Saturday, 28 April 2012

Stateless and Superrich

FT has an article today that is worth reading for how it considers the local social and cultural impact of the income gap at the extreme: mega mansions arising in neighborhoods that end up empty much of the time as their owners jaunt from property to property throughout the year, and the attendant service industry that grows to meet the expectations of the sojourner class.

I mostly ignore the House & Home section of the FT, along with How to Spend It, because neither applies to me and in fact they often irk me--I'm trying to read the news here, and your annoying content about lavish lifestyles are not only not news, but they are a sign that I am not your intended demographic; pardon my intrusion.  Ironically, that is the central message of this story.  The quote from Saska Sassen is telling:
“Even very good architects manage to generate a style that is not usually much admired by engaged residents and passers-by, whether the poor aficionado urban historian, old wealth, or anti-gentrification activists."
I had to read that twice.  But I think what Sassen is saying is that the housing and amenities that appeal to the 1% are to society and culture what the house & home/how to spend it are to news consumption for me: commanding of attention, and even driving the whole design, yet completely irrelevant and even bothersome when put into the context of a social fabric that is mostly not about them.

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