Archive for the 'Freelance Writing' Category

The human planet

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

Among the many creatures that have lived on this planet, humans are unique in that they not only tamed the wild and created large urban societies, but increasingly we are having an impact on the very fabric of the earth itself – and it’s not always for the better.

Words: Michel Cruz

When it comes to the ‘human planet’ we hear all sorts of things, many of them foreboding and some even seemingly contradictory – like there is too little space, too much development, that the population is exploding and the natural environment slowly dying, but also that the population is greying, that we’re not having enough children to replace ourselves. We consume and pollute too much, we are/are not contributing to global warming, that there is no global warming, that we will all have to work to 70 and beyond yet artificial intelligence will take our jobs away. We’re depleting the earth’s resources, that there will be land and water wars to replace today’s oil wars, that there is unemployment yet the labour force is shrinking. More immigration means economic growth but also more unemployment, and occasionally even that decades of overpopulation and over-exploitation have taken us to the cusp of a demographic collapse brought on by environmental decay and epidemics. (more…)

Being Dutch in Marbella

Tuesday, May 9th, 2017

being dutch in marbella

The Dutch are among the most notable expats living on the Costa del Sol. Through their organisations, businesses and investments they form part of and contribute greatly to the cosmopolitan community that is Marbella.

Words: Michel Cruz

 

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Marbella development in the 21st century

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

Words: Michel Cruz
Photography: Kevin Horn

Marbella development and project management

After a hiatus of several years, construction activity has recommenced in Marbella. We spoke to some of the leading developers in the area about a new era of development.

The construction sector was one of the biggest victims of the global financial crisis and Spanish property crash that hit Marbella at the end of 2008. In its wake, no new projects were launched and building gradually ground to a halt, while recently finished developments found it hard to find buyers. Many promoters had to abandon ship, leaving half completed construction sites behind as the banks inherited an unwanted portfolio of real estate.

By 2010 the once flourishing sector was in dire straits, its main activity now the construction of luxurious individual villas in spots such as La Zagaleta and the renovation of old properties by specialist small-scale developers. In the midst of this, however, a few companies had the foresight and confidence in the local market to approach the banks and begin to finish projects, upgrade and market them, and add post-sale management services not seen here before. (more…)

The state of the market

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Words: Michel Cruz

Images courtesy of Diana Morales Properties and Callum Swan

callum swan, marbella propertyExactly two years ago I wrote a report on the state of the property market with feedback from leading real estate agents. Here I analyse the prevailing market conditions and look to developments in the near future, drawing as always from the expertise of some of the most experienced agents in Marbella.

Two years is a relatively short period of time, but one in which a lot can change. In my June 2013 report we were still talking tentatively about early signs of recovery and hoping that this was a sustained movement out of the doldrums of the preceding years. We have since received confirmation that this is indeed a true recovery, and now the question we ask ourselves – amid a market that is visibly gaining in momentum and confidence – is whether we should already be speaking of growth instead of just ‘recovery’. (more…)

La Dolce Vita – Spirit of an Era

Monday, August 10th, 2015

La Dolce Vita – spirit of an eraLa Dolce Vita is a now iconic phrase that conjures images of the winding alleyways and Vespas of a vintage Italy. Imbued with a sense of glamorous freedom, the concept of young people living a hedonistic and self-indulgent life has long entered cross-cultural vernacular and leaves us lamenting our lack of Italian blood. Here, Michel Cruz traces the origins and inspirations for the phenomenon that has come to define an epoch.

While Britain and America were in the grip of the Swinging Sixties, Italy made its own unique contribution – La Dolce Vita. Literally translated as ‘the sweet life’, it embodies the sense of freedom, open possibilities and joie de vivre of the post war era.

We strive for permanence in everything we do, from installing new regimes to chasing the ultimate form of style, not realising that success, happiness and ideals are but fleeting moments. With the horrors of the Second World War and the sparseness of the immediate post war years behind it, Europe awoke like a flower in spring to a whole new world of possibilities. With Marshall Aid, the continent was rebuilding itself upon the pillars of prosperity and democracy as a tide of youthful liberalism and creativity swept through the once dusty streets. (more…)