Hi, Book Scan readers. I spent the first part of last week hanging out with community planners at the American Planning Association’s national conference. Though I haven’t read the book described below, I thought the author (who gave the closing keynote at the conference) had some beautiful thoughts on home ownership that real estate professionals would appreciate. Enjoy! —MW
Early Pearl has a great idea for dealing with an intractable problem. As a homeless 11-year old Chicagoan, she sees all of the sturdy housing stock that stands empty and abandoned in her south side neighborhood and decides to take action.
She gets some friends together and, with a few cameras, they snap pictures of these empty houses. They send the pictures—along with their imaginings of how the structures could be transformed into dream homes for kids without anywhere to live—to community leaders in an effort to spark a change in their unfortunate circumstances.
Early is only a character in Blue Balliett’s newest mystery novel, Hold Fast (Scholastic Press, 2013). But there are more than 30,000 kids in Chicago alone who are homeless just like she is, and some 16,000 vacant properties like the ones that Early dreams of inhabiting.
“Kids will easily share their dreams about a home,” Balliett said in her keynote speech at the American Planning Association’s national conference last week. “They never make small plans.”
Balliett, a bestselling author of young adult literature, told planners that she came up with the idea for Hold Fast during the housing downturn, when she noticed a dearth of news stories about the effect foreclosures were having on her target audience.
“The children were invisible,” she said. “I kept wondering about the kids: Who are they and what does it feel like to grow up without a front door?” Continue reading »
The recent hurricane on the East Coast may be over, but the cleanup process is just now beginning. Beyond debris pickup, property managers and owners across the area are learning what preparations worked well, and what they can do better next time.
Regardless of your location, this is a good time to ask yourself if you would have been ready to handle Sandy. While those of us who were just temporarily inconvenienced may be ready to thank our lucky stars and move on, disasters such as these should move us to preventative action.
Thankfully, the fourth edition of Before and After Disaster Strikes: Developing an Emergency Procedures Manual from the Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM) has arrived on the scene just in time to help property managers and other owners get started on this vital, yet daunting process.
Far from just counting fire extinguishers and first aid kits, this book offers checklists of the more obvious risk management activities (broken out by both disaster and building types), and a comprehensive look at the more esoteric, easily forgotten elements of disaster planning. Are you storing the right types of information backups, so you can get back to normal business operations ASAP? Do you have the right kind of insurance? How will you get the word out to tenants, as well as outsiders and the media? Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
A few months ago, Dan Burrus was sitting in a café in Istanbul making a call to his wife in Barcelona using Apple’s iPhone-to-iPhone FaceTime video chat. He was able to see her in high definition and hear her as clearly as if she were sitting next to him, even though he was in the Middle East and she was in Europe.
This example of technology provides us a small glimpse into our future, says Burrus, a futurist and author of Flash Foresight: How to See the Invisible and do the Impossible (HarperCollins, 2011).
Are you interested in predicting the future? Try this:
How much do you know about the iPhone 6? No one’s talking about it because we don’t even have an iPhone 5 yet. So you might say, “I don’t know anything about it.” But in actuality, you know a lot, says Burrus. Will it have a faster processor than the iPhones that came before it? Of course it will. Will be have more memory? You already know. Will it offer more cloud computing options? You bet. Might we be able to tap into a “Watson” computer in the cloud, giving us a supercomputer in the palm of our hand? The possibility is very likely.
There has never been more opportunity than there is today because technology is leveling the playing field, Burrus says. He predicts that in the next five years, you’re going to see a continued technological transforming in how we sell, market, communicate, train, innovate, and collaborate.
“One of the reasons I did not call the book ‘Flash Hindsight,’ is because we’re already good at saying we should have done this or that,” says Burrus. “The beautiful thing about foresight is you can take actions today to shape that future.”
The Flash Foresight methodology can also be used as a crystal ball to reveal what’s in store for the real estate industry. Continue reading »