S.F. Bay Area Megaprojects Not Coming to Fruition

Plans for numerous large-scale developments in the region mean thousands of housing units should be on the way, but constant delays and setbacks have left projects nowhere near completion.

February 5, 2020, 8:00 AM PST

By Camille Fink

Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Bayview

City and County of San Francisco / Candlestick Point-Hunters Point Bayview

"At a time when housing is needed as soon as possible to stem the tide of displacement and homelessness, at least 75,000 units in the [San Francisco] Bay Area are part of mega-developments — mostly on former industrial or military sites — that are frequently sidetracked for years or even decades due to long approval processes, high infrastructure costs, complicated environmental cleanup issues and financing difficulties," writes J.K. Dineen.

Three San Francisco redevelopment projects planned almost a decade ago — Hunters Point Shipyard, Treasure Island, and Parkmerced — will add 27,500 units to the city’s housing stock. But the projects are not close to delivering the affordable housing that the city desperately needs.

"While the projects look promising on paper, the reality has been different. After nine years, only 350 homes — 1.3% of the total — have been completed. Even as housing prices have skyrocketed and developers have scrambled to build condos and apartments, progress at the three mega-developments has languished," says Dineen.

The Bay Area has seen some megaproject successes, but critics say these larger, costlier developments are not the best strategy for tackling the state’s dire housing crisis, notes Dineen. "While the state is pressuring communities to build their fair share of housing, megaprojects allow politicians and planners to take credit for permitting lots of units, giving them political cover when downsizing, delaying or rejecting smaller infill housing projects that would actually get built, said state Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco."

Monday, January 20, 2020 in San Francisco Chronicle

High-Speed Rail

Democratic Legislators Obstruct Funding for California High Speed Rail

Voters approved a $9.9 billion bond for the California High Speed Rail project in 2008. State legislators would like that money to be spent in other ways in 2021.

September 10, 2021 - Sacramento Bee

Rendering of aerial view of Telosa city

Why Tech-Utopian City Plans Fail

Like others before him, e-commerce billionaire Marc Lore wants to build the ideal city from scratch. Urban experts don't have much faith in his chances.

September 9, 2021 - Bloomberg BusinessWeek


What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification

The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.

September 14, 2021 - Vox

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.