Second Life planning, sham mortgages, subsidized gentrification, and 2.5 demension maps

Folks in Paris are using the online “community” Second Life to press their local government to develop a new garden for Les Halles in the center of the French capitol. Organizers say there’s not enough public input on the plans for Les Halles, so they’re “urging locals to come up with their own ideas for the area’s gardens and post them in the online world of Second Life.”

The Washington Post ties the, now deflating, housing boom to sham mortgages. “Many experts have concluded that the nation’s real estate boom of recent years was fueled in part by weakened lending standards that sparked excessive demand and drove up prices. Now, some are worried that the looser standards may have permitted a boom of another kind–a big expansion of mortgage fraud.”

Planetizen links to an article today titled “There Goes the ’Hood.” It details how long-term tax abatements for renovated properties–owned mostly by newcomers and the well-off–in Richmond, Virginia lead to pushing out long-time residents tied to high taxes. Sadly, 10 year tax abatements were used in Philadelphia–my home town–to spur growth as well, resulting in lost tax revenue for a city that desperately needs it.

Google Maps added 2.5D building outlines. Check out City Hall in Philadelphia.