Protecting San Francisco's Character Has Transformed It

By "protecting" San Francisco's physical character through down-zoning and NIMBY activism, the city has transformed its social character, as families, young adults, and others flee the city to find cheaper rents. A regional solution is required.
idleformat / flickr

"My friends keep moving to Oakland," observes Gabriel Metcalf, the executive director of SPUR. "Gone from San Francisco for greener pastures and cheaper rents, because it’s just gotten too hard, by which I really mean too expensive. Their move signals that something has gone terribly wrong in this most progressive of American cities."

Due to several factors, the city simply hasn't produced enough housing to keep up with demand. "There’s a lot of housing under construction now, and for the next couple of years, we’ll see more built," he notes. "But a few years of strong housing production, building out neighborhood plans that the city has worked on for the last two decades, is going to be too little, too late to undo the larger trend."

Yes, policies could be adopted to help increase the amount of units (affordable and otherwise) constructed in the city, but Metcalf argues that a regional solution is necessary to more evenly distribute the growth pressures afflicting San Francisco and other areas.

"We need our own 'metropolitan' strategy that ties the region together in better ways, and creates walkable, diverse communities in more locations," he urges.

Full Story: The San Francisco Exodus

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
City Plate table setting

New Arrival! City Plates

City downtown cores printed on gorgeous decorative collectible porcelain plates.
$50.00
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 2012

Thinking about Grad School?

You need the essential resource for prospective planning students
Starting at $24.95