selon nos informations, 2 747 personnes étaient enregistrées à la fin du mois de février dans Logévac, le logiciel du service de la Gestion des risques urbains qui recense depuis le 5 novembre les évacuations dans tout Marseille. Toutes ces personnes ne sont pas en hôtels. Certaines ont pu se reloger seules, trouver un hébergement d’urgence grâce à leur assurance, à la solidarité familiale ou amicale. Autre chiffre que nous avons pu obtenir de bonne source : au 5 mars, 619 ménages étaient dans l’attente d’un relogement. 228 arrêtés de périls ont été mis en ligne sur le site de la Ville de Marseille depuis le 5 novembre. Près d’une cinquantaine devait encore l’être. Pour flouter un peu plus la situation, la Ville a de plus en plus recours à des arrêtés d’interdiction d’occuper, permettant d’évacuer des immeubles sans attendre la désignation d’un expert judiciaire. La crise est loin d’être finie alors que l’audit gouvernemental des immeubles n’a pas encore débuté.

    La Ville s’en remet de plus en plus à la Métropole pour gérer l’habitat indigne et ses conséquences. C’est désormais la Métropole qui va gérer la distribution de titres de transport pour les sinistrés des logements évacués. Une convention doit être votée jeudi en conseil métropolitain. Si les billets seront toujours gratuits, la Métropole veut instaurer une « distribution sécurisée et contrôlée de ces titres de transport ». Et prévient même les éventuels « fraudeurs » : elle « se réserve le droit de vérifier la bonne utilisation de ces titres en particulier s’il y a redondance avec la possession d’abonnements gratuits ou à tarifs préférentiels ». Le coût de la mesure est estimé à 480 000 euros par an.

    #ségrégation #évacuation #guerre_aux_pauvres #Marseille #business #immobilier #habitat #censure

  • Derrière la privatisation d’Aéroports de Paris, le contrôle d’un patrimoine immobilier qui vaut de l’or
    https://www.lemonde.fr/economie/article/2019/03/19/derriere-la-privatisation-d-adp-le-controle-d-un-pactole-immobilier_5438180_

    C’est l’un des points sensibles de la privatisation du Groupe #ADP : l’acquéreur des 50,63 % de l’Etat dans les plates-formes de Roissy, d’Orly et du Bourget prendra aussi le contrôle d’un des plus beaux patrimoines fonciers d’Ile-de-France. Le groupe possède près de 6 700 hectares autour de Paris. Des terrains consacrés à l’activité aéroportuaire pour l’essentiel, mais pas tous : pas moins de 1 242 hectares, autant que les 18e et 19e arrondissements de Paris réunis, sont réservés à des opérations immobilières. Des emplacements qui valent de l’or, à proximité immédiate des aéroports et dans un Grand Paris engagé dans une croissance à marche forcée.

    « Ce portefeuille foncier est un aspect qui différencie ADP des autres groupes aéroportuaires », souligne Yan Derocles, spécialiste de l’entreprise chez l’analyste financier Oddo. En cas de privatisation, l’Etat récupérera, au terme d’une concession de soixante-dix ans, « l’intégralité du foncier » et de ce qui aura été bâti dessus, assure le ministre de l’économie, Bruno Le Maire. Sans apaiser une double inquiétude : que la sous-valorisation de ce patrimoine offre un magnifique cadeau de bienvenue aux acheteurs, et que la puissance publique perde toute possibilité d’orienter le développement de ces territoires stratégiquement situés.

    « Alors que la métropole du Grand Paris est confrontée à des défis d’aménagement pour lesquels la maîtrise foncière est un élément-clé, alors que la question des mobilités non polluantes va être essentielle dans les décennies qui viennent, l’Etat se prive d’un levier d’action direct sur l’usage des sols », regrette le géographe Michel Lussault, directeur de l’Ecole urbaine de Lyon et théoricien de ces « hyper-lieux » de la mondialisation dont font partie les aéroports. Lors de la privatisation des aéroports de Lyon et de Nice, l’Etat avait d’ailleurs conservé la propriété du foncier.

    A proximité immédiate des emprises d’ADP, des collectivités et l’Etat mènent leurs propres projets de développement – dont le controversé complexe de commerces et de loisirs Europacity –, projetant parcs d’affaires et zone…

    #paywall

    • sur le site du Groupe ADP

      Immobilier hors terminaux
      https://www.parisaeroport.fr/entreprises/immobilier/immobilier-hors-terminaux/presentation

      Le domaine foncier utilisable pour l’activité immobilière
      Le Groupe ADP est propriétaire de l’ensemble de son domaine foncier qui s’étend sur 6 686 hectares, dont 4 601 hectares réservés pour les activités aéronautiques, 775 hectares de surfaces non exploitables et 1 310 hectares dédiés aux activités immobilières.

      Sur les 381 hectares de réserve foncière disponible, 181 hectares sont situés à Paris-Charles de Gaulle, 136 hectares à Paris-Orly, 64 hectares à Paris-Le Bourget et sur les aérodromes d’aviation générale.

    • Le groupe possède près de 6700 hectares dans des territoires stratégiquement situés autour de Paris, un des plus beaux capitaux fonciers d’Ile-de-France.

      C’est l’un des points sensibles de la privatisation du Groupe ADP : l’acquéreur des 50,63 % de l’Etat dans les plates-formes de Roissy, d’Orly et du Bourget prendra aussi le contrôle d’un des plus beaux patrimoines fonciers d’Ile-de-France. Le groupe possède près de 6 700 hectares autour de Paris. Des terrains consacrés à l’activité aéroportuaire pour l’essentiel, mais pas tous : pas moins de 1 242 hectares, autant que les 18e et 19e arrondissements de Paris réunis, sont réservés à des opérations immobilières. Des emplacements qui valent de l’or, à proximité immédiate des aéroports et dans un Grand Paris engagé dans une croissance à marche forcée.

      Lire l’éditorial : Groupe ADP : une privatisation contestable
      https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2019/03/19/groupe-adp-une-privatisation-contestable_5438217_3232.html
      « Ce portefeuille foncier est un aspect qui différencie ADP des autres groupes aéroportuaires », souligne Yan Derocles, spécialiste de l’entreprise chez l’analyste financier Oddo. En cas de privatisation, l’Etat récupérera, au terme d’une concession de soixante-dix ans, « l’intégralité du foncier » et de ce qui aura été bâti dessus, assure le ministre de l’économie, Bruno Le Maire. Sans apaiser une double inquiétude : que la sous-valorisation de ce patrimoine offre un magnifique cadeau de bienvenue aux acheteurs, et que la puissance publique perde toute possibilité d’orienter le développement de ces territoires stratégiquement situés.

      Lire aussi Les enjeux de la privatisation d’Aéroports de Paris en 6 questions
      https://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2019/03/13/loi-pacte-les-enjeux-de-la-privatisation-d-aeroports-de-paris-en-six-questio
      « Villes aéroportuaires »
      « Alors que la métropole du Grand Paris est confrontée à des défis d’aménagement pour lesquels la maîtrise foncière est un élément-clé, alors que la question des mobilités non polluantes va être essentielle dans les décennies qui viennent, l’Etat se prive d’un levier d’action direct sur l’usage des sols », regrette le géographe Michel Lussault, directeur de l’Ecole urbaine de Lyon et théoricien de ces « hyper-lieux » de la mondialisation dont font partie les aéroports. Lors de la privatisation des aéroports de Lyon et de Nice, l’Etat avait d’ailleurs conservé la propriété du foncier.

      A proximité immédiate des emprises d’ADP, des collectivités et l’Etat mènent leurs propres projets de développement – dont le controversé complexe de commerces et de loisirs Europacity –, projetant parcs d’affaires et zones commerciales. Des plans qu’un nouvel actionnaire d’ADP pourrait venir perturber en développant une offre concurrente.

      « Le nouvel opérateur va forcément accélérer le développement immobilier, qui n’a pas été très rapide ces dernières années : ADP a optimisé son patrimoine, l’a dépoussiéré, mais a finalement peu construit », estime M. Derocles.

      Le groupe a pourtant fait du développement de véritables « villes aéroportuaires » autour de ses plates-formes un de ses axes de croissance. Des campus de bureaux et des hôtels autour des terminaux sont ainsi bâtis sur des terrains ADP, moyennant un loyer, mais aussi le centre commercial Aéroville d’Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, à côté de Roissy.

      Du centre d’affaires de Roissypole au quartier tertiaire de Cœur d’Orly, non seulement ADP aménage les terrains, mais joue de plus en plus le rôle d’investisseur et de développeur, restant propriétaire des immeubles qu’il loue à leurs utilisateurs. Le groupe commercialise ainsi 500 000 mètres carrés de bâtiments sans rapport direct avec le transport aérien. Au total, l’immobilier a généré pour ADP un chiffre d’affaires de 265 millions d’euros en 2018, en hausse de 6 %. Cette activité représente 5,9 % de ses recettes et 7,5 % de son excédent brut d’exploitation.

      « Machine à cash »

      Mais les réserves foncières d’ADP seront, pour le futur acquéreur, l’un des actifs les plus faciles à transformer en « machine à cash » pour rentabiliser son investissement. Un gros quart de ces terrains à vocation immobilière sont encore vierges de toute construction : 20 hectares pour des activités liées aux aéroports (entrepôts de fret…) et 335 hectares – deux fois la superficie du quartier d’affaires de la Défense – qui n’attendent que des projets de bureaux, d’hôtels, de commerces pour transformer ces prairies à lapins en lucratifs placements immobiliers et rentes locatives.

      L’arrivée, entre 2024 et 2030, du CDG Express et du Grand Paris Express devrait accélérer l’urbanisation des terrains et faire exploser leur valeur
      Dans ses objectifs stratégiques pour la période 2014-2020, ADP prévoyait une croissance de ses loyers immobiliers comprise entre 10 % et 15 %. Nul doute que les perspectives pour la période suivante, qui seront détaillées aux investisseurs le 5 avril, comprendront un important volet immobilier. L’arrivée, entre 2024 et 2030, du CDG Express, un train direct reliant Roissy au centre de Paris, et du Grand Paris Express, dont quatre gares desserviront les terrains d’ADP, devrait accélérer leur urbanisation et faire exploser leur valeur.
      « Pour l’instant, le manque de transports limitait la demande en bureaux, mais un nouvel opérateur va devoir aller vite pour maximiser sa rentabilité avant d’être dépossédé dans soixante-dix ans », observe l’analyste de Oddo. Comment donner une valeur à ces champs de pissenlits dans l’opération de privatisation ? « C’est très compliqué : nous sommes arrivés à un chiffre de 1,4 milliard d’euros, mais cela dépend énormément de ce qu’on y construit et à quel rythme, on peut facilement multiplier cette estimation par quatre », reconnaît Yan Derocles. Chez les candidats au rachat des parts de l’Etat, évaluées entre 8 et 10 milliards d’euros, les calculettes chauffent.

      La cession d’Aéroports de Paris, une bonne affaire pour l’Etat ?, Philippe Jacqué et Guy Dutheil
      Le gouvernement a tenté de désamorcer les critiques sur la cession d’Aéroports de Paris, débattue jeudi à l’Assemblée nationale.

      C’est la question à 10 milliards d’euros. Si l’Etat cède ses 50,6 % dans Aéroports de Paris (ADP), transformée en concession de soixante-dix ans, fera-t-il une bonne affaire en récupérant de 8 à 10 milliards d’euros, la valorisation de cette participation en Bourse ces derniers mois ?

      Pour le gouvernement, c’est tout vu. « Si l’actif est aujourd’hui relativement rentable, confirme Martin Vial, le commissaire aux participations de l’Etat, son taux de rendement en termes de dividendes a toujours été faible du fait de l’augmentation du prix de l’action. Sur dix ans, son rendement moyen a toujours été plus faible que le reste du portefeuille. »

      Autrement dit, le dividende que rapporte ADP à l’Etat (130 millions d’euros en 2017, plus de 173 millions en 2018), reste trop faible par rapport à l’importance de l’actif dans le portefeuille de l’Etat. Il vaudrait donc mieux le céder et toucher aujourd’hui 8 à 10 milliards d’euros. Cette somme réduira le déficit 2019 et permettra également de limiter la dérive de la dette. De quoi la contenir sous la barre des 100 % de PIB, l’un des objectifs de Bercy.

      Garde-fous
      « D’un point de vue financier, la cession de ses actions n’a d’intérêt pour l’Etat que si le produit de cette cession est supérieur à la somme actualisée des dividendes qu’il pourrait toucher » pendant soixante-dix ans, indique pour sa part François Ecalle, de l’association Fipeco. Aujourd’hui, la capitalisation boursière d’Aéroports de Paris (16,5 milliards d’euros pour l’ensemble) intègre en grande partie le rendement attendu par les actionnaires d’ADP, qu’il s’agisse des dividendes ou des bénéfices à venir. Le futur acquéreur devra donc proposer mieux que la valorisation actuelle de la Bourse s’il acquiert la totalité des parts de l’Etat.

      « A court terme, c’est une bonne affaire pour l’Etat de céder sa participation car il obtient de l’argent immédiatement », indique Estelle Malavolti, professeure à l’ENAC à Toulouse, chercheuse associée à la Toulouse School of Economics. En revanche, il s’agirait selon elle d’une « stratégie court-termiste » pour une société actuellement bien gérée.

      « A moyen terme, assure-t-elle, les perspectives de croissance des investissements déjà financés par l’Etat, comme l’extension de Roissy ou les travaux d’agrandissement et de modernisation à Orly, devraient encore accroître la rentabilité d’ADP. Si l’Etat vend, ces investissements bénéficieront au prochain propriétaire. »

      Article réservé à nos abonnés Lire aussi « La privatisation d’ADP introduit un nouvel acteur qui sera opposé à toute évolution des politiques environnementales »
      Au-delà du prix, tout le monde garde en tête le fiasco de la concession des autoroutes. Les 15 milliards d’euros touchés par l’Etat en 2006 lors de leur cession sont apparus trop faibles au fil des ans par rapport au rendement obtenu ensuite par les sociétés privées d’autoroutes avec la hausse des péages.
      Pour éviter ces dérapages, le gouvernement prévoit cette fois-ci des garde-fous. Bercy assure ainsi que « tous les 5 ans, l’Etat et la société qui gérera ADP fixeront ensemble l’évolution des tarifs en fonction des investissements et de la rémunération du capital ».
      D’autres outils existent pour éviter que le privé lèse l’Etat en reprenant ADP. Eric Woerth, le président (LR) de la commission des finances, défend dans un amendement la mise en place dans le cahier des charges d’une « clause de complément de prix » en cas de « gains liés à une surperformance d’ADP » ces prochaines années.

      Il est également possible d’inscrire des clauses de partage des bénéfices, au-delà d’un certain niveau de profit annuel. « Tout peut se faire, confirme Stéphane Saussier, économiste spécialisé sur les partenariats public-privé, mais si un partage des bénéfices est prévu, cela fera baisser pour l’Etat le prix de la cession de l’aéroport. Rien n’est gratuit ! »

      Enfin, « tout le monde pense qu’ADP connaîtra un avenir radieux et que ses revenus ne feront qu’augmenter, ajoute M. Saussier. Mais soixante-dix ans, c’est long. La fiscalisation du kérosène des avions peut intervenir, tout comme l’irruption rapide de modes alternatifs de transport, et ainsi toucher le secteur. Il existe donc une part de risque. »

      « La privatisation d’ADP introduit un nouvel acteur qui sera opposé à toute évolution des politiques environnementales », Bruno Deffains, Professeur d’éco à l’université Panthéon-Assas,
      Thomas Perroud, Professeur de droit public à l’université Panthéon-Assas, 26 février 2019

      Dans une tribune au « Monde », l’économiste Bruno Deffains et le juriste Thomas Perroud expliquent que la situation de monopole d’Aéroports de Paris devrait suffire à stopper le projet de privatisation.

      « Il n’est même plus possible aujourd’hui de mettre en œuvre la gratuité des péages pour les transports d’intérêt général comme le SAMU ! Est-ce cela que l’on veut pour Aéroports de Paris ? »
      Tribune. L’ingénieur Paul-Adrien Hyppolite, dans Le Monde du 8 février, avance des arguments en faveur de la privatisation d’Aéroports de Paris. Cette tribune marque, en un sens, le ralliement des grands corps techniques de l’Etat à la privatisation d’un service public… alors même que ces corps ont jadis constitué le secteur public et son succès.

      C’est désormais du passé. En même temps, un article du Monde du 16 février affirme que, malgré de très bons résultats financiers, ADP ne baissera pas les redevances pour les usagers. Quel meilleur indice de l’avenir qui se profilera : des aéroports qui ne travaillent plus pour les usagers, la privatisation devant servir les intérêts des nouveaux managers et des actionnaires.

      Les arguments avancés en faveur de la privatisation nous semblent dans ces conditions mériter une discussion plus approfondie. La rentabilité de l’entreprise qui sera cédée est-elle de 7 % ou de 1,6 % ? Cette querelle oppose deux façons d’évaluer la rentabilité d’une entreprise, la rentabilité financière, qui intéresse le propriétaire, et la rentabilité économique qui mesure la performance de la mise en œuvre des capitaux, indépendamment de leur mode de financement.
      Autrement dit, la rentabilité économique d’une entreprise a pour fonction de mesurer sa capacité à être rentable dans l’exploitation de ses affaires en dehors de toute considération de dettes et de charges financières. On comprend que les propriétaires ou les actionnaires s’intéressent surtout à la rentabilité financière, car c’est la rentabilité des capitaux qu’ils ont placés dans l’entreprise.

      Comment évaluer la valeur d’un aéroport ?

      Maintenant, si l’on considère l’intérêt de la collectivité et pas uniquement des actionnaires, ce point de vue se discute fortement. Non seulement l’intérêt financier de l’Etat à l’opération à moyen et long terme est plus que douteux, mais en outre l’intérêt de la collectivité se trouve posé au regard de la rentabilité économique d’ADP. Or, c’est d’une approche globale de l’intérêt de l’opération dont nous avons besoin.
      Non seulement l’intérêt financier de l’Etat à l’opération à moyen et long terme est plus que douteux, mais en outre l’intérêt de la collectivité se trouve posé au regard de la rentabilité économique d’ADP

      Justement, l’évaluation de l’intérêt de la vente pour la société est loin d’être simple. Car comment évaluer la valeur d’un aéroport ? On n’évoque généralement qu’une seule méthode, celle de la somme des flux futurs actualisés, utilisée couramment lorsque l’on souhaite vendre une entreprise du secteur commercial. Or, cette méthode n’est pas la seule, elle est fortement dépendante des prévisions économiques et elle présente également une certaine part d’arbitraire. Pour que l’opinion publique puisse juger de la valeur d’ADP, il faudrait une évaluation reposant sur l’ensemble des méthodes disponibles. Or, ces chiffres n’ont pas été fournis.

      La méthode des flux futurs actualisés a déjà été utilisée pour l’évaluation des autoroutes. On en mesure aujourd’hui le succès. Désormais, les compagnies privées ont fini de rembourser ce qu’elles avaient payé. Les automobilistes sont captifs et l’Etat se prive tous les ans d’un argent qu’il aurait pu investir dans la construction d’autres infrastructures.
      De surcroît, l’Etat perd la main sur un élément essentiel de la politique de transport. Comment peut-on croire une seconde que le cahier des charges qui sera signé pourra prévoir sur 70 ans les politiques à mener ? Faudra-t-il indemniser l’opérateur à chaque fois qu’il sera souhaitable de réformer le transport aérien ?

      Exemples à l’étranger

      La privatisation des autoroutes et d’ADP introduit un nouvel acteur dans le jeu politique qui sera farouchement opposé à toute évolution des politiques environnementales qui pourraient réduire sa rentabilité, alors même que la politique des transports doit être en harmonie avec ces politiques. Il n’est même plus possible aujourd’hui de mettre en œuvre la gratuité des péages pour les transports d’intérêt général comme le SAMU ! Est-ce cela que l’on veut pour Aéroports de Paris ?

      Il est tout aussi pertinent de s’interroger sur l’indemnité préalable qui sera versée à ADP en avance de son hypothétique renationalisation. Là encore, le contribuable risque fort de faire une mauvaise affaire. Lorsque la loi de 2005 a donné la propriété des biens à ADP, les actionnaires ont acheté des parts d’une société qui détient des biens à perpétuité. La loi actuelle ramène cette durée à soixante-dix ans. Il faudrait donc logiquement indemniser la différence entre la perpétuité et soixante-dix ans…

      Est-il bien sérieux d’imaginer qu’un investisseur privé fasse une différence réelle entre les deux ? Les investisseurs privés ont structurellement un biais pour le court terme comme le suggèrent la plupart des analyses en économie comportementale. Les signes d’un court-termisme grandissant sont visibles partout. Dès lors, le préjudice allégué a tout l’air d’un préjudice fantôme, complètement abstrait pour la plupart des investisseurs.

      Peut-on prendre exemple des privatisations à l’étranger ? Il y a en effet, sur le papier, des privatisations réussies, si l’on prend comme indice le flux de passagers. Par exemple, Heathrow, le principal aéroport de Londres a été privatisé, mais il ne faut pas passer sous silence les problèmes de concurrence que cette privatisation a générés.

      Caractère idéologique du projet

      La Commission de la concurrence britannique a en effet, en 2009, estimé que l’opérateur privé gérant l’ensemble des aéroports de Londres devait vendre Stansted et Gatwick, car l’opérateur était en monopole ! N’est-ce pas la situation dans laquelle va se trouver l’opérateur qui achètera ADP ? C’est d’ailleurs Vinci qui a bénéficié de la vente de Gatwick et qui est en passe d’acquérir un monopole de ce côté-ci de la Manche. Aucune évaluation sérieuse de l’impact concurrentiel n’a été établie avant la mise en vente d’ADP, ce qui prouve bien le caractère plutôt idéologique de ce projet.

      La Constitution s’oppose-t-elle à la privatisation ? Les partisans de la privatisation d’ADP prennent argument de l’avis que le Conseil d’Etat vient de rendre sur la privatisation. Dans cet avis le Conseil réitère un critère qu’il avait lui-même dégagé dans l’affaire Bayrou, en 2006, dans laquelle il avait validé la privatisation des autoroutes ! Il prend prétexte de ce que ADP est… régional.

      Absurde quand on sait que ADP est la porte d’entrée de notre pays pour 80 % des dizaines de millions de visiteurs étrangers – 95 % de non Européens – qui arrivent dans notre pays par avion. Autrement dit, l’interprétation du Conseil d’Etat repose en réalité sur une interprétation erronée de la situation d’ADP eu égard aux obligations constitutionnelles qui découlent du préambule.

      Tout montre qu’ADP est bien en position de monopole, comme l’entreprise qui détenait les aéroports londoniens… En somme, et contrairement aux arguments mis en avant, la défense de la privatisation est basée sur des considérations qui ne sont ni précises ni justes.

      Bruno Deffains et Thomas Perroud sont les auteurs de « La privatisation d’Aéroports de Paris et l’alinéa 9 du préambule de la Constitution de 1946 : Aéroports de Paris est un monopole de fait ! »

  • Villeneuve-d’Ascq Manifestation dans la galerie Auchan V2 contre le projet EuropaCity porté par la famille Mulliez Cédric Gout - 16 Mars 2019 - La voix du Nord
    http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/553180/article/2019-03-16/manifestation-dans-la-galerie-auchan-v2-contre-le-projet-europacity-por

    Ce samedi matin, plusieurs collectifs de défense de l’environnement ont mené une action dans la galerie V2 pour dénoncer le projet de méga-centre commercial appelé EuropaCity.

    Ce samedi, Vianney Mulliez, président de Ceetrus, le nouveau nom d’Immochan, fêtait ses 56 ans. Les collectifs opposés au projet EuropaCity ont profité de la journée internationale de mobilisation pour le climat pour lui souhaiter un bon anniversaire. Ils ont mené une action dans la galerie Auchan V2, pour dénoncer ce projet de méga centre commercial alliant loisirs, tourisme et espaces hôteliers que le groupe Mulliez veut faire naître sur pas moins de 300 hectares de terres agricoles à proximité de Gonesse (Val d’Oise).

    #auchan #mulliez #immochan #immobilier_commercial #centres_commerciaux #europacity #des_grands_projets..._inutiles #agriculture #urbanisme #triangle_de_gonesse #terres #gonesse #ecologie #climat #centre_commercial #Ceetrus #immobilier #grande_distribution #destruction #vianney_mulliez

  • Faute de logement, les sans-abris de Californie investissent les parkings AFP - 14 Mars 2019 - RTBF
    https://www.rtbf.be/info/monde/detail_faute-de-logement-les-sans-abris-de-californie-investissent-les-parkings

    Comme toutes les nuits depuis dix jours, Cameron Jones, 26 ans, vient garer sa berline allemande sur un parking à ciel ouvert de Los Angeles, incline son siège et s’apprête à y dormir jusqu’au lendemain matin.


    Cameron Jones, 26 ans, un ancien Marine, s’apprête à passer la nuit dans sa voiture sur un parking sécurisé de Los Angeles, le 11 février 2019 - © Kyle Grillot

    Il fait froid, le bourdonnement de l’autoroute voisine est envahissant mais l’ancien militaire ne se plaint pas. « J’ai perdu mon appartement parce que je ne pouvais plus payer le loyer de 2.200 dollars, et on m’a dit que c’était un endroit sûr où passer la nuit jusqu’à ce que je retombe sur mes pieds », explique le jeune homme, qui travaille désormais pour une société vendant des panneaux solaires.

    Son costume est soigneusement suspendu à l’arrière de sa voiture et, en attendant mieux, il s’est inscrit à un club de sport pour pouvoir y prendre sa douche tous les matins. Dans un coin du parking, Cameron a accès à des toilettes portatives et à des lavabos.

    En moins d’une heure, une quinzaine de voitures, certaines avec des enfants à bord, le rejoignent sur l’un des nombreux « parkings sécurisés » mis gratuitement à la disposition des milliers de sans-abris californiens réduits à vivre dans leur véhicule.

    Rien qu’à Los Angeles, leur nombre est estimé à au moins 15.000. Une demi-douzaine de ces parkings surveillés par des vigiles ont vu le jour en ville depuis l’année dernière, l’un devant une église, l’autre près d’une synagogue et un troisième dépendant du bureau des anciens combattants.

    C’est là que Carlos Gonzalez, un ancien militaire âgé de 60 ans, a choisi d’installer le camping-car où il vit depuis deux ans. « Il y a des gens mauvais dehors, et ici je me sens en sécurité », déclare-t-il à l’AFP. « Ici, je peux dormir tranquille, sans craindre que quelqu’un ne s’introduise dans mon véhicule. »

    Loyers inabordables
    Des programmes similaires sont mis en oeuvre à travers toute la Californie – en particulier dans la région de San Francisco –, où le coût du logement explose depuis plusieurs années (plus de 5% par an en moyenne pour les loyers dans certaines villes), poussant les plus vulnérables vers la rue.

    « Nous avons une institutrice qui vient sur l’un de nos parkings. Elle dit que son loyer a tellement augmenté qu’elle ne peut plus y arriver et qu’elle a fini dans sa voiture », raconte Ira Cohen, co-fondateur du programme « Safe Parking LA » avec son épouse Pat.

    En 2017, près de 554.000 personnes étaient recensées par le département américain du Logement et du développement urbain comme n’ayant pas d’adresse fixe. Elles ne sont pour autant pas toutes à la rue car elles peuvent être hébergées chez des proches, des amis, dans un refuge et même dans une caravane, si celle-ci est installée à un emplacement décent doté de l’accès à l’eau et à l’électricité. Environ 25% d’entre elles, soit 134.000, vivaient en Californie, un record dans le pays.

    Cet Etat de l’ouest américain, qui est pourtant l’équivalent de la cinquième puissance économique mondiale devant le Royaume-Uni ou la France, compte aussi le plus grand nombre de #sans-abris, c’est-à-dire de personnes n’ayant pas de toit sous lequel dormir, et vivant dans des véhicules, des bâtiments abandonnés, des parcs publics, dans la rue.

    Pour le seul comté de Los Angeles (10 millions d’habitants), le nombre de personnes sans domicile fixe est passé de 38.700 en 2010 à 53.000 en 2017, d’après les statistiques officielles.

    « Point de rupture »
    Selon les experts, la pénurie de logements abordables et l’explosion des prix de l’immobilier sont les principaux facteurs de cette progression en flèche. Et la faute en reviendrait aux responsables fédéraux, californiens et locaux qui n’ont pas su enrayer cette crise en gestation depuis des années.

    « Ça n’est pas arrivé du jour au lendemain », assure Gary Painter, qui dirige l’Institut de recherche sur les sans-abris de l’Université de Californie du Sud (USC).

    « Cela fait déjà quelques décennies que les loyers à Los Angeles progressent plus vite que les revenus des gens... On peut dire que le point de rupture a été atteint au cours des trois dernières années quand on voit le nombre de gens qui ont fini dans la rue », déplore-t-il.

    D’après M. Painter, malgré les centaines de millions de dollars de subventions débloquées ces dernières années pour la construction de nouveaux logements, refuges et programmes d’aide aux SDF, l’ampleur de la crise est telle qu’il faudra des années pour y remédier.

    « Si vous m’aviez dit voici deux ans que je me retrouverais dans cette situation, je vous aurais probablement ri au nez », reconnaît Cameron Jones. « Je pensais vivre le rêve américain ».

     

    #gafa #réalité du rêve_américain #déglingue #logement #immobilier #spéculation #SDF