"High-Tech Millennial Lifestyle Inspires Micro Apartment Boom"

Curbed | March 15, 2016

A new generation of tech millennials values location over square footage, and housing unit sizes are shrinking across the country.

Since the 1980s, cities around the country have been contracting serious cases of Silicon Valley envy. Everyone, it seemed, was looking for the magic formula to create their own high-tech incubators with educated, upwardly mobile work forces that would drive their cities to modernize and grow.


"Munich Is Building Affordable Housing Atop Parking Lots"

The Atlantic CITYLAB | March 7, 2016

A new plan for low-rent apartments takes advantage of all that unused space devoted to cars.

In Munich, the days when parking space was allowed to gobble up large chunks of city land may be ending. Like most thriving Western metros, Germany’s third-largest city is desperate for new housing but doesn’t have a whole lot of undeveloped space left. The answer, say Munich’s governing Social Democrats, is to build above parking lots, burying the city’s land-hogging car spaces under buildings filled with affordable housing.


"This Lego House You Can Live In"

Wall Street Journal | February 24, 2016

A modular building in the Bronx houses 62 people, some formerly homeless

When Bronx residents watched a 300-foot crane lower 90,000-pound blue- and red-accented modules onto a former used-car lot, the construction process reminded them of a familiar childhood toy.

So the locals dubbed it the Lego Building.


"Why Market-Rate Housing Construction Matters for Low-Income Households"

SPUR | February 18, 2016

For decades, San Francisco and other high-cost California cities have added fewer homes than needed to accommodate all the people who want to live in them. Adding fuel to the fire, San Francisco has added over 50,000 jobs in the last four years and is growing by approximately 10,000 new residents per year. With statistics like those, even the city’s current housing “boom” of approximately 3,500 units per year in 2014 and 2015 (compared to an average of 1,750 per year over the prior twenty) can’t go far in solving the crisis.


"S.F. spends record $241 million on homeless, can’t track results"

SF Chronicle | February 6, 2016

People around the world who watch the Super Bowl on television Sunday will surely see plenty of beauty shots of San Francisco, but football fans who visit and venture beyond the city’s spruced-up core will find some views that aren’t so beautiful.

Scores of tents line Division Street under the freeway, just one of many camps across the city. Human feces and needles litter sidewalks. Deranged people scream and threaten pedestrians in broad daylight. One man believed to be homeless allegedly slashed a California Highway Patrol officer in the throat near an encampment last week.


"Pocket Development’s 2 Bed Apartment Competition: Lessons from London"

Michael Mortensen Blog | February 4, 2016

I thought Pocket’s Two Bedroom Competition would make a nice book-end to my earlier post “Making Apartments Work Harder: the 3rd Bedroom Challenge“.

We can learn a lot from London, and the innovative companies tackling the city’s housing affordability and supply challenges. For almost 3 years, I’ve been leading the design and development of mixed-use housing projects in the UK, and I’ve come to appreciate how deep and systemic the housing supply issue is here.


"More units, less zoning? SF microapartments avoid “NIMByism”"

FairCompanies | February 1, 2016

San Francisco’s housing crisis is now legendary: the average rent for a 2 bedroom studio is $5000. To add housing stock fast, one developer has created the city’s first micro-apartment high rise (with units as small as 254 square feet).

Patrick Kennedy has been crusading for increased urban density for yeras, when I first met him in 2011, he was surprised there weren’t more people focused on the same goal. “San Francisco’s an interesting city: 42% of the population lives alone, much higher than any other American city, and yet there’s very little stuff that addresses the needs of a single person, especially something that can be affordable to a single person.”


"Thriving U.S. Cities Grapple With Homelessness Surge"

Wall Street Journal | January 30, 2016

Gentrification fuels growth in once-depressed districts, adding to pressure on shelters

SAN FRANCISCO—The technology boom has rapidly gentrified some neighborhoods here, pushing wealthy buyers and renters into once-gritty areas and generating friction over the city’s entrenched homeless population. Now, tension is mounting as the Bay Area prepares to host Super Bowl 50 next month, bringing an estimated one million football fans to parts of the city where the unsheltered often congregate and sleep.



The Book of Life | January 29, 2016

There is something compelling and exciting about cities that makes many of us love (and some of us dread) them. They are full of bright attractions, intriguing strangers and endless, unimaginable possibilities. Yet despite a great migration towards city living in the modern era, we haven’t quite got cities figured out. Some parts of them are full of delightful surprises, and others are dreadfully boring; or worse, dangerous. One of the most instrumental people in understanding how urban areas work was a woman who spent her life explaining just how complex and vital cities really are.


"Top 20 cities for venture capital investment"

Architect This City | January 28, 2016

The Martin Prosperity Institute here in Toronto recently published a new report that looks at worldwide venture capital investment by city. The report is called Rise of the Global Startup City.

The data is from 2012, because that’s what was available from Thomson Reuters, so keep in mind that there might be some variation in the rankings if we were to look at more recent data. Some of the cities sit fairly close.

Nonetheless, here are a few of the broader takeaways (from the report page):