San Francisco Becomes First Big US City Requiring Solar Panels On New Buildings

Solar system installer Thomas Bywater adjusts new solar panels on the roof of a house in Sydney, August 19, 2009. REUTERS/Tim Wimborne

By Biz Carson for Business Insider – San Francisco may be known for its fog, but the city wants to turn the sunny days it does get into power for its buildings. The San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Tuesday unanimously passed legislation that would require new construction that is shorter than 10 floors to install solar panels or solar water heaters on top of both new residential and commercial buildings.

Activist 'Squatters' Take Over Home Near Gray's Arrest A Year Later

Local activists have taken over an abandoned home across the street from where Freddie Gray was arrested. (Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

By Catherine Rentz for The Baltimore Sun – A coalition of activists has claimed a vacant red brick rowhouse at the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest, though the city has marked the home for demolition and says it’s not the activists’ to use. The self-described squatters say they want to use what they call the “Tubman House” — named after the underground railroad organizer Harriet Tubman — as a hub to organize food gardens and giveaways, host community cookouts and orchestrate art and occupational training courses, mainly for residents in and around neighboring Gilmor Homes.

Protests, Lease Sales Coming To Louisiana After Flooding

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By Julie Dermansky for Desmog – Walter Unglaub never thought flooding would threaten the carriage house he rents in St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana. It is on a bluff 30 feet above the Bogue Falaya River, in an area that is not considered a flood zone. But that didn’t stop a flash flood from forcing Unglaub to swim for his life to get to higher ground awaiting rescue last Friday. “No one is safe from extreme weather,” Unglaub told DeSmog on Sunday when he returned to sort through his belongings to see what, if anything, was salvageable.

Solidarity Networks As The Future Of Housing Justice

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By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – As we get further away from the shocking chain of foreclosures that marked the 2008 financial crisis, it has become more apparent just how deep the catastrophe hit. The crisis led to 2.9 million foreclosures that year — a level of housing displacement comparable to an active war zone. For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers.

Clashes As Authorities Dismantle Calais ‘Jungle’

A poster at the sprawling camps known as the "Calais Jungle", where migrants live while attempting to enter the UK. (Photo: Ferdinande van Tets)

By Staff of FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS – The unrest began as labourers – under heavy police protection – moved in to start pulling down the makeshift shelters in the shantytown. Two bulldozers stood by but were not used. The demolition of the southern half of the camp began after a court petition by charities to stop it was rejected last week. Migrants and members of the British “No Borders” activist group, who launched projectiles at the police, set fire to about 20 of the shelters, according to an AFP photographer and running clashes continued late into the afternoon.

Homeless Forced Out Of Camp They Were Moved To Before Super Bowl

‘If it was my front yard, I wouldn’t want to see this either. But you can’t keep running your problem from this side of town to another side of town. You have to just deal with it where it is,’ said a part-time bartender who is homeless. Photograph: Eric Risberg/AP

By Julia Carrie Wong for The Guardian – Residents have been ordered to vacate the San Francisco homeless encampment under a highway overpass after police and public workers pressured the city’s homeless to relocate there from areas of the city slated for Super Bowl 50 festivities. The 21st-century Hooverville became a symbol of the city’s gaping inequality in the run-up to and throughout the week of star-studded Super Bowl festivities in February, rekindling long-running controversies over how the city should address the needs of its nearly 7,000 homeless residents.

Solidarity Networks As The Future Of Housing Justice

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By Shane Burley for ROAR Magazine – For those without the means to even own a home, the crisis never had a clear beginning or end. In major cities across America, rents are responding to the influx of massive internet start-ups, “creative-class” corporations and financial institutions that are bringing in large incomes in small numbers. A recent study showed that around half of renters pay more than 30 percent of their income in rent — the recommended percentage by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development — and a quarter spends 50 percent or more.

[Dublin] Squat City Has Been Liberated!

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By The Free Org for The Free – Spread the word friends. The warehouse will soon be full of words; the garden has begun regrowing community; music and paint about to burst across the city. At the lower end of Grangegorman and where the block continues along North Brunswick Street, acres of warehouses and yards and houses and space space spaces have been laying vacant far too long, once again. Fromdevelopers to NAMA to developers to judge’s friendsand back to developers for more and more money while people and places rot.

Why Britain’s Housing Crisis Heralds The Next Financial Crash

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By Steve Rushton for Occupy – Housing prices in London have risen by 50% in the last five years. If the U.K. property bubble goes boom, it will be proportionally bigger than the U.S. housing bust at the onset of the financial crisis in 2007. How did we get here? For starters, U.K. banks in 2015 lent over £1 trillion ($1.4 trillion) for housing, accounting for 70% of newly made loans. The result is that when this bubble pops, it could catalyze another global financial meltdown. While there are many other possible triggers, the next financial crash is more likely than not.

Demand Airbnb Stop Listing Rentals In Israeli Settlements

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By Ramah Kudaimi for End The Occupation – Did you hear all the buzz around Airbnb, the online accommodation service, listing homes in illegal Israeli settlements for people to rent? There are 13,000 Airbnb listings in Israel, though investigations have revealed that many of the properties are actually located in settlements built on stolen Palestinian land in the West Bank. By allowing users to list and rent these properties and taking 9-15% from hosts and guests, Airbnb is making money off of Israel’s continued military occupation of Palestinian land and helping facilitate settlement activity.

Mexican Corp Turns Plastic Into Eco-Friendly, Affordable Homes

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By Amanda Froelich for True Activist – There are many problems on this planet in need of remedy, two of which are plastic pollution and extreme poverty. Every year, enough plastic is thrown away to circle the globe four times. Much of this makes its way into the oceans (an estimated 10-20 tons) from landfills and continues to swirl in garbage patches, leaking toxins into the oceans and killing off wildlife that consumes it unsuspectingly. In addition, roughly 1.2 billion people now live in extreme poverty worldwide or subsist on less than $1.25 per day.

Hard Evidence: This Is The Age Of Dissent – & There’s Much More To Come

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By David J. Bailey for The Conversation – The year 2011 is widely viewed as the peak of protest and dissent in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the austerity agenda that followed it. It was the year of the Arab Spring, Occupy, UK Uncut, indignados, urban riots and anti-austerity and tuition fee protests – and in which Time magazine famously named “The Protester” as its person of the year. Yet in the UK, protests continue to occur at a rate rarely seen prior to the global economic crisis in 2008. Indeed, 2015 seems to have confirmed the suggestion, made at the beginning of the year, that 2011 was “really only just the beginning”.

Inside New Mexico’s Off-Grid Community Made from Trash

Earth Day 1970

By Staff of Yes Magazine – This short film directed by Flora Lichtman and Katherine Wells for the podcast The Adaptors takes you inside the Earthships of Taos, New Mexico—a community of off-grid homes made from trash. After studying architecture, Earthships creator Michael Reynolds decided he wanted to experiment with different materials. “We build out of trees, but we don’t want to get rid of them,” says Reynolds, explaining how the project began 30 years ago. “We want to get rid of garbage, so why don’t we try to build out of garbage? It started as kind of a contrived effort to recycle, and has ended up the best way I know of to build, regardless of recycling.”

Jury Awards $5 Million For Home Foreclosure, Gov’t Let Banks Off Easy

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By David Dayen for The Intercept – A Texas jury’s recent decision to award over $5 million in damages and fees for the fraudulent foreclosure of a single home suggests that the big banks could have been on the hook for as much as $32 trillion — before the Justice Department and state attorneys general settled for $25 billion, or less than one-tenth of a penny on the dollar. In the trial in Harris County district court, the jury awarded Houston foreclosure victim. Mary Ellen and David Wolf $5.38 million on November 6, on the grounds that Wells Fargo Bank and Carrington Mortgage Services knowingly submitted false documents to kick them out of their home.

How A Union Built Integrated, Affordable Housing In SF

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By Peter Cole for Jstor Daily – In the 1960s, battles over racial equality and “urban renewal” ripped San Francisco apart. Beginning the decade prior, residents of the Fillmore, the only black-majority part of the city, suffered from a “slum clearance” program, labeled “Negro removal” by the legendary writer and activist James Baldwin. In response, a small but powerful labor union—the International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union, or ILWU[1]— attacked the city’s lack of affordable housing and pervasive residential segregation. In the heart of San Francisco, this union financed an integrated housing development for working-class people.