Urban Fold

Improving Planning in San Francisco

The Wall Street Journal talks with Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of the San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association, about where the city is heading and how it needs to change.

Metcalf talks about how to channel growth into higher density areas, and the transportation challenges facing the city. He also discusses some of the ways planning in the city needs to improve.

"WSJ: What is wrong with San Francisco's planning process, and how would you fix it?

Mr. Metcalf: The civic culture is San Francisco values democratic process more than it values results. So we have created a system for decision-making that just takes a really long time. I want it to be easier to get a good project approved in San Francisco than a sprawl subdivision out at the edge of the region. Right now, it takes years for even modest-size apartment buildings to be approved. We need to change our decision-making process so that the zoning matters, rather than building in endless opportunities for renegotiating the rules on every little project that is proposed. Right now, each project is its own battle, and many that comply with zoning [rules] are rejected."

Full Story: In Defense of Robust Cities


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