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Stephen Roulac on Place and Property Strategy. (Book Review).

by Stephen E. Roulac. Published by Property Press, San Rafael, California, 2001. 556 pages. Softbound.

$149.00

If you are looking for light reading with some entertainment value, this is not the book for you. On the other hand, if you want an intellectual workout, then it just might hold some interest.

This collection of (mostly) previously published essays explores place and property strategy from a global perspective. It is both intellectually challenging and interesting. It is not, however, for everyone. Readers are fully warned of what to expect in the book's preface--those desiring an "accessible, story-based entertaining approach to the significant issues of place, property, real estate, facilities, land and space" are directed elsewhere.

The 41 essays are divided into 10 sections, and cover topics range from capital markers to global property strategies. Most are amply illustrated with charts and graphs, but are difficult reading nonetheless. Even the most fundamental concepts are presented in unnecessarily complex sentences. The result is a book that must be consumed in small doses.

There are a couple of welcome respites from the otherwise intensive and technical style of the work. For example, Instructive Real Estate Lessons from Bugsy is a clever and informative essay that uses the example of the pioneering Flamingo Hotel development in Las Vegas as a teaching tool. Equally insightful and readable is Strategic Implications of Information Technology for the Real Estate Sector, which addresses the ramifications of the relationship between space and place.

The book's intended audience is as broad as the scope of the material, including everyone from graduate students to professionals responsible for major investment decisions. Real estate appraisers will find much of the material outside the realm of their usual field of study, though other topics will be immediately recognizable and of interest. The chapters on real estate market cycles are excellent treatments and particularly germane. Other essays of interest deal with retail real estate trends and place branding (intangibles).

Roulac is widely recognized as a leading academic and thinker on place and property strategy. He has impressive credentials and has published widely on this and other related subjects. This collection of his essays was self-published by Property Press.

For all its attributes, though, the book is flawed. Among its biggest distractions is its self-promotional quality (the tide itself is revealing in this regard). The book also suffers from weak editing. Furthermore, because the essays are not organized chronologically, the context in which the original essay was written is sometimes lost. This particularly hurts some of the older works, though most of the writing from the late 1990s escapes the problem.

Notwithstanding these imperfections, the book is worth reading. It is thoughtful and thought provoking, and includes useful insights into the relationships between spatial patterns, business strategies and real estate functions. Whether its value is commensurate with its sale price, however, is highly questionable.
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Copyright 2002 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lennhoff, David C.
Publication:Appraisal Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Apr 1, 2002
Words:478
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