In Honolulu this week. Amidst the sunshine and drier weather — a contrast from Vancouver of the past 18 months — I’ve noticed a remarkable similarity: Homeless people are everywhere.
From reading the local papers, guidebooks and chatting to residents it seems that a leading cause (or at least the believed leading cause) is tourism and the popularity among foreigners of the city. Whether foreigners are the buyers, or merely the renters, the result is fewer homes for individuals and families with long (and shorter) histories on the islands – and much higher rents or sale prices for those that exist, which many cannot afford on typical salaries. Honolulu also has a significant amount of geographic constraint, limiting the option for sprawl as a solution.
This got me thinking about superstar cities and sudden, rapid foreign involvement in the real estate market, and its resulting dislocations. Seems the two go hand in hand.
And I’m also almost finished reading Richard Florida’s _Who’s Your City_ for a review here; he makes an observation that the cities generating the greatest amount of creativity or innovation also seem to have particularly large homeless and impoverished populations. Interesting relationships to ponder…