Diary: Carbon zero in the cards

Move over Monopoly, there’s a new game with a real estate dimension – and with this one, you’re working not for personal gain, but for the good of the planet.

Carbon City Zero has been designed by academics at Manchester Metropolitan University in collaboration with the charity 10:10 Climate Action – and, as the name suggests, the aim of the game is to become Britain’s first zero-carbon city.

It’s a deck-building card game in which players act as rival mayors, navigating the financial and environmental trade-offs associated with developing their cities. So, rather than winning second prize in a beauty contest or being sent directly to jail in Monopoly, the cards in Carbon City Zero have things in store including “clean electricity”, “ecohouses” and the perils of “public apathy” and “poor housing stock”.

According to Neil Jones, project manager at 10:10 Climate Action: “The best thing about this game is that it gets people talking about the real life trade-offs and decisions that we’ll need to make.”

A card-based conversation starter – sounds like a winner to us. It’s available on Kickstarter until 20 October.

Effing and teching

Here at EG we celebrated our 10th Tech Talk Live event by turning the air well and truly blue from start to finish. Well, we didn’t, but our panellists did as they took to the stage for one of the most swear word-peppered events we have put on to date.

The writing was arguably on the wall as we kicked off proceedings with Wordsearch Place duo William Murray and David Twohig, who we already know have form. Let’s just say a podcast with them earlier this year required quite an edit.

So, with three utterances of the F-word under our belts before 9.30am – including a brilliantly delivered “F*ck off” – the gauntlet had been well and truly thrown down. Our next panellists didn’t disappoint with two bullsh*ts, thee cr*ps and one sh*tty before we rounded off the morning with our third panel and two more bullsh*ts for good measure.

To be clear, the event was characterised by far more than a few choice expletives, as our panellists held a captive audience with their discussions, debates and arguments around the problems around tech in real estate. We would say it was the dog’s b… but our asterisk key needs a rest.

Barking up the wrong tree?

Competition is hotting up in the fast house sale market. Our regular friends at Sellhousefast.co.uk have been in touch – again! – this time with word on the best London boroughs for renters who want to live with their pets without fear of eviction.

The headline stats: Kensington and Chelsea, Westminster, Tower Hamlets, Camden and Wandsworth are the most pet-friendly; with the least being Waltham Forest, Barking and Dagenham, City of London, Kingston upon Thames and Havering. But, shockingly, the number of properties to rent in London where furry friends are allowed has decreased by 122 compared with last year – possibly the beginnings of a capital-wide pet clampdown. Or not.

That’s all well and good if you want to keep animals – but what if you want to avoid eating them? That’s where rival Fastsalehomes.co.uk comes in. Its agents have calculated UK cities with the most vegetarian-only properties on the market.

The best? Brighton, Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester and Coventry.

The worst? Nottingham, Southampton, Aberdeen, Portsmouth and Swansea.

And as for London boroughs, Harrow, Waltham Forest, Hackney, Newham and Hounslow are great for vegetarians. Hillingdon, Barking and Dagenham and Havering are not.

What does it all mean? Diary isn’t sure, except maybe that speedy property vendors have too much time on their hands. And Barking isn’t nearly as fun for animals as it sounds.

Forget property

But wait – Fastsalehomes.co.uk isn’t done. It’s also (somewhat counterintuitively) worked out what people could do if they abandoned homes altogether and spent their money elsewhere. Well, rich people, at any rate.

As they put it: “THIS Is What You Could Buy with One Month’s Worth of London’s Most Expensive Rental Properties.” Just one month’s rent in a Mayfair penthouse could sail two people around the world on a 112-night cruise, with spending money to spare. Or, instead of other expensive pads, you could buy a McLaren 720S supercar, a Lotus Exige 3.5 Sport, or even an “entry-level yacht”.

Rather than one month in an eight-bedroom house in Prince’s Gate, treat yourself to 36 Chanel bags! And instead of shelling out nearly £87,000 a month in Holland Villas Road, buy a new Volkswagen Golf every week.

All of a sudden, property investment makes absolutely no sense.

Housing hilarity

Many thanks to Isabel Hardman, assistant editor of The Spectator and presenter of Radio 4’s Week in Westminster, for keeping Diary apprised of housing discussion at the Conservative Party conference – and thoroughly entertained in the process.

Hardman’s Twitter highlights included Esther McVey making the wonderful statement: “I’m completely tenure-blind, I like to think there isn’t a home I haven’t been in.” A very hands-on approach for a housing and planning minister, even if it sounds a bit creepy.

But it’s Jake Berry, minister for the Northern Powerhouse, that really stole the show, with the grammatically suspect: “The only homes we are not going to build in the north of England is Sherlock Holmes!”


Read more quirky property stories from EG’s Diary page >>