The University of California has committed $312 million to turn Berkeley’s historic People’s Park into housing for about 1,100 students and more than 100 of the homeless people who regularly camp on the 2.8-acre site. The project has won approval from officials in Berkeley, after UC agreed to cover the city’s added costs for police and fire services, and from an Alameda County judge, who said it complies with environmental laws.
"SF Mayor London Breed CityGardens Visit-Tweet"
This month, families will move into City Gardens, a 200-unit permanent supportive housing site with larger units and more bedrooms for our families....More
"SF Mayor London Breed Visits 333 12th Street, City Gardens"
San Francisco Mayor Unveils Plan to Halve Homelessness Within 5 Years...More
"In Defense of Shattuck: Housing in downtown Berkeley"
The Shattuck of today is such a vibrant, fun place; more lively than ever before…I really like the work of Trachtenberg Architects who are making some of the most creative facades for their apartment complexes....More
"How Paris Kicked Out the Cars"
It is a humbling experience to try to learn any new skill as an adult. But there is a particular humiliation in learning to ride a bike. Not only because biking is something everyone already assumes you know how to do and the quintessential skill you never forget....More
"Why does American multifamily architecture look so banal? Here’s one reason"
In a recent article in The New York Times, Anna Kodé lamented the blandness of multifamily architecture in the U.S. and posited several theories for this disappointment.
The root cause of the banality is quite simple. The answer is something that, once seen, cannot be unseen: stairs....More
"Why famed urbanist Richard Florida is still bullish on San Francisco"
The No. 1 place for startup innovation fueled by venture capital in the United States and the world by a huge margin is the San Francisco Bay Area. There’s not even a place that comes close. And when I say the Bay Area, I mean San Francisco proper, Oakland and the East Bay, and the Silicon Valley....More
"The Great Defenders of the Status Quo"
Environmental laws are being used to justify oil drilling in Los Angeles, single-family zoning in Minneapolis, and the construction of the border wall....More
"The Build-Nothing Country"
This post is going to be a bit of a rant, because honestly I’m pretty frustrated, and I want the rest of you to understand and share at least a little bit of that frustration....More
"Court blocks housing for homeless and 1,100 UC Berkeley students at People’s Park"
A California appeals court ruled Friday that a $312 million plan to turn Berkeley’s historic People’s Park into housing for about 1,100 students and more than 100 of the homeless people who regularly camp on the 2.8-acre site fails to address environmental concerns surrounding the proposed construction projects....More
"To save downtowns, we need to embrace windowless bedrooms"
From Oct 2022
Bobby Fijan, a real estate developer who likes to tweet about floor plans, recently offered this as an example of how a contemporary downtown office building could be converted into apartments....More
"The final curtain for the Regal UA, Berkeley’s 90-year-old art deco movie palace"
Generations of movie-goers are mourning the loss of a cinematic and architectural treasure, which closed around Feb. 3, weeks before anticipated....More
"Are Tiny Homes a Solution to the Housing Crisis?"
A tug of war is being waged over the size of the American home....More
"Fake environmental reviews are killing good housing projects. Here’s what California can do about it"
Climate change is upon us. Even with Congress finally investing in green energy, Californians face many decades of worsening wildfires and rising seas....More
"The Tokyo Toilet"
“Tokyo’s public restrooms are a stroke of Genius.”...More
"With Flexibility Over Parking, Oregon Homebuilders Get to Work"
Tens of thousands of homes are now more buildable, including several projects now resurrected that local parking mandates had previously killed....More
"Can Berkeley Become America’s First European City?"
Dense Housing, Streets for People, Bike Lanes
Last week, Berkeley upzoned affluent neighborhoods for apartments and backed bike lanes on a major thoroughfare....More
"Downtown Berkeley’s last movie theater is closing its doors. Here’s why"
Downtown Berkeley is set to lose its last operating commercial movie theater, part of a nationwide downsizing by Regal Cinemas, the second-largest chain of movie theaters in the U.S. behind AMC....More
"Let’s Talk About ‘Induced Distance’ Instead of ‘Induced Demand’"
Traffic management consultancy Inrix released its 2022 Global Traffic Scorecard and it’s making headlines around the world....More
"Density as a Scapegoat"
One common argument against new housing in urban areas is that new housing equals densification, and dense places are less affordable....More
"Micro Apartments Are the Best Thing to Happen to the Planet"
While they have spurred heated debates across the internet, living in under 300 feet can be both comfortable and full of social benefits...More
"Lessons from Vienna: a housing success story 100 years in the making"
The most famous New Year concert in the world is performed in Vienna and beamed to millions across the world under the golden ceilings of the 19th-century Musikverein concert hall....More
"US Cities Are Falling Out of Love With the Parking Lot"
They are grey, rectangular and if you lumped their population of up to 2bn together they would cover roughly the same area as Connecticut, about 5,500 sq miles. Car parking spaces have a monotonous ubiquity in US life...More
"What Happened When the Bay Area Rejected Growth"
From 1940 to 1960, the population of the nine counties surrounding the San Francisco Bay more than doubled to 3.6 million. In a 1959 report, the US Commerce Department’s Office of Area Development projected that it would double again by 1990, and yet again by 2020, when the region was expected to house 14.4 million people....More
"The real cause of California’s homelessness crisis"
Gov. Gavin Newsom, newly inaugurated Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass and legislative leaders are pledging decisive action on California’s homelessness crisis, which raises a pithy question: Why did it erupt during a period of strong economic growth?...More
"627 days, just for the permit: This data shows the staggering timeline to build homes in S.F."
When housing advocates and developers talk about how long it takes to get permits to build housing in San Francisco, they don’t speak in increments of days, weeks or months. They speak in years....More
"A year after opening 600 rooms to L.A.’s unhoused, the Cecil Hotel is still mostly empty. Here’s why"
It’s not much — a bed with a mattress, a small nightstand, a dresser, a closet and some assorted appliances in a 160-square-foot room....More
"Buses Shouldn’t Be Free"
The push for fareless transit is downstream of a larger failure: American urban elected officials have struggled to improve government services, especially infrastructure development....More
"Building Fast and Slow: The Empire State Building and the World Trade Center (Part I)"
The Empire State Building was completed in 1931. At a height of 1250 feet , it was the world’s tallest building, exceeding the recently completed Chrysler building by 202 feet....More
"San Francisco died so the Bay Area could thrive:"
What the 10 fastest-growing metro areas reveal about the world of remote work
The San Francisco Bay Area claimed the number one position on the list with 4.8% growth in 2022, driven by technology, innovation, and startup growth....More
"How the suburbs are subsidized"
This is an excellent video that I would encourage all of you to watch. It provides a visual look at city finances and explains how car-dependent suburbs are usually heavily subsidized by productive urban places....More
"Panoramic Interests Plans to Bring 239 Units of Housing to Berkeley"
San Francisco-based Panoramic Interests could be adding another new development to the housing market in downtown Berkeley in the near future....More
"The Way Los Angeles Is Trying to Solve Homelessness Is ‘Absolutely Insane’"
This is the paradox of housing development in Los Angeles and so many other cities. The politics of the affordable housing crisis are terrible. The politics of what you’d need to do to solve it are even worse....More
"Not Everyone Should Have a Say"
To speed up permitting for energy projects, we’ll need to rethink community input....More
"A 95-Square-Foot Tokyo Apartment: ‘I Wouldn’t Live Anywhere Else’"
TOKYO — At the end of a long day at work in the offices of Japan’s professional baseball league, Asumi Fujiwara returned to her apartment and changed into pajamas...More
"Work From Home And The Real Estate Apocalypse"
We study the impact of remote work on the commercial office sector. We document large shifts in lease revenues, office occupancy, lease renewal rates, lease durations, and market rents as
firms shifted to remote work in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"The housing theory of everything"
Western housing shortages do not just prevent many from ever affording their own home. They also drive inequality, climate change, low productivity growth, obesity, and even falling fertility rates....More
"5 people you need to know in Berkeley and Emeryville"
The Business Times continues our Hot Spots series this week, introducing you to people and projects in the region’s hottest areas. This week we stop into two crown jewels of the East Shore, Berkeley and Emeryville....More
"Panoramic Interests pitches fourth downtown Berkeley project this year"
Panoramic Interests is on quite the spree in Berkeley.
The San Francisco developer wants to raise a 17-story mixed-use building with 239 apartments and ground-floor commercial space at 2274 Shattuck Ave., an approximately half-acre lot in Berkeley’s downtown currently home to the Regal UA Theatre....More
"Why America Can’t Build"
The goal of the 2009 Sepulveda Pass Freeway Expansion Project seemed simple. A carpool lane was to be added to reduce congestion on a 10-mile stretch of Los Angeles’s I-405 freeway, the second most congested road in the U.S....More
"A changing Berkeley: 6 maps show how the past decade has remade the city"
Berkeley is adding people faster than housing units
Across the Bay Area, there are reports of overcrowding forced by sky-high rents. And in Berkeley, population growth outpaced housing growth in the last decade: On average, a single census block in Berkeley added about six people and one new housing unit....More
"Thinking Inside the Box: Why Virtual Meetings Generate Fewer Ideas"
For creative collaboration, sometimes you can’t beat a face-to-face meeting....More
"Affordable housing in California now routinely tops $1 million per apartment to build"
More than half a dozen affordable housing projects in California are costing more than $1 million per apartment to build, a record-breaking sum that makes it harder to house the growing numbers of low-income Californians who need help paying rent, a Times review of state data found....More
"Can America’s Cities Make a Post-Pandemic Comeback?"
America’s leading economist of urban life says a return to the workplace is crucial, especially for the young.
“And then you go to San Francisco,” Mr. Glaeser says with an almost unseemly gusto. “San Francisco is still down 52%. The tech hub is the most extreme.”...More
"The People Who Hate People"
“We have, of course, discovered an elusive technology to allow more people to live on less land: It’s called an apartment building. And if people would like fewer neighbors competing for parking spaces, then they should rest assured that buses, trains, protected bike lanes, and maintained sidewalks are effective, cutting-edge inventions available to all.”...More
"Former Panoramic Development In SoMa Reborn as 160 Units of Supportive Housing"
“We have really little opportunity to get these kinds of buildings where we have multiple bedrooms where we can serve families,” said Coalition on Homelessness executive director Jennifer Friedenbach during a public meeting last year. “We have thousands of children in San Francisco that are experiencing homelessness, but we have very few large units. Three bedrooms. It makes a huge difference for large families, [there are] very few options for them.”...More
"New York banished cars during Covid – could its open streets be preserved?"
As an emergency measure for the pandemic, New York City’s banishment of cars from certain streets saw unexpected space open up for pedestrians, restaurant tables and playing children....More
"SF to purchase another homeless hotel at 12th and Folsom, this one for families"
Tuesday night was District 6 Supervisor Matt Haney’s final Board of Supervisors meeting, as he just won a state Assembly seat and is off to Sacramento. But one of his final votes late Tuesday night was the unanimous approval of a $145 million purchase of the Common City Gardens Apartments at 333 12th Street (at Folsom Street), a facility with 200 family-friendly, multi-room units that will be used to house families experiencing homelessness....More
"How Green Is Your Metropolis?"
Normally, a special election for California’s State Assembly wouldn’t have much national significance — especially not an election in San Francisco, a liberal, Democratic city that’s the opposite of a swing district....More
"California can’t be a haven for others until it builds more housing for everyone"
California leaders have been talking a lot recently about wanting the state to be a haven.
For people seeking abortions who can’t get them in their home states....More
"The City poised to add two buildings for homeless families"
“The acquisition of these two properties will not only add 274 new homes for those who are homeless, which will help us address the crisis we see on our streets, but for the first time we will have a building dedicated to helping families,” Breed said in a statement.
…“This is practically unheard of and an incredible resource to serve families with children,” Emily Cohen, deputy director for communications and legislative affairs at HSH, said at a March community meeting....More
"April Fools’: Shipping company to design student housing project at People’s Park"
In a sparsely attended press conference late Thursday evening, the UC Student Housing and Development Office announced a series of major changes to the People’s Park student housing project....More
"The media made me think San Francisco would be an apocalyptic hellscape. But it was lovely"
I’m not sure I’ve ever heard more discussion about a city over my lifetime than I have about San Francisco. That’s a weird thing to write, because, up until about a month ago, I’d never actually been....More
"What We’ve Missed by Working From Home"
Employees may need those face-to-face meetings more than their employers do.
The number of suicides and overdoses continues to rise, and the market for counseling services and therapists keeps growing. This legacy of the pandemic, which seems to be ending after two years, is deeply disturbing...More
"It’s Time to Build the Builders"
One of the most heartening cultural developments spurred by COVID-19 has been the rising awareness of our urgent need to build, and with it a bipartisan “progress movement” aimed at studying, financing, and valorizing the builders....More
"Blue States, You’re the Problem"
Why do states with Democratic majorities fail to live up to their values?
"The road to ruin — how the car drove US cities to the brink"
There’s an old stereotype in the US of a college junior who studies abroad in France for a semester and who returns obsessed with walking to cafés, biking to class and taking trains across county....More
"San Francisco’s homelessness is a humanitarian crisis, not an unsightly inconvenience"
To hear many residents, city leaders and, too often, The Chronicle’s online comment section, talk about it, San Francisco is no longer a habitable city. It is, instead, merely an archipelago of safe islands floating in an ocean of human feces and hypodermic needles....More
"Time Out lists the ‘world’s best’ cities for 2021"
"Why California liberals turn into raging conservatives over housing"
“Counterintuitive or not, California needs a lot more housing, and the fastest, cheapest way to get housing is to let developers build it…”...More
"Data shows the true productivity cost of the city exodus"
“Moretti thinks that in the long run, there will be a loss of innovation and productivity as a result of the pandemic shift to remote work. “It’s hard to create new ideas if you’re physically isolated. It’s hard to interact with clients and ask them exactly what new things they need. Also, it’s hard to onboard new people into teams,” he says.
For this reason, he thinks most workplaces won’t remain 100 per cent remote after the pandemic is resolved…”...More
"Viewpoint: Can modular fulfill its long-held promise?"
Watch enough construction and it may occur to you that things have scarcely changed since Ramses II’s building spree. Yes, we have cranes, forklifts and electric saws, but so much of building still comes down to backbreaking labor...More
"The hybrid workplace probably won’t last"
Having some people work from home while their teammates are in the office runs counter to much of what makes organizations tick....More
"Stocky modular buildings are popping up in East Bay. They look surprisingly good"
“…But the front facade is amiable and warm, with engineered wooden panels framing nine square windows. This is infill pure and simple, and it will hold its own in years to come.
…At 2711 Shattuck, Lowney and developer Patrick Kennedy set out to keep things “clean and simple, as easy to construct as possible,” Lowney said.”...More
"The Bay Area exodus is greatly exaggerated."
From March 2021
Tech’s Great Migration: Insights to Emerging Tech Hubs Across the U.S....More
"Returning to an office-centric culture"
Earlier this week, Amazon announced that it plans to return to an “office-centric culture” as its baseline. Its rationale was that being in an office allows the company to better “invent, collaborate, and learn together.”...More
"Remote work is overrated. America’s supercities are coming back."
As Lorde said: “We live in cities.”
Personally, I don’t think so. I don’t think the economic geography of the US will be profoundly different in the long run, and I think the reason is that I don’t think that we can access those particular advantages that come from agglomeration remotely…
Right now, if you look at San Francisco, for example, 89 percent of office workers are working remotely. So right now people are claiming that going forward, what you define as “superstar cities,” or high-cost cities, are doomed. I’m skeptical of that, I think everything that we know from the economic geography before Covid tells us that these forces of agglomeration are quite powerful.”...More
"S.F. apartment rents just saw the biggest increase of the pandemic, according to new report"
San Francisco’s median apartment rent rose 3.4% in March from the prior month, the biggest increase since the coronavirus pandemic began, according to a new report....More
"No exodus here: Google to invest $1 billion on California real estate in 2021"
The coronavirus pandemic and remote work aren’t slowing Google’s massive real estate expansion in California. The tech giant plans to invest more than $1 billion on office projects in the state this year, a sharp contrast to the dozens of tech companies that are slashing their real estate....More
"“3 IN 2”: Bringing Back The Bay Area"
“…For the San Francisco Bay Area, this “3 in, 2 out” hybrid office model solves three of the Bay Area’s four major growth inhibitors. “...More
"Amid ‘Tech Exodus’, San Francisco Remains a Rite of Passage for Many Startup Founders"
Despite downsizings by some larger tech firms, interviews and data suggest that San Francisco will likely remain a premier hub for early-stage entrepreneurs
San Francisco and Silicon Valley recorded 2,500 venture capital deals in 2020, a likely record despite the pandemic, and hundreds of new startups were formed in the City
"Housing the Homeless"
Bay Area Council Analysis Reveals $69,000 per Tent Price Tag for Safe Sleeping Sites...More
"L.A. hopes to speed ADU construction with new standard plan program"
It could cut the plan-check review period for new ADUs from four-to-six weeks to as little as one day
“Modular housing and ADUs is the pathway that’s open to really make a dent in the [housing supply] problem,” says Gaisford....More
"Apartment List National Rent Report"
Rents in coastal superstar cities have bottomed out
“San Francisco has consistently made headlines throughout the pandemic …,we appear to have hit the turning point where the city’s price correction has officially bottomed out. In February, rents in San Francisco increased by 1.2 percent. This is the first monthly increase in San Francisco since the start of the pandemic.”
"New data shows San Francisco apartment rents on the rise, just as the city reopens"
“…While year-over-year rents dropped 26% in San Francisco, rental prices increased 1.2% in February from January, producing a median one-bedroom rent of $2,010.”...More
"West Oakland development would add more than 200 units of housing"
Part of the developing transit village near West Oakland’s Mandela Station will go before city officials Wednesday as developer The Michaels Organization looks for the green light to move ahead with construction....More
"Covid Migration: Temporary, young, economically insecure"
There’s relatively little migration in the wake of Covid-19
Most Covid-related migration is temporary, involves moving in with friends or relatives, and not leaving a metro area...More
"We’re all going back to offices — most of us anyway"
I was speaking with a writer from the Globe & Mail today about the future of office. We were half talking about a new AAA strata office building … And we were half talking about whether or not we’re all going to return to offices....More
"California Is Making Liberals Squirm"
If progressivism can’t work there, why should the country believe it can work anywhere else?...More
"Building for the homeless without government help"
Private-sector plan enlists nonprofits, churches
From the fourth-floor rooftop patio on East Vernon Avenue, Los Angeles is a 360-degree panorama: to the north, the skyscrapers of downtown; to the south, the Palos Verdes Peninsula; to the west, the Santa Monica Mountains; to the east, snow-capped Mt. Baldy....More
"A place in the sun"
One consequence of Covid has been plunging rents in cities across the world, as tenants flock out of city centres and the long-term rental market is flooded with former Airbnb properties. This has left tenants jubilant, and landlords panicked....More
"Did the COVID-19 Pandemic Cause an Urban Exodus?"
“…Out-migration did increase in many urban neighborhoods, but the magnitudes probably would not fit most definitions of an exodus. What is certain is that hundreds of thousands of people who would have moved into an urban neighborhood in a typical year were unwilling or unable to do so in 2020.”...More
"The Surprising Boom In Pandemic Co-Living"
Experts expected the pandemic to potentially deal a death blow to co-living, amid social distancing and fears of proximity to others.
But as the pandemic stretched on, growing demand for a sense of community to battle loneliness has spurred a surge in co-living. The industry is now poised to expand exponentially....More
"Can knowledge industries escape superstar cities?"
I am a digital nomad. Bloomberg allows me to work from anywhere; I get much of my best writing done when I’m in Japan, working out of cafes or at a friend’s co-working space....More
"Why is the Modern World So Ugly?"
One of the great generalisations we can make about the modern world is that it is, to an extraordinary degree, an ugly world....More
"This L.A. project shows that homeless housing can be done quickly and cheaply"
For years it was just another dreary piece of the downtown Los Angeles backdrop — a vacant lot between the county jail and the rusted hulk of a factory.
But since Thanksgiving, two three-story buildings, flanked by a village of trailer homes, have sprung up on the former industrial site....More
"More Than Half of People Leaving SF Say They’ll Probably Come Back, In Small Chronicle Sampling"
From Sept 2020
The last few months have been filled with photos of U-Haul trucks on social media and stories like this one about rents dropping due to a mass exodus from San Francisco....More
"The Pandemic Disproved Urban Progressives’ Theory About Gentrification"
The “gentrification-industrial complex” isn’t who anti-growth progressives think it is....More
"Bold 2021 Predictions: A Stronger Housing Market Across the Board"
Demand for city living will surge in 2021
Dense, urban living got a bad rap this year because of the pandemic, but city living will almost certainly enjoy a renaissance in 2021....More
"Modular Construction Meets Changing Needs in the Pandemic"
The process of creating prefabricated units that can be quickly assembled has shifted as developers turn to medical buildings, affordable housing, data centers and even a Chick-fil-A restaurant....More
"$130,000 for an 8-foot-by-8-foot shed? That’s what L.A. is paying in a bid to house the homeless"
In other cities, 64-square-foot aluminum and composite sheds are being used as quick and inexpensive emergency shelter for homeless people.
Not in Los Angeles. Here, plans to employ the minimalist structures, known as “tiny homes,” have blossomed into expensive development projects with access roads, underground utilities and concrete foundations — and commensurate planning delays....More
"UCLA Anderson Forecast Predicts Robust Economic Recovery Spring 2021"
The latest UCLA Anderson Forecast anticipates positive economic news is on the horizon, a rosy prediction that’s based on the assumption that mass vaccinations would clear a path toward a new, productive normalcy for many industries.
…But the December forecast also offers hope of a robust recovery from the current recession....More
"San Francisco, trade unions at odds over modular construction — even for homeless projects"
The 143-unit modular supportive housing project under construction on Bryant Street in San Francisco has drawn praise for the speed at which it is being built and its low construction cost....More
"The productivity pitfalls of working from home in the age of COVID-19"
From March 2020
The global work-from-home movement intended to maintain output and efficiency during the COVID-19 pandemic could actually generate a worldwide productivity slump and threaten economic growth for many years, says Stanford economist Nicholas Bloom....More
"The End of the Pandemic Is Now in Sight"
A year of scientific uncertainty is over. Two vaccines look like they will work, and more should follow....More
"The Week Observed, November 6, 2020"
…”Housing market data for New York and San Francisco show that shocks do have observable short-run effects, driving up vacancy rates and holding down prices. But vacancies and prices tend to quickly revert to pre-shock trends and levels.”...More
"More than 750 homes move forward at West Oakland BART station"
The Oakland Planning Commission unanimously approved a massive housing project at West Oakland BART station this week, part of the transit agency’s push for more affordable housing near public transportation....More
"West Oakland megaproject on BART land moves forward"
BART ridership may be down, but transit-oriented developments along the agency’s East Bay corridor are far from idle.
The Oakland Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved the final development plans for two phases of Mandela Station, a project at the West Oakland BART station from China Harbour Engineering Co....More
"The amazing disappearing urban exodus"
The greatest urban myth of the Covid-19 pandemic is that fear of density has triggered an exodus from cities....More
"Fixing Greater Boston’s housing crisis starts with legalizing apartments near transit"
Even during the economic expansion from 2009 to early 2020, Greater Boston didn’t build enough homes to keep up with demand....More
"How to make gentrification even worse"
Banning new construction is a great way to push up home values and accelerate gentrification
Cities are conflicted and confused about how to protect affordability...More
"Key to Preventing Covid-19 Indoors: Ventilation"
Reopening schools and businesses should upgrade air systems, open windows and take other measures to ensure clean air, scientists say...More
"Facebook exec expresses confidence in office real estate"
Brian Rosenthal says Manhattan offices play key role in recruitment
“…having a physical space in New York is critical for the social media giant.
“So much of what we do is collaborative,” Rosenthal said. “[Software is] like writing a book together where all the plots have to connect and make sense and there are thousands of authors. It’s really hard to do if you’re not co-located in the same space and it’s important to even be able to see each other in the same space.”...More
"High-density, high-amenity neighborhoods are not going away"
As we explored in my last post from the beginning of our republic there has been predictions of the coming demise of high-density big cities. All of them have been wrong....More
"West Oakland Still Poised For TOD Transformation"
In a year that has radically altered many plans, the two to add nearly 2,000 units to West Oakland are still a go....More
"Still on Track"
East Bay TOD projects push ahead amid pandemic
Over the past decade or so, transit-oriented development has picked up steam in the East Bay with projects popping up from Hayward to Hercules – many of Then the pandemic hit, putting into jeopardy a central component in the TOD concept – mass ridership, which has plunged as social distancing, sheltering in place and working from home have taken precedence....More
"How risky is riding BART during the pandemic?"
It’s probably safer than you think, according to medical professionals — and could become safer in the future, if technologies the transit agency is testing now pan out....More
"Solving San Francisco’s Homeless Crisis"
City Could Add over 6000 Housing Units for Unhoused in 2 Years
Can San Francisco finally solve its homeless crisis? When I saw widespread visible homelessness on the city’s streets begin in 1982 I never dreamed it would continue for forty years....More
"UPDATE: Divided San Jose City Council gives whopping break to high-rise developers"
Downtown high-rise developers will receive a huge discount during the pandemic but their savings will come at the expense of low-income housing....More
"City Gardens’ HVAC provides each apartment 24/7 fresh air & MERV 13 filtration in all apartments"
There are three main ways to lower your chances of meeting the virus up close and personal, as relates to HVAC systems. These are in my order of preference:
1. Dilute it
2. Zap it
3. Trap it
"When It Comes to Covid-19, Density Doesn’t Kill—Sprawl Does"
Since the advent of Covid-19, there has emerged a critique of urban density as deadly in fighting the current and future pandemics, and that the answer lies in dispersed development, otherwise known as sprawl....More
"Is the Subway Risky? It May Be Safer Than You Think"
New studies in Europe and Asia suggest that riding public transportation is not a major source of transmission for the coronavirus....More
"12 People in a 3-Bedroom House, Then the Virus Entered the Equation"
Overcrowding, not density, has defined many coronavirus hot spots. Service workers’ quarters skirting Silicon Valley are no exception....More
"How to Stay Safer on Mass Transit"
Timing your trip strategically, using contactless payments and not eating onboard are some of the things to keep in mind....More
"New construction makes homes more affordable—even for those who can’t afford the new units"
In cities with tight housing markets, policymakers have struggled to help lower-income residents afford homes. New research shows that just building new housing—even expensive housing—can quickly drive down housing costs across metro areas, including in low-income neighborhoods....More
"Will these modular apartment buildings help the Bay Area handle its housing crisis?"
Several affordable projects in the area are assembling apartments off-site and then simply locking them into place. If they’re successful, it could cut millions of dollars off construction costs and months off building timelines....More
"Companies Start to Think Remote Work Isn’t So Great After All"
Projects take longer. Collaboration is harder. And training new workers is a struggle. ‘This is not going to be sustainable.’...More
"The Exodus that never happened"
The greatest urban myth of the Covid-19 pandemic is that fear of density has triggered an exodus from cities.
The latest data show an increase in interest in dense urban locations....More
"Bay Area residents still want to stay in California despite ‘mass exodus’ myths"
There’s been a lot reported about San Francisco residents fleeing the city, causing rents to plummet and SF home sales finally embracing transparent pricing. But when looking at data from online real estate platforms, most of the real estate searching is still happening within the metro area and throughout California....More
"An Urban Exodus? Not Yet, According to Apartment Search Data"
“Despite economic lockdowns and the health risks recently attributed to cities, Americans on the whole are maintaining an appetite for density. The share of all searches for higher-density cities has actually increased over the first two quarters of 2020.
…Some dense cities like New York and San Francisco do not appear to be at high risk of an urban exodus, while others like Chicago and Boston show more troubling signs…”...More
"How Remote Work Could Destroy Silicon Valley"
The tech industry is built on serendipity. If workers flee the Bay Area, what’s left?
"‘A mini-urban miracle,’ new Berkeley homeless housing could be model for the state"
It’s been a big week for subsidized housing in Berkeley. And it just got bigger.
On Thursday night, the city’s Zoning Adjustments Board unanimously approved a new project from Panoramic Interests for a 39-unit complex made from modular construction to house people who were formerly homeless....More
"CityBeat: NPR’s suburban flight story"
Anecdotes aside, there’s no data that people are fleeing cities to avoid the Coronavirus
The data show young, well-educated adults moving to urban centers everywhere, and no decline in interest in urban markets during the pandemic
As we’ve chronicled at City Observatory, there’s a welter of press accounts claiming that people are fleeing cities to escape the Coronavirus....More
"The Forces That Will Reshape American Cities"
The pandemic will likely accelerate the pull of the suburbs for families while pushing young people and businesses into more affordable urban areas....More
"Nuveen Selects Start-Up to Manage Large-Scale Multifamily Assets"
The global asset manager is partnering with tech-forward, multifamily operator, Common in a 575-unit portfolio expansion.
Nuveen Real Estate has selected multifamily real estate operator, Common to manage operations and leasing for two of Nuveen’s largest, class A multifamily assets....More
"For Newly Remote Workers, Small Town U.S.A. Will Lose Its Allure Soon Enough"
Lower taxes? Cheaper housing? Shorter commute? For some knowledge workers fleeing the big city amid the pandemic, the perks of relocating to a distant burg will soon grow stale....More
"Why San Francisco shouldn’t worry about a tech-xodus"
Inequality, spiralling rents and now remote working: the city has a number of problems but keeps growing anyway...More
"Why cities will flourish in a post-Covid world: Talented young adults are moving to urban neighborhoods"
The movement of talented young adults to dense urban neighborhoods isn’t waning, it is widespread and accelerating, and it is powering urban revival.
Cities continue to be magnets for talented young adults The number of well-educated young adults living in close-in urban neighborhoods is increasing in every large US metropolitan area, and this trend has accelerated in recent years....More
"Remote Work Forever? Not So Fast, Jobs Guru Says"
The CEO of Adecco, one of the world’s largest employment agencies, discusses the pros and cons of working from home...More
"The Results Are In for Remote Learning: It Didn’t Work"
The pandemic forced schools into a crash course in online education. Problems piled up quickly. ‘I find it hectic and stressful’...More
"Why Richard Florida worries cities will recover too quickly from Covid"
A Sidewalk Talk Q&A with the urban economist on the challenges of inclusive growth — and the opportunities of urban-tech....More
"Cities are not dead — they will get younger"
“…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
"What Pool? Safety, Tech And Virtual Tours Are Multifamily’s Newest Lures"
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
"The Cities We Need"
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
"Urban Density Is Not an Enemy in the Coronavirus Fight: Evidence from China"
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
"Why Homes in the Bay Area Are Unaffordable"
Instead of new development, we got the Google piñata
Maybe it was the $2,070 bottle of wine. Or the junket to a hot spring in China. Or perhaps it was the John Deere tractor gifted for a vacation home in Colusa County....More
"San Francisco’s Sky High Commercial Rents Are About To Go Up"
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
"How bad land use and transportation decisions go hand-in-hand with “The Congestion Con”"
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.
Still, even in a city with a median home value of $1,352,300, finding an uninhabitable shack — that’s missing a back wall — on the market for nearly $2 million is something of a shock....More
"How to Make a Housing Crisis"
The new book Golden Gates details how California set itself up for its current affordability crunch—and how it can now help build a nationwide housing movement....More
"Why Does It Cost $750,000 to Build Affordable Housing in San Francisco?"
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.
"The 10 Most Berzerkely Spots in Berkeley"
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 needs big solutions to increase housing affordability"
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
"Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build Build"
“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
"Climate crisis: Cities are the solution"
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
"Three lessons 21st century housing policy could learn from “Little Women”"
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
"How to end traffic"
European cities offer a roadmap for life with fewer cars
Americans put over 13,000 miles on their vehicles every year. If car commercials are to be believed, this is all done off-roading into the woods and driving sports cars through empty, rain-slicked city streets....More
"‘Roach motels’ beat being homeless. But why can’t California innovate on housing?"
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
"Cram More People into New York City"
It and other ‘superstar’ cities should be denser.
I lived in New York City for about five years and hated every second of it. My first complaint was that it was too dense. My second, paradoxically, was that it was not dense enough....More
"Everything You Think You Know About Housing Is Probably Wrong"
In cities, many people think “density” means crowded neighborhoods and greedy developers, but a new show at the Skyscraper Museum tells a different story.
"Top 25 Finalists for 2020 Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability Announced"
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
"Scaling Up: How Superstar Cities Can Grow to New Heights"
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
"Home ownership is the West’s biggest economic-policy mistake"
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
"What Would It Take to End Homelessness?"
“…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
"SF to lease buildings for formerly homeless as it struggles to get people off the streets"
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
"Banning cars won’t solve America’s bigger transportation problem: Long trips"
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
"California needs to remove barriers to housing construction"
Quietly, the state’s housing crisis is beginning to take its toll on California’s 1.4 million family businesses....More
"These startups are accelerating growth with big hiring plans in 2020"
“…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
"How the French are fixing a housing crisis comparable to California’s"
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
"Cities, cars, and climate change: 8 issues that will define the 2020s"
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
"Bernal Heights housing project approved after 41 years"
“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.
"This decade, San Francisco saw the end of renting as we know it"
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
"SF is the most expensive place in the world to build"
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
"SF is one of the most expensive places in the world to build housing. Here’s why"
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
"Why downtown Oakland is booming"
“…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
"Vancouver approves new rental housing policy"
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
"End Apartment Bans To Save The Planet, UN Climate Report Says"
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
"Public Housing Becomes the Latest Progressive Fantasy"
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
"Myth of the Silicon Valley garage, and loss of a dream"
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
"The city as labor saving device"
Great cities, especially ones with dense, walkable mixed use neighborhoods are an economic boon to households because they save the precious commodity of time
Stories of economic progress appropriately revolve around major technological breakthroughs....More
"Capsule living: a ‘cheap’ option for young people flocking to LA"
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
"Are Micro-Apartments a Solution for Affordable Housing?"
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
"San Francisco’s housing crisis needs political will"
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
"How California Became America’s Housing Market Nightmare"
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
"Apple wants affordable housing in California—but laws stand in the way"
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
"It’s the End of California as We Know It"
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
"California Is Becoming Unlivable"
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
"California’s intense fire seasons expose poor planning decisions"
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
"Yes, even the Warriors get San Francisco sticker shock: ‘It doesn’t feel real’"
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
"Does walkability promote economic mobility?"
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
"IN MID-DENSITY ZONES, PORTLAND HAS A CHOICE: GARAGES OR LOW PRICES?"
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
"Group Living Gets More Affordable, in 30 Square Feet"
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
"Three Years And Zero Homeless Housing Units Later, LA’s Auditor Looks At Prop HHH Money"
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
"New Research Analyzes Affordable Rental Housing in High Opportunity Areas"
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
"Extreme micro-living in San Francisco"
Nob Hill, in the ritzy centre of San Francisco, was named in old-world slang after its wealthy, well-connected residents. Many people here are among the highest earners in the world....More
"The 4 Benefits Of Urban Agglomeration"
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
"Oakland A Top Nationwide ‘Capital Magnet,’ ULI Report Finds"
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
"CRE To Trump: Penalizing Homelessness Isn’t The Answer"
“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
"Parking Reform Will Save the City"
“…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
"Effects Of Housing Crisis, Homelessness Permeate State Of Living In The Bay Area"
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
"Beto Stumbles into a Good Point on Housing Policy"
…“The country as a whole would be better off if more Americans had more housing options close to their jobs”...More
"Why Can’t California Solve Its Housing Crisis?"
It’s the epicenter of the tech industry and the wealthiest, most progressive state in the union, but homelessness is surging — and no one can agree on how to fix it
"Smaller Apartments Are Doing Big Things For Developers"
In cities across the U.S., multifamily developers are finding that building less is doing more....More
"Meet six members of the San Francisco Business Times Leadership Trust"
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
"The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History"
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
"Oakland housing project with 1,000-plus units moves forward"
“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
"Google’s San Jose megaplan: Up to 25,000 new jobs, 5,000 homes"
…”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
"Massive New West Oakland Development With 32-Story Tower Moves Forward"
“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
"Huge apartment complex could break ground in West Oakland next spring"
“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
"1,000-unit West Oakland Project Gets Green Light"
“…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
"West Oakland apartment project with 1,000 units receives planning permit"
“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
"The Fastest-Growing U.S. Cities Aren’t What You Think"
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
"Homeowners: The True Gentle Gentrifiers"
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
"What Would Our Cities Look Like If We Took Our Climate Change Values Seriously?"
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
"Bay Area Housing Crisis: Smaller homes could provide relief for region"
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
"CityLab: Everything you think you know about gentrification is wrong"
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
"ONE DAY, ONE CITY, NO RELIEF"
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
"How ‘Developer’ Became Such a Dirty Word"
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
"SF’s $1,200-per-month bunk bed ‘pods’ sold out"
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
"At home at BART"
It’s called ‘transit-oriented development’ — building dense housing near and around public transportation. It’s one way to mitigate the Bay Area’s housing crisis, and it’s on the rise at BART stations....More
"Apartment oversupply puts squeeze on rents"
“…Sydney is in the grip of an apartment building boom, with 30,880 multi-unit dwellings built last year…
This oversupply has left some areas struggling to find tenants…”...More
"About those swelling suburbs"
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
"Young and Restless"
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
"This bunk bed is $1,200 a month, privacy not included"
“…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
"One reason for the high cost of housing in California may surprise you — overregulation"
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
"Too Much Parking ‘Poisons Our Cities,’ Shoup Says"
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
"Do Millennials Love Sprawl Now? Eh, Not Exactly"
The “return to the city” movement is dead — or so say some news outlets after data from Brookings showed population growth in the suburbs outpacing that of cities, especially among millennials....More
"With money secure, SF’s biggest supportive housing project is fully funded"
“…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
"Striding Toward Walkability? 5 Insights About Walkable Urban Places"
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
"Why building walkable cities is the key to economic success"
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
"The time tested value of walkability"
Smart Growth America/LOCUS today released Foot Traffic Ahead 2019, a report which ranks the 30 largest metros in the United States based on the percentage of office, retail, and rental multi-family space each has in their walkable urban places....More
A new report confirms the growing market for walkable places
George Washington University and Smart Growth America have a new report on the economic value of and growing market for walkable places....More
"Panel discussion: Making the most of qualified opportunity zones"
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
"San Francisco Makes Top 5 List Of Best Cities For Job Hunters"
“…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 Permanente to build giant, new $900 million Oakland headquarters"
“…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
"5 Reasons California’s Housing Costs Are So High"
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
"Americans Need More Neighbors"
“…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
"Don’t Blame Developers for the Housing Crisis, Blame the Homeowners"
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
"Every NIMBY’s Speech at a Public Hearing"
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
"West Oakland readies for massive, transit-oriented apartment complex"
“…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
"Another housing myth debunked: Neighborhood price effects of new apartments"
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
"‘It’s a miracle’: Helsinki’s radical solution to homelessness"
Finland is the only EU country where homelessness is falling. Its secret? Giving people homes as soon as they need them – unconditionally...More
"Unpacking myths about housing development in the Bay Area"
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’s answer to the housing shortage? Anything but housing"
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
"I Got Mine"
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
"Major Transit Village Development Coming to West Oakland"
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
"We Used to Do This Everywhere"
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
"An RV Camp Sprang Up Outside Google’s Headquarters. Now Mountain View Wants to Ban It"
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
"The affordable housing crisis, explained"
Blame policy, demographics, and market forces
The United States is facing an affordable housing crisis.
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
"Wealthy Bay Area suburbs could have a whole new look under California housing bill"
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
"Millennials Put Pressure on Tightening Housing Supply"
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
"Why Are Companies Ending Remote Work?"
With research suggesting that companies can save money, boost morale and attract top candidates by offering work-at-home options, why are some employers calling their telecommuters back into the main office?...More
"How to fix a Housing Crisis"
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
"You can’t judge housing affordability without knowing transportation costs"
“…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
"Who’s Really Buying Property in San Francisco?"
“…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
"$300 million West Oakland project revamps design, seeks approvals"
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
"SPECIAL REPORT: WHY TENANTS NEED SB50"
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
"Rapid Urbanization: The 5 Megatrends"
“…five fundamental forces shaping the future of society…”...More
"Tech boom driving reinvention of historic SF structures for office space"
“…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
"Gov. Newsom: Opportunity zone program can help spur real estate investment"
“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
"San Francisco rents declared highest worldwide—again"
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 rent hits new high at $3,690, most expensive in US"
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 Economic Implications of Housing Supply"
“…San Francisco represents the third type of housing market in which the price of housing is considerably above the minimum profitable production cost…”...More
"Oregon’s new rent control law is only a band-aid on the state’s housing woes"
“…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
"The Sketchiest Bay Area Apartments You Can Rent Now"
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
"S.F. Architecture Map: A changing city"
The treasures of our landscape are wide-ranging, from the obvious towers to such easy-to-miss gems as a snake-like laboratory building set against a forested hillside or an 1888 opera house reborn through a bootstrap restoration....More
"Opportunity Zones Funds Are The Next Big Thing In Real Estate"
“…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
"Wall Street, seeking big tax breaks, sets sights on distressed Main Streets"
“…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
"Editorial: Fighting a phony emergency, California should recognize a real one"
“…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
"Wall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets"
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
"The most cost-effective way to help the homeless is to give them homes"
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
"Where Is the Roommate Capital of the United States?"
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
"Rethinking The Tower"
“… 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
"State Treasurer: California Is Open For Business, Will Comply With Opportunity Zone Program"
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.
"Detailed Plans and Timing for Proposed BART Station Development"
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
"The Geography of Commuting and the ‘New Urban Crisis’"
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
"Why Technology Hasn’t Fixed the Housing Crisis"
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
"Why Won’t SF Embrace Tiny Homes for the Homeless?"
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
"How Oakland is planning for massive growth – San Francisco Business Times.pdf"
…”“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
"How Would San Francisco Develop Under an Open Market?"
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
"You’re going to need a bigger boat"
“Apartments mean less widespread disruption and demolition
The space efficiency of apartments is actually a boon if you’re looking to avoid widespread neighborhood disruption and minimize demolitions of existing homes…”...More
"Single-Family Zoning Is an Urban Dinosaur"
The city of Minneapolis just launched a quiet revolution when the city council voted to abolish single-family zoning. This is an excellent move. Cities around the country should follow suit....More
"Amid building boom, 1 in 10 Seattle apartments are empty, and rents are dropping"
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
"Can Building Housing Lower Rents?"
Seattle says “yes.”
If Seattle had not built lots of housing during the past few decades, its rents and home prices may have approached San Francisco levels of unaffordability....More
"Troubles not clipping wings of big tech yet"
“…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
"Steel Modules Speed Construction"
“…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
"2018 Was the Year of the YIMBY"
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
"The Insane Battle To Sabotage a New Apartment Building Explains San Francisco’s Housing Crisis"
Bob Tillman has spent nearly 5 years and $1.4 million trying to convert his laundromat into new housing....More
"Despite housing crisis, San Francisco’s number of new homes plummets in 2018"
“…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
"The limits of Nieman Marcus environmentalism"
Conspicuous non-consumption is really faux environmentalism; climate change is a social problem, not a personal one
We’re in the midst of the holiday shopping season, a potent reminder of how consumerism dominates so much of our lives....More
"How Cities Design Themselves"
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.”
"Minneapolis Strikes a Blow for Affordable Housing by Slashing Zoning Restrictions"
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
"PROPERTY LINES Can Minneapolis’s radical rezoning be a national model?"
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 Poised to Eliminate Parking Minimums Citywide"
San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to propose removing all parking minimums, with legislation introduced in October, Quartz reports....More
"Tech and SF are stuck with each other"
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
"Why Cities Must Tackle Single-Family Zoning"
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
"Why “Qualified Opportunity Zones” May Be the Next Hot Thing in Investing"
“Any gain you have during the hold period of the fund, that’s tax-free, which is pretty remarkable …”...More
"Housing, by any means necessary"
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
"RESIDENTIAL HOTELS: THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING OF YESTERYEAR"
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
"Exclusive: Big money investor dives into West Oakland apartment project"
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 apartments built for UC Berkeley students"
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
"UN report calls Bay Area homeless crisis human rights violation"
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
"Why walkable cities are good for the economy, according to a city planner"
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
"The Top 10 Opportunity Zones in the US"
“…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
"Bay Area far from progressive on housing"
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
"What does economic evidence tell us about the effects of rent control?"
“…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
"The questions not being asked about San Francisco’s homelessness problem"
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
"Co-living startup Starcity plans over 1,000 tiny apartments in SF, San Jose"
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
"Tokyo may have found the solution to soaring housing costs"
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
"Why cities need to embrace change"
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
"Thinking Inside the Big Box—Innovative Concepts to Combat the Homeless Crisis"
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
"The Link Between Urban Sprawl and Life Expectancy"
Study suggests Americans who live in compact counties live longer, on average, than those who reside in more sprawling ones...More
"Can this new luxury Oakland apartment complex snag $8,000 for a townhouse?"
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
"How Zoning Laws Are Holding Back America’s Cities"
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
"Does new construction lead to displacement?"
A careful study of evictions in San Francisco says “No.”
There’s a widespread belief among some neighborhood activists that building new housing triggers displacement....More
"Amid Affordable Housing Crisis, Micro-Housing Development Picks Up Steam"
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
"If you want less displacement, build more housing"
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
"Big City Housing Doesn’t Have to Be So Expensive"
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
"Can these pre-fab modular apartments help house the homeless?"
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
"This Is How People Can Actually Afford to Live in the Bay Area"
“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
"Prefab housing complex for UC Berkeley students goes up in four days"
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
"After backlash, developer tweaks plan for car-free 1,000 units at West Oakland BART"
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
"The Whole Elephant"
There’s an ancient Indian parable called the Blind Men and the Elephant. It was most famously introduced to the West in verse by 19th-century poet John Godfrey Saxe....More
"Portland rents are going down"
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
"The Cost of Rent in 140+ North American Cities"
Location, location, location.
Rental markets are heating up all over the continent, but there are specific cities that are feeling the brunt of this phenomenon....More
"We Don’t Need More Affordable Housing, We Need More Housing So It Will Be Affordable"
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
"American Cities Are Drowning in Car Storage"
Groundbreaking research presents credible estimates of the total parking supply in several American cities, and it’s not pretty....More
"How luxury housing becomes affordable"
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
"Our homes don’t need formal spaces"
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
"Study: It’s harder to escape high rents in SF than in any city on earth"
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
"Editorial: To help homeless, more housing is the answer"
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
"Considering SRO Housing in New York City and Beyond"
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
"Looking for an Apartment? It Is a Great Time to Rent"
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
"High cost of housing drives up homeless rates, UCLA study indicates"
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
"Prolific developer strikes again with more student housing projects in San Francisco and Berkeley"
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
"Number One in Poverty, California Isn’t Our Most Progressive State — It’s Our Most Racist One"
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
"How this East Bay housing developer is protecting construction sites against arson"
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
"Editorial: BART housing bill exposes lots of hypocrisy"
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
"Parking Is Sexy Now. Thank Donald Shoup."
In an interview, the guru of progressive parking policy reflects on his decades of research and writing, which transformed how cities look at the curb....More
"California housing is such a surreal nightmare, even Kafka would find it Kafkaesque"
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
"Student Housing Shortage Triggers New Builds"
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
"Letters to the Editor: Prioritize transit-oriented housing"
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
"These 95 Apartments Promised Affordable Rent in San Francisco. Then 6,580 People Applied."
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
"Editorial: The Bay Area’s housing crisis has become an emergency"
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
"L.A.’s Hottest New Real-Estate Amenity: Walkability"
In Los Angeles, a city known for its cars, high-end buyers increasingly want homes within steps of bars, restaurants and sports venues
"I Will Do Anything To End the Homelessness Except Build More Homes"
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
"Is Fruitvale gentrifying? Did it prevent displacement?"
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
"Our view: Construction unions should not stand in the way of housing for the homeless"
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
"There Will Be No Exit From California’s Housing Hell"
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
"No exit from housing hell"
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
"To solve affordability crisis, Bay Area housing stock must grow 50 percent in 20 years"
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
"Opinion: Real progressives would embrace Scott Wiener’s SB 827 housing bill"
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
"There’s no good alternative to building more homes in expensive cities"
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 acquires e-bike startup Jump, expanding transportation options"
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.
In San Francisco, less than 1% of homes on the market are affordable to the city’s schoolteachers, according to a new study from real-estate website Trulia....More
"Why America Has Ditched Homeownership to Become a Renter Nation"
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
"Editorial: California can’t spend way out of housing crisis"
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
"Architects around the globe are exploring “vertical land” to solve homelessness"
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
"America’s Progressive Developers, San Francisco Edition: Patrick Kennedy"
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 Extreme Geographic Inequality of High-Tech Venture Capital"
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
"Can Big Tech Be Tamed?"
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
"Welcome to Zucktown. Where Everything Is Just Zucky."
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
"Portland’s brouhaha over housing market economics 101"
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
"The myth of “forcing people out of their cars”"
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
"A Bold, Divisive Plan to Wean Californians From Cars"
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
"Cruel Musical Chairs (or Why Is Rent So High?)"
From Oct 2017
How does a growing, prospering city stay affordable for all kinds of people? At the most basic level, when there aren’t enough homes, prices will keep rising. And when there are plenty of homes, it helps prices stay down....More
"West Oakland proposal with 1,038 apartments and no parking sparks backlash"
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
"Micro-Units in DTLA"
Through advocacy, influence and engagement, Central City Association (CCA) enhances Downtown LA ’s vibrancy and increases investment in the region, and we strongly believe that micro-units can contribute to this effort....More
"All the crazy things happening in San Francisco because of its out-of-control housing prices"
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
"Irony Squared: Inclusionary Zoning Edition"
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
"You’re Not a Progressive If You’re Also a NIMBY"
Why housing is a liberal imperative.
Here in the liberal East Bay, we’re proud of our inclusiveness and openness. Most of us are disgusted by President Trump’s efforts to target undocumented immigrants and break apart families....More
"“Simplicity is the key to excellence” says Dieter Rams"
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
"Editorial: Silicon Valley still leads, but costs are catching up to innovation"
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
"How Seattle Is Winning the War on the Car Commute"
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
"So, You Think Housing in the East Bay Is Expensive and Scarce?"
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 High Cost of ‘Affordable Housing’ Mandates"
‘Inclusionary zoning’ laws create a vicious circle of higher prices and reduced demand.
As housing prices recover from the Great Recession, municipalities across America are considering laws that will raise the cost of homeownership....More
"98% of California jurisdictions fail to approve adequate housing, state report finds"
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.
"ASUC and city housing officials need to fix the housing crisis"
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
"Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wants 1,000 small homes to shelter homeless people"
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
"Yup, Rent Control Does More Harm Than Good"
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
"Young Adults Aren’t Fleeing Cities—Quite the Contrary"
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
"Cities continue to attract smart young adults"
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
"A little hope for a homeless solution: Tiny housing units sprout in the Bay Area"
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
"SF’s tech-space market is ‘on fire’ — and so are the rents"
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
"Are the young leaving cities?"
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
"As housing costs rise, so does California homelessness, report shows"
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
"For the first time in 7 years, there are more homeless in US"
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
"Getting the Most Out of California’s New Affordable Housing Funds [OpEd]"
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
"Go West: Projects are finally rising in long-neglected West Oakland"
(Click here for printable pdf version: https://www.panoramic.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Business-Times-Go-West.pdf
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.
"SF Chinatown tenants protest landlord they accuse of trying to push them out"
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
"What the Housing Market in America Needs Is More Options"
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.
"Everyone needs a good home"
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.
"The house that sold for nearly $800,000 over asking price speaks to the inequity of California"
…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
"40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today"
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, county eye ‘MicroPADs’ for transitional housing"
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
"VIDEO: Micro Homes could help Richmond homeless find places to live"
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 Touts ‘Micropads’ For Homeless, But Unsure Where To Put Them"
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
"ULI Case Studies: Oslo – Washington, D.C."
From October 2015
ULI Case Studies showcase innovative approaches and best practices in real estate and urban development....More
"While Homelessness Escalates In Los Angeles, A Push For Veterans Got Him Off The Street"
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
"The end of the housing supply debate (maybe)"
Slowly, the rhetorical battle is being won, as affordable housing advocates acknowledge more supply matters
There’s been a war of words about what kind of housing policies are needed to address the nation’s affordability problems....More
"Fires Aren’t the Only Threat to the California Dream"
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
"Stanford paper says rent control is driving up cost of housing in San Francisco"
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
"Winners and losers from rent control"
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
"Signs of the times"
“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
"Developer continues push for efficiency in affordable housing"
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
"Western SoMa Target, CVS and Starbucks Closer to Reality"
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
"Why is “affordable” housing so expensive to build?"
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
"Housing affordability: A supply-side tool kit for cities"
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
"The constancy of change in neighborhood populations"
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
"McNellis: Housing Crisis Band-Aids"
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
"Editorial: Housing costs are pushing millions of Californians into poverty"
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
"Rise of the yimbys: the angry millennials with a radical housing solution"
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
"How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state"
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
"Why Housing Is Unaffordable in California"
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 Governor Signs into Law Major Reforms to Housing Accountability Act"
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
"Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing"
“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
"How Local Housing Regulations Smother the U.S. Economy"
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
"Tiny Homes, Big Goals"
To house an ever-larger homeless population, San Francisco may have to think smaller.
Amid a growing homelessness crisis, San Francisco does not have enough supportive housing to accommodate everyone who needs it....More
"Why Can’t We Get Cities Right?"
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
"City chipmunks are happier, heavier and healthier than chipmunks in the wild, says researcher"
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
"Brad Pitt’s tiny home and other affordable space-saving miracles"
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
"SF added jobs eight times faster than housing since 2010"
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
"Yes, Red Tape and Fees Do Raise The Price of Housing"
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
"Housing Policy Lessons from Vienna, Part II"
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
"The right Rx for California’s housing problems"
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.
"Tiny houses: Big future, or big hype?"
Advocates and cities see challenges and opportunities in tiny homes’ path to the mainstream
“Of course, ‘tiny home’ is a term that has no meaning.” Dan George Dobrowolski firmly believes that the best spaces are small spaces....More
"A Welcome Home: Could the MicroPad solve Sacramento’s homelessness crisis?"
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
"Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!"
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
"YIMBY’S Flock To Bay Area"
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
"The New Urban Crisis Accelerated Inequality in Metro Cities"
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
"D.C.’s latest twist on upscale urban living: A dorm for grown-ups in a historic mansion"
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
"San Francisco’s Civil War"
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
"Supportive housing in short supply, but tiny homes may fill need"
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
"Oregon May Strip Portland of Its NIMBY Powers"
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
"Despite money and effort, homelessness in SF as bad as ever"
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
"The Unaffordable Urban Paradise"
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
"Lefty Cities Say They Want to Fight Climate Change but Won’t Take the Most Obvious Step to Do It"
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
"California and Bay Area housing set to get even pricier, says UCLA"
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
"I Fought the Market and the Market Won [UnintendedConsequences]"
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
"Downzoning won’t make housing cheaper"
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
"An unceasing housing crisis"
California’s housing crisis isn’t easing anytime soon....More
"Micro-apartments for the homeless"
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
"Berkeley Says It’s Standing Up to Trump, But It’s Actually Busy Arguing About Zucchini"
This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
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
"Think rent is high in California? Here’s why it probably will get higher"
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
"Zoned Out in the City: New York City’s Tale of Race and Displacement"
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
"The Clear and Present Danger of Supply Skepticism"
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
"Portland’s Green Dividend"
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
"Mtn. View panel: To house the “missing middle” allow smaller units, less parking"
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
"A wee house with a big mission: Solving homelessness in Orange County"
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 San Francisco, $160,000 gets you a storage locker"
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
"Group housing in the Tenderloin at $2,000 a month"
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
"Housingcare: How to Solve California’s Affordable Housing Crisis"
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
"MicroPAD: Stackable pods could help house homeless in SoCal"
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
"A New Philanthropy Paradigm: Joining Forces to Solve Homelessness in the Bay Area"
Miranda is one of an estimated 7,500 people who call San Francisco streets her home....More
"Homeless Crisis Intensifies"
Alameda County’s grim homeless count numbers underline the sense residents have had for the past several years: the homeless problem is indeed getting worse....More
"Reforming land use regulations"
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
"Many ideas, little consensus on housing crisis"
Housing panels reveal complex issues at heart of Bay Area’s housing shortage
Everyone seems to agree that the housing situation in the Bay Area has reached a crisis — but what to do about it remains as polarizing as ever....More
"Doing Something Real About Gentrification and Displacement"
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
"The NIMBY challenge"
The other day I wrote a Bloomberg View post about how California is waking up to the problem of NIMBYism – development restrictions that limit economic activity and make cities less affordable. Ground Zero for this struggle is the Bay Area, San Francisco in particular....More
"Return of the S.R.O., With a Twist"
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
"Millennials tell boomers ‘Yes In My Backyard’"
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
"Here’s how construction worker pay is dominating California’s housing debate"
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
"Confessions of a “Newbie” Developer"
I am an “accidental” developer of a 75-unit rental project in the Mission. I have spent 3 ½ years, $490,000 in development expenses, and $180,000 in application fees on my project without yet having a Planning Commission hearing date....More
"Low pay, high SF housing costs equal 1 homeless math teacher"
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
"Nonprofit pledges $100 million to aid SF’s chronically homeless"
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
"Prevailing wage would make California’s housing crisis worse"
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
"The 0.1 percent solution: Inclusionary zoning’s fatal scale problem"
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
"Bad Side of the Bay"
From January 2017
Bad Side of Bay by Alfred Twu
"How Seattle Is Dismantling a NIMBY Power Structure"
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 Bay Area residents support new housing, but older generation is more hostile"
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
"31 percent of SF millennials live with their parents"
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.)
"Berkeley’s New Progressive Majority Gets Serious About Homelessness Solutions"
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
"Unlike East Bay Neighbors, SF Isn’t Sold On Pre-Fab Micro-Housing For Homeless"
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
"Announcing The Winners Of The 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards"
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 proposes 1,400 micro-units near West Oakland BART"
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
"Is micro-unit housing a solution to California’s homelessness problem?"
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
"Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution"
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
"The Housing Crisis Is a Building Crisis"
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
"Urban myth busting: Why building more high income housing helps affordability"
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
"Eliminating Chronic Homelessness"
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
"Berkeley approves plan for fast-tracked 100 units for the homeless"
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 Exploring Prefab Micro-Units to House the Homeless"
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.
Panoramic Interests displayed one of these units, which the developer has branded “MicroPADs,” near Civic Park last month, inspiring curiosity in passing Berkeley residents....More
"To House the Homeless, Berkeley Considers Stackable ‘Microunits’"
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
"Berkeley Looks To Micro-Apartments For Homeless Housing"
Tiny apartments may be a solution to a big problem in the Bay Area....More
"Berkeley moves forward on building micro-units for the homeless"
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
"Let’s not demonize driving—just stop subsidizing it"
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
"Wave of the Future? Finding Happiness in 350 Square Feet"
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
"Popping the Housing Bubbles in the American Mind"
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
"The unexpected solution to America’s affordable housing crunch"
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
"Sacramento is turning to a stackable solution to address their lack of affordable housing"
The Micropad is looking to solve the homeless crisis with stackable living units....More
"Sacramento council member proposes homeless housing plan"
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
"City Considers MicroPAD Housing for Sacramento’s Homeless"
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
"Micro-Housing Boom: An Answer To The Affordable Housing Crisis?"
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
"This Micro-Apartment Movement Could Be The Answer To the Homelessness Crisis"
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
"The 9 worst U.S. cities to own a car"
… 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
"Tiny homes hold big housing aspirations"
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
"Developer hopes to build tiny prefab homes for the homeless, in Berkeley and beyond"
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
"New York Hotel Arrives in Pieces From Poland, Some Assembly Required"
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
"Oakland tenants live with uncertainty in tight market"
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