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    War in the Urban Milieu

    Random bullets hurting property values in Rio

    Cities are known for many hassles. Traffic. Pollution. Overcrowding. But in Rio De Janeiro, stray bullets are a growing hazard of city life.

    Fox News reports that the government is seeking to crack down on the drug traffickers who run the many poor slums in the 8 million person city. As a result, exchanges of high-powered weapons are commonplace. Collateral damage is occurring from unaimed, random bullets, which can be lethal from up to a mile away. In the first 3 months of 2007, at least 87 have been wounded by stray bullets.

    In Rio, poor neighborhoods, known as favelas (shown above), are in close proximity to wealthy neighborhoods. The worst areas are on the poor north side of the city, described in the Fox story as a "a drab urban sprawl that extends for miles behind the mountaintop Christ the Redeemer statue, which looks down over the city's richer neighborhoods and white sand beaches." And the news service notes that property values can be as much as 60 percent less for high-priced condos with windows facing the favelas.

    The news story reports that even flights into the city's downtown airport were diverted on one occasion due to a high-level of gunfire in a part of the city near the flight path. GEO


    Seattle's Makeover

    Large chunk of prime real esate opening up

    The Clise Family, owner of 13 prime acres in the middle of downtown Seattle, is looking to sell. This creates the potential for 13 million square feet of development. According to the Wall Street Journal that much space rivals the entire World Trade Center complex before 9/11 or London's Canary Wharf.

    Clise Properties, a multigenerational family business with just 30 employees, is putting the land up for sale because of recent lifting of heigh restrictions on buildings in the downtown - going from 300 feet to 500 feet. (Other cities such as San Francisco and Vancouver have recently done the same because they've found restricting building to slow growth encourages sprawl and traffic congestion.

    WSJ reports that the family patriarch, James Clise, began buying up acreage in 1889 when he arrived in Seattle the day after a massive fire destroyed 30 city blocks. His capital came from a successful timber business he'd started in Denver, Colorado. Over the next century, the family has piece by piece acquired properties in the area known as the Denny Triangle. The area is named after Denny Hill, a hill that was leveled by the city early last century to make room for growth. GEO

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