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Furniture making has normally been an important portion of cultures – jdr real estate

Real Estate

As man evolves, so do the makings of his hands. Furniture has often been an integral portion of our lives and its history dates back to the beginning of civilisations. Amongst the early civilisations, China has produced a permanent mark on the history of furniture creating.


Ancient Chinese at first did not have furniture pieces of any form in their homes until the period 471-221 BC. Since this period, they have begun making lots of beds and mats which were at first, intended for use only by members of royal families across the different dynastic periods.


In the course of the Ming dynasty, furniture creating and style reached its heights – elegant and elaborate furniture designs had been developed which has improved further by means of the Ching dynasty period as much as the present.


This great development in China furniture industry’s can be attributed to the country’s rich natural resources such as wood, which was very much instrumental in providing China a substantial, yet common material for their craft. Huganhuali mu (yellow flower pear wood), jichi mu (phoenix tail or chicken wing wood) and zitan mu (dark-purple sandalwood) were the most precious and important woods used in making furniture back in the old times. These wood varieties are known to yield a durable and dense lumber. Aside from these three, the Chinese also made a Chinese cabinet which is not only common and less expensive, but is also widely available even today.


Even though the distinctive and elaborate artistry reflected in Chinese furniture designs was only recognized throughout the rise of communism in China, foreigners had been already taking notice of the intricate designs in Chinese furniture pieces and have began to collect some of their fabulous pieces which can now be discovered in numerous museums all over the world. These consist of Victoria Museum and Albert Museum in London, and Beijing’s Palace Museum.


This brief overview of Chinese history demonstrates China’s resolve to uphold beauty and sophistication in their culture, which was in turn reflected inside the bearings of their workmanship. The selection of material by the Chinese folks in furniture creating also proves their commitment to top quality and durability too as other countries do.


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Housing Greater Manchester’s growing population – jdr real estate

With George Osborne’s Spending Review ‘choosing housing’, and with the Northern Powerhouse intending to make Greater Manchester (GM) a more attractive place to live, work and study, the question of the region’s future housing supply is ever more urgent.


Two crucial answers to that question were brought together at New Economy’s final seminar of the year  in December with Chris Findley talking through the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF)  in the context of the live consultation on strategic options, and Deborah McLaughlin outlining the support and encouragement to development available via Manchester Place.  You might expect long-term planning and short- and medium-term delivery to focus on different issues, but there were plenty of consistent themes from the presentations and subsequent discussions.


At the heart of both was the question of land supply. The pipeline of suitable, viable opportunities for development across Greater Manchester is an immediate priority for Manchester Place, who are currently working with GM districts, the Homes & Communities Agency, landowners, investors and developers to unlock the numbers and quality of new homes Greater Manchester needs now.  That support could include access to development finance from the Greater Manchester Housing Fund, bringing together investors with developers seeking an exit for completed market rental schemes or working with Councils and other public sector agencies to bring their land to market.


For the Spatial Framework that pipeline of land will need to be extended all the way to 2035. This led to deeper questions about the shape and nature of GM as a place twenty years from now, but also to practical issues about where and how the scale of development envisaged (it is the latter the current consultation seeks to pin down) could best be achieved. 


Both speakers emphasised the importance of the ‘Call for Sites’ exercise, which is open for contributions alongside the GMSF strategic options consultation.  This is exactly what it says on the tin, an open call for sites to be submitted which could contribute to GM’s delivery of housing and employment. It enables them to be assessed as part of the next stage of the GMSF process to see how they could add to our existing land supply.  By submitting sites developers, landowners or local residents can get them on the radar now so even if they are not immediately useful, they can inform the big choices that the Spatial Framework needs to make in the future.


Infrastructure was another recurring theme, with the ability of existing capacity to support new development a crucial factor in identifying developments which could come forward quickly.  Planning sustainable growth around that current infrastructure, and deliverable future infrastructure, helps bring the possible choices open for the Spatial Framework down to manageable proportions.  But the Framework is also key to identifying where our infrastructure needs investment to enable the potential of GM and the wider Northern Powerhouse to be realised.  The GM Open Data Infrastructure Map is a very handy tool open for all to use to understand GM’s existing infrastructure provision.


Finally, among many issues raised, the skills and capacity within the construction and related sectors was a recurring point.  For Manchester Place, this included both the loss during the downturn of SMEs from the development sector and in worries about the availability of the skilled workforce needed to physically deliver our ambitions.  Positively, GM’s devolution agenda may be starting to offer us more levers in the skills and employment arena to tackle that latter point.  Strategically, the Spatial Framework needs to help ensure that our existing communities are able to benefit from the jobs generated by housing and other development ensuring that the social infrastructure is in place to support economic growth.  In addition, the Framework needs to respond and support the public service reform agenda.