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.
"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."
The Right to Mobility
As we consider how to decarbonize transportation, preserving mobility, especially for lower- and middle-income people, must be a priority.
Bend Eliminates Parking Minimums
The city is complying with an Oregon state mandate that some cities have challenged in court.
How Virginia Counties Use Zoning to Stifle Development
Some state legislators are proposing action at the state level as counties block development using zoning and development requirements even as housing prices rise sharply in the region.
How Federal Policy Can Support More Affordable Housing in Exclusionary Communities
The recently funded “Yes In My Back Yard” federal grant program provides support for local and state governments to implement housing policy reforms, but it doesn’t go far enough to undo the exclusionary practices of wealthy communities.
Increased Service, Employer Tax Breaks Entice Transit Ridership in Montgomery County
Montgomery County, Maryland transit planners are hoping workers returning to the office in 2023 will rediscover the benefits of a public transit commute.
NYC Mayor Adams Proposes Ambitious Housing Agenda in State of the City Address
Housing is one of four “pillars” proposed by Mayor Eric Adams in his “Working People’s Agenda.”
HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research
Harvard GSD Executive Education
Harvard GSD Executive Education
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.