Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Want to move to IKEAland?

Maybe not quite as exciting as Sealand, but with infinitely better street names, one can only imagine.  Marginal Revolution links to this globe & mail article about IKEA's designs on designing urban living:
The people who run the Swedish home-furnishings behemoth are launching a bold push into the business of designing, building and operating entire urban neighbourhoods. Where once they placed a couch in a living room, the Swedes now want to place you and 6,000 neighbours into a neglected corner of your city, design an entire urban world around you, and Ikea-ize your lives. Their bold, high-concept notion of an urban 'hood could be an important solution to the housing-supply shortages that plague many large cities – but it could take some getting used to.
...It is a far more appealing design than most of the centrally-planned urban neighbourhoods that have blighted British cities for the last 60 years, and it promises the sort of pleasant population density – on a piece of wasteland that had once been considered uninhabitable – that could help Britain’s dire housing shortages.
The Ikea people promise that this will not be an, maybe no creative street names after all.  If not, the appeal seems considerably diminished.  It could be a premium to have an address on Fågleboda Drive,  or to take Förhöja Böülevård to the Förträfflig Öffice.

The homes will all be rentals, since this is an income-producing project for Ikea: “We don’t like to sell income-generating assets.”  But Ikea would like to stress that this will prevent speculation-driven boom and bust cycles, thus preserving affordability.  Check out the controls Ikea will exert:
“We’d have a very good understanding of rubbish collection, of cleanliness, of landscape management,” Mr. Cobden says. “We would have a fairly firm line on undesirable activity, whatever that may be. But we also feel we can say, okay, because we’ve kept control of the management of the commercial facilities, we have a fairly strong hand in what is said in terms of the activities that are held on site.”
Now it starts to sound like a gated community in Florida...not anything near as exciting as Sealand.  Instead of expanding into consumer credit, Ikea's just expanding into rental properties.

That's a Fryken shame.

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