The Problem with "Playground Cities"

Witold Rybczynski crams a lot of insight into a very brief blog post on the issues of "playground cities" such as New Orleans that attract tourists and are flooded with vacation homes.

Rybczynski is looking at Charleston, South Carolina in particular, which he says is in danger of becoming a "playground city":

"The tiny historic peninsula (...) whose resident population below the Crosstown Expressway is about 20,000, is inundated with tourists (an average of about 12,000 per day), and day-visitors from mammoth cruise ships. Many of the homeowners are absentee landlords for whom the charming place is merely an occasional pied-à-terre."

Sometimes, he says, "beauty can be a curse."

Full Story: Playground Cities



Vancouver comes to mind...

Vancouver... "Hong-couver"... comes to mind... a Canadian theme park for rich Chinese who are literally re-creating another Hong Kong on the opposite shore of the Pacific. Sadly, Hot Asian Money... locally known as HAM... is pushing locals out of their own city and in the process has given Vancouver the dubious distinction of being the most expensive property market in North America, rivaling Manhattan. "Playground" or "pied-a-terre" cities always tend to be expensive places as locals are replaced by wealthy outsiders.

All those slender towers in Downtown Vancouver (Coal Harbour, West End, Yaletown, etc.) are full of expensive pied-a-terres commonly occupied just a few weeks a year (usually summer when the weather is nice) by their absentee landlords which... not to pick just on the Chinese... include more than few American retirees... as most locals are priced out of this market. At nightime, if you look out over these newly-minted high-rise neighbourhoods... highly praised by planners, including on this forum... what you see are many dark windows.


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