In last week’s Sunday Best, we looked at the New York Times article that explored the trend of Americans seeking out the “good life” in Europe, drawn to the continent’s vibrant culture, rich history, and beautiful landscapes. The NYT’s piece highlights affordable property rental and ownership opportunities in countries like Italy, France, and Spain. Similarly, in our own series examining fascinating places to reside around the world, we’ve noticed a striking trend: owning property or renting it in several European nations is often significantly less expensive than in English-speaking countries such as Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, the UK, and the United States. This raises an important question: why are beachfront properties in Spain or Portugal often cheaper than properties of a similar size in the suburbs of Vancouver, for instance?
It’s an intriguing question and there are a variety of complex factors that influence property prices in different parts of the world, but one reason is a cultural aversion to urban density, which is particularly strong in the anglophone world. This preference for low-density housing has led to a range of problems, including housing shortages, affordability crises, and environmental degradation.
We came across an excellent article in the Financial Times titled, “The Anglosphere Needs to Learn to Love Apartment Living“, via The David McWilliams Podcast. According to the Financial Times, housebuilding rates in English-speaking countries have fallen behind the rest of the developed world and the reason is, as stated previously, an aversion to urban density. In real terms, it can be very difficult to get planning permission to build multi-level apartment dwellings because English-speaking countries, which typically have their legal systems based on English Common Law, which gives individuals a strong say in the development of their local area. This means that if even one person raises an objection to a proposed building, the project can be shut down by local planning. In contrast, countries in continental Europe like France, Spain, Germany, and Italy, use Civil Law, which is more of a top-down approach, meaning that planning decisions are made sometimes at a national level, rather than at a local level, potentially creating less friction for new developments.
Ultimately, land use regulations and zoning laws limit the amount of available land for housing development, which can constrain the supply of new housing and drive up prices in many English-speaking countries.
A brilliant PBS documentary about urban planning in New York City in the 1960’s is seen as a seminal moment in the history of urban development when Jane Jacobs defeated Robert Moses’s proposed a plan to build a highway through the heart of Greenwich Village.
Made Us Laugh
We couldn’t stop laughing at this fake photo of Pope Francis wearing a gigantic white puffer coat, created with AI-image generator Midjourney and shared on Reddit. Many people believed it to be real, and furthermore, elevated the Pope to fashion icon status.
Jura Soundsystem – Return to the Island
Australian label owner and producer, Kevin Griffiths⏤also known as Jura Soundsystem⏤on the album Return to the Island, creates a warm refreshing, uplifting soundscape with soft synth chords, bright bell-like melodies and tropical elements. The overall vibe is relaxed, summery optimism.
We are grateful that our website has been able to inspire you with our collection of carefully curated images from the internet over the past 15 years. Your support through purchases in our shop not only allows you to take home a piece of that inspiration, but it also directly supports the hard work and dedication that goes into maintaining and updating our website. We invite you to check out our collection of beautiful art prints, printed at the finest printing studio in London on 310gsm Hahnemuhle German Etching paper. Your support is truly appreciated and helps us continue to bring you the best content for your ideas and dreams. Thank you for choosing TIG.
Enjoy your Sunday, wherever you are.