On Housing, Cities' Traditional Political Labels No Longer Apply

Historically liberal cities belie their supposed concern for human welfare by rejecting new development. Meanwhile, more conservative cities have seized the moment to become more progressive, innovative, and inclusive.

December 8, 2021, 7:00 AM PST

By Josh Stephens @jrstephens310


Richard Masoner / Flickr

"The "radical left" has been protesting capitalist developers for years. In part because of the influence of self-described Democratic Socialist Dean Preston, the current Board of Supervisors has waded deeply into radical territory and into anti-developer activism. Of course, by many accounts, the provision of housing aligns squarely with progressive values: housing is a human right, and governments ought to protect, and even further, that right. A diversity housing typologies and price points, especially in dense, diverse cities, is the epitome of inclusiveness."

"San Francisco doesn't seem to get this. But some other cities do -- and not necessarily the ones you'd expect."

"I can't help thinking that the San Joses and San Diegos of the world want to get in on the fun. For pretty much as long as California has existed, they have been considered less urbane, less fun, and less attractive than rivals like San Francisco and Los Angeles. They missed out on the dense urbanism that developed before World War II and then contentedly took advantage of suburbanization in the latter half of the 20th century. Now that urbanism is back -- because of the creative class, antipathy towards long commutes, revolts against suburban living, or what-have-you -- they're grown tired of their own dullness (one of the more outlandish examples: San Jose's proposal for a weird monumental tower). And, importantly, they have relatively more land with which to try new things and seem unafraid of welcoming new residents."

Tuesday, December 7, 2021 in California Planning & Development Report

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