Readers write: Borders in the Middle East, housing in the United States

Letters to the editor for the July 4, 2016 weekly magazine.

Melanie Stetson Freeman/Staff
Roommates Jin Long Chen (r.) and Gao Xin Wu hang out in the living room in their small 2-bedroom apartment in Chinatown in Boston, Massachusetts.

Borders in the Middle East

Regarding the June 6 Focus story, “Why the Mideast isn’t falling apart”: The Ottoman Empire was not the only empire to crumble in the wake of World War I. Bosnians, Croats, Macedonians, Montenegrins, Serbs, and Slovenians from the Austro-Hungarian Empire were thrown together in Yugoslavia and Czechs and Slovaks in Czechoslovakia.

Today, one world war and one cold war later, these forced unions have dissolved. If this was the proper solution in Europe, why not in the Middle East? Or Africa, for that matter?

Eric Klieber

Cleveland Heights, Ohio

Housing in the United States

Regarding the April 25 & May 2 cover story, “The price isn’t right”: What is the effect of international buyers on the market in US coastal cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, and New York? What happens to neighborhoods when so many luxury units sit empty? I suspect opportunity for more jobs supporting those phantom households is lost as well as the vibrancy associated with occupied units.

Vancouver, British Columbia, has supported the construction of secondary units on the property of larger houses. Portland, Ore., and Seattle have considered incentives to do the same. 

Given the recent research highlighted in the Monitor regarding upward mobility among the poor if living in a more affluent area, it would seem that we need to aggressively support inclusion of low- and moderate-income units in higher-income developments. Such inclusion can lead to a more interesting, dynamic, and diverse community.

In addition, too many buildings are being constructed without regard to access to the outdoors via patio, courtyard, or balcony. Too many buildings are being built without a thought given to gracious landscaping or integration with the rest of the streetscape or improvement of the streetscape.

Peggy Renaud


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