Architecture and NAMA

Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 29, 2009 6:00 pm

One thing that has puzzled me for a while now is the absence of our leading architects from the NAMA debate. The silence is quite deafening in fact. I know that architects can make themselves heard if they want to. Hundreds of letters were posted into the Irish Times newspaper within days of Mary Coughlan making a comment about 'chill winds' being felt by the architectural and other professions.

http://www.archiseek.com/content/showthread.php?t=7728

But when it comes to NAMA, I haven't heard a single utterance from a profession most affected by this crucial piece of legislation. This is what sickens me about Ireland to be honest. We don't do ourselves any favours at all, by playing our cards that close to our chests.

Granted there may be too many voices audible in the debate all at once. But for the entire debate to pass through the system, without so much as a squeek from the architectural profession, in my humble view, is unacceptable. Maybe an architect would decide as (250 minus 46) economists decided that banking was not their area of expertise. But still, the lack of comment from the architectural direction is sadly missed in the debate about NAMA. It was sadly missed in the debate about Metro North and about every other item of concern to the built environment. In the sheer absence of a voice from architects, I have done as much as I can to fill a gap.

The recent silence by the Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland exposes them for what they are. They are not a body, an organisation or even a loose gathering of like minded folk. All they are, is a group of individuals who look after their own interests and no one else's. Apart from Frank McDonald's newspaper articles and books, the Irish public would not know a single thing about architecture. More is the pity. The Irish architectural profession is much too smug and private about itself. This has to change.

A rare text artifact did emerge from the direction of architect Paul Keogh wrote an essay earlier in the year about Irish towns and cities.

Meanwhile, elected members continue to rezone swathes of agricultural land, often remote from schools, shops, services and transport; frequently ignoring the advice of their professional planners and accepted concepts of sustainable development.

Recent interventions by Minister Gormley - and the criticisms by the chairman of An Bord Pleanala of ‘indiscriminate and excessive land rezoning’ - are therefore most welcome.


http://www.developer.ie/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/paul-keogh-essay-on-sustainable-development.pdf

I believe that I know the reason the architectural profession remains so silent. Suppose in an ideal situation, there was no object to NAMA. We move the loans to the NAMA vehicle and proceed with our business. I know that my phone and those of many construction professionals will begin to ring. People who took out loans will need to make some attempt to make them good again. The simple fact that most people refuse to debate, is that Ireland has planning applications for several times more building stock that it could ever require.

The only way to make good on loans that NAMA will take on board, is to develop these projects. How is that going to help? This is the nettle that no one wants to grasp. It felt good to own a field on the edge of an Irish town. It felt good to know that your land had been zoned residential or commercial. In every town across the Irish landscape, people made sure to support politicians and local representatives who would take care of them, by re-zoning their land. This is where the ugly problem raised its head in the first place. How are we going to deal with that in the future? I know sites on the edge of Dublin which may not see development for 10 to 20 years. Those landowners will eventually see a return on their investment, but those are the better off ones.

I commented earlier, at the Designcomment blog, in a post called 'Hunter Gatherer' - in Ireland we have a rather primitive construction industry which wasn't ready for the pressure the Celtic Tiger put upon it. How is it going to be ready to munch it's way through €90 billion's worth of bad loans, I don't know. How will we organise that in an economical and sustainable way? On the other hand, we have made plans to produce a way more build product than we can consume. How is that equation going to work? That is looking from the point of view, where everything else about NAMA is sustainable, workable and has some solution. That is basically the point of view of Fianna Fail today. But what Fianna Fail hasn't bothered to even do, is deal with the 'What Then' question. That was a question that Peter Bacon himself, the architect of NAMA tried to ask months ago.

I have at least a couple of dozen phone numbers on my phone today, who I would love to call and give work to. All of them are excellent trades people and craftsmen who would dearly like to have a job. But I think there are as many questions about NAMA avoided, as there are questions asked. I should be very pro-Fianna Fail. I should be biased. But I am finding it hard to avoid some obvious issues. I respectfully suggest to the younger architects of Ireland, if they wish to be granted any business at all from the ordinary Irish public in the future, that they at least contribute to the debate in Ireland at the moment. I am sure the Irish public would like to listen to what architects have to say in this crucial time.


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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby foremanjoe » Sat Aug 29, 2009 8:33 pm

Fair cop Brian, you may have seen this in the Irish Times a few weeks ago:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/features/2009/0630/1224249776560.html

Having read that article I'd have to say be careful what you wish for.
Three of the ideas presented there are fanciful, with the one by the leader of the RIAI full of his ususal pretence and gaelgóir rhetoric, but essentially lacking any substance.

Dominic Stevens emerges with his integrity intact, as ever. He is the kind of architect we should be looking towards to find a creative solution to this quagmire.

He's a champion.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby gunter » Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:37 pm

Good link foremanjoe, although it's hard to read some of that stuff, it can be truly cringe inducing.

This is slightly better from the said S O'L, but again you do have to tip toe around the 'Dear reader' folk tones.

Image
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:04 pm

I am not too worried how high quality or otherwise the comments are, as long as they are coming.

I know architects are over-worked, and take on projects without sufficient staff etc. They don't have the time required to study every possible side to an intricate economic and political web. I have no problem cutting the architect slack where it is deserved.

But they do have a lot of real life experience, on the job dealing with situations. Dealing with real people. Maybe, there are ordinary people out there today, who would like to hear the architect's view point more. Just a thought.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby missarchi » Sat Aug 29, 2009 11:49 pm

Everything is linked to transparency/economics/resources...

There is no bad loan book that details the last 30 year history on the properties in question in clear and diagrammatic/table ways. The funding/tax audit relationships. Most importantly there is no fine/personal turmoil if they get it wrong. If the public got rewards for for finding irregularities and the information was available that would be the first step.

But the information is not available. Therefore it is difficult to know where the land is...

Also there are no fixed prices and the relationships between earnings and tax's property are not linked.

The only thing that might save architecture is a maximum 5 year mortgage and 10% deposit as well as the 5 zones proposed previously and above links that is linked to the entire state.

30 year mortgages = a few crashes/job losses and much pain.

But nothing will change...
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Sun Aug 30, 2009 7:45 pm

An interesting development reported by Neil Callanan in today's Sunday Tribune newspaper.

Ballymore, the property development company owned by Sean Mulryan, has been approached by troubled landowners and the banks asking for help to develop their assets.


http://www.tribune.ie/business/article/2009/aug/30/troubled-investors-look-to-mulryan-for-advice/

Looks like the only way forward to me.

While Emmet Oliver, always an interesting journalist to read, paints a very possible scenario of Fine Gael taking power by next December.

Trading in the shares of the following guaranteed institutions – Allied Irish Bank, Bank of Ireland and Irish Life & Permanent – has been suspended and none of these companies will now maintain a listing on the Irish stock exchange.


http://www.tribune.ie/business/article/2009/aug/30/so-the-toxic-bank-gets-dumped-what-then/

The question that remains in my head - if those Irish banking institutions, who seemed so sure of themselves for the past decade, had actually employed trained land development professionals such as architects, to lend proper advice and views on the subject of lending - would be in the same mess we are in today?

It gets back to a question I had asked a long time ago on this message board - where does banking end and architecture begin, or visa versa? How do we find the correct balance and implement it - to become leaders in our attitude towards development, instead of the worst kind of laggards?

Maybe it has to do with the designer people un-doing a century's worth of the 'silent tradition' and standing up to be counted. Our architectural schools have only ever been good at producing talent, who say very little for themselves. I was encouraged in reading the newspaper today, to see an American trained engineer lead an opposition party to victory in Japan, the second wealthiest economy in the world.

Is it impossible to conceive that could ever happen in Ireland? Are we destined to be a nation ruled by accountants for everymore? Some of my friends are accountants, and they are honest. They would probably get my vote any day. In general they have more common sense than others. But what is wrong with the other professionals?

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby foremanjoe » Sun Aug 30, 2009 8:56 pm

I admire your belief in the architectural profession Brian.

Whilst architects study many topics en route to professional practice (Theory of Architecture, History, Technology, Services, Urbanism, Law, professional practice are all covered in sufficient detail) Ethics is not a subject that is very high up on the agenda.

That is essentially the nuts and bolts of where you're going with this thread: Where does the role of architect as designer/builder/contracted professional end and where do his social responsibilities begin?

There is no doubt that the architectural profession in general has to bear a portion of the blame for the mistakes that have been made in this country in the past two decades. But how do you define exactly how much responsibility they should bear, and how do you begin to define what their role should be in the clean up?

I, for one, would struggle to begin to construct those definitions.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:18 am

I was thinking a bit about it since. It did occur to me, that many architects may not have the energy or capability to do what they do, and to put effort into compiling a NAMA repsonse too. Perhaps, it is time that they appointed their own task force or similar. Some group, who could devote more time to the subject. Would that me too much to ask?

The task force may not need to comprise all architects. In fact, it would be a lot better if it did not comprise of too many architects. But that it comprised of people from industry, appointed by the architectural members, to provoke them with suggestions and solutions. The architects could then respond to those suggestions or solutions, and inform the task force, why they agree or disagree with a proposal.

Something like that would require a lot less effort or work on the part of architects. But would enable architects to formulate some kind of a draft version of a response. That draft version would be the subject of an all member conference held at several locations around the country, where local architects could further try to refine the draft document, based on their own experiences locally. Experiences of some issues may vary from location to location throughout the country.

What I am suggesting, is perhaps a lengthy procedure, but it would not be an expensive procedure to do I don't think. It would enable all members of the profession to make some input into NAMA. It would also create a document that would be a useful addition to the NAMA process on a higher government and decision making level. I don't know if anything like this has been tried before.

But as I see it, the key thing is for initial suggestions to be made in a provocative manner by construction industry members, as opposed to architectural members. Then allow the architects to voice themselves in response to whatever provocations are forth coming. If you leave the process to be administered and massaged by architects themselves, it will result in very polite, meaningless dribble. Because, architects will know only too well how other architects think and only insert things into the proposal that are designed to massage the architectural ego.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby gunter » Mon Aug 31, 2009 11:27 am

garethace wrote:
. . . . . architects may not have the energy or capability to do what they do, and to put effort into compiling a NAMA repsonse too. Perhaps, it is time that they appointed their own task force or similar.


That is a good point.

It might be a bit spurious to draw parallels between the bursting of the Irish property bubble and the Great Fire of London, but that's never stopped us before.

Within days of the conflagration, a Commission was established for rebuilding London. The six appointees were: two architects, (Christopher Wren and Robert Pratt); a royal official with architectural responsibilities, (Hugh May); a top academic, (Robert Hook); the City surveyor, (Peter Mills); and a significant land owner, (Edward Jerman).

What they came up, 'The London Building Act', passed by parliament less than four months later, was a whole strategy, not just for rebuilding the city, but for completely re-odering it, direct instructions on how this was to be done, provision of measures to address the potential bottleneck of the trade guilds, and solutions to how the public elements of the plan were to be funded.

Interestingly, the more grandiose notions of the architect members didn't get through, but nonetheless the architectural input was central to the enterprise.

Our property calamity is perhaps less apparent than if we were now looking out over a smouldering wasteland, but the flaws in what we were doing were every bit as deep as if we now were.

The property bubble happened because no one had a overall vision and developers and their banker friends filled this vacuum with their own vacuous vision. Our myriad of so called 'Development Plans' were so anodyne and soothing they put all the planners asleep while everywhere 'development' was proceeding at break-neck speed.

Now we're heading into a period where there may be very little development for a very long time, so it is absolutely crucial that whatever development takes place, is the right kind of development and takes place in the right kind of place.

If history tells us anything, this won't happen by itself, we need a Development Commission, a body that sets out clearly what needs to be achieved (compact towns and cities with functioning public transport systems), how that is to be achieved (through incentives in one hand and CPOs in the other and by de-zoning everything that tends to dilute this) and strategies for focussing the scarce funding at only the crucial elements.

NAMA isn't a Development Commission, but it could be.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:01 pm

What they came up, 'The London Building Act', passed by parliament less than four months later, was a whole strategy, not just for rebuilding the city, but for completely re-odering it, direct instructions on how this was to be done, provision of measures to address the potential bottleneck of the trade guilds, and solutions to how the public elements of the plan were to be funded.


I think what you have suggested makes a lot of sense. Certainly, if one accepts the point, that the avalanche of sub-contractors businesses, design and construction consultant businesses etc are going to come crashing down within the next six months. Their business model is essentially finished unless something is done. Maybe what you have suggested above, is a pre-emptive strike, to prepare a report to find a way to employ a very worthwhile and productive sector of the workforce - instead of waiting for the whole mess to fall upon us.

If history tells us anything, this won't happen by itself, we need a Development Commission, a body that sets out clearly what needs to be achieved (compact towns and cities with functioning public transport systems), how that is to be achieved (through incentives in one hand and CPOs in the other and by de-zoning everything that tends to dilute this) and strategies for focussing the scarce funding at only the crucial elements.


I think that is a very good plan indeed. It could work very, very well in the medium and long term. In the short term, my only question is, what mechanisms are being set up at the moment, in order to allow this kind of idea to push through? Short of a few well meaning articles in Irish newspapers that is?


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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 31, 2009 12:07 pm

Waiting for the whole mess to fall upon us, is something we are expert at in Ireland. I read with interest today, at Constantin Gurdgiev's blog:

"There is a reluctance to lend money to banks that do not have the transparency that stock market membership brings, and that are viewed as being open to political interference."

This is false.

1. Irish banks and banking institutions - listed or mutually owned - are not transparent already, as the Anglo saga clearly illustrated, as AIB repeated blunders in public statements have clearly highlighted and as the reluctance of all of these banks to take realistic writedowns on the loans attests.


I have to agree with Constantin Gurdgiev on the above point. No Irish bank before Anglo Irish had ever got as much of its funding on the open markets. Yet, no Irish bank before Anglo Irish bank had been so opaque, in terms of our knowing what went on inside of it. For anyone to submit now, that Nationalisation would add or subtract to 'transparency' of an Irish bank is a bit spurious. It is a well known fact also, that a bank manager working at AIB would get a phonecall from a local political representative, if they did not finance a project in any local constituency. That was always in the back of an Irish bankers mind, when they were giving out loans.

I am not sure that Nationalisation will solve any of Ireland's problems today. But to try and say that Nationalisation will lead to an increase in political interference with decision making in banks, is not true. It is already cronic.

Anyhow, that is a digression from the main purpose of this thread. I only mention it, to demonstrate in the recent past, Ireland has waited until the mess is right upon us, before reacting in any way. I am hoping in this thread to generate a discussion, to ask why can't Ireland be ahead of the game for a change. Instead of trying take up the rear position and pick up pieces of wreckage all of the time. Picking up the wreckage is exactly what we will be doing come next January when the construction industry finally collapses and the related building professions are carried down with it.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby tommyt » Mon Aug 31, 2009 1:01 pm

gunter wrote:That is a good point.

Now we're heading into a period where there may be very little development for a very long time, so it is absolutely crucial that whatever development takes place, is the right kind of development and takes place in the right kind of place.

If history tells us anything, this won't happen by itself, we need a Development Commission, a body that sets out clearly what needs to be achieved (compact towns and cities with functioning public transport systems), how that is to be achieved (through incentives in one hand and CPOs in the other and by de-zoning everything that tends to dilute this) and strategies for focussing the scarce funding at only the crucial elements.

NAMA isn't a Development Commission, but it could be.


Would very much agree with that. I think (from my blinkered planner's perspective) that NAMA will have to assume the mantle of, or be the parent body of, a regeneration agency. So much centrally located brownfield land could end up under their remit that this is the obvious first step.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:47 pm

garethace wrote:I was encouraged in reading the newspaper today, to see an American trained engineer lead an opposition party to victory in Japan, the second wealthiest economy in the world.
Is it impossible to conceive that could ever happen in Ireland? Are we destined to be a nation ruled by accountants for everymore? Some of my friends are accountants, and they are honest. They would probably get my vote any day. In general they have more common sense than others. But what is wrong with the other professionals?


Many Irish professionals have studied or worked/trained abroad, so statistically there is a good chance of a foreign-trained one entering the Dail. However, most, if not all, would not even dream of it! What businessperson of sanity would put everything on the line to join the petty gombeenism of Irish politics?

About 30 TDs are former teachers of one sort or another. (Easy to understand why – they have guaranteed jobs should they fail to get elected or get kicked out!) Most of the rest are either publicans, lawyers, accountants or farmers. No businessmen/women that I can think of. The few (guys like Ivan Yates) left after a brief interlude. Even the much vaunted Georgy Lee has achieved nothing, bar a few acerbic remarks as a commentator. Even he is guaranteed a job back in semi-state RTE should he lose his seat.

As for accountants, :confused: well, don’t forget that Sean Fitz and his cohorts, and most of the senior lenders in Irish banking are accountants.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby KerryBog2 » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:08 pm

tommyt wrote:Would very much agree with that. I think (from my blinkered planner's perspective) that NAMA will have to assume the mantle of, or be the parent body of, a regeneration agency. So much centrally located brownfield land could end up under their remit that this is the obvious first step.


I too agree with the thrust of Gunter’s post, but we have quite a different situation to post-Fire London. Those guys had a greenfield (blackfield?) site, we now have one that has half-built or built- and-forever-empty houses that are economically unsustainable. Similarly, we have hotels currently being run by banks that never can be viable as businesses. Buried way back in the myriad of posts exchanged with garethace I asked the question “Where are the Planners?”

It would be nice to see something akin to the letter by the 46 economists but focussing on planning/zoning and the future of the semi-rural landscape.

Ireland cannot hope to sustain the employment level we had in construction: in recent years it was out of line with our economic size and population. Two thirds of those people will have to quit/retrain/emigrate. Yes, we will lose some great skills, but it was not in our interest to develop them in the first place.
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:23 pm

KerryBog2 wrote:Buried way back in the myriad of posts exchanged with garethace I asked the question “Where are the Planners?”

It would be nice to see something akin to the letter by the 46 economists but focussing on planning/zoning and the future of the semi-rural landscape.
K.


Excellent point.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby tommyt » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:06 pm

KerryBog2 wrote:I too agree with the thrust of Gunter’s post, but we have quite a different situation to post-Fire London. Those guys had a greenfield (blackfield?) site, we now have one that has half-built or built- and-forever-empty houses that are economically unsustainable. Similarly, we have hotels currently being run by banks that never can be viable as businesses. Buried way back in the myriad of posts exchanged with garethace I asked the question “Where are the Planners?”

It would be nice to see something akin to the letter by the 46 economists but focussing on planning/zoning and the future of the semi-rural landscape.

Ireland cannot hope to sustain the employment level we had in construction: in recent years it was out of line with our economic size and population. Two thirds of those people will have to quit/retrain/emigrate. Yes, we will lose some great skills, but it was not in our interest to develop them in the first place.
K.


To be honest I haven't even asociated NAMA with ghost estates or zombie hotels in my mind when I think of the initial first steps of the organisation. To me it is self evident such locations will blight provincial Ireland for at least a decade. If there is some courageous decision making we may see some alternative tenure ideas take root that will realise at least some innovative uses in the medium term for s&a housing comunity or arts focused uses etc.
Somewhere in the links the mention of the vast squatting movement in Berlin in the late 20th century got mentioned, now something along those lines developing I would personally find very interesting but cannot see the Irish intellect being even remotely capable of coping with an ideological attack on the principle of private property.

I have three hopes for NAMA from a land use perspective;
1: to deliver proper holistic urban regeneration on a european model by knocking heads together and being an urban renewal facilitator in central locations.
2: Stop all the nonsense about haircuts and only pay agricultural oe amenity land values on someof the ridiculous sites that should never have been even remotely considered developable due to their obvious constraints. I would include all emcumbered specualtiveland on Motorway corridors in this category also.
3: Pay a decent price for well located zoned & serviced suburban sites to be developed in a logical manner.

You're quite right that planners have only offered fairly anodyne input into the debate so far, I would hope this will alter as the whole debacle progresses
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby keating » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:12 pm

tommyt wrote:You're quite right that planners have only offered fairly anodyne input into the debate so far, I would hope this will alter as the whole debacle progresses


NAMA and Better Spatial Planning

http://www.irisheconomy.ie/wp-content/uploads/NAMA%20and%20Better%20Planning.pdf
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby tommyt » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:22 pm

Decent article- I would take umbrage with citing the Docklands (assuming it's Dublin) with good planning, but like the idea of NAMA attracting back all the super creative Boho types we lost to NYC, SF and Berlin during the boom!
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:57 pm

Somewhere in the links the mention of the vast squatting movement in Berlin in the late 20th century got mentioned, now something along those lines developing I would personally find very interesting but cannot see the Irish intellect being even remotely capable of coping with an ideological attack on the principle of private property.


I have a couple of thoughts on this myself. Wouldn't it be great though, if something could really get on track, in terms of funding for work on the subject. That way, ideas could move up a grade or two past the level of being notions and become something better, more worked out etc.

Even listening to minister Lenehan today, several times the debate ran into the issue of bankruptcy law, and developers not being able to re-purchase properties which they had previously released into NAMA. There are pretty hefty ministerial powers embedded in the NAMA legislation to prevent that from occuring. But still, there are legal hurdles to surmount down the tracks. You cannot stop a private developer from getting back into business. But you can sure as hell make sure, that the individual does not get possession of their old property again.

At one stage, it was suggested NAMA could sell the loans to the original developer, and then re-possess the loan from the developer a second time. (who was still in hock to NAMA from the original loan) But that was meant to be a joke, as a way to try and extract money from developers who claim they cannot pay.

It reminds me a little of when the United States broke up Ma Bell telephone company into all of the 'Baby Bells'. Somehow, in the decade that followed all of the little 'Baby Bells' started to re-form themselves again, back into bigger chunks of the original Ma Bell company. There is a long road ahead of us, and I don't know what exactly the future holds in store.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Tue Sep 01, 2009 1:43 pm

An article worth reading in today's Irish Times. Eoin McDermott, a chartered surveyor wrote:

Another important factor in this process will be the categorisation of property assets including undeveloped unzoned land, undeveloped zoned land (greenfield, brownfield, prime urban), undeveloped property with planning refusal, undeveloped property with planning permission, partially completed buildings, completed unoccupied buildings, completed partially occupied buildings, etc.

It is imperative that an overall strategy and action plan is put in place for the macro management of these distressed loan assets.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0901/1224253586371.html

It is good to hear from the Chartered Surveyors perspective in the newspaper. We are still waiting from some kind of Yvonne Farrell, Frank McDonald, Merit Bucholz kind of mix, to substitute as an opinion from the Architects of Ireland. Although, in fairness, Sean O'Laoire's NAMA land visualisations and sketches from a couple of months ago, would qualify somewhat.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:57 am

I thought this was a good paragraph by professor Barrett in today's Irish Times newspaper.

The proponents of Nama describe the sale at market prices of impaired assets as a fire sale. The description is, of course, wrong. A fire sale involves assets harmed by the fire and the damage is incorporated in the price. The sale of empty houses, shops, hotels and land bought at inflated prices arises from the economic incompetence of the builders and bankers concerned and not because of any fire damage.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0902/1224253663079.html

I for one, am sick of hearing that 'media friendly' phrase of fire sale prices, in relation to everything about the Zoe developments court cases. Well done, professor Barrett.

This is where the limitations of the 'London Fire' analogy are exposed also.

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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby gunter » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:23 pm

garethace wrote:
I for one, am sick of hearing that 'media friendly' phrase of fire sale prices,

This is where the limitations of the 'London Fire' analogy are exposed also.



You're mixing up your analogies there a little bit.

The 'fire sale' analogy has to do with flogging property quick and cheap to get some return in and, more improbably, get some kind of hype going to rouse the dead property market.

The 'London Fire' analogy has to do with the manner of the response to a property calamity. Faced with the 80% destruction of Europe's biggest city, the authorities could have said: 'Our property rights and lack of regulatory burden built this city, our fundamentals were sound, we just need to be sure that in the future every house has a bucket of water nearby'

In deciding not to do this, and instead in attempting to change the fundamentals and re-imagine the city, they laid the foundations for a sustained building programme that put London back on top in jig time and arguably kept it there to this day.

Personally I think the fudamentals of our planning and development system are wrong. I think we need to move to a system where a 'development authority' decides what development is in interests of the city/country, goes off and master-plans it and then invites 'developers' to come and build the bits they've tendered for. At present, the 'planning authority' in limited to a negative role, adjudicating on the developer's plans, which invariable have everything to do with making the developer rich and little or nothing to do with advancing the public interest. How is this not the opposite of planning?

If you combine the concept of NAMA (the taking of a public interest in failed private developments) with the other public interest enterprises like transport21, for example, and put them under the guidance of a 'Development Commission' with powers to acquire the property necessary for the execution of a particular strategic plan, and you might have the makings of a mechanism for driving development that would, for once, be integrated, sustainable, and in the public interest.

What's wrong with that?
gunter
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby henno » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:49 pm

gunter wrote:Personally I think the fudamentals of our planning and development system are wrong. I think we need to move to a system where a 'development authority' decides what development is in interests of the city/country, goes off and master-plans it and then invites 'developers' to come and build the bits they've tendered for.


I agree completely.

Whats described above is the fundamentals of a proper and progressive planning and development system. The value of lands within these masterplans are then much less speculative.
henno
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby garethace » Wed Sep 02, 2009 3:58 pm

Thanks gunter,

I'll read over your post a couple of times again, when I get a chance.

The other crucial thing that professor Barrett's article exposed in my view, is that phrase 'development land'.

Barrett is correct, and I would side with him in a lot of issues. The things that seem to piss off professor Barrett, such as this thinking inside of a bubble mentality, are the things that piss me off too.

What is 'development land' supposed to be anyhow? Is there a kind of land, upon which development cannot happen? I don't think so. I remember David Wetzel, when speaking on his ideas about land taxation in Dublin a while ago, recognised the fact that from an economics point of view, even the water and the sea is land. Places such as Dubai, proceed to make themselves more land, if they need it. The fact that land happens to be covered with water, is only a minor technical detail.

When I think of the phrase 'development land' I also think of the phrase 're-habilitation'.

Does anyone remember that scene from Shawshank Redemption, where Red, played by Morgan Freeman, is up for his parole hearing? He says to fellow at the other side of the desk, yes son, I know what you think 're-habilitation' means. It is a bull s*** word, a politicians word. A word made up, so that young men such as yourself can wear a suit and have a job. Go ahead and fill out your papers, becasue I don't give a damn.

Brian O' Hanlon
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Re: Architecture and NAMA

Postby reddy » Wed Sep 02, 2009 4:05 pm

gunter wrote: Personally I think the fudamentals of our planning and development system are wrong. I think we need to move to a system where a 'development authority' decides what development is in interests of the city/country, goes off and master-plans it and then invites 'developers' to come and build the bits they've tendered for. At present, the 'planning authority' in limited to a negative role, adjudicating on the developer's plans, which invariable have everything to do with making the developer rich and little or nothing to do with advancing the public interest. How is this not the opposite of planning?


henno wrote:I agree completely.

Whats described above is the fundamentals of a proper and progressive planning and development system. The value of lands within these masterplans are then much less speculative.


Dead right. The housing bubble all stemmed from rampant land price speculation rather than inflated costs for building houses. We need a complete rethink.
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