In CCLR’s 20 years of working in brownfield redevelopment, we’ve found that land recycling means more than remediation or urban green space creation. Land is a finite resource, and the fight to make space for urban housing is a continuous battle.
“…Cities have always worked particularly well for young people. They flock to them to build up vital social and professional networks, meet their mates and learn how the world works. Around the world there is massive unmet demand for city homes and workspace…”...More
For apartment owners and managers, the pandemic means closed offices, few or no in-person tours and off-limits amenities, obliging them to market their properties without time-tested tools — at least for now....More
In the first half of the 20th century, the students at Boston’s best public high school, Boston Latin, included a brash kid named Leonard Bernstein, who would one day compose West Side Story; another boy named Thomas L. Phillips, who would build the Massachusetts manufacturer Raytheon into a bulwark of American defense; and Paul Zoll, who would pioneer the use of electricity to treat cardiac arrest while working as a doctor at a Boston hospital....More
Making a link between a city’s density and its vulnerability to epidemics may seem like an obvious connection. But it may, in fact, be off the mark.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) and its spread across the globe, places with high urban population density have seemed to be especially at risk to some observers....More
A San Francisco progressive housing group called Todco promoted a ballot proposition which would tie the creation of new office space in the city to construction of new housing. The final tally isn’t in yet but it appears Prop E might pass....More
In an expensive, decades-long effort to curb congestion in urban regions, our transportation agencies and elected leaders have overwhelmingly prioritized spending hundreds of billions of dollars to widen and build new highways....More
"An ‘uninhabitable’ shack in San Francisco that’s missing a wall just sold for $2 million, and it showcases the real value of land in the Bay Area"
San Francisco is home to one of the most expensive housing markets in the US....More
As California’s governor vows to tackle the state’s homelessness crisis, housing “insanity” stands in the way.
SAN FRANCISCO — The average home in the United States costs around $240,000. But in San Francisco, the world’s most expensive place for construction, a two-bedroom apartment of what passes for affordable housing costs around $750,000 just to build.
Where to soak in the strange in the East Bay’s quirky college town
Berkeley has a reputation for weird. It’s also known for political activism, great food, and those smarty-pants at Cal, but the city’s inherent quirkiness pervades its past and present....More
California’s housing crisis is getting worse. The status quo is not working. But as much as we like to complain about high housing costs, traffic congestion, and dwindling open space, we remain attached to an old version of the California Dream: single-family homes with big green lawns and swimming pools out of a David Hockney painting....More
“Nearly all of the biggest challenges in America are, at some level, a housing problem.
Rising home costs are a major driver of segregation, inequality, and racial and generational wealth gaps. You can’t talk about education or the shrinking middle class without talking about how much it costs to live near good schools and high-paying jobs. Transportation accounts for about a third of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, so there’s no serious plan for climate change that doesn’t begin with a conversation about how to alter the urban landscape so that people can live closer to work.”...More
A new report shows how cities are central to any strategy to fight climate change
Cities have the “3 C’s: Clean, compact, connected
National government policies need to support cities
Let’s describe a low carbon future in positive, aspirational terms...More
Boarding homes, building codes, and neighborhood character: What “Little Women” can teach us about housing policy
Of the nine films competing for the top honor at this Sunday’s Academy Awards, there’s a few that take on issues of housing and urban policy, from the class conflicts of “Parasite” to the metropolitan decay in “Joker.”...More
Why don’t we have more options for affordable shelter?
“It’s a largely self-inflicted problem,” said Patrick Kennedy, a Bay Area developer at the forefront of housing innovation. Restrictive building codes and expensive labor agreements drive up costs, making it hard to build affordably, he said.
His advice to state leaders?
“Look outside of the ‘affordable housing industrial complex’ which, by its very nature, has a cost structure and management structure that results in much higher costs for the product,” said Kennedy, who believes private developers can build affordable housing faster and cheaper…”...More
"Q&A with Oakland’s Matt Horn, the pitmaster behind the most anticipated barbecue restaurant in America"
Before Matt Horn served his first plate of smoked brisket and ribs out of an old service station at 17th and Center Streets in West Oakland on Saturday afternoon, more than 100 people were outside the building waiting to order. The scene was like a musical festival and Horn’s popup was the headlining act....More
In cities, many people think “density” means crowded neighborhoods and greedy developers, but a new show at the Skyscraper Museum tells a different story.
Housing innovators selected for their work to make housing more affordable
Construction and Design
“…Panoramic Interests – San Francisco, California
Panoramic Interests is designing a high-density, prefab, studio apartment building. The prototype, CITYSPACE Studios, is a prefabricated affordable dwelling with units for the homeless that can be easily configured into apartment complexes on existing underutilized city-owned lots.”
"Inside the $1,000 underground ‘sleeping pods’ that a developer wants to build in San Francisco’s super crowded housing market"
- A developer is proposing new housing plans to the city of San Francisco that include 88 50-square-foot underground “sleeping pods.”
- The pods, which are essentially bunk beds stacked together dormitory-style, will be located in windowless subterranean basement levels of two proposed apartment buildings in the Mission District.
- The pods would be priced between $1,000 and $1,375 with curtains instead of doors for privacy.
"Inside the mile-long California homeless camp that is tearing a town apart as Silicon Valley house prices soar"
Residents of the Sonoma homeless camp have lost properties through natural disasters or simply can’t afford California’s prices
On the outskirts of Santa Rosa, the first real city to emerge as you drive through the rolling wine country north of San Francisco, two new settlements hum with life....More
For decades, urban policy has focused on troubled cities—those losing population and commercial activity. But in many cities, the era of decline is over; today, we are seeing the emergence of prosperous, economically dynamic cities, often located on America’s coasts....More
"Panoramic Interests Seeks $80MM JV Equity Investment for First Phase of Apartment Development in Oakland"
San Francisco-based Panoramic Interests is looking for a joint venture equity partner to join its 500 Kirkham apartment project in Oakland....More
It is an obsession that undermines growth, fairness and public faith in capitalism
Economies can suffer both sudden crashes and chronic diseases. Housing markets in the rich world have caused both types of problem. A trillion dollars of dud mortgages blew up the financial system in 2007-08....More
“…Housing First turned that upside down, …This has been enormously successful, housing about 85 percent of the most complex folks…”
“…The vast majority of people who become homeless could be easily housed if there were housing that they could afford on their income…”
“…For everyone else, we need to focus on increasing the supply of extremely low-income housing by building very low-income housing, preserving what exists, and providing sufficient vouchers (right now, only a quarter of households who qualify get them)…”...More
"Poll: 97% of San Franciscans see homelessness as a problem — 69% approve of homeless housing in their neighborhoods"
“…The poll finds 72 percent support for simply giving homes to the homeless — … Providing Section 8 rental vouchers for homeless people met with 76 percent approval…”
“…This polling, he continued, “demonstrates support for this type of solution is widespread…”...More
San Francisco is making 151 units in two residential hotels available for formerly homeless people, a more affordable and faster option than creating new units in a city where subsidized housing costs $700,000 a unit and five years to build.
“…The city hopes the first occupants at both hotels will be able to move in by April. The Post will charge $1,300 a unit per month and the Abigail will charge $1,400. Residents will be expected to pay 30% of their income — whatever it may be — toward rent, with the city subsidizing the remainder…”...More
Cars are a fact of life for the vast majority of Americans, whether we’re commuting to work or traveling to just about anywhere. But a new development outside Phoenix is looking to change that. Culdesac Tempe, a 1,000-person rental community, aims to promote a new type of walkable neighborhood by banning residents from driving or parking cars there....More
Quietly, the state’s housing crisis is beginning to take its toll on California’s 1.4 million family businesses....More
“…Bay Area startups received almost half of the venture capital invested in 2019, some $46 billion flowing into the coffers of Bay Area companies…”...More
California has a housing crisis — that much we all know — but we should not grow paralyzed by the idea that it’s politically or substantively insurmountable. Paris has turned around a comparable situation with remarkable speed....More
Cars, climate change, and cameras are just some of the tough issues city leaders need to grapple with in the coming decade
By their nature, cities are dynamic and ever-changing, shaking off the past and constantly reinventing themselves to face the future....More
“Somebody crazy not giving up” finally wins new homes
Developer Patrick Quinlan is bringing new housing to Bernal Heights, and it only took four decades to get the job done.
Rarely cheap or easy, the rental game went from an ordeal to a war zone this past decade
“…Median market rents—representing mostly newer homes that can charge double or nearly treble the census average these days—are where the real fireworks began: In 2010, a two-bedroom SF apartment on Craigslist averaged $2,893 (per historic data compiled in 2016 by Eric Fischer), or $3,396 after inflation. At the end of 2019, similar units on the same site sit at a median of $4,300, up 26.6 percent.”...More
San Francisco edged out New York City in 2019 for a queasy honorarium
San Francisco might be the most expensive place in the entire world to build new housing—intimidating news for anyone holding out for the possibility of increased supply to relieve the housing crisis....More
Adrian Caratowsa was lucky.
After six years of trying and failing to score an affordable apartment in San Francisco, he won the lottery for a city-subsidized apartment in the Transbay district....More
“…For the first time in more than a decade, Oakland’s skyline has a new office tower — and many more to come.”
“…A wave of migration from San Francisco, along with local business growth, has made Oakland one of the hottest local economies in the country. Additional office projects totaling more than 4 million square feet, or room for 20,000 more employees, are under construction or planned downtown, which currently has around 80,000 jobs…”...More
New rental housing measures were approved by Vancouver City Council this week. I haven’t gone through the policies in the detail (you can do that here), but they aim to increase rental housing supply by doing things such as “pre-zoning” for 6-storeys on main streets and by allowing rental apartments to be built on some side streets (up to 150m away from arterial roads)....More
With six annotated takeaways for local housing policy.
Local bans on attached homes in cities are driving up energy use and helping cook the climate, the United Nations Environment Program wrote in a report published Tuesday....More
A new generation of activists seeks to revive an old urban policy, despite its troubled history.
“…Housing for low-income communities consisted of small homes and buildings, close together—rowhouses in Philadelphia, three-decker homes in New England, walk-up apartments in New York.
Rooming houses abounded. In the years since then, new housing of this nature has been zoned or otherwise regulated out of existence…”...More
In the technical, secular Silicon Valley, one temple commands a following. The famous garage.
On a recent Saturday, drenched in California sunshine, I visited three. First, the garage in which Hewlett and Packard first collaborated, on a quiet suburban street in Palo Alto not far from where I live. Their company HP would go on to become the largest manufacturer of personal computers....More
Los Angeles (AFP) – Kay Wilson packed up her life in a hurry and moved to Los Angeles… only to find that what she paid in Pennsylvania for a nice studio apartment would only get her a 2.9-square-meter box in California....More
Patrick Kennedy knows how outlandish real estate prices in the Bay Area have become. Owner and president of Panoramic Interests, a development company, Kennedy has seen the cost per square foot of a high-rise in San Francisco go from $272 in 2001 to $833 today. Construction costs in the Bay Area are the highest in the world, he said Friday at the Commercial Economic Issues & Trends Forum during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco....More
State government still has to pull its weight in changing zoning laws
In 1848, it was the lustre of gold which lured thousands to California. Today, cutting-edge technology is the Golden State’s draw, especially in the Bay Area. But Silicon Valley’s limited housing supply is squeezing out locals....More
California, the land of golden dreams, has become America’s worst housing nightmare.
Recent wildfires have only heightened the stakes for a state that can’t seem to build enough new homes.
The median price for a house now tops $600,000, more than twice the national level. The state has four of the country’s five most expensive residential markets—Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Orange County and San Diego. (Los Angeles is seventh.) The poverty rate, when adjusted for the cost of living, is the worst in the nation. California accounts for 12% of the U.S. population, but a quarter of its homeless population....More
California can’t end its housing crisis without an overhaul of zoning rules.
Apple has pledged $2.5 billion to help address California’s affordable-housing crisis, the company announced on Monday. In recent years, the San Francisco Bay Area has become the most expensive housing market in America. Los Angeles also suffers from housing costs far above the national average....More
The fires and the blackouts are connected to a larger problem in this state: a failure to live sustainably.
“…If we redesigned our cities for the modern world, they’d be taller and less stretched out into the fire-prone far reaches — what scientists call the wildland-urban interface. Housing would be affordable because there’d be more of it. You’d be able to get around more cheaply because we’d ditch cars and turn to buses and trains and other ways we know how to move around a lot of people at high speeds, for low prices. It wouldn’t be the end of the California dream, but a reconceptualization — not as many endless blocks of backyards and swimming pools, but perhaps a new kind of more livable, more accessible life for all…”...More
The state is plagued by two major issues: wildfires and a lack of affordable housing. Each problem exacerbates the other.
“…One solution to the state’s twin problems is to build more dense housing in urban areas: An aggressive infill-building push would lower rental prices and shift the state’s population to less fire-prone areas, as well as help reduce carbon emissions. …”...More
One is an instance. Two may be a coincidence. Three annual fire seasons? In a row?
Climate change has given us this grim new time of year, and its rhythm warns us that it will not operate on a leisurely schedule. George Carlin quipped that it’s called the American Dream because you’ve got to be asleep to believe it....More
Warriors guard Jacob Evans’ welcome-to-San Francisco moment came in late August.
While calculating his expenses, he realized that, between utilities and rent, he will spend about $7,900 each month on housing. That might not seem steep for someone set to earn $1.9 million this season, but Evans grew up in a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house in Baton Rouge, La., that cost $575 a month....More
A new study shows a tantalizing connection between more walkable places and intergenerational economic mobility
City Observatory readers will be familiar with the findings of Raj Chetty and his colleagues in the Equality of Opportunity Project. In a revelatory use of big data, they used anonymized tax records to track the lifetime earnings of kids growing up across the United States....More
The city’s analysis shows that the need to build parking is catastrophic for housing affordability.
“… Mandating off-street parking, … requires a judgment that housing cars is more important than housing people.”...More
Some shared quarters forgo perks while others shrink private square footage to the size of tanning bed
“…UP(st)ART compensates for teh added costs by packing residents in like crew members on a cruise ship in 30-square foot pods. They rent for about $750 a month…”...More
The city of Los Angeles is spending more taxpayer money than expected to build fewer apartments for the homeless. That’s the conclusion of a new audit of Proposition HHH, the 2016 bond measure that was intended to fund 10,000 new units of supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness....More
"Audit Finds Cost of Building Supportive Housing in L.A. Exceeds Median Price of a Market-Rate Condo"
Los Angeles is spending $600,000 per unit on building affordable and supportive housing for homeless residents....More
It is systematic barriers, not pure preference, that prevent lower-income families from moving to areas of high opportunity, according to research released by Brookings at a Sept. 19 event. This new research from Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights serves as a reminder of the importance of affordable housing in areas of high opportunity....More
The more cities grow, the more productive and prosperous they become.
Can urban areas grow too much? The answer is subject to people’s lifestyle preference, based on where they want to live and what tradeoffs in time and money they’ll accept. But according to one theory, the answer, economically speaking, is no....More
A new report has named Oakland and the East Bay to a list of metro areas attracting outsized amounts of capital across the U.S.
“…Oakland itself has almost 7,000 housing units opening this year, with thousands more in the pipeline, and the city has attracted the full attention of big-name tenants like Kaiser Permanente and Square. Kaiser announced plans earlier this year to build a $900M headquarters in Uptown, while digital payments company Square leased all 356K SF of Uptown Station down the road.”...More
“A lot of our problems are self-inflicted. If the cities were serious about producing housing, they can have as-of right development for certain types of projects, they could zone areas close to transit for form-based approval,” Kennedy said.
“A large part of the problem is the failure of city governments to build more housing. We’re seeing a new kind of homeless individual, which is someone who used to be housed but is pushed off the housing ladder by the housing shortage caused by our economic boom.”...More
“…A flood of recent research has shown that parking requirements poison our cities, increasing traffic congestion, polluting the air, encouraging sprawl, raising housing costs, degrading urban design, preventing walkability, damaging the economy, and penalizing everyone who cannot afford a car.”...More
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The housing crisis has crept its way into every corner of life in California.
You see it on the street if you walk to work in the San Francisco or if you’re slogging through a super-commute to the South Bay. It’s personal–what could be more personal than your home? Or lack thereof?...More
…“The country as a whole would be better off if more Americans had more housing options close to their jobs”...More
In cities across the U.S., multifamily developers are finding that building less is doing more....More
San Francisco, California, has been the birthplace of many inventions, dating all the way back to the 1800s. Today the city continues to build its reputation for business, making it not only a hub for innovation and collaboration but also home to some of the country’s most talented leaders....More
From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes....More
“Last week the Oakland Planning Commission approved a mammoth mixed-use housing development near West Oakland BART, which will create more that 1,000 new apartments next to one of the Bay Area’s busiest transit hubs.”...More
…”a BART extension is expected by 2026…”
Google unveiled details of its massive plan to remake the area around San Jose’s downtown Diridon Station, a key step in its bid to transform 60 acres and become the largest private employer in the Bay Area’s biggest city....More
“A huge new residential development encompassing an entire city block in West Oakland was unanimously approved by Oakland’s Planning Commission on Thursday, with plenty of community support….”
“The project drew resounding support from West Oakland residents, business owners, and community leaders at Wednesday’s meeting. Of the 35 people who signed up to speak, no one opposed it.”...More
“A $650 million 1,032-unit apartment complex meant to pay homage to the west sides’s vibrant jazz and blues scene of the 1940’s and 50’s is on track to break ground near the West Oakland BART station early next spring.”...More
“…Ronnie Stewart, executive director of the West Coast Blues Society said that Panoramic ‘bent over backwards’ over the last three years to hear from the local black community…”
“We are going to focus on the only-in-Oakland experience — we don’t have any spaces for chain retailers, so we will be focusing on local small businesses, pop-up stores, barber shops…” said Kennedy …...More
“One of the Bay Area’s most forward-thinking transit-oriented developments just got the green light from Oakland’s Planning Commission.”
“To Panoramic Interests’ owner, Patrick Kennedy, 500 Kirkham represents a milestone in more than just height and unit count.”
“It’s a green light in our quest to invent an urban neighborhood that is entirely dedicated to bikeable, walkable and BART-able characteristics,” Kennedy said.
“We want to reinvent Greenwich Village in Oakland.”...More
When it comes to the economic status of cities, there is no shortage of conflicting messages—and conflicting facts. On the one hand, we hear about the dominance of superstar cities and tech hubs in the competition for talented workers, high-end knowledge jobs, and high-tech startups....More
Media Ignores Driving Force Behind Rising Housing Costs
Homeowners opposing new multi-unit housing drive urban gentrification. As I detail in Generation Priced Out: Who Gets to Live in the New Urban America, from San Francisco’s Bernal Heights, Noe Valley, Alamo Square and Haight-Ashbury to Los Angeles’ Highland Park to New York City’s Park Slope and neighborhoods throughout Cambridge, neighborhoods become expensive by not allowing new housing rather than via “luxury development.”...More
Matthew Gardner, the chief economist at Seattle’s Windermere Real Estate, earlier this year digitally superimposed a map of Paris atop a map of Seattle for a talk he gave about how outdated single-detached zoning is. It’s a familiar theme for Sightline readers who have been tracking our arguments about housing shortages and climate change....More
Many communities around the Bay Area are struggling to figure out how to solve the regions housing needs. One San Francisco developer thinks going smaller is the answer....More
Facts are stubborn things: And they don’t support the folk wisdom equating gentrification with displacement.
There’s a palpable and growing amount of cognitive dissonance between the accepted conventional wisdom about the intrinsically evil nature of gentrification, and a body of careful detailed research that shows that its either not bad, or actually produces measurable benefits. That cognitive dissonance is on full display in CityLab’s recent reporting on a new study of gentrification in New York....More
SF Homeless Project: 24 hours inside San Francisco’s crisis … Supportive Housing: $700,000 a unit.
San Francisco spends more than $300 million a year fighting homelessness. Yet it’s not working – at least not enough. Amid a housing shortage, rampant drug addiction and a failing mental health care system, the everyday crisis on our streets has intensified....More
It’s a demonized group, yet there are few solutions for the housing shortage that don’t at least partly involve more development.
The developers are coming. They’ve got the politicians in their pockets and the gaudy architectural plans in their hands. They will gorge on the entire city. And they won’t stop until peak profit has been wrung from every patch of land....More
No vacancies at housing startup despite skepticism
Podshare, the Southern California-based startup that rents out “pods” consisting mostly of a bunk bed for $1,200 per month, continues to make headlines for its San Francisco expansion, many of them decidedly negative....More
Faster suburban population growth doesn’t signal a preference for suburbs: Here’s why
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported suburbs growing faster than cities. The article, “American suburbs swell again as a new generation escapes the city.” The article looks at Census data showing that some of the nation’s fastest growing cities are sunbelt suburbs....More
From October 19, 2017
The Young and Restless—25 to 34 year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education—are increasingly moving to the close-in neighborhoods of the nation’s large metropolitan areas. This migration is fueling economic growth and urban revitalization....More
“…PodShare is looking to answer the shortage of affordable housing in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles by renting dormitory-style lodging and providing tenants a communal living experience…”...More
Shocking almost no one, nine of the 15 most expensive metropolitan areas in the United States are in California, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. But one major reason for this may surprise you: The state has an overregulation problem that’s contributing to the housing affordability crisis....More
Donald Shoup, distinguished research professor of urban planning, shared his expertise on parking pitfalls and reforms in a wide-ranging conversation on the American Planning Association’s “People Behind the Plans” podcast....More
“…One unit costs about $700,000 to build and about $12,000 a year to operate, according to the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development…”...More
In the years immediately after the last housing market crash, a narrative took hold in mainstream media that there had been an inexorable, immediate, and permanent change in how we build our cities....More
New report Foot Traffic Ahead finds walkable urbanism isn’t just sustainable and enjoyable, but more profitable
What if I told you there was a way to develop U.S. cities that was better for social equity, created more jobs and economic activity, resulted in better transit access, and improved the environment, all while guaranteeing better economic returns for developers and investors?...More
At a May 21 forum hosted by the San Francisco Business Times, panelists Scott Anderson, president of Pankow Builders, Katie Brandtjen, partner at EisnerAmper, JP Walsh, finance director at Panoramic Interests, and Michael P. Muzzy, partner at Lubin Olsen, discussed how investors, businesses and local economies can benefit from investment in qualified opportunity zones....More
“…A new report has ranked the San Francisco metro area the second best in the nation for job-seekers, only topped by San Jose…”...More
“…Kaiser’s consolidation will free up a significant amount of space for other growing companies, according to Colin Yasukochi, research director at real estate brokerage CBRE.
It opens up additional office space for tenants seeking a lower-cost alternative” to San Francisco,” he said. “There’s a stronger likelihood that more jobs will be located in Oakland.”...More
From May 2018
Why are California housing costs so high? At its most basic level, it’s a story of supply and demand — lots of people want to live here, and there aren’t enough homes to go around....More
“…But advocates for affordable housing should be jumping up and down and screaming for the construction of more high-end apartment buildings to ease demand for existing homes.
Those new buildings are filled with people who would otherwise be spending Saturdays touring fixer-uppers in neighborhoods newly named something like SoFa, with rapidly dwindling populations of longtime residents…”...More
Rising populations and limited housing options have created an unprecedented affordability crisis in America’s urban cities. Randy Shaw, author of “Generation Priced Out: Who gets to Live in the New Urban America,” joined THINK to discuss the policy change that could save America’s cities....More
Friends, neighbors, it’s good to see all of you. I know you, you know me, and just seeing all of your faces at this city council meeting reminds me why I love living in this town. Because I feel comforted by stasis and regularity, both fed by ignorance, and which combine to perpetuate injustice....More
“…Unlike some mega-projects in Oakland, the Kirkham Street venture has received little opposition, city staff said.
That is partly because the development is being built on a vacant lot, but also because city staff say they have been working closely with the developer, Panoramic Interests, to meet the community’s needs…”...More
New research shows new apartments drive down rents in their immediate neighborhood, disproving the myth of “induced demand” for housing
If you’re a housing supply skeptic, there’s one pet theory that you’ve been able to hang your hat on, in the face of a barrage of evidence that increasing the supply of housing helps hold down, or even drive down rents....More
Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally...More
The nine-county Bay Area, currently home to 7.7 million people, is projected to add another 2 million new residents by 2040. Such growth comes with opportunities for innovation, vibrant communities, and a sustainable urban consolidation of people and resources....More
California lawmakers appear increasingly willing to advance every response to the housing shortage that does not entail building housing.
The latest example is legislation by Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, to cap rent increases across the state, which the Assembly took the remarkable step of passing Wednesday....More
Like college debt and climate change, the housing affordability crisis is generational warfare.
The numbers in California tell a dire story these days: In 2018, despite low unemployment and high wages, the state’s population grew at its slowest rate in history. Fewer people are coming and more people are leaving because it’s very hard to find a place to live....More
Decades after BART rolled through West Oakland, along 7th Street, destroying what was once a vibrant, black, entertainment and commercial business district, local developer, Panoramic Interests, is planning to replace the devastation with a new and vibrant community of housing and small businesses....More
I just got back from a few days in New Orleans, where I stayed—as most tourists to that city do—in the French Quarter. The name is actually a misnomer from the particular perspective of an urban planner: most of the historic architecture in the French quarter dates to a period of Spanish rule from 1763-1801, and much of the urban design suggests a strong Spanish influence....More
With house prices out of reach, where will the van dwellers go?
In a quiet neighborhood near Google’s headquarters last month, rusty, oleaginous sewage was seeping from a parked RV onto the otherwise pristine street....More
Blame policy, demographics, and market forces
Nearly two-thirds of renters nationwide say they can’t afford to buy a home, and saving for that down payment isn’t going to get easier anytime soon: Home prices are rising at twice the rate of wage growth....More
When Paul Wickboldt moved to the Bay Area from Boston more than two decades ago, he settled in Walnut Creek for the same reasons many families choose the suburbs: good public schools, safety, a backyard for the kids to play in, and the pleasure of knowing his neighbors....More
From August 2018
In the coming years, an increase in Millennials forming households will create robust demand for both single family homes and apartments. Why inadequate supply over the long term may bode well for apartment REITs....More
California finally is beginning to consider solutions to its housing crisis that are on the same scale as the problem.
The state is desperately in need of more housing. Home prices are the highest in the continental United States, and population growth continues to outstrip construction....More
“…The practical implication is that we shouldn’t be talking about housing affordability in isolation.
We should really be talking about “affordable living” rather than “affordable housing.”
If your rent is low, but you have to spend a disproportionately large share of your income on transportation, then your living situation isn’t affordable…”...More
“…This year, eight major tech companies are expected to hold initial public offerings. The first, Lyft, took the public-market plunge last month.
Yesterday, Pinterest did. Airbnb, Instacart, Palantir, Postmates, Slack, and Uber remain.
Amazingly, all but Palantir are headquartered in San Francisco, currently home to only five other public software companies—Dropbox, Salesforce, Square, Twitter, and Yelp…”...More
A huge influx of both apartments and people will hit West Oakland BART station in the coming years, and it could start at 500 Kirkham St.
Developer Panoramic Interests will seek final approvals from the Planning Commission this spring for its 1,032-unit project, a go-ahead that would come after three redesigns, a fight over parking and years of planning....More
SB50 Opens Gentrified Neighborhoods to Working and Middle-Class Residents
California’s SB 50, with lead co-sponsors Senators Nancy Skinner and Scott Wiener, expands housing opportunities for working and middle-class tenants who have been priced out of cities. So why do many tenant groups oppose the measure?...More
“…The Chronicle reported earlier this week that tech companies have leased 2.2 million square feet of San Francisco office in the first three months of this year.
That’s enough space to fill nearly two Salesforce Towers. And that’s in only three months…”...More
“The program has already drawn investors to distressed areas of the Bay Area.
In Oakland, developer Patrick Kennedy is proposing 1,000 plus homes next to the West Oakland BART station. Once the area was deemed an opportunity zone, he was able to tap into capital that otherwise wouldn’t have been interested, he told the Business Times in November.
“It’s… a way to persuade the haves to invest in an area with the have-nots in a way that benefits everybody,” Kennedy said at the time.”...More
SF’s $3,690 median rent on a one-bedroom apartment is global peak
In mid-2018, an analysis that deemed San Francisco’s rents the highest in the world made international headlines. While the claim wasn’t entirely accurate, it provided a vivid illustration of how much market-rate rents have expanded in SF....More
SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Welcome to the Bay Area — where you (mostly, your rent) can only go up from here!
If you thought rent in San Francisco couldn’t get any higher — you were very wrong.
Apparently San Francisco rent has reached a new peak of $3,690, according to home and apartment rental app Zumper....More
“…THE U.S. HAS TWO HOUSING AFFORDABILITY PROBLEMS. RENT CONTROL WON’T FIX EITHER OF THEM.
The first affordability problem is that the nation’s poorest 20 percent have too little income to afford minimum quality housing without receiving subsidies. That’s not a failure of housing markets, …
The second, more challenging affordability problem is that over the past 40 years, the U.S. hasn’t built enough housing in the locations where people most want to live…”...More
Discoveries from a depressing scroll through Craigslist
Aa Bay Area renter, I often find myself diving into the darkest corner of the housing section on Craigslist to see if it’s worth moving out of my current rental situation....More
“…The potential impact of unlocking these tax benefits on long-term returns is massive.
For example, after 10 years an investor could see an additional $44,000 for every $100,000 of capital gains invested into an Opportunity Fund by December 31, 2018, compared to an equivalent investment in a more traditional stock portfolio generating the same annual appreciation…”...More
“…The law permits an investor to roll over capital gains — proceeds from the sale of stocks or a home, for instance — into an opportunity-zone fund. The fund can then put the money in a zone by investing in, say, a condo project or affordable-housing units.
An investor who keeps money in a such a fund for 10 years is able to exclude 15 percent of the original capital gain from taxation. And — potentially much more lucratively — the investor would not owe taxes on any gains that accrued if the investment increased in value in that time…”...More
“…California has a real crisis that it has rarely treated as such. It’s the housing shortage, which has given the state the nation’s highest poverty rate and nearly a quarter of its homeless population.”...More
Distressed America is Wall Street’s hottest new investment vehicle.
Hedge funds, investment banks and money managers are trying to raise tens of billions of dollars this year for so-called opportunity funds, a creation of President Trump’s 2017 tax package meant to steer money to poor areas by offering potentially large tax breaks....More
Addressing housing directly is cheaper than relying on cops and emergency rooms.
“…it’s cheaper to give homeless people homes to live in than to let the homeless live on the streets and try to deal with the subsequent problems.”...More
From Dec 4, 2015
‘When the lights go down in The City, and the sun shines on the Bay…’ Convergence, collaboration and community? JL
Dan Kopf reports in Price Economics:
Across the entire country, the proportion of people with roommates has increased from 6.8% in 2000 to 7.7% in 2014, a 13% increase. In San Francisco, the roommate rate went from 23.3% to 28.1% in this same period, an increase of 20.6%....More
“… We need to consider new innovations and strategies to help tackle housing challenges …This report explores options that have been tested in other markets and considers how they might contribute to making more housing affordable—or rather, attainable…
Case studies are grouped into four categories: 1. Micro Living… 2. Shared Space… 3. Home Unbundling… 4. Equity Options…”...More
Newly elected California State Treasurer Fiona Ma is on a mission to support the governor’s effort to build more housing in California through the new opportunity zone program.
“The good news is … we want to fully conform with the federal government in terms of opportunity zones,” Ma said as the keynote speaker at the Opportunity Zone Expo in downtown Los Angeles.
As proposed, nearly 800 residential units could be built at the base of the West Oakland BART station, with a 30-story, 500-unit residential building rising up to 320 feet in height at the corner of 7th and Mandela, a 7-story mid-rise building with 240 below market rate units (and 22 market-rate duplexes fronting Chester), and a 100-foot-tall office building at the corner of Mandela and 5th....More
How people get to work, and the geographic distinctions between trends in those choices, reveals some of the country’s more ominous traits, including the trend Richard Florida calls “the new urban crisis.”
Richard Florida digs deeper into data recently released by the American Community Survey to make the case that how people move around cities is a key feature of the country’s “deepening economic and political fissures.”...More
A lot of start-ups have promising ideas, but the fundamental problem of affordability seems beyond their reach.
Billions have been flowing into a corner of the tech industry focused on the housing market. And now there are start-ups to help landlords manage properties, or homeowners manage sales, or tenants manage their packages....More
While Bay Area neighbors try it, the city remains reluctant
“…One development company, Panoramic Interests, has been advocating for the city to give their version of tiny homes a try to little avail.
Owner Patrick Kennedy pitched his vision of affordable housing—apartments that are modular and can stack on top of each other to fit more in one location—to SF officials in 2015. But officials denied it, as the project would involve units being built overseas (though assembled here by local workers).
“The problem with the tiny-home thing is you just can’t get the density,” Kennedy said. “Vacant land in cities is too valuable to put one-story buildings on. It’s not a long-term solution.”...More
…”“If you look at Oakland and where a substantial amount of the growth is going to occur, it’s going to happen in the center of the Bay Area, which is here,” said John Protopappas of Madison Park Financial, one of the city’s most prolific developers…”...More
"These Bay Area cities saw the biggest rental price spikes over the past 2 years — and they’re not San Francisco"
2017-2019 — Oakland sees highest rent growth of any city in the Bay Area
“… While every city saw an increase to varying degrees, Oakland, Berkeley and Menlo Park saw the largest percentage spike in rental prices since the beginning of 2017.”...More
The Bay Area would likely be denser – and a lot more urbanized.
When it comes to housing, the Bay Area is a pillar of market distortion. People gravitate to the metro because it is among America’s top economies....More
Seattle is building more apartments than just about anywhere, and now 1 in 10 units across the city are sitting empty. Landlords have responded by lowering rents slightly and offering more perks to get tenants in the door....More
“…Big Tech needs hundreds of thousands of new employees, which means it needs somewhere to put them. This isn’t a matter of reconfiguring a floor or two at corporate headquarters. It means building new campuses around the country….
But even in its Bay Area backyard, which is a mess of traffic congestion and housing prices at levels even well-paid engineers can scarcely afford, there is a boom that, if anything, is accelerating…”...More
“…San Francisco developer and ULI member Patrick Kennedy’s firm, Panoramic Interests, recently completed an all-steel module complex at 2711 Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California. Shattuck Studios is a 22-unit, four-story, 30-module structure that Kennedy says he undertook…”...More
A milestone upzoning plan in Minneapolis capped a year that saw pro-housing forces duel NIMBYs in cities nationwide.
A few weeks ago, Minneapolis made zoning history when its city council endorsed a comprehensive plan that would enable denser housing development across the city....More
Bob Tillman has spent nearly 5 years and $1.4 million trying to convert his laundromat into new housing....More
“…This year, developers delivered just under 2,263 homes in new multifamily buildings…
That is less than half of what came on the market in 2016 when 4,895 homes were completed and just over half of 2017’s count of 4,270 homes…”...More
Urban planner Alain Bertaud’s new book, Order Without Design, argues that cities are really shaped by market forces, not visionaries.
“I compare it to food: You can’t solve a famine by simply mandating that everyone eat 2,000 calories a day. That’s absurd. You have to bring in more food. In the same way, cities like San Francisco have to increase the supply of floor area, and let consumers determine the size of units.”
Zoning rules that severely restrict home construction cut off millions of poor people from jobs and affordable housing. The Minneapolis reform is the most extensive reduction in zoning achieved by any major American city in a long time.
Yesterday, the City of Minneapolis struck a major blow for both property rights and affordable housing by enacting the most extensive reduction in zoning restrictions adopted by any major US city for a long time. Henry Grabar of Slate summarizes this welcome development:...More
Here’s what a plan to tackle climate change, density, and affordability looks like
…Minneapolis 2040 believes the solution is simply more: more construction, more high-rises, and more triplexes
…the plan would allow triplexes to be built across much of the city—and allow even denser developments in transit zones
…the new rules would allow developers in most residential areas to build four stories high....More
San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to propose removing all parking minimums, with legislation introduced in October, Quartz reports....More
So we’d better figure out how to get along
“…There’s a lot of talk about whether the Bay Area can sustain more growth, whether San Francisco and its other cities simply don’t have room for all the workers tech companies hope to hire…
The truth is that it is difficult for tech companies to grow elsewhere…”...More
As cities wake up to their housing crises, the problems with single-family-home residential zoning will become too egregious to ignore.
In my neighborhood in San Francisco (or, more accurately, my parents’ neighborhood) there’s a plan afoot to build 42 units of new housing in two parking lots, just steps from a light rail line....More
“Any gain you have during the hold period of the fund, that’s tax-free, which is pretty remarkable …”...More
YIMBY Action’s mantra is to build as much new housing — all kinds of housing — as fast as possible. And they’re not afraid to anger anyone who might get in their way
Just hours after Mayor London Breed was sworn into office earlier this year, about 50 members of YIMBY Action crammed into a cafe at Ninth and Mission streets for their monthly membership happy hour....More
Lowbrow housing options that used to ensure against homelessness are now illegal in many cities.
Some progressives blame high housing costs on inequality. But in the 1920s, inequality was as significant as it is today, if not more so....More
While downtown Oakland has lured major investments from big-name investors, West Oakland was largely overlooked — until now.
New York Life Real Estate Investors is among the first institutional investors to place a bet on West Oakland....More
Modular building provider CIMC Modular Building Systems Holding Co Ltd is taking its expertise to the United States, by building student accommodation for postgraduates at the University of California, Berkeley....More
Special rapporteur cites SF and Oakland along with worst slums in the world
In January, United Nations Special Rapporteur Leilani Farha visited Oakland and San Francisco as part of a fact-finding mission about housing and expressed shock and horror at the living conditions of homeless residents in one of the wealthiest societies in the world....More
People spend more money when cities are less vehicle-oriented.
You’ve probably seen the term “walkability” thrown around in relation to cities, neighborhoods, and even apartments....More
“…1. Oakland: West Oakland, Uptown, Jingletown, and Coliseum Industrial…”
Much has been reported on the creation of Opportunity Zones and even more on their tax advantages, but, less has been written about the specific Opportunity Zones that are now found in all 50 states and US territories....More
San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley take pride in their progressive values. But all three cities maintain land-use laws that are exclusionary. Each bars new apartments from being built in many neighborhoods, effectively pricing out a new generation of working and middle-class families. How could this happen?...More
“…While rent control appears to help current tenants in the short run, in the long run it decreases affordability, fuels gentrification, and creates negative spillovers on the surrounding neighborhood…”...More
There is a persistent, agreed upon fiction that San Francisco can house its homeless by itself.
To address this delusion, an honest reckoning is needed. For years all our mayors and staff have competently and diligently addressed this as their top priority, yet we remain exactly where we were over 20 years ago when Mayor Willie Brown committed truth by saying that it was an intractable problem....More
Tiny apartments are going big.
The co-living startup Starcity, which builds small apartments with shared kitchens and living rooms, plans to start construction next year on over 1,000 new homes in San Francisco and San Jose....More
From Aug 2016
San Francisco and other large American cities are facing a massive housing affordability problem, with rents spiraling beyond the reach of ordinary people. A fascinating article from the Financial Times argues that Japan may have found a solution to the problem....More
Could there be a more apt place to observe “The Transforming City” than Detroit?
On behalf of Rip Rapson and my colleagues at the Kresge Foundation, welcome to Detroit. If you travel to Detroit regularly, as I have over the past 15 years, you see that Detroit changes quickly....More
The severity of the nationwide homeless crisis in Southern California—with an estimated 53,000 people homeless on any given night in Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles Mission—is impossible to ignore....More
Study suggests Americans who live in compact counties live longer, on average, than those who reside in more sprawling ones...More
It used to be that $3,000 studios and $5,000 two-bedrooms were average among new apartments in San Francisco. Now those monthly rents are migrating to Oakland....More
Early city planners dreamt up elaborate ideas for America’s cities. But in their dreaming, they had forgotten the people their plans were drawn for....More
Patrick Kennedy, the owner of San Francisco-based development firm Panoramic Interests—which in June 2015 completed the first high-rise micro-unit building in the U.S. with The Panoramic in San Francisco—has an unusual take on housing....More
The more you limit housing, the more you increase displacement
In city after city, we see the same refrain: a neighborhood is starting to attract new residents and new investment, current residents are starting to worry about gentrification....More
The one-story house for sale on Oak Court in Menlo Park, Calif., is 88 years old and 830 square feet, with two bedrooms, one bathroom, a detached one-car garage, and no air conditioning. Almost anywhere else it would be the startiest of starter homes. But because it’s in Silicon Valley, where the supply of housing is far short of the demand, the bungalow was listed in mid-August for $1.575 million....More
"A non-profit funded in part by Mark Zuckerberg has laid out four visions of what the Bay Area could look like in 2070, and three of them are bleak"
… “Our communities are designed to encourage walking and biking. Many neighborhoods have car-free commercial blocks like those found in European cities…”
SPUR, a non-profit devoted good government planning in the San Francisco Bay Area, has published a paper laying out four possible visions for the region in 2070, and three of them are decidedly bleak....More
Some California cities are considering the Lego-like buildings constructed from these apartments, called MicroPads, as an easy way to provide shelter.
In late July, trucks pulled up to a vacant lot in Berkeley, California, carrying shipping-container-sized studio apartments, each already fully built inside. It took four days to stack the Lego-like apartments into a new building....More
“San Francisco is known for being progressive, but has the most extreme NIMBYism in the country,” …
One study recently proclaimed San Francisco’s the highest rents on the planet....More
Imagine a four-story apartment building going up in four days, and from steel.
It happened in Berkeley, a city known for its glacial progress in building housing.
Check out 2711 Shattuck Ave. near downtown Berkeley. Four stories. Four days in July. Including beds, sinks, sofas, and stoves....More
A $300 million West Oakland housing development that hoped to be car-free is pushing ahead — but with the addition of some parking places.
Panoramic Interests plans to build 1,032 units with 44,000 square feet of retail space at 500 Kirkham St., a 3-acre site adjacent to the BART station. The only catch was the grand total of parking spaces that it wanted to build: eight....More
More supply is driving down rents in the Rose City
According to Apartment List.com, rents for one bedroom apartments in Portland have declined 3 percent in the past year. It’s a solid vindication of the standard predictions of economic theory: adding more supply (building more apartments) helps drive down prices....More
If we believe that cities provide economic opportunity, produce fewer carbon emissions per capita than urban sprawl, that cities are more energy efficient, that they have less impact on oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams, that cities afford people of a wide variety of ethnic, economic, and cultural backgrounds to live close to each other and learn from one another, then we should believe that more people ought to be able to live in cities....More
Build expensive new “luxury” apartments, and wait a few decades
One of the most common refrains the the affordable housing discussion is “developers are targeting the high end of the market” and new apartments are just unaffordable. Left to its own devices, we’re told, there’s no way the market will build new housing affordable to the nation’s low and moderate income households....More
The entertaining rooms meant to make us social actually foster isolation
For a recent study, UCLA-affiliated researchers in fields ranging from anthropology to sociology used cameras to record in great detail how 32 dual-income families living in the Los Angeles area used their homes....More
It’s no secret rent in San Francisco costs an arm and at least one leg as the West Coast city usually lands at the top of lists ranking the most expensive places to live in the nation....More
Too many Californians want to ignore the cause of homelessness; the answer is obvious in the Bay Area
Homelessness arises from a lack of homes. That conclusion of a recent UCLA study would seem intuitive, given that lacking a home and being homeless are one and the same. But the connection between the state’s gaping housing shortage and its spreading homelessness still strikes too many Californians as a great controversy requiring endless debate....More
The rising cost of housing in many American cities has led to an affordability crisis for residents who find themselves either rent burdened or living with roommates out of necessity rather than preference. Single-room occupancy housing (SROs), commonly understood as smaller-than-average studio apartments sharing common kitchen or bathroom facilities, may offer a tool for increasing the supply of affordable housing and reducing homelessness in high-cost markets. Unlike apartments shared by roommates, each SRO unit is individually leased....More
It is a great time for anyone looking to rent an apartment: vacancy rates are rising and there are little or no rent increases in many major cities.
For landlords, though, the U.S. apartment market suffered its worst spring since 2010, near the depths of the housing crisis. Driving this dynamic is a flood of new apartments and weakening demand....More
Sky-high housing costs are a significant factor behind California’s homeless crisis, according to a new analysis from UCLA.
In a study contained in the latest UCLA Anderson Forecast, released Wednesday, UCLA found that higher median rent and home prices are strongly correlated with more people living on the streets or in shelters. The research backs other studies that have found a similar relationship....More
Panoramic Interests recently broke ground on a new $100 million, SoMa apartment building at the corner of 12th and Harrison streets in San Francisco.
The development firm, known for its micro and efficient floorplans, has nearly 300 units under construction in San Francisco and Berkeley and is close to leasing all the units to what’s become the firm’s go-to tenants: college students....More
Everyone thinks California is our most progressive state. And why not? It imposes the highest tax on the richest one percent. It is aggressively implementing Obamacare. And it is standing up to President Donald Trump on everything from immigration to the environment....More
Developer Panoramic Interests strung a huge banner across a 6-story apartment construction site in Berkeley proclaiming: “Fire Safety & Security First” with a list of the building’s security features and a phone number to call if anyone sees anything suspicious....More
The Berkeley City Council went on record Tuesday solemnly urging the governor to declare homelessness a statewide emergency while noting its own “comprehensive” efforts to grapple with the housing shortage. At the same time, the council formally objected to legislation that might allow new apartments to encroach on the ocean of asphalt surrounding the North Berkeley BART Station....More
I don’t know how I got to California. But I appeared here some weeks ago, in the form of an insect, like my protagonist in “The Metamorphosis.” And I’m glad I did. If I’d known weather like this in my lifetime, I might not have died of tuberculosis in Prague in 1924, at age 40....More
San Francisco has an estimated 80,000 students but an inventory of only 9,000 beds, creating a significant shortfall, resulting in the construction of another 600-plus beds in the form of City Gardens.
SAN FRANCISCO—With a significant shortfall in housing in general, but also in student housing, the city is desperately in need of quality projects to plug the gap. Fortunately, another 600-plus beds are on the way at 333 12th St....More
It is painfully evident that California is experiencing an extreme housing shortage, and I believe the solution is to build more housing, not to punish small landlords who are already providing solutions. If the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act is repealed and new construction falls under rent control, many developers may simply exit the market, which would further exacerbate the problem....More
The nation’s housing policy for the poor can feel like a giant lottery. Sometimes it actually is a lottery.
For $1,200 a month, Patricia Torres and her family were renting a bedroom, a share of time in the bathroom, one vegetable drawer and one shelf in the fridge, and two cupboards over the stove. They rented not so much a home as a fraction of one....More
California’s housing crisis is centered in the Bay Area, and the region’s booming economy is increasingly inequitable and unsustainable.
That’s the message of two recent studies by two very different organizations. State legislators and local officials shouldn’t need any more evidence to take urgent action....More
In Los Angeles, a city known for its cars, high-end buyers increasingly want homes within steps of bars, restaurants and sports venues
Homelessness in America has reached crisis levels and I am determined to do everything in my power to fix the problem as long as it doesn’t involve changing zoning laws or my ability to drive alone to work or, well, changing anything, really....More
What does Fruitvale tell us about gentrification and displacement?
Gentrification solved, or at least prevented.
That was the celebratory headline announcing a recent study from UCLA’s Latino Politics and Policy Initiative, looking at changes in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood....More
Which is in the greater public interest of San Francisco: Making substantial progress in finally providing housing for homeless people, or fully preserving the occupational prerogatives and political influence of the building trades unions?...More
SB 827 may have been great economics, but it was poor politics.
The recent defeat of SB 827—California State Senator Scott Wiener’s bill that would have legalized apartment construction in area’s well served by transit—...More
Distrust and empowering everyone to equally be a NIMBY is a recipe for perpetual housing problems
The recent defeat of SB 827–California State Senator Scott Wiener’s bill that would have legalized apartment construction in area’s well served by transit–was the subject of a thoughtful post-mortem in the Los Angeles Times: “A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help. Here’s how it went wrong.”...More
When a region is fortunate enough to host the birth of a new industry, its population tends to increase. New jobs are created, attracting workers from outside the region who may bring their families. Those new employees need goods and services, which, in turn, attracts more workers and their families to arrive....More
There’s plenty of talk about “greedy developers” being the cause of our housing crisis but the people making out in this crazy market aren’t builders, but existing homeowners....More
People can live elsewhere instead, but we’ll all be poorer if they do.
The sweeping land use reform bill introduced recently by California state Sen. Scott Weiner, a San Francisco Democrat, died in committee this week, bringing to an end an ambitious plan to change zoning in broad swaths of the state by allowing four- to five-story buildings near all rail transit stations and major bus corridors....More
Uber is pedaling full throttle into electric-bike rentals. The ride-hailing company on Monday said it is buying Jump Bikes, the first company to provide stationless bike sharing in San Francisco....More
"The San Francisco housing market is so absurd that teachers are living in dorms — even though their salaries are some of the highest in the country"
At current salary levels, teachers in many cities across the US can’t afford to live near the schools where they teach....More
I see a major shift in the real estate market as we become even more of a renter nation. Why is it happening? Is there a silver lining to this economic cloud?...More
Of the myriad possible responses to California’s housing and homelessness crisis, the state’s politicians have a clear favorite: spending more money. But state and local governments’ evident difficulty using existing housing funds provides reason for skepticism....More
In an example of truly thinking in three dimensions, architects around the globe are beginning to envision housing in a different way. Dubbed “vertical land,” developers are essentially utilizing scaffolding and three-dimensional printing to build homeless shelters on the windowless sides of existing buildings....More
Homelessness has long been a San Francisco problem, and with home prices rising, it’s arguably worse now than ever. A January report on SFgate.com claimed that the city’s homeless count is close to 6,700, and a local advocacy group estimates the count at 12,000....More
The rest aren’t rising, and spatial inequality is getting worse.
Last month a cadre of Silicon Valley venture capitalists took a much-ballyhooed tour of the Rust Belt. As the New York Times glowingly reported, this “Comeback Cities Tour” featured stops in Detroit, Flint, Akron, Youngstown and South Bend....More
As the tech industry grows to unfathomable proportions, San Francisco needs to grow to match it. A call to arms for a city under siege.
…Because it has suppressed the construction of new market-rate housing for decades (between 1980 and 2014, San Francisco grew by more than 170,000 residents but gained only 70,000 housing units), the city bears as much responsibility for the crisis it now finds itself in as the tech industry does.
But it has a chance to make up for its past mistakes, and in the process ensure that this doesn’t become a schizoid city, with subsidized housing on one side of the street and millionaires’ mansions on the other.
To do so, it needs to start building housing—a lot of it. Ironically, the best way to preserve San Francisco will be to change it....More
MENLO PARK, Calif. — John Tenanes, Facebook’s vice president for real estate, is showing off the company’s plans for expansion. It will have offices for thousands of programmers to extend Facebook’s fearsome reach. But that is not what Mr. Tenanes is excited about....More
Understanding how housing markets really work is essential to crafting solutions to our affordability problems
Regular followers of City Observatory will know two things about us: We’re keenly focused on the problem of housing affordability, and we like to treat Portland, Oregon (our local backyard) as a kind of laboratory for better understanding urban issues....More
It’s about more options, not fewer.
California state Sen. Scott Wiener’s SB 827 — a sweeping approach to solve California’s housing crisis by having the state government preempt local zoning ordinances and allow for greater density near rapid transit stations and high-frequency bus stops — is one of the most important ideas in American politics today....More
Legislation would allow more home building along transit routes to reduce gas-guzzling commutes. Some who support the goal have denounced the method.
SAN FRANCISCO — It’s an audacious proposal to get Californians out of their cars: a bill in the State Legislature that would allow eight-story buildings near major transit stops, even if local communities object....More
One of Oakland’s largest housing proposals with 1,032 apartments and zero parking for residents is facing pushback from the city.
Developer Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests wants to build three buildings on a lot at 500 Kirkham St. next to the West Oakland BART. The project includes a 23-story tower that would rise to 233 feet and be the tallest building in West Oakland....More
People are leaving San Francisco in droves as the cost of living reaches a new high.
A recent report from real-estate site Redfin revealed that San Francisco lost more residents than any other US city in the last quarter of 2017....More
Minneapolis is considering inclusionary zoning (IZ), but has qualms based on Portland’s experience. Ironically, a non-existent Minneapolis IZ program was a key part of the argument for adopting Portland’s IZ law in December 2016.
Parts of this commentary are going to seem like a major-league distortion in the space-time continuum, so let’s start with a simple fact: the City of Minneapolis doesn’t have an inclusionary housing requirement–it never has....More
In a rare interview, German designer Dieter Rams has called for a return to well-made, long-lasting products, even if it comes at the expense of design innovation....More
Silicon Valley continues to lead the country in innovation, according to the latest update to the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s comprehensive report on regional competitiveness and innovation....More
"San Francisco Man Has Spent 4 Years and $1 Million Trying to Get Approval to Turn His Own Laundromat Into an Apartment Building"
Now the city wants the laundromat studied to see if it is a historic resource.
To understand how difficult and expensive it is to build housing in San Francisco, observe the case of Robert Tillman. Tillman owns a single-story laundromat in the city’s Mission District. Since 2014, he has been attempting to develop his property into a 75-unit apartment building....More
Despite massive job growth, just 25 percent of workers drove themselves in 2017.
Seattle is among the fastest growing cities in the U.S., thanks largely to Amazon’s addition of 35,000 employees since 2010. For all the economic benefits that come with growth, it has also created a variety of civic headaches, crippling traffic chief among them....More
Just wait a decade. (Unless we do something about it now.)
Actually, there’s good and bad news about the future of housing in the East Bay.
First, the bad news: Experts say there’s a possibility that the housing situation could get worse....More
The state housing department released its first list showing how many California cities and counties are meeting their local homebuilding goals.
The conclusion: More than 500 local jurisdictions — 98 percent of those in the state — are failing....More
"L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this?"
Los Angeles Times columnist Steve Lopez roams greater L.A. with Times photographer Francine Orr and videographer Albert Lee and describes a scene of despair among the homeless…. Beginning at Central Avenue and heading west, I counted 16 tents on the south side of 5th Street. My longtime traveling companion, Times photographer Francine Orr, counted 15 tents on the north side of the street.
One block, 31 tents.
A recent article in the Daily Cal highlighted a new housing package introduced by State Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. These policy changes include SB 827, which encourages dense housing near high-quality transit corridors by overruling some local zoning laws regarding parking requirements and building heights,...More
"Perspectives: Practitioners Weigh in on Drivers of Rising Housing Construction Costs in San Francisco"
In 2017, San Francisco had the dubious distinction of being the second most expensive city to build in – in the world. Turner and Townsend studied 43 global markets and found that New York and San Francisco topped the list of the most expensive construction markets, costing respectively an average of $354 and $330 per square foot to build....More
Less than a week after calling for a multibillion-dollar fund for infrastructure, arts and affordable housing, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg proposed Tuesday spending $21 million over the next three years to subsidize construction of hundreds of small homes to help shelter the city’s growing homeless population....More
Economists put the profession’s conventional wisdom to the test, only to discover that it’s correct.
Rent control is one of the first policies that students traditionally learn about in undergraduate economics classes. The idea is to get young people thinking about how policies intended to help the poor can backfire and hurt them instead....More
"Unpacking the Bay Area housing market: Why does the inventory keep shrinking and will prices ever (gulp) go down?"
Trulia economist tells the story behind the numbers
Bay Area housing trends are easily summarized: As the supply of available homes dries up, prices go up. It’s the law of supply and demand.
But why is the housing supply — insiders use the term “inventory” — so tight to begin with? And what can be done to expand the supply?...More
Joe Cortright presents the antidote to an emerging narrative about the shifting lifestyle preferences of young adults (i.e., Millennials).
There’s been no shortage of recent news reporting data showing young people leaving urban areas—news taken by some as a signal that the end of the back to the city movement of the past decade and more is coming to a close....More
The young and restless are continuing to move to the nation’s large cities
One trend that highlights the growing demand for city living is the increasing tendency of well-educated young adults to live in the close-in urban neighborhoods of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas....More
Nearly two years after a smattering of tiny homes popped up in the Bay Area as a peculiar new way of housing homeless people, the technique is exploding from one end of the region to the other....More
In a normal year, the 207,000-square-foot lease that software company Okta recently signed at 100 First St. would be a cause for celebration, an excuse for the city’s economic development staff to issue a press release highlighting all the jobs coming to San Francisco....More
The so-called “peak millennial” conjecture. Is it right? What does it mean? Should I care?
Time has published an article, based largely on the research of UCLA demographer Dowell Myers, proclaiming that US cities are hitting “peak millennial.” We’ve beencritical of the peak millennial claims in the past....More
Homelessness has shot up in California and elsewhere on the West Coast over the past two years, a federal report said Wednesday, as rising rents and other housing pressures forced more people from the margins onto the street....More
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The nation’s homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities....More
California’s recently passed Senate Bills 2 and 3 will raise several billion dollars in funding for affordable housing over the next ten years. But the Department of Housing and Community Development estimates we face a current shortfall of over two million units affordable to households traditionally served by these programs....More
Every weekday, hundreds of thousands of riders pass through West Oakland’s BART station on their way to San Francisco. Only a handful get off.
More than 100 Chinatown tenants took to the streets Wednesday to protest what they characterize as the latest attempt by real estate speculators to drive out low-income Chinese immigrants and replace them with more affluent renters willing to pay over $1,100 for an 80-square-foot room with no bathroom or kitchen, roughly double what existing residents pay....More
From granny pods to morphing apartments, the future of shelter is evolving
Think about the shape of home. Is it a three-bedroom, single-family dwelling with a scrap of yard? Maybe it’s you and your spouse and your kids—or maybe you share it with a handful of roommates. Or you cram yourself, your bicycle and your cat into a city studio where the rent is, naturally, too damn high.
From Home One Website-Video
We’re creating a public service campaign to build support for affordable housing. We believe that all hard working Americans are entitled to a good, safe, and secure home. We want to educate people about the housing crisis and move them with powerful stories about people whose lives have been transformed by affordable housing opportunities.
…That was in Sunnyvale, which sits in the heart of a Silicon Valley that did not exist when I was a kid. My Uncle Pete was a mail carrier, my Aunt Mimi was a homemaker, and they lived only a mile or two from where, three months ago, a house sold for nearly $800,000 above the asking price....More
From May 2016
New York City’s zoning code turns 100 this year. That may not sound like cause for celebration — except maybe for land-use lawyers and Robert Moses aficionados. Yet for almost every New Yorker, the zoning code plays an outsize role in daily life, shaping virtually every inch of the city....More
RICHMOND — A “MicroPAD” delivered in front of City Hall on Tuesday by a San Francisco developer with long ties to Berkeley is being pitched by local officials as “a bold move to reduce homelessness.”...More
RICHMOND (KRON) — On any given night, there are about 1,600 homeless people on the streets of Contra Costa County and getting roofs over their heads has proven difficult like in most areas....More
RICHMOND (KPIX 5) – An East Bay city is looking to take people off the streets by creating tiny homes for the homeless, but some say it won’t even make a dent in dealing with the issue....More
From Oct 21, 2017
Homelessness is on the rise in Los Angeles. James Brown got his own home there five years ago, and reflects on his two decades living on the streets....More
SAN FRANCISCO — The fires that ravaged Northern California in October claimed lives, weakened communities and scarred one of the West’s most distinctive landscapes. The destruction of an estimated 14,000 homes in the wine country north of San Francisco will worsen a severe housing shortage in a region where rents and housing values are already sky-high....More
Just as California voters might overturn the state’s heavy-handed restrictions on new rent-control units, Stanford economists Rebecca Diamond and Tim McQuade presented a paper in October making the provocative argument that San Francisco rent control ultimately drove rents up citywide since 1995....More
A new study of San Francisco’s rent control shows it raises rents for some
Rent control is a perennially contentious issue. Many housing activists see it as a logical and direct way to make housing more affordable. Economists are almost unanimous that it makes things worse by promoting disinvestment and decreasing supply....More
“For Rent” signs are popping up all over Portland, signaling an easing of the housing crunch and foretelling falling rents
A year ago, in the height of the political season in deep blue Portland (in a county which voted 76 percent for Hillary Clinton) only one thing was rarer than Donald Trump lawn signs: For Rent signs....More
From Sept 2015
Rob Justus has just finished another apartment complex in East Portland — 78 one- and two-bedroom units that rent for $395 to $775 a month. The building cost developer Justus and his bankroller, the nonprofit Portland Habilitation Center, about $5 million to build.
What’s remarkable about the new development, at Southeast 171st Avenue and Division Street, is the math. Justus built at a little under $65,000 per apartment. As a result of keeping building costs low, PHC is able to charge rents that are about half the market rate for comparable apartments in that neighborhood....More
The formal application to convert the former Sports Authority building at 1690 Folsom Street into a full-service Target has been filed with Planning.
The conversion wouldn’t require an expansion of the 40,000-square-foot building nor a major change to the building’s façade, save new signage....More
The high price of affordable housing
It’s a problem that isn’t going away: the so-called “affordable” housing we’re building in many cities–by which we mean publicly subsidized housing that’s dedicated to low and moderate income households–is so expensive to build that we’ll never be able to build enough of it to make a dent in the housing affordability problem....More
Global housing stock has not expanded quickly enough to keep up with a surge in demand, but cities can focus on three supply-side solutions to make progress.
One feeling unites billions of people in cities around the world: a sense of sticker shock whenever they attempt to find a new home. From London to Lagos, housing costs are creating financial stress for a large share of the world’s urban residents....More
Neighborhoods are always changing; half of all renters move every two years.
There’s a subtle perceptual bias that underlies many of the stories about gentrification and neighborhood change. The canonical journalistic account of gentrification focuses on the observable fact that different people now live in a neighborhood than used to live there at some previous time....More
Governor Jerry Brown just signed fifteen affordable-housing bills into law. A few might do a little good. Two senate bills will raise a bit of money. Senate Bill 2 will charge you a recording fee of up to $225 on any transaction not already subject to a transfer tax (e.g. a mortgage refinance) and Senate Bill 3 is a $4 billion housing bond....More
The cost of housing is so high in California, it’s pushing millions of people into poverty.
This isn’t hyperbole. When the cost of living is weighed, California has had the highest poverty rate in the country for years — more than 20 percent of residents, or nearly 8 million people....More
They see themselves as progressive housing activists. Critics call them stooges for luxury developers. Meet the new band of millennials who are priced out of cities and shouting: ‘Yes in my back yard’
When a woman stood up and waved a courgette in the air at a City of Berkeley council meeting this summer, complaining that a new housing development would block the sunlight from her zucchini garden, she probably felt confident that the community was on her side....More
California leads the nation once again in a statistic no state wants to boast about. When the cost of living is factored in, the Golden State has the highest poverty rate in the country....More
What could really help is deregulation, but residents aren’t likely to get it from Democratic lawmakers.
Democrats in Sacramento celebrated earlier this month when they passed a raft of bills intended to redress California’s so-called housing crisis. Sorry to spoil the party, but their legislation will do little to address the real problem and could even make things worse for poor and middle-income residents....More
California Gov. Jerry Brown on Sept. 29, 2017, signed into law two bills – SB 167/AB 678 (Sen. Nancy Skinner/Assembly Member Raul Bocanegra) and AB 1515 (Assembly Member Tom Daly) – that significantly reform California’s Housing Accountability Act (HAA or Act), Cal. Gov. Code §65589.5. These reforms are among the most important of several housing bills signed by the Governor that the California State Legislature enacted in the closing days of the 2017 session....More
“San Francisco’s anti-developer politics have dug it into a self-perpetuating cycle of self-righteousness and displacement.”
“You can’t build your way out of a housing affordability problem.” That’s conventional wisdom. I hear it all the time: Prosperous, growing, tech-rich cities from Seattle to the Bay Area and from Austin to Boston are all gripped by soaring rents and home prices....More
If you live in a coastal city like New York, Boston or San Francisco, you know that the cost of housing has skyrocketed. This housing crisis did not happen by chance: Increasingly restrictive land-use regulations in the last half-century contributed to it....More
The waters are receding in Houston, and so, inevitably, is national interest. But Harvey will leave a huge amount of wreckage behind, some of it invisible. In particular, we don’t yet know just how much poison has been released by flooding of chemical plants, waste dumps, and more....More
Those chipmunks in your yard are survivors
The chipmunks in your yard might be healthier and happier than their counterparts in rural areas, says a Laurentian University researcher.
Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde, a Canada Research Chair in applied evolutionary ecology, said his recent paper published in Oxford University’s Behavioural Ecology, suggests that chipmunks in the city live a surprisingly different life than their relatives in the country....More
3 housing solutions that could impact global problems
Homelessness, lack of affordable housing, natural disaster damage — these are all global problems that can be alleviated through creative housing solutions.
Three types of homes that problem-solvers such as Brad Pitt and Patrick Kennedy are employing to help are tiny houses, micro-units and shipping container homes....More
Meanwhile, rents are up 43 percent in ten years
If housing in San Francisco was as plentiful as data about housing in San Francisco, most renters would be on easy street.
The rental site ApartmentList crunched some census numbers in over 400 cities going back to 2005 to figure out, which metros kept up with construction relative to job growth and which ones were lying down on the job....More
And no amount of hand-waving about “land values” changes that.
Few public policy issues can match urban housing politics for its incendiary combination of passion and misconception. To wit: the confounding idea that relaxing regulations and fees to decrease the cost of homebuilding won’t make homes more affordable....More
Allowing multi-family housing in all residential zones, and aggressively promoting private bidding lowers housing costs
…Vienna is often mentioned as a model for how American cities might do a better job of providing more widespread affordability. While tantalizing, many of the descriptions of the secrets of its reported success are cryptic and incomplete....More
Christopher Thornberg’s “Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!”, which recently appeared on these pages, is just what California’s housing markets need. Hail to this Beacon Economics PhD! Want more housing? as Thronberg asks: Stop messing with markets!...More
"I’m an architect in LA specializing in multifamily residential. I’d like to do my best to explain a little understood reason why all new large development in LA seems to be luxury development."
From July 6, 2017
A big part of my job is to “spec and mass” potential new large scale developments for developers who are considering building in LA at a particular site. Understanding the code and limitations makes it pretty easy to understand why no developers in the city seem to be making the lower cost units everyone wants.
From Los Angeles to London, civic leaders are searching for creative ways to combine technology and high design to shelter their cities’ growing homeless populations. In Sacramento, where tent villages have brought unwelcome national headlines, a home-builder-turned-councilman and an ambitious MIT-trained developer believe they may have the answer to solving the housing predicament....More
High housing costs continue to be at the center of policy debates in Los Angeles—and across much of the state. This intensifying focus is warranted now more than ever given how the crisis has moved from simply eating up the disposable income of residents to slowing overall employment growth in coastal economies – something driven by a lack of available workers, which in turn is driven by the housing shortage....More
I have bad news for those who oppose new housing, support suburban sprawl, enjoy subjecting working people to long commutes, and who think preserving gas stations is more important than allowing kids to grow up in vibrant cities: YIMBY’s from across the country are gathering in Oakland this week....More
Richard Florida, urban studies professor at the University of Toronto and author of “The New Urban Crisis” discussed how cities are increasing inequality and how pockets of concentrated wealth and poverty are squeezing out the middle class....More
The former Patterson Mansion on Dupont Circle is now Ampeer, a 92-unit luxury resident for “highly-transient” urban professionals.
Remember when apartment buildings with pools and gyms were a big deal? Then real estate developers threw in flat-screen TVs and free wireless. Then concierge services.
And now: instant friends....More
"California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing crisis. Here’s why they’ve failed"
After an hour of debate, Herb Perez had had enough. Perez, a councilman in the Bay Area suburb of Foster City, was tired of planning for the construction of new homes to comply with a 50-year-old state law designed to help all Californians live affordably....More
YIMBYs! Socialists! The only thing the Bay Area’s tenant activists hate more than high rent is each other.
Local politics is always, in one way or another, about housing. In San Francisco, a deep blue city whose fault lines long ago ceased to resemble America’s, that politics is a vitriolic civic scrimmage, where people who agree about almost every national issue make sworn enemies over zoning, demolition, and development....More
The Chronicle took a hard look at four core issues of homelessness last summer. Here’s an update on what’s changed since then and what still needs to be done....More
From June 19, 2007: A controversial bill before the state legislature would preempt cities’ rights to prevent new affordable housing.
People can’t afford to be poor in Portland, Oregon. Nearly half of the households that rent in the Portland metro area pay too much. Almost one-quarter (24.3 percent) of these households are severely cost burdened, meaning half of their household income goes to keeping a roof over their heads....More
On the face of it, San Francisco’s homeless problem should have improved dramatically over the past year.
After all, last summer Mayor Ed Lee formed the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing to focus on the city’s most perplexing problem.
The city spent $275 million on homelessness and supportive housing in the fiscal year that ends Friday, up from $241 million the year before....More
From June 20, 2017: Tech startups helped turn a handful of metro areas into megastars. Now they’re tearing those cities apart.
In the 1980s, I was part of a team doing research into the geography of the high-tech industry. We couldn’t find a single significant high-tech company in an urban neighborhood. Instead, they were all out in the suburbs—not just Intel and Apple in Silicon Valley,...More
From June 14, 2017
How many Nobel laureates (or NL, in UC–Berkeley parking parlance) does it take to break America’s automobile dependence?
On June 1, the U.S. Climate Mayors—a network of more than 300 city leaders, including the mayors of the country’s five largest cities—published a commitment to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” The cities would carry out the promises Donald Trump had abandoned....More
The good news in University of California Los Angeles’s new Anderson Forecast—the Anderson School of Management’s regular assessment of how jobs and housing will shape up in California and the larger United States—is that California cities are building more housing than expected....More
We have a shortage of affordable housing in San Francisco.
Because housing is so artificially scarce, and therefore expensive in San Francisco, we force developers to include “below market rate” units in every housing development or pay fees....More
The fallacy of composition leads people to get the connection between density and affordability backwards
Our good friend at Strong Towns, Chuck Marohn is utterly right about a great many things. But he’s committed a classic Kotkinesque blunder when it comes to evaluating the connection between density and home prices....More
The project by the San Francisco studio Panoramic Interests is designed to address the issue of the city’s many homeless residents
One of the things that shocks first-time visitors to San Francisco is the number of homeless people that crowd the California metropolis, which has historically welcomed the least well-off....More
How America’s most progressive cities are making global warming worse.
On June 1, the US Climate Mayors—a network of more than 300 city leaders, including the mayors of the country’s five largest cities—published a commitment to “adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement.” The cities would carry out the promises Donald Trump had abandoned....More
If you’re a renter in California concerned about the high cost of living here, or looking to purchase your first home, your prospects aren’t looking up.
Projections show rents will continue to surge, especially for low- and middle-income people in places like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Sacramento, and home prices will become increasingly expensive, according to an economic analysis in the Anderson Forecast from the University of California, Los Angeles, released this month.
“It was already bad before, but it’s getting worse,”...More
From January-Mach 2017
The arrival of vast amounts of speculative capital in big cities around the nation and world during this century has fed a tremendous urban building boom....More
From January-March 2017
There is no doubt that public policy needs to grapple with the challenges that our low-income households face in gentrifying neighborhoods, and the ways in which racial discrimination and inequality affect the causes and consequences of those challenges....More
When you build a city that enables people to drive less, they spend less on cars and gas and have more to spend on other things.
Here is my 2007 report, published by CEOs for Cities, which describes Portland’s Green Dividend–the additional income that Portland area residents have to spend because they drive fewer miles than the typical American urban dweller....More
New housing developments have been rising in Mountain View at a rapid rate, but the city still faces an essential Silicon Valley conundrum: With going rates starting at nearly $3,000 a month for a new studio apartment unit and climbing...More
TUSTIN First off, don’t call it a “tiny house” — at least in the presence of its promoter.
This cozy, 160-square-foot abode is a MicroPAD, shorthand for Prefab Affordable Dwelling. And it’s more than just cute, said Patrick Kennedy, who began marketing the diminutive habitat this year. It’s an answer to homelessness, he said....More
In Omaha, Nebraska, $160,000 snags you a 3-bedroom home, but in San Francisco, it simply gets you a storage locker.
Such was the case on May 20 when residents at the Lumina, a luxury condominium development in San Francisco’s trendy South of Market neighborhood, participated in an online bidding war over storage units up for auction....More
A new way for San Francisco to create entry-level housing is taking shape in an old building on a forgotten block — an old bathhouse on the edge of the Tenderloin....More
From April 2017
As a mother of two children and wife to a steadily employed husband, Brianne Reynolds considered herself to be a typical, hard-working American. In addition to taking care of her kids during the day, she worked the night shifts at a local grocery store as a custodian in order to pay the bills....More
TUSTIN, Calif. (FOX 11) – There’s enough space for a bed, desk and chair, a kitchen with a microwave and refrigerator, as well as a shower, sink and some closets — all in 160 square feet.
These MicroPad units could be the solution to the city’s homeless problem, providing stackable, interlockable, apartment spaces for people otherwise on the streets....More
Miranda is one of an estimated 7,500 people who call San Francisco streets her home....More
From April 2017
Aguably, land use controls have a more widespread impact on the lives of ordinary Americans than any other regulation. These controls, typically imposed by localities, make housing more expensive and restrict the growth of America’s most succesSFul metropolitan areas. These regulations have accreted over time with virtually no cost-benefit analysis....More
The only thing worse than listening to suburbanites bitch about being stuck in traffic? Listening to local politicians pretend they can actually do something to Make Commutes Great Fast Again....More
When Benny Ventura, a 25-year-old visual designer from Austin, Tex., moved to New York last September, he knew he would not be making enough to live alone, but he did not know anyone he could split an apartment with. Like countless other freshly minted New Yorkers, he set about looking for a room....More
Sacramento, especially the Downtown and Midtown areas, has the fastest rising rents in the country. As the Bay Area’s middle class gets “squeezed out in droves,” as a Newsweek article put it last year, those rents will continue rise.
“I see that increasing supply of housing is one way to combat the really crazy changes that we see in rent,” says Louis Mirante, co-chair of House Sacramento, a new “pro-housing, pro-infil, anti-rising rents organization,” is one of Sacramento’s most active YIMBYs. The movement counters NYMBY-ism, (Not In My Backyard) to support new development of housing through local political involvement....More
The union representing construction workers, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, also known as the Building Trades, is the most powerful group influencing the Legislature’s response to the housing crisis. It has worked to make sure union-level pay, known as “prevailing wage,” is a consideration in any major housing bills....More
Etoria Cheeks teaches math at a public high school in San Francisco, explaining algebra and statistics to teenagers. But it’s the math behind her housing predicament that simply doesn’t add up....More
In the biggest donation of its kind ever made to San Francisco, the Tipping Point Community charitable organization is pledging $100 million to try to cut the chronically homeless population in half over five years — an ambitious goal for a city that has long wrestled with a street population teeming with people with seemingly intractable problems....More
From April 2017
California has a grim housing problem and nearly everyone in the state, whether they have tried to buy or rent a home or not, is aware of it. Apparently, though, some in Sacramento haven’t noticed and hope to mix in more of the poison that created the crisis in the first place....More
Inclusionary zoning programs are too small to make a dent in housing affordability
…inclusionary zoning requirements essentially shift the cost of housing subsidies onto new development, they raise its cost, and likely reduce the number of units that get built–which tends to aggravate housing shortages and further accelerate prices....More
At a time when rents are soaring and development is more contentious than ever before, a little-known city agency is rethinking its role in neighborhood planning.
For decades, activist homeowners have held virtual veto power over nearly every decision on Seattle’s growth and development....More
Younger residents are more likely to support new housing projects than older groups in the Bay Area, according to an annual poll from the Bay Area Council.
Seventy percent of millennials were in favor of building more housing in their own neighborhood, while only 57 percent of residents age 40 to 64 supported additional homes near them....More
Bay Area is mecca for people ages 18-34, and a plurality of them live with their parents
According to the real estate site Realtor.com, San Francisco and San Jose are the ninth and tenth most popular city for Millennials. (Here defined as those between 25 and 34.)
Longstanding activists surprised, encouraged by micro-dwelling and ‘Pathways’ project.
Berkeley’s new, progressive-majority City Council is moving quickly to prioritize homelessness issues — and advocates say it’s almost too good to be true.
“They’re hoping it’s going to happen, but they don’t believe it,” said homeless resident and activist Mike Lee, on some of Berkeley’s recent policy proposals....More
Last month, the city councils of Oakland and Berkeley approved initiatives to develop modular units to house homeless individuals; however, despite San Francisco’s own efforts to manage its homeless population amidst a housing crisis, the city isn’t taking the same steps as its East Bay neighbors....More
Our 25 expert judges combed through more than 1,000 entries from around the world to find the most innovative ideas to make the world better.
Here they are: the winners of the first-ever World Changing Ideas Awards. We sifted through more than 1,000 truly impressive entries to find the ones our panel of judges thought were the best combination of creative problem solving and potential to change our world for the better....More
Developer Patrick Kennedy wants to go mega with micro-units near the West Oakland BART station.
His firm, Panoramic Interests, has proposed building up to 1,459 small apartments on a roughly 3-acre site at 500 Kirkham St. — a five-minute walk from the train station....More
As housing prices continue to rise, the issue of how to house homeless and lower-income individuals and families becomes increasingly important.
Many cities are planning or enacting legislation to fund these projects and pave the way for faster development of affordable housing projects. Microunit housing has been floated as a potential solution for years....More
To tranSForm the sector, action is needed in seven areas or through broader adoption of mass-production approaches.
The construction industry employs about 7 percent of the world’s working-age population and is one of the world economy’s largest sectors, with $10 trillion spent on construction-related goods and services every year....More
Construction industry productivity in the U.S. is lower today than it was in 1968—and it won’t pick up unless it can embrace modernization.
…the global housing and infrastructure crises are largely a product of a backwards construction industry—and things won’t get better until we bring it into the 21st century....More
After fourteen seasons, Discovery Channel’s always entertaining “Mythbusters”series ended last year. If you didn’t see the show-and it lives on at Youtube, of course–co-hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman constructed elaborate (often explosive) experiments to test whether something you see on television or in the movies could actually happen in real life....More
From Dec 15, 2016
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that the number of homeless individuals has fallen by 13 percent since 2007. However, homelessness remains a huge problem for many cities across the country. Cities ranging from New York to Seattle to Dallas find themselves confronting homelessness crises....More
Prime opportunity for local micro developer’s prefab module homes
In January, newly seated Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett showed interest in commissioning 100 of San Francisco developer Patrick Kennedy’s experimental MicroPAD homes to accommodate Berkeley’s homeless....More
"Reinventing the Residential Hotel: One Way to Help Solve the Housing Crisis Affecting San Francisco and other American Cities"
The housing crisis facing San Francisco and many other American cities — driven by changing demographics, a booming economy, and high development costs — may be addressed by creating an alternative to the disappearing residential hotels.
For much of American history, the residential hotel served a vital need, providing basic, market-rate, affordable urban housing. Located in central locations, residential hotels served tens of thousands of people of varied means and backgrounds....More
Berkeley City Council votes to explore housing homeless in prefab mini-apartments.
The Berkeley City Council voted to explore housing low-income and homeless people in prefab “micro-unit” assisted-living buildings run by non-profits and built by private developers....More
The city wants to erect a tower made of stacked, prefab 160-square-foot apartments.
If Berkeley gets its way, its homeless population could someday be living in 160-square-foot “microunits”—sort of like comfy shoe boxes that can be stacked into larger structures....More
Tiny apartments may be a solution to a big problem in the Bay Area....More
Where others cities will not venture, Berkeley dares to go. That’s how city councilman Ben Bartlett views City Council’s unanimous vote Tuesday night to move ahead and explore the possibility of building tiny housing units aimed at the homeless and those on very low incomes....More
At City Observatory, we try to stick to a wonky, data-driven approach to all things urban. But numbers don’t mean much without a framework to explain them, and so today we want to quickly talk about one of those rhetorical frameworks: specifically, how we talk about driving....More
Welcome to the 21st-century world of microhousing
In San Francisco, Small Spaces With Places to Escape
Mission and Ninth streets in San Francisco’s South of Market district is one of those corners that testify to a rapidly changing city....More
Suppose there were a way to pump up the economy, reduce inequality and put an end to destructive housing bubbles like the one that contributed to the Great Recession. The idea would be simple, but not easy, requiring a wholesale reframing of the United States economy and housing market....More
If you suggest there’s a housing crisis in the Bay Area or other major US cities, you’ll probably get a chorus of agreement. But suggest that the solution requires building more housing, and you’re kicking a hornet’s nest.
The ones currently doing the kicking are the YIMBYs, a loosely allied collection of pro-development housing advocates whose name plays on the acronym NIMBY (“Not In My Backyard”),...More
The Micropad is looking to solve the homeless crisis with stackable living units....More
160-square foot units could help thousands in Sacramento area
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —Thousands of people in Sacramento need a place to sleep every night. Elected officials said homelessness is a crisis in the capital city.
Council member Jeff Harris is now proposing a tiny solution to solve a big problem. The “micropad” concept rolled in front of Sacramento City Hall Monday afternoon....More
SACRAMENTO — The city of Sacramento is exploring a way to reduce the number of homeless living on the streets, giving them small dorm-style bedrooms to live in. They’re called MicroPADs, which stands for Prefab Affordable Dwelling. From now till Wednesday, one will be on display at City Hall....More
Though national apartment rents are growing less quickly, they still exceed the average American’s budget in some cities. One way developers are working to address this imbalance is by building micro-lofts....More
When something small does very big things.
There are more than 7,000 people currently living on the streets of San Francisco, but the solution to the city’s homelessness crisis could come in the form of a 160-sqaure-foot apartment dubbed the MicroPAD.
“Citizens here in San Francisco identify homelessness as the number one problem in the city, yet the government seems to have great difficulty in making apparent progress,” says Patrick Kennedy,...More
… 2. San Francisco, California
The “City by the Bay” grabs the second spot for worst places to own a car. Being stuck in traffic costs the average commuter in San Francisco $1,600 per year. That cost includes both the value of the time spent in traffic and the cost of gas. San Francisco is also one of the 10 worst cities for motor vehicle thefts per resident, another reason to forgo car ownership....More
On the corner of Milvia Street and Allston Way, a demo of a 160-square-foot modular unit shows a potential living environment for Berkeley’s long-term homeless and low-income population.
The outside of the unit — designed by San Francisco-based Panoramic Interests — reads “CITYSPACE MicroPAD,” which stands for Prefab Affordable Dwelling....More
Patrick Kennedy, the owner of the development company Panoramic Interests, thinks he has a partial solution to the Bay Area’s chronic homelessness problem and invites Berkeley to take a look at that solution in the form of a prototype currently installed next to City Hall....More
A Dutch company has built a splashy high-rise hotel in Poland—and shipped it in 210 pieces to New York.
The 20-story, 300-room project at 185 Bowery by hotel developer and operator citizenM is the biggest modular-construction hotel project ever in New York....More
Blocks away from the fire-gutted Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland sits a tiny, two-bedroom in-law unit with mildewed walls and no heat, perched atop a rickety garage. Water pools beneath chipped bathroom tiles, and mold forms spiderweb patterns amid the dog posters and Baby-Sitters Club books in an otherwise tidy girl’s bedroom....More
The problem of homelessness is a real issue across the globe, and providing adequate housing solutions for these poor people is a very demanding task. San Francisco might soon get an innovative solution to the problem though, in the form of modular housing units designed and built by the local company Panoramic Interests....More
Homelessness is as big an issue in San Francisco as any other major city, but local firm Panoramic Interests has designed a self-contained stackable tiny apartment that it promotes as a viable solution. MicroPAD modular dwellings comprise a total floorspace of just 160 sq ft (14 sq m), but include a kitchenette, sleeping area, and bathroom....More
To address the growing problem of homelessness in our cities, Panoramic Interests has developed the MicroPAD (Prefab Affordable Dwelling). The MicroPAD is designed to be installed quickly and economically on large and small sites, in a wide variety of building configurations.
The MicroPAD modules are built in a factory and then stacked like blocks to create multi-story, multi-unit buildings that are indistinguishable from conventional construction. Buildings constructed from MicroPAD modules meet all seismic and safety codes....More
These 160-foot apartments could be the solution to housing San Francisco’s homeless population of 7,000.
San Francisco might be a city of class, culture, and progression but its homeless population is through the roof. At any given moment, there are approximately 7,000 individuals living on the city’s streets, according to statistics gathered by volunteers in 2015....More
In San Francisco, approximately 7,000 people live on the street without a permanent home, and one man believes he has a solution. Patrick Kennedy and his team at Panoramic Interests developed MicroPAD, a tiny, prefabricated housing unit that can be used alone or stacked into 200-unit complexes to provide efficient shelter for those who currently have none....More
Micro Pad is a high-design, prefab 160-square-foot apartment. The company behind it hopes to put a building of them together so the city can help give shelter to some of its more than 7,000 homeless.
If you lie on a bed inside one of these new micro-apartments, your head is next to the kitchen counter, and if you sit up, you can reach out and touch the desk on the other side of the room. The entire apartment, at 8 feet by 20 feet, could squeeze into a long parking space....More
SAN FRANCISCO — California may be the new capital of American liberalism, but everybody who likes the sound of that ought to consider the fate of three recent San Francisco ballot initiatives.
The first, Proposition Q, aimed to eliminate homeless people’s unsightly tent camps by banning sidewalk tents and empowering the police to confiscate them with 24 hours notice so long as occupants were offered beds in shelters....More
San Francisco jealously guards its right to upzone new projects. But the catch is, in the majority of cases it’s not technically up to us.
Under a ruling in a 2013 court case with Napa County, developers in any California city automatically qualify for a 35 percent bonus in their number of units, provided that at least 11 percent of homes in the building are priced as affordable housing....More
On Thursday December 8th, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved the first market-rate housing project to apply the state density bonus law. The vote was 5-1. Commissioner Melgar was the dissenting vote and Commissioner Moore was absent. This marks a tremendous win for housing advocates who have pushed for this law’s implementation over many years....More
A project with 200 micro-units has been approved, the first time a San Francisco housing project has used the state’s density bonus program, which allows developments with affordable housing to rise 35 percent higher....More
Sarah Berkes was delighted, if also very surprised, to find that a place like the Webster Apartments on West 34th Street still existed in New York City. The stately rooming house for “career minded professional women” where she has lived for a little over a year is one of the few of its kind left in the city....More
When four young professionals share a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, a strategy for the morning routine is a necessity.
Katherine Neal, who works in sales, and Annie Jackson, who works in public relations, take the first shifts in the bathroom. Ms. Neal gets in there at 6:45 a.m. and has 15 minutes before it’s Ms. Jackson’s turn....More
San Francisco’s new state senator pitches housing bill mere hours into his term
Every California city is required to build a certain amount of housing to meet the state’s overall housing goals.
And a lot of places just plain seem to ignore the mandate. Earlier this year, former Palo Alto Planning Commission Kate Downing opined that the Regional Housing Needs Assessments lack so much as a built-in slap on the wrist....More
A proponent of small living shows off his latest tiny apartment, and what his next space will be.
With 26,000 people per square mile, Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. Doing more with less space is a necessity of life and that often comes with compromises—no spare rooms, for instance, and a constant dearth of storage....More
It is no mystery that the Bay Area and San Francisco has a housing crisis. But the real challenges are more specific than just affordability needs and workforce housing demands. The real challenges are to find urban environments that can absorb and benefit from infill and redevelopment. In short, we need to place housing in walkable, mixed-use and transit rich places like SF if we are to structurally address our most significant social and environmental challenges....More
Holiday visitors to San Francisco who encounter people sleeping on the streets may be left to wonder: “Why aren’t city leaders doing something about this?” Actually, they are — and they have been laying the groundwork for some sustainable solutions. But the intensified effort in recent months has not been without its frustration and setbacks....More
From March 2015
California’s Home Prices and Rents Higher Than Just About Anywhere Else. Housing in California has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Beginning in about 1970, however, the gap between California’s home prices and those in the rest country started to widen. Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher....More
Dearth of affordable homes pinches job market says consulting firm
The consulting firm Beacon Economics assessed the state of the Bay Area’s financial bearings on Monday. They conclude that the boom times are quieting to an echo, thanks in part to housing costs....More
So far, at least 36 people are known dead after a fire swept through the artist community in East Oakland known as the Ghost Ship. The grief and sense of shock in Oakland is palpable. For me, a Bay Area attorney and artist with friends at or near the Ghost Ship blaze this weekend, this terrible event hits close to home....More
SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) – Small, stackable pods might be one solution to San Francisco’s homeless crisis.
At just 160 square feet, the micro-apartments are tiny, but for those who are homeless in the Bay Area, they could be life changing.
Almost 7,000 people are homeless in San Francisco....More
At least 36 died at a ‘Ghost Ship’ party but survivors are among those who say communal spaces should be cherished in a city where rents have gone sky-high
A devastating warehouse fire that killed at least 36 people has shone a harsh light on a housing crisis in Oakland and its consequences for artists and low-income residents....More
Most S.F. housing for the homeless is a century old; even refurbished, severe health and safety issues can abound.
For many homeless people who land a spot within San Francisco’s network of 6,000 supportive housing rooms and apartments, being indoors means life gets better. No more nights shivering under blankets, getting beaten up in the street. On-site access to food, health care and counseling. Stability....More
Across California, local initiatives are generating funding to deal with homelessness, including a sales tax increase in San Francisco and a bond measure in Los Angeles.
The persistence of homelessness in California is a disgrace.
Thankfully, our state’s leaders are taking bold steps to address the problem. Gov. Jerry Brown recently approved a $2 billion bond that will pay for housing and services for those with mental illnesses on our streets.
This morning I came across the below graph in a Medium article by Eric Jaffe of Sidewalk Labs. It is taken from a research paper by Elisabeth Ruth Perlman called, Dense Enough To Be Brilliant: Patents, Urbanization, and Transportation in Nineteenth Century America....More
From Nov 10, 2016
Oakland’s first micro apartments are coming to the Nook on Valdez.
The first tenants should be moving into the Nook on Valdez—Oakland’s first micro dwelling—soon. Given the city’s housing crunch, it’s no surprise that micro-unit housing of buildings filled with tiny apartments of less then 300 square feet—about the size of a one-car garage—has arrived....More
Dublin City Council to place prefabricated units on Fishamble Street and in Coolock.
A vacant site in Dublin city centre, which was to be an owner-designed apartment block, is to be used for the city’s first modular apartment development for homeless families....More
Imagine having no place to live in one of the planet’s most expensive metropolitan areas. For many residents of San Francisco, this is a daily reality. Yet while labor and investment capital pours in, the region’s culture of technological “innovation” has failed to improve the livelihoods of our most vulnerable neighbors. Patrick Kennedy wants to change that....More
From June 22, 2016: San Francisco’s YIMBY movement is pushing the city to build its way out of the housing crisis.
San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the country and has become the symbol of the nation’s housing crisis.
A booming jobs market and years of underdevelopment have led to skyrocketing real estate prices and rents in the region. In 2015, the Bay area added 64,000 jobs but built less than 5,000 housing units. The median home price is nowover the million dollar mark and an average one-bedroom apartment rents for more than $3,500 a month....More
AST WEEK, 461 Dean became the world’s tallest modular building. Designed by New York architecture firm SHoP, the Brooklyn residential tower consists of 363 pre-fab apartments that stack like Tetris blocks into a 32-story building....More
It’s sort of like staying inside a Swiss Army knife: In stylish new microhotels, architects deploy tech and minimalist design to fold a lot of amenities into small spaces. Consider the 150-square-foot rooms at the two Arlo hotels, which opened this fall in Manhattan....More
“…Small and inexpensive modular housing is one option… These ideas are all worth support. But they need to show results more quickly.
The civil disgrace of homelessness can’t be tolerated.”
San Francisco’s latest homeless head count shouldn’t surprise anyone who travels the streets, parks and sidewalks of the city. The number hasn’t budged over the past year, a dismal steady state of human misery....More
Some are calling it the wave of the future when it comes to housing the homeless. Micropads are tiny pre-fab modules that can be stacked together into apartment buildings.
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) – Some are calling it the wave of the future when it comes to housing the homeless. Micropads are tiny pre-fab modules that can be stacked together into apartment buildings....More
Sometimes you have to see it to believe it. Planning Commissioners Kathryn Moore and Dennis Richards visited the MicroPAD on 9th and Mission Streets and came away “impressed.” At a recent public hearing, both commented on the design and quality of the unit and believe this is a viable approach to house San Francisco’s homeless population....More
A persistent shortage of construction workers across the U.S. is prompting some of the nation’s largest home builders to experiment with a model they once derided: factory production....More
A real estate developer wants to help end the street-living epidemic in San Francisco by converting shipping container-like modules into sleek new micro-apartments where the homeless can live....More
Local prefab developer, Panoramic Interests, revealed its CitySpaces MicroPAD on October 31 at 9th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. The furnished 160 square foot unit will be on display until November 15, marking the beginning of a tour to mobilize interest around the new product, which is designed for stacking into buildings geared for flexible living spaces that support homeless populations. With the Bay Area’s high building costs, Panoramic asserts that the off-site prefabrication assembly cuts construction costs by 40 percent, potentially expediting the creation of housing for those in need....More
Small Units Essential for Solving Homelessness
If you want to see how San Francisco can best reduce homelessness, go to 9th and Mission and tour the SF Micro-PAD. The brainchild of developer Patrick Kennedy, the Micro-Pad’s 160 square foot units could soon bring 1000 housing units to the city, with a third for the very poor....More
Several months ago, local developer Panoramic Interests introduced a creative solution to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Their proposed MicroPAD is a very small housing unit that can be built quickly, affordably and at a scale that could make a real impact. For two weeks starting October 31, the public will have the opportunity to walk inside one of these homes and experience it themselves....More
A possible solution for San Francisco citizens without a place to call home
It’s a tiny moment of truth for developer Patrick Kennedy’s MicroPADs.
He touts his petite prefab apartments as an affordable solution to San Francisco’s homeless problem. But that only flies if the pads can impress both the city and public as a place where anyone might theoretically want to live....More
From Page 24
Construction unions used to be reliable supporters of development. Not anymore
Construction unions have traditionally been adbocates for new development, for an obvious reason: It keeps their members employed. That delicate alliance is now coming under threat....More
Nov 2016–Digital Version, pg. 94 http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/digital-edition
Patrick Kennedy offers to give me a house. And I accept. He leads me to a far corner of his office suite on the ground floor of the shiny tower on Ninth and Mission that he completed in 2015 and that now serves largely as a high-rise student housing. And there sitting on a shelf is my house....More
Back in August we told you about developer Patrick Kennedy’s plan to build 200 tiny new homes in a DPW-owned parking lot in a matter of months.
Kennedy’s invention, the MicroPAD, is a modular studio apartment roughly the standard shipping container (with a bit more ceiling) that “snaps” together Lego-style with others to create a building supposedly in no time at all....More
City of Vancouver staff are considering fast-tracking permits for standardized, modular laneway homes as a way to help boost the city’s rental stock.
Such a move could speed up the development of backyard homes on the estimated 60,000 lots that can accommodate them in neighbourhoods across the city. While the entire city is zoned for laneway housing, just over 2,400 permits to build them have been issued....More
California will have to build about 3.5 million homes over the next eight years, more than triple its current pace of construction, simply to keep up with expected population growth and hold down housing costs to affordable levels. But how could the state actually do it?...More
A temporary pavilion built on the roadway at Robson Square, where Robson Redux installations were previously located, showcases a prototype of the City of Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing project....More
Several months ago, local developer Panoramic Interests introduced a creative solution to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Their proposed MicroPAD is a very small housing unit that can be built quickly, affordably and at a scale that could make a real impact. For two weeks starting October 31, the public will have the opportunity to walk inside one of these homes and experience it themselves.
What is the MicroPAD?
It stands for Prefabricated Affordable Dwelling.
Construction unions have traditionally been advocates for new development, for an obvious reason: It keeps their members employed.
That delicate alliance is now coming under threat. Angered by some developers’ attempts to use cheaper non-union labor, Bay Area construction unions have filed appeals challenging projects’ approvals and allied themselves with community groups who oppose the projects for different reasons....More
From Oct 3, 2016
Tents, wooden sheds and RVs do not provide the kind of stable and supportive housing in which an individual or family in homelessness can begin to deal with the issues in their lives.
LIKE most Seattleites, I am alternately frustrated, incredulous and dismayed by the number of homeless individuals I encounter every day while walking, driving or just living my life in Seattle....More
Off-the-peg homes could solve a shortage of houses and builder
A CAVERNOUS factory just outside Leeds may point to a shake-up of Britain’s construction industry. The building, which covers an area equivalent to seven football pitches, has just been kitted out by Legal and General Homes, a wing of the insurance and pensions giant. In the new year it will start producing pre-manufactured, or “modular”, houses....More
Developer Patrick Kennedy wants to build apartments for middle-class families near San Francisco’s Financial District, but he is struggling to win the city’s approval. The problem: in one spot the building’s courtyard is 5 feet too narrow.
Mr. Kennedy said his efforts constantly run up against such obstacles, which he said drive up the cost of construction and make it nearly impossible to build anything but luxury housing in one of the nation’s most expensive markets....More
Last week Richard Florida headlined an “Urban Lab” panel at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. It was moderated by Sam Chandan, who is dean of the Shack Institute.
Here are 6 takeaways from the discussion, with a few of my own thoughts attached:...More
It was a very different group of tent dwellers who set up camp Monday morning in front of City Hall....More
The seasoned micro-dweller challenges himself to downsize yet again.
In 2012, entrepreneur Graham Hill moved into a 420-square-foot SoHo studio that would act as his personal residence and a showcase for a movement. “I wanted to start a conversation about how doing more with less could improve our lives from an environmental, financial, and even emotional perspective,” he explains....More
Cities across America are facing a devastating housing affordability crisis. One obvious potential solution is micro-units. Adding density without affecting the skyline, they offer housing at a lower price point than is usually available in expensive areas....More
SAN JOSE — A newly signed law will allow San Jose to become the first California city to create tiny homes for the homeless by bypassing the state’s confining building codes.
City housing officials and advocates for the homeless call the new legislation a “game-changer” in the fight to solve one of the Silicon Valley’s most intractable problems....More
London’s latest micro flats meet the country’s minimum space requirements. Technically.
They’re built for one person. There’s only a shower, no bathtub allowed or they violate minimum size regulations. And if the concept works, its deep-pocketed New York backer may try to export the model....More
Creating supportive housing with a stackable, prefabricated building system is the most expedient and economical remedy to San Francisco’s homeless crisis. Yet the likelihood of getting these type of buildings built is in doubt. The reason: The city’s desire to house the homeless is often weaker than its willingness to deviate from standard building practices....More
It is no secret that cities like San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., face challenges in the availability and cost of housing. But policymakers and economists have increasingly recognized both the role that certain inappropriate land use restrictions play in raising housing costs — not just in major cities but across the country — and the opportunity for modernizing these regulations to promote shared growth....More
Kositsky’s line may be the quintessential one in defining San Francisco’s radical and counter-productive politics. It isn’t enough that a project will provide hundreds of units for the homeless at half the cost; it also must solve various other societal issues unrelated to homelessness.
Anyone who has visited San Francisco, and stepped even a block off the beaten path, knows of its homeless problem. The city has an estimated 6,700 street people—the 2nd-highest per capita in the nation—and 1,500 of these are chronically homeless, often dwelling amid the drugs and violence of the Tenderloin district....More
What do you think about hundreds of new units of housing for the homeless built in just six months at no upfront cost to the city?
I think it is an idea worth exploring – but I need your help to break through the politics at City Hall.
Perhaps you saw the story in the Chronicle on Sunday. It outlined several plans to take a city property and use it to create modular micro homes dedicated to getting homeless people off the street. These units can be built in less time and at a lower cost than traditional housing.
From November 2008
Supportive housing is a type of aﬀordable housing that provides on-site services to people who may need support to live independently. Residents may include formerly homeless individuals and families, people with HIV/AIDS or physical disabilities, young people aging out of foster care, ex-oﬀenders, people with mental illness or individuals with a history of substance abuse....More
San Francisco’s homelessness director wants them. A local developer is hot to build them, academics love them, and unions are open to the idea....More
“…Yet somehow I was unprepared for the scale and severity of homelessness in San Francisco.”
…Well-dressed tourists sharing the pavement with vaguely human forms inside cardboard boxes.
I’m confounded how to explain to my two children why wealthy society allows its most vulnerable citizens to languish on the streets.”
San Francisco — AFTER more than 27 years abroad, mostly as a foreign correspondent in Asia covering civil unrest and poverty, I wander the streets of this city, my new home, like an enchanted tourist....More
The U.S. population is projected to continue growing for decades to come, reaching 400 million circa 2050. Accommodating more people at current living standards will require many new homes, but how will cities deliver such housing? Must they continue expanding outward to provide enough housing, as they have done historically, or will densification within the existing footprint do the trick?...More
If you watch cable television, you undoubtedly have seen a myriad of shows about tiny houses and small spaces. The tiny house movement is geared toward those who want to live a simple life without all the “stuff” accumulated in our consumer-driven society. But, can tiny houses and small spaces also be the solution to affordable living?
One San Francisco developer thinks it can by building “micro-unit” apartments....More
A proposed residential project in San Francisco’s South of Market wants to cut construction costs and pass along savings to tenants.
By building 200 “micro-units,” developer Panoramic Interests hopes to charge rents that are 30 percent below the city’s average, which was $3,590 per month for a one-bedroom in June, according to Zumper. The units would average 550 square feet....More
San Francisco housing activists and some city officials say a new state housing bill passed last week is a “developer giveaway.” But supporters say it will boost all of California’s affordable housing production, reflecting more tension between the city and Sacramento over housing policy....More
A tiny scrap of land might not catch your eye.
But to Japanese architect Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto, there’s nothing more beautiful.
A veteran designer of kyosho jutaku — or micro homes — Yamashita has built more than 300 houses, each uniquely shaped and packed full of personality.
Solving the housing part of homelessness through the construction of modular, micro-housing is described in the above video by Patrick Kennedy, founder of Panoramic Interests. Filmed at Kennedy’s office, which itself is part of a micro-housing, multi-story complex that was profiled here, Kennedy talks about how to reduce costs through process improvement, modular construction and developing on under-utilized land. He points out that these lower costs do not have to sacrific quality and can actually enhance the overall end-product....More
From May 2014
The most admired companies of each age are often associated with a certain core competency. Ford popularized assembly line manufacturing in the 1910s. Toyota kicked off the lean revolution with its Toyota Production System in the postwar years. GE’s enthusiastic adoption of Six Sigma in the ’90s spread the mantra of quality. These capabilities are credited with helping tranSForm the respective industry of each company....More
Last week, Palo Alto planning commissioner Kate Vershov Downing stepped down, penning a now-famous letter to colleagues (posted on Medium) explaining that she was moving to Santa Cruz because she simply couldn’t afford Palo Alto anymore.
Downing, a 31-year-old lawyer who moved to Palo Alto from Sunnyvale five years ago (she’s originally from the East Coast by way of immigration from Russia), said she and her husband were tired of splitting a house with roommates to the tune of $6,500/month for their share. She also alleged that the city ignores the public’s demand for more housing....More
San Francisco’s single-room occupancy hotels house thousands of residents and provide a vital link in The City’s low-cost housing continuum — offering some stability to individuals and families that often have no other housing options.
San Francisco’s Department of Public Health last week released its report, “Improving the Health of Residents in SRO Hotels,” which included distressing statistics about the health risks associated with such buildings....More
PALO ALTO — You’re a well-paid professional. You work in tech. You’ve got it made.
On Wednesday, a planning commissioner here became the very public voice of the region’s frustrations over spiraling housing costs when she published her resignation letter to the city of Palo Alto....More
SAN FRANCISCO—California’s epic housing crisis is hurting more than lower- and middle-income working families struggling to find housing they can afford. It’s also threatening to derail landmark greenhouse gas reduction laws that for a decade have made California a global leader in the battle against climate change, according to a white paper released today by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute....More
Last week I was in the middle of packing and came across a well thumbed copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I don’t remember when I read the book, but it was way more than twenty years ago (and predates my professional involvement with cities). As a very belated tribute to the anniversary of her 100th birthday, I decided to dip back into that remarkable book. Here’s ten takeaways from the godmother of the American city....More
Imagine the smallest space in which you could possibly live. Now imagine something smaller.
Can you get by in just 160 square feet? The answer, as Berkeley based modular building developer Panoramic Interests will tell you, probably depends on what other options you have. And in the Bay Area, there aren’t too many....More
The city by the bay has the nation’s priciest real estate, and a battle is raging over whether tech wealth, population growth, or political will is to blame
All you need to know about San Francisco in 2016 was on display one recent Sunday at 83 McAllister Street, an office building turned into condominiums at the edge of the Tenderloin....More
The actress Linda Emond moved to New York in the mid-90s with few possessions and no idea where she wanted to drop anchor.
“My guess was that I would be doing theater, or that I’d want to be doing theater, so I wanted to be in Manhattan in a safe location where there was public transportation,” said Ms. Emond, 57,...More
Encouraging developments that are car-free with micro-size dwelling units and use modular construction are three things that cities can do to make housing more affordable, according to Patrick Kennedy, founder of Panoramic Interests. With over 25 years developing projects Kennedy has experience in understanding the roadblocks to affordability....More
Yuba County created “tiny homes” for some of it’s homeless population. The county opened the doors on July 15, 2016. The house are a collaboration with the city and Habitat for Humanity....More
Harrison Street in SoMa is the latest frontier for housing development in San Francisco. And it’s an unlikely location.
Home to five lanes of traffic zooming on and off the freeway, that part of Harrison Street has never offered a hospitable habitat for the investors and builders who have reshaped so much of South of Market....More
June 29th marked the beginning of the San Francisco Homeless Project, an effort where 70+ Bay Area media organizations are putting their attention on our city’s ongoing and tragic homeless situation. One of the biggest questions the project is posing is how do we as a city provide the housing necessary to effect real and lasting change for our chronically homeless citizens?...More
How wealthy tourists have gentrified Jackson Hole, Wyoming, into a housing crisis
In March 2016, the family of 11-year-old Ventura Garcia Perez, otherwise known as “Vennie,” received an eviction letter. Born in Jackson, Wyoming, Vennie lives in the 56-unit Virginian Village Apartment complex with his parents, his four-year-old brother Dominic, and his dog Charlie. Throughout this summer, the owners of the Virginian are evictingseveral hundred tenants on a rolling timeline so the apartments can be remodeled and sold or rented at higher rates.
The presentations to the City Council at the workshop on housing on February 16 included a great deal of helpful data and many recommendations about how to achieve more housing to serve all income levels. In the Council discussion that followed, it was clear that all members agree there is a housing crisis that requires sustained effort and new approaches....More
Could San Francisco increase its stock of supportive housing by enough units to get all of the neediest homeless people off its streets in just two years?
Fixing San Francisco’s homelessness problem is possible.
It will require the addition of thousands of housing units for the hardest-core homeless people — the ones who wander the streets, screaming at the invisible, the ones who live in tents on sidewalks and shoot up in plain sight....More
Fifty years ago, the destitute figures who dotted America’s streets were called winos and hobos, and in San Francisco they mainly stuck to Third Street’s Skid Row.
Then, with the end of the Vietnam War, battle-shocked veterans began filling urban alleyways. The 1980s brought Reaganomics’ decimation of federal social and housing programs, and a cascade of the poor and mentally ill landed on the streets....More
One of my strange obsessions is watching TV shows about people building or buying tiny houses — generally 400 square feet or less.
These shows check back with the tiny-home owners shortly after they’ve moved in, when they are still infatuated with their adorable doll houses....More
Five years ago, I moved to San Francisco — right as the current startup boom kicked off.
Those five years saw a lot of change in the city, as tensions between longtime San Francisco residents and the tech industry hit a fever pitch.
It all traces its roots back to the San Francisco Bay Area’s housing crisis, where people are going to ridiculous lengths, including living in boats, vans, and cardboard boxes, just to make ends meet....More
Last week, the first tenants moved into the city’s first micro apartment development on East 27th Street. I did, too, for one night.
Tucked into a New York City Housing Authority site, on a spot between First and Second Avenues that was once a parking lot, and flanked by linden and honeylocust trees and a small plaza lined with park benches, the nine-story building, with 55 apartments between 260 and 360 square feet, is an elegant design by nArchitects, and built by Monadnock Development and the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association....More
Construction began last week of modular micro apartments designed to help solve student housing issues in Berlin, Germany.
The concept, developed by Arup, Berlinovo Immobilien and others, was created because of the high demand for affordable student housing in Berlin.
The first construction project on Storkower Straße in the district of Lichtenberg is part of a plan that aims to build a total of 2,500 apartments by 2020....More
I don’t know anything about Eric Fischer except that he’s a freaking hero.
Much like everyone else who has recently attempted to live in San Francisco, Fischer is very interested in housing costs. However, unlike every other such person, Fischer decided to contribute to this conversation by doubling the depth of modern historical data about them.
How often are you going to run into someone with whom you can do something creative or interesting?
Who was right, Jane Jacobs or Alfred Marshall and Michael Porter? The renowened urbanist, Jacobs argued for decades of the importance of density and diversity of economic actors in cities as a primary driver of innovation. Economists Marshall and Porter, on the other hand, have argued that clustering of similar industries in industrial parks and regions is the best way to stimulate innovation, job growth, and economic development....More
At LifeEdited, we love tiny houses! They are like architectural and existential reduction sauce. Every space and object that isn’t utterly essential, that isn’t something you absolutely need, is boiled away. They are great examples of how humans can live simpler, lower impact lives. Yet tiny houses have some big problems, ones that are often overlooked amidst the hype, and it’s not just their lack of legality....More
Many tiny house designs fetishize smallness while missing what makes micro-housing so useful: density.
As much as we love gorgeous small-scale architecture, not all micro-housing is created equal. Over at City Lab, Kriston Capps argues that tiny houses plopped onto huge lots in the middle of nowhere miss the entire point of micro-housing: to provide more options for affordable housing, especially in crowded, expensive cities....More
Can’t afford housing in your expensive city? The solution for many is to move out.
America’s 10 most expensive metros have a lot going for them. They’re big. They have plenty of jobs. And for many residents, they’re desirable places to live.
But there’s a catch: the cost of housing has become so expensive that lower-income households are getting squeezed out.
Rents and home prices have soared in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Orange County, Calif., San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, D.C....More
One of the greenest, most environmentally friendly moves that big cities like New York or San Francisco or Chicago can make is to increase housing density and allow more people to live in them. And yet, bizarrely, few people seem to think of this as an “environmental” policy.
But it is! And it’s hugely significant. In fact, we can illustrate just how significant by taking a closer look at San Francisco’s new solar law....More
"These architects designed and built a concept for building affordable homes over existing parking lots"
British firm, Bill Dunster Architects, have always been committed to low carbon building and development. Now, their latest design named ZEDpod, is an idea to build affordable homes over existing parking lots.
In places where there are existing parking lots, the ZEDpod can easily be installed, and because it’s a pre-fabricated design, a pop-up village could be installed in a weekend.
The ZEDpod is zero-carbon, zero-waste, and would have no annual energy bills. They’ve integrated solar photo-voltaic panels (ZED Roof), which in enough numbers can create a solar farm without the loss of agricultural land, allowing enough power to be generated to operate the homes and charge electric cars, bikes, etc....More
The U.S. has two big housing affordability problems. They’re related — and solving the first would go some way toward solving the second. But they’re not the same, and it’s important to understand that.
The first problem is that some coastal metropolitan areas in the U.S. are generating lots of good jobs but aren’t building enough housing to keep up with employment growth....More
FROM NOV 25, 2015
Imagine living with all of your belongings and family members in a room in which you can nearly touch both walls with your arms outstretched.
That’s how many families get by in the city, and the vast majority—88 percent— are headed by the working poor who have jobs in industries such as hotels, sales, construction and restaurants. That’s just one of the findings in the 2015 SRO Families Report, published by the SRO Families Collaborative....More
San Francisco’s housing system is broken. The only way to fix it is through a radical change in our housing policy: a change that encourages (a lot of) building.
Failed public policy and political leadership has resulted in a massive imbalance between how much the city’s population has grown this century versus how much housing has been built. The last thirteen years worth of new housing units built is approximately equal to the population growth of the last two years....More
40-square-foot “room” goes for $400 a month
Bay Area artist Peter Berkowitz couldn’t afford a place in San Francisco. His solution was “the pod,” a sleeper box that’s roughly eight feet long, five feet wide, and four feet tall. It’s made out of plywood and neatly installed in the corner of his roommate’s living room, a space he’s now paying $400 a month to rent. (Bertkowitz lists his total housing expenses as $508 a month, factoring in the $1,300 he spent building it.)...More
California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) has set his sights on tackling the dire shortage of homes—and the resulting affordability crisis—currently facing the state.
Bloom, whose district includes Malibu, Santa Monica, West L.A., Brentwood, and Beverly Hills, currently has three bills pending—A.B. 2501, A.B. 2299, and A.B. 2522—that seek to lower barriers to new housing production in cities throughout California....More
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....More
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....More
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....More
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....More
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....More
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
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.”...More
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....More
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....More
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):...More
Tech companies and workers are vilified while longtime homeowners who fight high-density growth continue to profit from rising rents and property values.
A recent This American Life episode, “Poetry of Propaganda,” describes a San Francisco after-school program’s production of an original musical starring young children. “I don’t know what I expected,” said the writer Jon Mooallem, whose daughter played a tiny part, “but it wasn’t this. Act One opened on a sinister tech-executive meeting with a corrupt mayor and San Francisco’s board of supervisors.”...More
NEW YORK (AP) — The apartments in a new Manhattan building boast little balconies, tall ceilings, dishwashers and storage space. All in 360 square feet or less.
It’s micro-living in the nation’s biggest city, and New Yorkers could be seeing more of it. Planning officials are proposing to end a limit on how small apartments can be, opening the door for more “micro-apartments” that advocates see as affordable adaptations to a growing population of single people. Critics fear a turn back toward the city’s tenement past and question whether less space will really mean less expensive.
Here in San Francisco, passions run high. But sometimes it’s hard to match the mood of anger and fear to the scale of the real effects on residents or to match the proposed solutions to the real issues, which makes me think that there are subtexts and currents below the surface.
When I served on the San Francisco Planning Commission, I was often puzzled by the angry, passionate objection to minor changes. Often, I realized, it had little to do with the item before us, which was sometimes just the trigger for people’s fears or other emotions....More
It’s like Yoda once said: “Size matters not.”
Put aside for the moment the size of the units in Carmel Place, a new multifamily housing development that just went up in New York City. Here are a few numbers that matter more than the square footage: Carmel Place is a nine-story development that includes 55 units. Of those, 33 units are designated market-rate; eight of the 22 units slotted for affordable housing are reserved for very-low-income renters....More
The pronounced swing back towards urban living, and the renewed fervor for downtown development, has only made our cities more dense, making the search for cheap housing that much more challenging. While mayors across the U.S. have called for more affordable housing (in New York, both Bloomberg and De Blasio have said it was imperative the city offer more low-rent options), many developers have decided the solution to density and affordability is downsizing and designing smaller units....More
Berkeley’s zoning board approved two largely car-free buildings Thursday set to add 92 new residential units to the city’s housing stock.
Both of the projects — 70 units on Telegraph Avenue and 22 units on Shattuck Avenue — were proposed by Patrick Kennedy’s Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests.
The Telegraph project, dubbed The Nexus, is set to take the place of a 1-story office building where the nationally recognized Center for Independent Living got its start....More