Data and Chalk Farm

by Mel Starrs on August 11, 2011

in Economics

This is not the blog to comment on the recent rioting – it’s been done to death elsewhere. I’ve been out of the country for most of it, but had I been at home, Chalk Farm is near enough to it to have my mother text to me to see if I’m OK. Evans cycles […]

{ 1 comment }

2009 RICS Global Carbon Capacity Index

by Mel Starrs on July 1, 2010

in Economics

Fascinating report from RICS – 2009 RICS Global Carbon Capacity Index (28pg, pdf). Whilst I often have rants about the meaningless of the phrase ‘zero-carbon’, I concede we are stuck with it and the goal behind the target is sound (even if the semantics around the phrasing of the target are misguided). Anyway, rant over, […]


Via Adam Tinworth, I’ve found this ace TED talk (a short one – less than 7 minutes) from Catherine Mohr on embodied energy. She starts with paper towels and finishes with her new build house in Silicon Valley. The best part for me is towards the end at around 5:10 where she looks at the […]


Ada Lovelace Day – Jane Jacobs

by Mel Starrs on March 24, 2010

in Economics

I have an aversion to positive gender discrimination (see some of my my thoughts here in this early post which I can’t believe is almost 4 years ago). I’d like to think we (women) are equal. Sadly, I can still tell (recent) tales of principal female engineers being asked to go out and buy sandwiches […]


What’s your hourly rate?

by Mel Starrs on March 15, 2010

in Economics, Productivity

A story in BD caught my eye last week: A London architect is offering short-term staff an hourly rate of just £5.71 — below the minimum wage of £5.80 What BD had done was split the hours per week (70 in this case) to arrive at an hourly rate. Fair enough. How many of us […]


I have a new geek-crush. For those who have not yet come across the inimitable Hans Rosling, I urge you all to head over to the awesome Gapminder website, whose strapline is “Unveiling the beauty of statistics for a fact based world view”.  An incredibly clear way of illustrating facts and figures. Today, I’m going […]


Nick Stern’s new book

by Mel Starrs on May 7, 2009

in Economics, Events & Conferences

Sometimes it’s good to get to events which don’t have a construction or buildings focus. Thanks to the magic of Twitter, I heard that Nick Stern (aka Professor Lord Stern of Brentwood) was presenting a public lecture about his new book at LSE on 21 April. I couldn’t pass on the opportunity to listen to […]


Whole Life Cycle Costing

by mel starrs on November 12, 2007

in Economics

IES have available a Powerpoint presentation, available from here, on Whole Life Cycle Costing. It has a very useful, clear explanation of net present value (NPV) and illustrates how IES software can be used in assessing options. Once embarking down this road, a number of key questions need to be answered, not least of all: […]


Economics 101

by mel starrs on September 19, 2007

in Economics

Blogging may be light for the next few weeks, so I’ll point you in the direction of this list of 100 economics blogs for a little diversion. Why should you be reading economics? A close study of economics sheds light on political, social, and even environmental trends, all of which affect even the average person’s […]


Redefining ‘green’

by Mel Starrs on December 18, 2006

in Economics

One of my favourite books of 2006 was ‘The World is Flat‘ by Thomas L. Friedman. It’s a long read at nearly 600 pages, but worth it. The guy can write (he’s got a Pullitzer) and puts forward a convincing case for the flattening of the world and some of the the benefits of globalisation. […]