Category: Construction

Cargo cult architecture: Part 2, The unbuilt reality

8 November, 2013 (09:00) | Architecture, Calatrava, Cities, Construction, Economic development, Economics, Infrastructure, Leaks, Liability, Municipal finance, New York City, Spain, Valencia |

By:David A. Smith   [Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.]   Yesterday’s post introduced architect Santiago Calatrava’s ever-more-costly port authority train station intended to undergird the rebuilt World Trade Center site, using a New York Times (September 25, 2013) takedown of Mr. Calatrava’s imperious disregard for physics, engineering, climate, and people – in favor, it must […]

Cargo cult architecture: Part 1, The built vision

7 November, 2013 (09:00) | Architecture, Calatrava, Cities, Construction, Development, Economics, Infrastructure, Leaks, Liability, Municipal finance, New York City, Spain, Valencia |

By:David A. Smith   What city is this?   Paris (Small captions for the geographically impaired)   What city is this?   New York   This?   Moscow   This?   Sydney   This?   Los Angeles   This?   (Caption omitted to motivate reading on)   Though for the early images everyone recognizes both […]

Scafflaws: Part 2, everybody knew the cameras were there

24 April, 2013 (09:00) | Affordability, Building, Cities, Construction, Development, Law, New York City, Safety, Structures, Supply, Zoning |

[Continued from yesterday’s Part 1.]   By:David A. Smith   How safe, whose responsibility, and at what price?   Yesterday’s post,, based on an article from Crains New York (March 12, 2013),  explored a little-known but large cost of construction in New York properties – the judicial standard of absolute liability that has the effect […]

Scafflaws: Part 1, seven-figure settlements

23 April, 2013 (09:00) | Affordability, Building, Cities, Construction, Development, Law, New York City, Safety, Structures, Supply, Zoning |

By:David A. Smith   Lunch atop a skyscraper: workers on the Empire State Building construction (The photo was staged, but it’s still a killer image.)   Though goodness knows I shouldn’t be, I am constantly surprised by the shortsightedness of those who defend anachronistic laws that nevertheless benefit them, and even more surprised by the […]

The bio-thermostat override

5 October, 2012 (09:16) | Air conditioners, Boston, Construction, Energy, Means testing, Property management, Public housing, Rental, Tenants, Utility allowances, Windows | 2 comments

By:David A. Smith   The weakest part of an automobile, my father used to tell me, was the nut behind the wheel.  It thinks it has free will, he might have added, and even if it didn’t have free will, it can certainly make noise, as we discovered a few months back with this ain’t-it-a-scandal […]