San Francisco Grapples With How to Accommodate Astonishing Growth

Over the next 20 years, San Francisco is expected to add 150,000 new residents, or nearly 20% of its existing population. John Wildermuth looks at the "hard choices" confronting the city as it plans for its future.
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"San Francisco residents will be getting thousands of new neighbors in the next 30 years, and it's time to start figuring out where they will live and work," writes Wildermuth. "Between 2010 and 2040, the city will need 92,410 new housing units and 191,000 more jobs, said city Planning Director John Rahaim [at a recent Planning Commission meeting], numbers well above San Francisco's current growth rate."

"For San Francisco, handling its share of that growth will require hard choices - and plenty of discussion - about what's best for the city, its residents and its businesses. The city's small size and existing development pattern make the job even tougher, Rahaim said."

"For the city to meet these goals, the focus must be on increasingly dense development south of Market Street, a transit-rich area where much of San Francisco's dwindling supply of buildable land is located," says Wildermuth. But local community groups are concerned that "adding the amount of high-rise construction needed to house a new wave of workers could destroy the community feeling that has brought so many people, workers and residents alike, to SoMa in the first place..."

"Whether we like it or not, we can't stop people from moving to San Francisco," said Commissioner Gwyneth Borden. "So we have to plan for it."

Full Story: Hard choices ahead for growing S.F.

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