"PROPERTY LINES Can Minneapolis’s radical rezoning be a national model?"

Curbed | December 1, 2018

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.


"San Francisco Poised to Eliminate Parking Minimums Citywide"

Next City | November 20, 2018

San Francisco has become the first major U.S. city to propose removing all parking minimums, with legislation introduced in October, Quartz reports.


"Tech and SF are stuck with each other"

SF Chronicle | November 14, 2018

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…”


"Why Cities Must Tackle Single-Family Zoning"

CityLab | November 14, 2018

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.


"Why “Qualified Opportunity Zones” May Be the Next Hot Thing in Investing"

Barrons | November 10, 2018

“Any gain you have during the hold period of the fund, that’s tax-free, which is pretty remarkable …”


"Housing, by any means necessary"

SF Chronicle | November 4, 2018

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.



The Market Urbanism Report | October 31, 2018

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.


"Exclusive: Big money investor dives into West Oakland apartment project"

SF Business Times | October 30, 2018

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.


"Modular apartments built for UC Berkeley students"

China Daily | October 30, 2018

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.


"UN report calls Bay Area homeless crisis human rights violation"

SF Curbed | October 26, 2018

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.


"Why walkable cities are good for the economy, according to a city planner"

Vox | October 26, 2018

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.


"The Top 10 Opportunity Zones in the US"

Fundrise | October 25, 2018

“…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.


"Bay Area far from progressive on housing"

SF Chronicle | October 19, 2018

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?


"What does economic evidence tell us about the effects of rent control?"

The Brookings Institute | October 18, 2018

“…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…”


"The questions not being asked about San Francisco’s homelessness problem"

SF Business Times | October 18, 2018

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.


"Co-living startup Starcity plans over 1,000 tiny apartments in SF, San Jose"

SF Chronicle | October 17, 2018

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.


"Tokyo may have found the solution to soaring housing costs"

Vox | October 16, 2018

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.


"Why cities need to embrace change"

City Obervatory | October 8, 2018

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.


"Thinking Inside the Big Box—Innovative Concepts to Combat the Homeless Crisis"

Commercial Observer | October 8, 2018

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.


"The Link Between Urban Sprawl and Life Expectancy"

The Wall Street Journal | September 16, 2018

Study suggests Americans who live in compact counties live longer, on average, than those who reside in more sprawling ones


"Can this new luxury Oakland apartment complex snag $8,000 for a townhouse?"

SF Business Times | September 13, 2018

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.


"How Zoning Laws Are Holding Back America’s Cities"

Institute for Humane Studies | September 12, 2018

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.


"Does new construction lead to displacement?"

City Observatory | September 11, 2018

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.


"Amid Affordable Housing Crisis, Micro-Housing Development Picks Up Steam"

Commercial Observer | September 4, 2018

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.


"If you want less displacement, build more housing"

City Observatory | August 27, 2018

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.


"Big City Housing Doesn’t Have to Be So Expensive"

Bloomberg | August 27, 2018

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.


"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"

CNBC | August 23, 2018

… “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.


"Can these pre-fab modular apartments help house the homeless?"

Fast Company | August 22, 2018

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.


"This Is How People Can Actually Afford to Live in the Bay Area"

Vice | August 20, 2018

“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.


"Prefab housing complex for UC Berkeley students goes up in four days"

Berkeleyside | August 2, 2018

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.


"After backlash, developer tweaks plan for car-free 1,000 units at West Oakland BART"

SF Business Times | August 1, 2018

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.


"The Whole Elephant"

Strong Towns | July 27, 2018

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.


"Portland rents are going down"

City Observatory | July 23, 2018

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.


"The Cost of Rent in 140+ North American Cities"

Visual Capitalist | July 20, 2018

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.


"We Don’t Need More Affordable Housing, We Need More Housing So It Will Be Affordable"

Forbes | July 16, 2018

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.


"American Cities Are Drowning in Car Storage"

StreetsBlog USA | July 12, 2018

Groundbreaking research presents credible estimates of the total parking supply in several American cities, and it’s not pretty.


"How luxury housing becomes affordable"

City Observatory | July 11, 2018

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.


"Our homes don’t need formal spaces"

Curbed | July 11, 2018

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.


"Study: It’s harder to escape high rents in SF than in any city on earth"

SF Gate | July 5, 2018

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.


"Editorial: To help homeless, more housing is the answer"

SF Chronicle | June 28, 2018

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.


"Considering SRO Housing in New York City and Beyond"

HUD User | June 27, 2018

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.


"Looking for an Apartment? It Is a Great Time to Rent"

The Wall Street Journal | June 27, 2018

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.


"High cost of housing drives up homeless rates, UCLA study indicates"

Los Angeles Times | June 13, 2018

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.


"Prolific developer strikes again with more student housing projects in San Francisco and Berkeley"

SF Business Times | June 5, 2018

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.


"Number One in Poverty, California Isn’t Our Most Progressive State — It’s Our Most Racist One"

Forbes | May 31, 2018

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.


"How this East Bay housing developer is protecting construction sites against arson"

SF Business Times | May 31, 2018

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.


"Editorial: BART housing bill exposes lots of hypocrisy"

SF Chronicle | May 31, 2018

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.


"Parking Is Sexy Now. Thank Donald Shoup."

City Lab | May 30, 2018

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.


"California housing is such a surreal nightmare, even Kafka would find it Kafkaesque"

The Sacramento Bee | May 24, 2018

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.


"Student Housing Shortage Triggers New Builds"

Globe St | May 23, 2018

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.


"Letters to the Editor: Prioritize transit-oriented housing"

SF Chronicle | May 19, 2018

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.


"These 95 Apartments Promised Affordable Rent in San Francisco. Then 6,580 People Applied."

The New York Times | May 12, 2018

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.


"Editorial: The Bay Area’s housing crisis has become an emergency"

SF Chronicle | May 11, 2018

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.


"L.A.’s Hottest New Real-Estate Amenity: Walkability"

Wall Street Journal | May 10, 2018

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"

McSweeney's | May 9, 2018

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.


"Is Fruitvale gentrifying? Did it prevent displacement?"

City Observatory | May 8, 2018

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.


"Our view: Construction unions should not stand in the way of housing for the homeless"

Biz Journals | May 4, 2018

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?


"There Will Be No Exit From California’s Housing Hell"

CityLab | May 4, 2018

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—


"No exit from housing hell"

City Observatory | May 3, 2018

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.”


"To solve affordability crisis, Bay Area housing stock must grow 50 percent in 20 years"

SF Examiner | April 29, 2018

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.


"Opinion: Real progressives would embrace Scott Wiener’s SB 827 housing bill"

Berkeleyside | April 20, 2018

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.


"There’s no good alternative to building more homes in expensive cities"

Vox | April 20, 2018

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.


"Uber acquires e-bike startup Jump, expanding transportation options"

SF Chronicle | April 9, 2018

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.


"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"

Yahoo Finance | April 9, 2018

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.


"Why America Has Ditched Homeownership to Become a Renter Nation"

Bigger Pockets | April 8, 2018

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?


"Editorial: California can’t spend way out of housing crisis"

SF Chronicle | April 6, 2018

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.


"Architects around the globe are exploring “vertical land” to solve homelessness"

Digital Trends | April 4, 2018

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.


"America’s Progressive Developers, San Francisco Edition: Patrick Kennedy"

Forbes | April 1, 2018

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.


"The Extreme Geographic Inequality of High-Tech Venture Capital"

City Lab | March 27, 2018

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.


"Can Big Tech Be Tamed?"

San Francisco Magazine | March 22, 2018

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.


"Welcome to Zucktown. Where Everything Is Just Zucky."

The New York Times | March 21, 2018

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.


"Portland’s brouhaha over housing market economics 101"

City Observatory | March 19, 2018

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.


"The myth of “forcing people out of their cars”"

Vox Media | March 19, 2018

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.


"A Bold, Divisive Plan to Wean Californians From Cars"

The New York Times | March 16, 2018

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.


"Cruel Musical Chairs (or Why Is Rent So High?)"

Sightline Institute | March 16, 2018

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.


"West Oakland proposal with 1,038 apartments and no parking sparks backlash"

SF Business Times | March 11, 2018

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.


"Micro-Units in DTLA"

Central City Association of Los Angeles | March 8, 2018

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.


"All the crazy things happening in San Francisco because of its out-of-control housing prices"

Business Insider | March 6, 2018

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.


"Irony Squared: Inclusionary Zoning Edition"

City Observatory | March 2, 2018

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.


"You’re Not a Progressive If You’re Also a NIMBY"

East Bay Express | February 28, 2018

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.


"“Simplicity is the key to excellence” says Dieter Rams"

Dezeen | February 24, 2018

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.


"Editorial: Silicon Valley still leads, but costs are catching up to innovation"

SF Chronicle | February 23, 2018

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.


"San Francisco Man Has Spent 4 Years and $1 Million Trying to Get Approval to Turn His Own Laundromat Into an Apartment Building"

Reason Foundation | February 21, 2018

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.


"How Seattle Is Winning the War on the Car Commute"

City Lab | February 16, 2018

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.


"So, You Think Housing in the East Bay Is Expensive and Scarce?"

East Bay Express | February 14, 2018

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.


"The High Cost of ‘Affordable Housing’ Mandates"

The Wall Street Journal | February 12, 2018

‘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.


"98% of California jurisdictions fail to approve adequate housing, state report finds"

The Orange County Register | February 1, 2018

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.


"L.A. homeless crisis grows despite political promises, many speeches and millions of dollars. How do we fix this?"

Los Angeles Times | January 28, 2018

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"

The Daily Californian | January 23, 2018

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,


"Perspectives: Practitioners Weigh in on Drivers of Rising Housing Construction Costs in San Francisco"

Terner Center-UC Berkeley | January 23, 2018

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.


"Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg wants 1,000 small homes to shelter homeless people"

The Sacramento Bee | January 23, 2018

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.


"Yup, Rent Control Does More Harm Than Good"

Bloomberg View | January 18, 2018

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.


"Unpacking the Bay Area housing market: Why does the inventory keep shrinking and will prices ever (gulp) go down?"

The Mercury News | January 11, 2018

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?


"Young Adults Aren’t Fleeing Cities—Quite the Contrary"

Planetizen.com | January 8, 2018

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.


"Cities continue to attract smart young adults"

City Observatory | January 2, 2018

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.


"A little hope for a homeless solution: Tiny housing units sprout in the Bay Area"

SF Chronicle | December 26, 2017

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.


"SF’s tech-space market is ‘on fire’ — and so are the rents"

SF Chronicle | December 19, 2017

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.


"Are the young leaving cities?"

City Observatory | December 18, 2017

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.


"As housing costs rise, so does California homelessness, report shows"

SF Chronicle | December 7, 2017

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.


"For the first time in 7 years, there are more homeless in US"

Associated Press | December 6, 2017

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.


"Getting the Most Out of California’s New Affordable Housing Funds [OpEd]"

The Bay City Beacon | December 5, 2017

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.


"Go West: Projects are finally rising in long-neglected West Oakland"

SF Business Times | November 30, 2017

(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"

SF Chronicle | November 29, 2017

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.


"What the Housing Market in America Needs Is More Options"

Smithsonian | November 20, 2017

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"

Home One | November 19, 2017

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"

The Los Angeles Times | November 18, 2017

…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.


"40 Percent of the Buildings in Manhattan Could Not Be Built Today"

The New York Times | November 18, 2017

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.


"Richmond, county eye ‘MicroPADs’ for transitional housing"

The Mercury News | November 15, 2017

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.”


"VIDEO: Micro Homes could help Richmond homeless find places to live"

KRON 4 | November 14, 2017

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.


"Richmond Touts ‘Micropads’ For Homeless, But Unsure Where To Put Them"

KPIX 5 | November 14, 2017

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.


"ULI Case Studies: Oslo – Washington, D.C."

Urban Land Institute | November 14, 2017

From October 2015

ULI Case Studies showcase innovative approaches and best practices in real estate and urban development.


"While Homelessness Escalates In Los Angeles, A Push For Veterans Got Him Off The Street"

NPR | November 14, 2017

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.


"The end of the housing supply debate (maybe)"

City Observatory | November 8, 2017

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.


"Fires Aren’t the Only Threat to the California Dream"

The New York Times | November 3, 2017

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.


"Stanford paper says rent control is driving up cost of housing in San Francisco"

SF Curbed | November 3, 2017

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.


"Winners and losers from rent control"

City Observatory | October 30, 2017

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.


"Signs of the times"

City Observatory | October 26, 2017

“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.


"Developer continues push for efficiency in affordable housing"

Portland Tribune | October 20, 2017

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.


"Western SoMa Target, CVS and Starbucks Closer to Reality"

SocketSite | October 18, 2017

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.


"Why is “affordable” housing so expensive to build?"

City Observatory | October 18, 2017

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.


"Housing affordability: A supply-side tool kit for cities"

McKinsey Global Institute | October 16, 2017

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.


"The constancy of change in neighborhood populations"

City Observatory | October 9, 2017

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.


"McNellis: Housing Crisis Band-Aids"

The Registry | October 7, 2017

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.


"Editorial: Housing costs are pushing millions of Californians into poverty"

SF Chronicle | October 3, 2017

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.


"Rise of the yimbys: the angry millennials with a radical housing solution"

The Guardian | October 2, 2017

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.


"How sky-high housing costs make California the poorest state"

San Francisco Chronicle | October 1, 2017

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 than 20 percent of its residents struggle to make ends meet, according to recently released census figures. That’s nearly 8 million people.


"Why Housing Is Unaffordable in California"

The Wall Street Journal | September 29, 2017

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.


"California Governor Signs into Law Major Reforms to Housing Accountability Act"

Holland and Knight | September 29, 2017

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.


"Yes, You Can Build Your Way to Affordable Housing"

Sightline Institute | September 21, 2017

“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.


"How Local Housing Regulations Smother the U.S. Economy"

New York Times | September 6, 2017

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.


"Tiny Homes, Big Goals"

The Bay City Beacon | September 6, 2017

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.


"Why Can’t We Get Cities Right?"

The New York Times | September 4, 2017

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.


"City chipmunks are happier, heavier and healthier than chipmunks in the wild, says researcher"

CBC News | August 30, 2017

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.


"Brad Pitt’s tiny home and other affordable space-saving miracles"

Inman | August 16, 2017

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.


"SF added jobs eight times faster than housing since 2010"

Curbed San Francisco | July 26, 2017

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.


"Yes, Red Tape and Fees Do Raise The Price of Housing"

Sightline Institute | July 25, 2017

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.


"Housing Policy Lessons from Vienna, Part II"

City Observatory | July 24, 2017

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.


"The right Rx for California’s housing problems"

Fox and Hounds | July 24, 2017

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!


"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."

Redit | July 24, 2017

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?"

Curbed | July 18, 2017

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.


"A Welcome Home: Could the MicroPad solve Sacramento’s homelessness crisis?"

SacTown Magazine | July 17, 2017

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.


"Stop Dissin’ the Housing Market—Set it Free!"

Fox and Hounds | July 14, 2017

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.


"YIMBY’S Flock To Bay Area"

Beyond Chron | July 11, 2017

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.


"The New Urban Crisis Accelerated Inequality in Metro Cities"

NBC News | July 10, 2017

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.


"D.C.’s latest twist on upscale urban living: A dorm for grown-ups in a historic mansion"

Washington Post | July 7, 2017

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.


"California lawmakers have tried for 50 years to fix the state’s housing crisis. Here’s why they’ve failed"

LA Times | June 29, 2017

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.


"San Francisco’s Civil War"

Slate | June 28, 2017

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.


"Supportive housing in short supply, but tiny homes may fill need"

SF Chronicle | June 27, 2017

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.

What we reported: The best way to pull the hardest-core, most visible homeless people off the streets of San Francisco is to provide them with supportive housing — rooms or apartments in buildings with counselors on-site to shepherd them through the addictions, mental or other afflictions that had ruined their lives. But the city doesn’t have enough of that kind of housing.


"Oregon May Strip Portland of Its NIMBY Powers"

City Lab | June 27, 2017

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.


"Despite money and effort, homelessness in SF as bad as ever"

SF Chronicle | June 26, 2017

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.


"The Unaffordable Urban Paradise"

MIT Technology Review | June 25, 2017

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,


"Lefty Cities Say They Want to Fight Climate Change but Won’t Take the Most Obvious Step to Do It"

Slate | June 24, 2017

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.


"California and Bay Area housing set to get even pricier, says UCLA"

SF Curbed | June 22, 2017

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.


"I Fought the Market and the Market Won [UnintendedConsequences]"

The Bay City Beacon | June 20, 2017

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.


"Downzoning won’t make housing cheaper"

City Observatory | June 19, 2017

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.


"An unceasing housing crisis"

SF Chronicle | June 19, 2017

California’s housing crisis isn’t easing anytime soon.

That’s the message from the latest Anderson forecast, a quarterly economic analysis from UCLA…

Streamlining the state’s regressive zoning and development laws in exchange for the housing we need is not an easy compromise for state legislators, but it’s a wise one. The alternative is the status quo — a housing crisis that’s pricing out more and more Californians.


"Micro-apartments for the homeless"

Abitare | June 19, 2017

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.


"Berkeley Says It’s Standing Up to Trump, But It’s Actually Busy Arguing About Zucchini"

Mother Jones | June 19, 2017

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.


"Think rent is high in California? Here’s why it probably will get higher"

The Sacramento Bee | June 19, 2017

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,”


"Zoned Out in the City: New York City’s Tale of Race and Displacement"

Poverty and Race Research Action Council | June 16, 2017

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.


"The Clear and Present Danger of Supply Skepticism"

Poverty and Race Research Action Council | June 16, 2017

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.


"Portland’s Green Dividend"

City Observatory | June 7, 2017

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.


"Mtn. View panel: To house the “missing middle” allow smaller units, less parking"

Los Altos Town Crier | June 7, 2017

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


"A wee house with a big mission: Solving homelessness in Orange County"

The OC Register | June 5, 2017

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.


"In San Francisco, $160,000 gets you a storage locker"

Yahoo Finance | June 5, 2017

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.


"​Group housing in the Tenderloin at $2,000 a month​"

SF Chronicle | June 3, 2017

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.

The venture-capital-backed startup Starcity wants to convert the existing commercial building at 229 Ellis St. into 56 units of group housing.


"Housingcare: How to Solve California’s Affordable Housing Crisis"

Berkeley Public Review | June 2, 2017

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.


"MicroPAD: Stackable pods could help house homeless in SoCal"

Fox 11 | May 31, 2017

– 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.


"A New Philanthropy Paradigm: Joining Forces to Solve Homelessness in the Bay Area"

Gentry | May 29, 2017

Miranda is one of an estimated 7,500 people who call San Francisco streets her home.


"Homeless Crisis Intensifies"

SF Chronicle | May 29, 2017

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.


"Reforming land use regulations"

Brookings | May 29, 2017

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.


"Many ideas, little consensus on housing crisis"

Mountain View Voice | May 23, 2017

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.


"Doing Something Real About Gentrification and Displacement"

The Stranger | May 22, 2017

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.


"The NIMBY challenge"

Noahpinion | May 20, 2017

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.


"Return of the S.R.O., With a Twist"

The New York Times | May 19, 2017

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.


"Millennials tell boomers ‘Yes In My Backyard’"

ABC News | May 18, 2017

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.


"Here’s how construction worker pay is dominating California’s housing debate"

Los Angeles Times | May 12, 2017

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.


"Confessions of a “Newbie” Developer"

The Bay City Beacon | May 9, 2017

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.


"Low pay, high SF housing costs equal 1 homeless math teacher"

SF Chronicle | May 9, 2017

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.

In a shocking indication of just how bad San Francisco’s teacher housing situation is, Cheeks is homeless. She’s a professional with a teaching credential and master’s degree in one of the richest cities in the world who cannot find housing.


"Nonprofit pledges $100 million to aid SF’s chronically homeless"

SF Chronicle | May 7, 2017

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.


"Prevailing wage would make California’s housing crisis worse"

Pacific Research Institute | May 2, 2017

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.


"The 0.1 percent solution: Inclusionary zoning’s fatal scale problem"

City Observatory | April 28, 2017

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.


"Bad Side of the Bay"

The Bay City Beacon | April 13, 2017

From January 2017

Bad Side of Bay by Alfred Twu



"How Seattle Is Dismantling a NIMBY Power Structure"

Next City | April 3, 2017

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.


"Younger Bay Area residents support new housing, but older generation is more hostile"

SF Business Times | April 2, 2017

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.


"31 percent of SF millennials live with their parents"

SF Curbed | March 23, 2017

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"

East Bay Express | March 22, 2017

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.


"Unlike East Bay Neighbors, SF Isn’t Sold On Pre-Fab Micro-Housing For Homeless"

Hoodline | March 22, 2017

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.


"Announcing The Winners Of The 2017 World Changing Ideas Awards"

Fast Company | March 20, 2017

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.


"Developer proposes 1,400 micro-units near West Oakland BART"

SF Business Times | March 6, 2017

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.


"Is micro-unit housing a solution to California’s homelessness problem?"

Inman | March 2, 2017

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.


"Reinventing construction through a productivity revolution"

McKinsey&Company | February 28, 2017

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.


"The Housing Crisis Is a Building Crisis"

The Atlantic CITYLAB | February 28, 2017

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.


"Urban myth busting: Why building more high income housing helps affordability"

City Observatory | February 20, 2017

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.


"Eliminating Chronic Homelessness"

mySidewalk | February 19, 2017

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.


"Berkeley approves plan for fast-tracked 100 units for the homeless"

SF Curbed | February 17, 2017

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.


"Reinventing the Residential Hotel: One Way to Help Solve the Housing Crisis Affecting San Francisco and other American Cities"

Medium-Panoramic Interests | February 17, 2017

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.


"Berkeley Exploring Prefab Micro-Units to House the Homeless"

NBC Bay Area | February 17, 2017

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.


"To House the Homeless, Berkeley Considers Stackable ‘Microunits’"

The Atlantic CITYLAB | February 17, 2017

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.


"Berkeley Looks To Micro-Apartments For Homeless Housing"

KPIX 5 | February 16, 2017

Tiny apartments may be a solution to a big problem in the Bay Area.


"Berkeley moves forward on building micro-units for the homeless"

Berkeleyside | February 16, 2017

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.


"Let’s not demonize driving—just stop subsidizing it"

City Observatory | February 16, 2017

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.


"Wave of the Future? Finding Happiness in 350 Square Feet"

Houzz | February 10, 2017

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.


"Popping the Housing Bubbles in the American Mind"

The New York Times | February 10, 2017

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.


"The unexpected solution to America’s affordable housing crunch"

Quartz Media | February 8, 2017

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”),


"Sacramento is turning to a stackable solution to address their lack of affordable housing"

WCBV | February 1, 2017

The Micropad is looking to solve the homeless crisis with stackable living units.


"Sacramento council member proposes homeless housing plan"

KCRA | January 30, 2017

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.


"City Considers MicroPAD Housing for Sacramento’s Homeless"

Fox 40 | January 30, 2017

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.


"Micro-Housing Boom: An Answer To The Affordable Housing Crisis?"

Bisnow | January 27, 2017

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.


"This Micro-Apartment Movement Could Be The Answer To the Homelessness Crisis"

Collective Hub | January 26, 2017

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,


"The 9 worst U.S. cities to own a car"

CBS News | January 26, 2017

… 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.


"Tiny homes hold big housing aspirations"

The Daily Californian | January 19, 2017

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.


"Developer hopes to build tiny prefab homes for the homeless, in Berkeley and beyond"

Berkeleyside | January 18, 2017

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.


"New York Hotel Arrives in Pieces From Poland, Some Assembly Required"

The Wall Street Journal | January 8, 2017

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.


"Oakland tenants live with uncertainty in tight market"

SF Chronicle | January 7, 2017

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.


"Innovative Solution to Fight Homelessness in San Francisco"

Jetson Green | January 5, 2017

The problem of homelessness is a real issue across the globe, and providing adequate housing solutions for these poor people is a very demanding task. San Francisco might soon get an innovative solution to the problem though, in the form of modular housing units designed and built by the local company Panoramic Interests.


"Stackable apartments offer a tiny solution to homelessness"

New Atlas | December 28, 2016

Homelessness is as big an issue in San Francisco as any other major city, but local firm Panoramic Interests has designed a self-contained stackable tiny apartment that it promotes as a viable solution. MicroPAD modular dwellings comprise a total floorspace of just 160 sq ft (14 sq m), but include a kitchenette, sleeping area, and bathroom.


"The MicroPAD: Innovative Housing for the Homeless"

Panoramic Interests | December 28, 2016

To address the growing problem of homelessness in our cities, Panoramic Interests has developed the MicroPAD (Prefab Affordable Dwelling). The MicroPAD is designed to be installed quickly and economically on large and small sites, in a wide variety of building configurations.

The MicroPAD modules are built in a factory and then stacked like blocks to create multi-story, multi-unit buildings that are indistinguishable from conventional construction. Buildings constructed from MicroPAD modules meet all seismic and safety codes.


"San Francisco Man Wants To End Homelessness With Functional MicroPAD Units"

True Activist | December 21, 2016

These 160-foot apartments could be the solution to housing San Francisco’s homeless population of 7,000.

San Francisco might be a city of class, culture, and progression but its homeless population is through the roof. At any given moment, there are approximately 7,000 individuals living on the city’s streets, according to statistics gathered by volunteers in 2015.


"San Francisco man wants to end homelessness with tiny MicroPAD mini homes"

Inhabitat | December 21, 2016

In San Francisco, approximately 7,000 people live on the street without a permanent home, and one man believes he has a solution. Patrick Kennedy and his team at Panoramic Interests developed MicroPAD, a tiny, prefabricated housing unit that can be used alone or stacked into 200-unit complexes to provide efficient shelter for those who currently have none.


"Can These Micro-Apartments Help End San Francisco’s Homelessness Crisis?"

Fast CoExist | December 19, 2016

Micro Pad is a high-design, prefab 160-square-foot apartment. The company behind it hopes to put a building of them together so the city can help give shelter to some of its more than 7,000 homeless.

If you lie on a bed inside one of these new micro-apartments, your head is next to the kitchen counter, and if you sit up, you can reach out and touch the desk on the other side of the room. The entire apartment, at 8 feet by 20 feet, could squeeze into a long parking space.


"Sacramento City Councilman Proposes Portable Solution For Homeless Crisis"

CBS | December 19, 2016

The steel-framed units are 160 square feet and include a bathroom, closet, kitchen, and bed.

"The Tent Cities of San Francisco"

New York Times | December 17, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO — California may be the new capital of American liberalism, but everybody who likes the sound of that ought to consider the fate of three recent San Francisco ballot initiatives.

The first, Proposition Q, aimed to eliminate homeless people’s unsightly tent camps by banning sidewalk tents and empowering the police to confiscate them with 24 hours notice so long as occupants were offered beds in shelters.


"SoMa developer dodges local laws, upzones new building automatically"

SF Curbed | December 13, 2016

San Francisco jealously guards its right to upzone new projects. But the catch is, in the majority of cases it’s not technically up to us.

Under a ruling in a 2013 court case with Napa County, developers in any California city automatically qualify for a 35 percent bonus in their number of units, provided that at least 11 percent of homes in the building are priced as affordable housing.


"The State Density Bonus Has Arrived in San Francisco"

SF HAC | December 12, 2016

On Thursday December 8th, the San Francisco Planning Commission approved the first market-rate housing project to apply the state density bonus law. The vote was 5-1. Commissioner Melgar was the dissenting vote and Commissioner Moore was absent. This marks a tremendous win for housing advocates who have pushed for this law’s implementation over many years.


"First S.F. housing project gets bigger using state law, prompting backlash"

SF Business Times | December 12, 2016

A project with 200 micro-units has been approved, the first time a San Francisco housing project has used the state’s density bonus program, which allows developments with affordable housing to rise 35 percent higher.


"A Rooming House for Career-Minded New York Women"

The New York Times | December 9, 2016

Sarah Berkes was delighted, if also very surprised, to find that a place like the Webster Apartments on West 34th Street still existed in New York City. The stately rooming house for “career minded professional women” where she has lived for a little over a year is one of the few of its kind left in the city.


"Roommates Divide and Conquer With Temporary Walls"

The New York Times | December 9, 2016

When four young professionals share a one-bedroom, one-bath apartment, a strategy for the morning routine is a necessity.

Katherine Neal, who works in sales, and Annie Jackson, who works in public relations, take the first shifts in the bathroom. Ms. Neal gets in there at 6:45 a.m. and has 15 minutes before it’s Ms. Jackson’s turn.


"Proposed state law tells cities: Build more, or we’ll do it for you"

SF Curbed | December 9, 2016

San Francisco’s new state senator pitches housing bill mere hours into his term

Every California city is required to build a certain amount of housing to meet the state’s overall housing goals.

And a lot of places just plain seem to ignore the mandate. Earlier this year, former Palo Alto Planning Commission Kate Downing opined that the Regional Housing Needs Assessments lack so much as a built-in slap on the wrist.


"Designing Better Microapartments—By Living In Them"

Fast Company | December 7, 2016

A proponent of small living shows off his latest tiny apartment, and what his next space will be.

With 26,000 people per square mile, Manhattan is one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. Doing more with less space is a necessity of life and that often comes with compromises—no spare rooms, for instance, and a constant dearth of storage.


"Calthorpe Associates Letter to SF Planning Commission in support of CITYSPACES 333"

Calthorpe Associates | December 6, 2016

It is no mystery that the Bay Area and San Francisco has a housing crisis. But the real challenges are more specific than just affordability needs and workforce housing demands. The real challenges are to find urban environments that can absorb and benefit from infill and redevelopment. In short, we need to place housing in walkable, mixed-use and transit rich places like SF if we are to structurally address our most significant social and environmental challenges.


"S.F. homelessness: Still a long way to go"

SF Chronicle | December 6, 2016

Holiday visitors to San Francisco who encounter people sleeping on the streets may be left to wonder: “Why aren’t city leaders doing something about this?” Actually, they are — and they have been laying the groundwork for some sustainable solutions. But the intensified effort in recent months has not been without its frustration and setbacks.


"MicroPADs and Microliving: The Big Impact of Living Small"

Center for Creative Land Recycling | December 6, 2016


"California’s High Housing Costs: Causes and Consequences"

Legislatice Analyst's Office-CA | December 6, 2016

From March 2015

California’s Home Prices and Rents Higher Than Just About Anywhere Else. Housing in California has long been more expensive than most of the rest of the country. Beginning in about 1970, however, the gap between California’s home prices and those in the rest country started to widen. Between 1970 and 1980, California home prices went from 30 percent above U.S. levels to more than 80 percent higher.


"Cost of housing is a drag for jobs"

SF Curbed | December 6, 2016

Dearth of affordable homes pinches job market says consulting firm

The consulting firm Beacon Economics assessed the state of the Bay Area’s financial bearings on Monday. They conclude that the boom times are quieting to an echo, thanks in part to housing costs.


"The housing crisis has cost us lives now in Oakland"

SF Chronicle | December 6, 2016

So far, at least 36 people are known dead after a fire swept through the artist community in East Oakland known as the Ghost Ship. The grief and sense of shock in Oakland is palpable. For me, a Bay Area attorney and artist with friends at or near the Ghost Ship blaze this weekend, this terrible event hits close to home.


"Stackable pods could help house the homeless"

CNN Tech | December 5, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) – Small, stackable pods might be one solution to San Francisco’s homeless crisis.

At just 160 square feet, the micro-apartments are tiny, but for those who are homeless in the Bay Area, they could be life changing.

Almost 7,000 people are homeless in San Francisco.


"Oakland warehouse fire is product of housing crisis, say artists and advocates"

The Guardian | December 5, 2016

At least 36 died at a ‘Ghost Ship’ party but survivors are among those who say communal spaces should be cherished in a city where rents have gone sky-high

A devastating warehouse fire that killed at least 36 people has shone a harsh light on a housing crisis in Oakland and its consequences for artists and low-income residents.


"Stackable micro-apartments for the homeless"

CNN | December 5, 2016

Developers in San Francisco have created a line of stackable pods as a potential solution to the city’s overwhelming homelessness crisis.


"Aging hotels, chronic problems"

SF Chronicle | December 5, 2016

Most S.F. housing for the homeless is a century old; even refurbished, severe health and safety issues can abound.

For many homeless people who land a spot within San Francisco’s network of 6,000 supportive housing rooms and apartments, being indoors means life gets better. No more nights shivering under blankets, getting beaten up in the street. On-site access to food, health care and counseling. Stability.


"Use new tools to tackle homelessness"

The Sacramento Bee | December 2, 2016

Across California, local initiatives are generating funding to deal with homelessness, including a sales tax increase in San Francisco and a bond measure in Los Angeles.

The persistence of homelessness in California is a disgrace.

Thankfully, our state’s leaders are taking bold steps to address the problem. Gov. Jerry Brown recently approved a $2 billion bond that will pay for housing and services for those with mental illnesses on our streets.


"Density + Connection = Creativity & Progress"

Brandon Donnelly | December 1, 2016

This morning I came across the below graph in a Medium article by Eric Jaffe of Sidewalk Labs. It is taken from a research paper by Elisabeth Ruth Perlman called, Dense Enough To Be Brilliant: Patents, Urbanization, and Transportation in Nineteenth Century America.


"Living Small"

Oakland Magazine | December 1, 2016

From Nov 10, 2016

Oakland’s first micro apartments are coming to the Nook on Valdez.

The first tenants should be moving into the Nook on Valdez—Oakland’s first micro dwelling—soon. Given the city’s housing crunch, it’s no surprise that micro-unit housing of buildings filled with tiny apartments of less then 300 square feet—about the size of a one-car garage—has arrived.


"‘Stackable’ modular apartments to be built for homeless families"

The Irish Times | November 30, 2016

Dublin City Council to place prefabricated units on Fishamble Street and in Coolock.

A vacant site in Dublin city centre, which was to be an owner-designed apartment block, is to be used for the city’s first modular apartment development for homeless families.


"Tiny Houses, Huge Hurdles: Panoramic and the Future of Supportive Housing"

SF BMAO | November 29, 2016

Imagine having no place to live in one of the planet’s most expensive metropolitan areas. For many residents of San Francisco, this is a daily reality. Yet while labor and investment capital pours in, the region’s culture of technological “innovation” has failed to improve the livelihoods of our most vulnerable neighbors. Patrick Kennedy wants to change that.


"Build More Housing"

Reason.com | November 28, 2016

From June 22, 2016:  San Francisco’s YIMBY movement is pushing the city to build its way out of the housing crisis.

San Francisco is one of the most expensive places to live in the country and has become the symbol of the nation’s housing crisis.

A booming jobs market and years of underdevelopment have led to skyrocketing real estate prices and rents in the region. In 2015, the Bay area added 64,000 jobs but built less than 5,000 housing units. The median home price is nowover the million dollar mark and an average one-bedroom apartment rents for more than $3,500 a month.


"The World’s Tallest Modular Building May Teach Cities to Build Cheaper Housing"

Wired | November 23, 2016

AST WEEK, 461 Dean became the world’s tallest modular building. Designed by New York architecture firm SHoP, the Brooklyn residential tower consists of 363 pre-fab apartments that stack like Tetris blocks into a 32-story building.


"Sleep Tight in a Smartly Designed Microhotel"

Wired | November 21, 2016

It’s sort of like staying inside a Swiss Army knife: In stylish new microhotels, architects deploy tech and minimalist design to fold a lot of amenities into small spaces. Consider the 150-square-foot rooms at the two Arlo hotels, which opened this fall in Manhattan.


"It’s time for action when San Francisco’s homeless numbers aren’t budging"

SF Chronicle | November 18, 2016

“…Small and inexpensive modular housing is one option… These ideas are all worth support.  But they need to show results more quickly.

The civil disgrace of homelessness can’t be tolerated.”

San Francisco’s latest homeless head count shouldn’t surprise anyone who travels the streets, parks and sidewalks of the city. The number hasn’t budged over the past year, a dismal steady state of human misery.


"US homelessness declines: What’s working?"

The Christian Science Monitor | November 17, 2016


More communities are focusing on providing their chronic homeless populations permanent, supportive residences. Experts say that’s the path to take to in order to put a roof over every citizen’s head.


"Could ‘MicroPADs’ help solve San Francisco’s homeless problem?"

KTVU 2 | November 17, 2016

Some are calling it the wave of the future when it comes to housing the homeless. Micropads are tiny pre-fab modules that can be stacked together into apartment buildings.

– Some are calling it the wave of the future when it comes to housing the homeless. Micropads are tiny pre-fab modules that can be stacked together into apartment buildings.


"SF Planning Commissioners “Impressed” with MicroPAD"

SF HAC | November 17, 2016

Sometimes you have to see it to believe it. Planning Commissioners Kathryn Moore and Dennis Richards visited the MicroPAD on 9th and Mission Streets and came away “impressed.” At a recent public hearing, both commented on the design and quality of the unit and believe this is a viable approach to house San Francisco’s homeless population.


"With Workers Scarce, More Home Builders Turn to Prefab Construction"

The Wall Street Journal | November 14, 2016

A persistent shortage of construction workers across the U.S. is prompting some of the nation’s largest home builders to experiment with a model they once derided: factory production.


"These 160-square-foot micro-apartments could help end San Francisco’s homelessness crisis"

http://www.businessinsider.com/housing-the-homeless-in-san-francisco-2016-11 | November 7, 2016

A real estate developer wants to help end the street-living epidemic in San Francisco by converting shipping container-like modules into sleek new micro-apartments where the homeless can live.


"MicroPAD Supportive Housing for the Homeless Prototype Unveiled for Viewing in San Francisco"

The Registry | November 3, 2016

Local prefab developer, Panoramic Interests, revealed its CitySpaces MicroPAD on October 31 at 9th and Mission Streets in San Francisco. The furnished 160 square foot unit will be on display until November 15, marking the beginning of a tour to mobilize interest around the new product, which is designed for stacking into buildings geared for flexible living spaces that support homeless populations. With the Bay Area’s high building costs, Panoramic asserts that the off-site prefabrication assembly cuts construction costs by 40 percent, potentially expediting the creation of housing for those in need.



BeyondChron.org | November 3, 2016

Small Units Essential for Solving Homelessness

If you want to see how San Francisco can best reduce homelessness, go to 9th and Mission and tour the SF Micro-PAD. The brainchild of developer Patrick Kennedy, the Micro-Pad’s 160 square foot units could soon bring 1000 housing units to the city, with a third for the very poor.


"Go Inside the MicroPAD, a New Solution for San Francisco’s Homeless"

SF Housing Action Coalition | November 1, 2016

Several months ago, local developer Panoramic Interests introduced a creative solution to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Their proposed MicroPAD is a very small housing unit that can be built quickly, affordably and at a scale that could make a real impact. For two weeks starting October 31, the public will have the opportunity to walk inside one of these homes and experience it themselves.


"Inside a tiny prefab home for the homeless"

SF Curbed | October 31, 2016

A possible solution for San Francisco citizens without a place to call home

It’s a tiny moment of truth for developer Patrick Kennedy’s MicroPADs.

He touts his petite prefab apartments as an affordable solution to San Francisco’s homeless problem. But that only flies if the pads can impress both the city and public as a place where anyone might theoretically want to live.


"A Clash of Interests"

SF Business Times-digital | October 28, 2016

From Page 24

Construction unions used to be reliable supporters of development.  Not anymore

Construction unions have traditionally been adbocates for new development, for an obvious reason:  It keeps their members employed.  That delicate alliance is now coming under threat.


"Think Small"

ModernLuxury | October 26, 2016

Nov 2016–Digital Version, pg. 94  http://www.modernluxury.com/san-francisco/digital-edition

Patrick Kennedy offers to give me a house.  And I accept.  He leads me to a far corner of his office suite on the ground floor of the shiny tower on Ninth and Mission that he completed in 2015 and that now serves largely as a high-rise student housing.  And there sitting on a shelf is my house.


"Come tour the tiny modular apartments that may house the homeless"

SF Curbed | October 25, 2016

Back in August we told you about developer Patrick Kennedy’s plan to build 200 tiny new homes in a DPW-owned parking lot in a matter of months.

Kennedy’s invention, the MicroPAD, is a modular studio apartment roughly the standard shipping container (with a bit more ceiling) that “snaps” together Lego-style with others to create a building supposedly in no time at all.


"Vancouver looks at modular housing industry to boost slim rental stock"

Vancouver Sun | October 25, 2016

City of Vancouver staff are considering fast-tracking permits for standardized, modular laneway homes as a way to help boost the city’s rental stock.

Such a move could speed up the development of backyard homes on the estimated 60,000 lots that can accommodate them in neighbourhoods across the city. While the entire city is zoned for laneway housing, just over 2,400 permits to build them have been issued.


"No Vacancies in California? Housing Report Begs to Differ"

The New York Times | October 25, 2016

California will have to build about 3.5 million homes over the next eight years, more than triple its current pace of construction, simply to keep up with expected population growth and hold down housing costs to affordable levels. But how could the state actually do it?


"View Vancouver’s modular housing prototype at Robson Square this week"

Daily Hive | October 25, 2016

A temporary pavilion built on the roadway at Robson Square, where Robson Redux installations were previously located, showcases a prototype of the City of Vancouver’s first temporary modular housing project.


"Go Inside the MicroPAD, a New Solution for San Francisco’s Homeless"

SF HAC | October 24, 2016

Several months ago, local developer Panoramic Interests introduced a creative solution to address San Francisco’s homelessness crisis. Their proposed MicroPAD is a very small housing unit that can be built quickly, affordably and at a scale that could make a real impact. For two weeks starting October 31, the public will have the opportunity to walk inside one of these homes and experience it themselves.

What is the MicroPAD?
It stands for Prefabricated Affordable Dwelling.


"Housing development’s latest enemy: Bay Area construction unions"

SF Business Times | October 24, 2016

Construction unions have traditionally been advocates for new development, for an obvious reason: It keeps their members employed.

That delicate alliance is now coming under threat. Angered by some developers’ attempts to use cheaper non-union labor, Bay Area construction unions have filed appeals challenging projects’ approvals and allied themselves with community groups who oppose the projects for different reasons.


"A new approach: Build steel modular housing units for the homeless"

The Seattle Times | October 24, 2016

From Oct 3, 2016

Tents, wooden sheds and RVs do not provide the kind of stable and supportive housing in which an individual or family in homelessness can begin to deal with the issues in their lives.

LIKE most Seattleites, I am alternately frustrated, incredulous and dismayed by the number of homeless individuals I encounter every day while walking, driving or just living my life in Seattle.


"Prefabs sprout"

Economist | October 22, 2016

Off-the-peg homes could solve a shortage of houses and builder

A CAVERNOUS factory just outside Leeds may point to a shake-up of Britain’s construction industry. The building, which covers an area equivalent to seven football pitches, has just been kitted out by Legal and General Homes, a wing of the insurance and pensions giant. In the new year it will start producing pre-manufactured, or “modular”, houses.


"U.S. As Land-Use Rule Rise, Economic Mobility Slows, Research Says"

Wall Street Journal | October 18, 2016

Developer Patrick Kennedy wants to build apartments for middle-class families near San Francisco’s Financial District, but he is struggling to win the city’s approval. The problem: in one spot the building’s courtyard is 5 feet too narrow.

Mr. Kennedy said his efforts constantly run up against such obstacles, which he said drive up the cost of construction and make it nearly impossible to build anything but luxury housing in one of the nation’s most expensive markets.


"6 things about cities from Richard Florida"

Brandon Donnelly | October 18, 2016

Last week Richard Florida headlined an “Urban Lab” panel at the NYU Schack Institute of Real Estate. It was moderated by Sam Chandan, who is dean of the Shack Institute.

Here are 6 takeaways from the discussion, with a few of my own thoughts attached:


"Tent dwellers for a day seek solutions for homeless"

SF Chronicle | October 17, 2016

It was a very different group of tent dwellers who set up camp Monday morning in front of City Hall.

Jennine Jacob pitched her tent and then rolled out a portable solar panel for recharging cell phones. Robert Weiss’ tent was next to a sign that read: “Proud SF parent and homeowner disgusted by how SF city treats homeless.”


"At His 350-Square-Foot Apartment, Small Space Champion Graham Hill Practices What He Preaches"

Dwell | October 17, 2016

The seasoned micro-dweller challenges himself to downsize yet again.

In 2012, entrepreneur Graham Hill moved into a 420-square-foot SoHo studio that would act as his personal residence and a showcase for a movement. “I wanted to start a conversation about how doing more with less could improve our lives from an environmental, financial, and even emotional perspective,” he explains.


"Could micro-apartments solve the affordable housing crisis?"

Los Angeles Times | October 16, 2016

Cities across America are facing a devastating housing affordability crisis. One obvious potential solution is micro-units. Adding density without affecting the skyline, they offer housing at a lower price point than is usually available in expensive areas.


"San Jose: New law would make city first to allow “tiny homes” for homeless"

The Mercury News | October 8, 2016

SAN JOSE — A newly signed law will allow San Jose to become the first California city to create tiny homes for the homeless by bypassing the state’s confining building codes.

City housing officials and advocates for the homeless call the new legislation a “game-changer” in the fight to solve one of the Silicon Valley’s most intractable problems.


"Developer of $50 Million Zaha Hadid N.Y. Penthouse Now Explores Tiny Homes"

Bloomberg | October 7, 2016

London’s latest micro flats meet the country’s minimum space requirements. Technically.

They’re built for one person. There’s only a shower, no bathtub allowed or they violate minimum size regulations. And if the concept works, its deep-pocketed New York backer may try to export the model.


"Innovate to find solutions for homelessness"

SF Chronicle | September 28, 2016

Creating supportive housing with a stackable, prefabricated building system is the most expedient and economical remedy to San Francisco’s homeless crisis. Yet the likelihood of getting these type of buildings built is in doubt. The reason: The city’s desire to house the homeless is often weaker than its willingness to deviate from standard building practices.

 Panoramic Interests, a local developer, wants to build one such building.

"White House Bucks Gentry Liberals on Zoning"

The American Interest | September 26, 2016

The Obama administration is leaning on local governments to resist NIMBY rent-seeking and make it easier for the market to developers to come closer to meeting market demand for new housing. Politico reports:


"Reform land use, promote shared growth of new housing"

SF Chronicle | September 25, 2016

It is no secret that cities like San Francisco, New York and Washington, D.C., face challenges in the availability and cost of housing. But policymakers and economists have increasingly recognized both the role that certain inappropriate land use restrictions play in raising housing costs — not just in major cities but across the country — and the opportunity for modernizing these regulations to promote shared growth.


"San Francisco’s Bureaucracy, Unions Stifle Modular Housing For Homeless"

Forbes | September 23, 2016

Kositsky’s line may be the quintessential one in defining San Francisco’s radical and counter-productive politics. It isn’t enough that a project will provide hundreds of units for the homeless at half the cost; it also must solve various other societal issues unrelated to homelessness.

Anyone who has visited San Francisco, and stepped even a block off the beaten path, knows of its homeless problem. The city has an estimated 6,700 street people—the 2nd-highest per capita in the nation—and 1,500 of these are chronically homeless, often dwelling amid the drugs and violence of the Tenderloin district.


"A bold homelessness solution worth exploring"

JaneKim.org | September 23, 2016

What do you think about hundreds of new units of housing for the homeless built in just six months at no upfront cost to the city?
I think it is an idea worth exploring – but I need your help to break through the politics at City Hall.
Perhaps you saw the story in the Chronicle on Sunday. It outlined several plans to take a city property and use it to create modular micro homes dedicated to getting homeless people off the street. These units can be built in less time and at a lower cost than traditional housing.


"The Impact of Supportive Housing on Surrounding Neighborhoods: Evidence from New York City"

Furman Center for Real Estate & Urban Policy, NYU | September 21, 2016

From November 2008

Supportive housing is a type of affordable housing that provides on-site services to people  who may need support to live independently. Residents may include formerly homeless individuals and families, people with HIV/AIDS or physical disabilities, young people aging out of foster care, ex-offenders, people with mental illness or individuals with a history of substance abuse.


"Even homeless housing is hard to build in SF"

SF Chronicle | September 19, 2016

It’s not just difficult to get housing built in San Francisco. It’s even difficult to get homeless housing built in the city.

Everyone in San Francisco agrees that we need to move the city’s substantial number of hard-core homeless individuals off of our streets and into housing. So the news that a local developer, Patrick Kennedy, is willing and able to build as many as 200 tiny, modular micro-unit apartments above a city-owned parking lot quickly should have been greeted with cheers.


"Tiny apartments for homeless hit snags over labor, land"

SF Chronicle | September 18, 2016

San Francisco’s homelessness director wants them. A local developer is hot to build them, academics love them, and unions are open to the idea.

All that stands in the way of the construction of hundreds of tiny, modular apartments for hard-core homeless people in San Francisco — something that could sharply reduce the number of indigents on the city’s streets — is getting everyone involved to agree to some compromises. But that’s proving to be a tough task.


"What San Francisco Says About America"

The New York Times | September 16, 2016

“…Yet somehow I was unprepared for the scale and severity of homelessness in San Francisco.”

…Well-dressed tourists sharing the pavement with vaguely human forms inside cardboard boxes.

I’m confounded how to explain to my two children why wealthy society allows its most vulnerable citizens to languish on the streets.”

San Francisco — AFTER more than 27 years abroad, mostly as a foreign correspondent in Asia covering civil unrest and poverty, I wander the streets of this city, my new home, like an enchanted tourist.


"Can U.S. Cities Compensate for Curbing Sprawl by Growing Denser?"

BuildZoom | September 14, 2016

The U.S. population is projected to continue growing for decades to come, reaching 400 million circa 2050. Accommodating more people at current living standards will require many new homes, but how will cities deliver such housing? Must they continue expanding outward to provide enough housing, as they have done historically, or will densification within the existing footprint do the trick?


"Can micro apartments play a big part in bridging California’s housing gap?"

California Economy, California Economic Summit | September 13, 2016

If you watch cable television, you undoubtedly have seen a myriad of shows about tiny houses and small spaces. The tiny house movement is geared toward those who want to live a simple life without all the “stuff” accumulated in our consumer-driven society. But, can tiny houses and small spaces also be the solution to affordable living?

One San Francisco developer thinks it can by building “micro-unit” apartments.


"SoMa micro-apartment project has an ambitious goal: Cheaper rents"

SF Business Times | September 7, 2016

A proposed residential project in San Francisco’s South of Market wants to cut construction costs and pass along savings to tenants.

By building 200 “micro-units,” developer Panoramic Interests hopes to charge rents that are 30 percent below the city’s average, which was $3,590 per month for a one-bedroom in June, according to Zumper. The units would average 550 square feet.


"New California affordable housing law sparks backlash in San Francisco"

SF Business Times | September 6, 2016

San Francisco housing activists and some city officials say a new state housing bill passed last week is a “developer giveaway.” But supporters say it will boost all of California’s affordable housing production, reflecting more tension between the city and Sacramento over housing policy.


"Tight squeeze: The secrets behind Japan’s coolest micro homes"

CNN | August 23, 2016

A tiny scrap of land might not catch your eye.

But to Japanese architect Yasuhiro Yamashita of Atelier Tekuto, there’s nothing more beautiful.

A veteran designer of kyosho jutaku — or micro homes — Yamashita has built more than 300 houses, each uniquely shaped and packed full of personality.


"10,000 Homes In a Year on Underutilized Land – Part 2"

Winchester NAC | August 16, 2016

Solving the housing part of homelessness through the construction of modular, micro-housing is described in the above video by Patrick Kennedy, founder of Panoramic Interests. Filmed at Kennedy’s office, which itself is part of a micro-housing, multi-story complex that was profiled here, Kennedy talks about how to reduce costs through process improvement, modular construction and developing on under-utilized land. He points out that these lower costs do not have to sacrific quality and can actually enhance the overall end-product.


"Design Is About Intent"

Rampant Innovation | August 16, 2016

From May 2014

The most admired companies of each age are often associated with a certain core competency. Ford popularized assembly line manufacturing in the 1910s. Toyota kicked off the lean revolution with its Toyota Production System in the postwar years. GE’s enthusiastic adoption of Six Sigma in the ’90s spread the mantra of quality. These capabilities are credited with helping tranSForm the respective industry of each company.


"Former planning commissioner says Palo Alto has worst housing policy in U.S."

SF Curbed | August 16, 2016

Last week, Palo Alto planning commissioner Kate Vershov Downing stepped down, penning a now-famous letter to colleagues (posted on Medium) explaining that she was moving to Santa Cruz because she simply couldn’t afford Palo Alto anymore.

Downing, a 31-year-old lawyer who moved to Palo Alto from Sunnyvale five years ago (she’s originally from the East Coast by way of immigration from Russia), said she and her husband were tired of splitting a house with roommates to the tune of $6,500/month for their share. She also alleged that the city ignores the public’s demand for more housing.


"Safe SROs are vital to SF’s low-income housing option"

SF Examiner | August 12, 2016

San Francisco’s single-room occupancy hotels house thousands of residents and provide a vital link in The City’s low-cost housing continuum — offering some stability to individuals and families that often have no other housing options.

San Francisco’s Department of Public Health last week released its report, “Improving the Health of Residents in SRO Hotels,” which included distressing statistics about the health risks associated with such buildings.


"Letter to Palo Alto City Council"

Brandondonnelly.com | August 10, 2016

Kate Downing was formerly a planning commissioner in the City of Palo Alto. She recently resigned from her position and, about about a day ago, she posted her resignation letter on Medium. It has since gone viral.


"Palo Alto planning commissioner quits over high housing cost"

The Mercury News | August 10, 2016

PALO ALTO — You’re a well-paid professional. You work in tech. You’ve got it made.

 Not if you want to buy a house in Silicon Valley.

On Wednesday, a planning commissioner here became the very public voice of the region’s frustrations over spiraling housing costs when she published her resignation letter to the city of Palo Alto.


"New Report: CA Housing Crisis Threatens to Derail State’s Aggressive Climate Change Goals"

Bay Area Council Economic Institute | August 9, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO—California’s epic housing crisis is hurting more than lower- and middle-income working families struggling to find housing they can afford. It’s also threatening to derail landmark greenhouse gas reduction laws that for a decade have made California a global leader in the battle against climate change, according to a white paper released today by the Bay Area Council Economic Institute.


"10 Lessons Learned by Rereading Jane Jacobs"

Common Edge | August 8, 2016

Last week I was in the middle of packing and came across a well thumbed copy of The Death and Life of Great American Cities. I don’t remember when I read the book, but it was way more than twenty years ago (and predates my professional involvement with cities). As a very belated tribute to the anniversary of her 100th birthday, I decided to dip back into that remarkable book. Here’s ten takeaways from the godmother of the American city.


"Developer proposes 200 tiny prefab homes that fit together like LEGO"

Curbed SF | August 5, 2016

Imagine the smallest space in which you could possibly live. Now imagine something smaller.

Can you get by in just 160 square feet? The answer, as Berkeley based modular building developer Panoramic Interests will tell you, probably depends on what other options you have. And in the Bay Area, there aren’t too many.


"Ordinary people can’t afford a home in San Francisco. How did it come to this?"

The Guardian | August 5, 2016

The city by the bay has the nation’s priciest real estate, and a battle is raging over whether tech wealth, population growth, or political will is to blame

All you need to know about San Francisco in 2016 was on display one recent Sunday at 83 McAllister Street, an office building turned into condominiums at the edge of the Tenderloin.


"A Big Life in a Tiny Home"

The New York Times | July 22, 2016

The actress Linda Emond moved to New York in the mid-90s with few possessions and no idea where she wanted to drop anchor.

“My guess was that I would be doing theater, or that I’d want to be doing theater, so I wanted to be in Manhattan in a safe location where there was public transportation,” said Ms. Emond, 57,


"Car-Free, Micro-DNA and Modular – Part 1"

WNAC (WinchesterNAC.com) | July 22, 2016

Encouraging developments that are car-free with micro-size dwelling units and use modular construction are three things that cities can do to make housing more affordable, according to Patrick Kennedy, founder of Panoramic Interests. With over 25 years developing projects Kennedy has experience in understanding the roadblocks to affordability.


"Yuba County creates ‘tiny homes’ for some of its homeless population"

The Sacramento Bee | July 21, 2016

Yuba County created “tiny homes” for some of it’s homeless population. The county opened the doors on July 15, 2016. The house are a collaboration with the city and Habitat for Humanity.


"What Is Supportive Housing?"

Supportive Housing Network of New York | July 20, 2016

Supportive housing is just that: Housing plus support. Tenants have affordable apartments and easy access to whatever help they need to stay housed and healthy.


"Local Developers offer vision for SoMa’s Harrison Street"

SF Chronicle | July 15, 2016

Harrison Street in SoMa is the latest frontier for housing development in San Francisco. And it’s an unlikely location.

Home to five lanes of traffic zooming on and off the freeway, that part of Harrison Street has never offered a hospitable habitat for the investors and builders who have reshaped so much of South of Market.


"Conventional thinking is biggest roadblock to housing the homeless"

Medium.com | July 6, 2016

June 29th marked the beginning of the San Francisco Homeless Project, an effort where 70+ Bay Area media organizations are putting their attention on our city’s ongoing and tragic homeless situation. One of the biggest questions the project is posing is how do we as a city provide the housing necessary to effect real and lasting change for our chronically homeless citizens?


"Unequal City"

Curbed.com | July 6, 2016

How wealthy tourists have gentrified Jackson Hole, Wyoming, into a housing crisis

In March 2016, the family of 11-year-old Ventura Garcia Perez, otherwise known as “Vennie,” received an eviction letter. Born in Jackson, Wyoming, Vennie lives in the 56-unit Virginian Village Apartment complex with his parents, his four-year-old brother Dominic, and his dog Charlie. Throughout this summer, the owners of the Virginian are evictingseveral hundred tenants on a rolling timeline so the apartments can be remodeled and sold or rented at higher rates.


"Letter from Dorothy Walker, noted planner, to City Council"

Dorothy Walker | July 1, 2016

The presentations to the City Council at the workshop on housing on February 16 included a great deal of helpful data and many recommendations about how to achieve more housing to serve all income levels.  In the Council discussion that followed, it was clear that all members agree there is a housing crisis that requires sustained effort and new approaches.


"Solution to SF’s homeless problem starts with supportive housing"

SF Chronicle | June 29, 2016

Could San Francisco increase its stock of supportive housing by enough units to get all of the neediest homeless people off its streets in just two years?

Fixing San Francisco’s homelessness problem is possible.

It will require the addition of thousands of housing units for the hardest-core homeless people — the ones who wander the streets, screaming at the invisible, the ones who live in tents on sidewalks and shoot up in plain sight.


"SF homeless problem looks the same as it did 20 years ago"

SF Chronicle | June 26, 2016

Fifty years ago, the destitute figures who dotted America’s streets were called winos and hobos, and in San Francisco they mainly stuck to Third Street’s Skid Row.

Then, with the end of the Vietnam War, battle-shocked veterans began filling urban alleyways. The 1980s brought Reaganomics’ decimation of federal social and housing programs, and a cascade of the poor and mentally ill landed on the streets.


"Tiny living: What it’s like after the honeymoon period"

SF Chronicle | June 25, 2016

One of my strange obsessions is watching TV shows about people building or buying tiny houses — generally 400 square feet or less.

These shows check back with the tiny-home owners shortly after they’ve moved in, when they are still infatuated with their adorable doll houses.


"This is why San Francisco’s insane housing market has hit the crisis point"

Business Insider | June 15, 2016

Five years ago, I moved to San Francisco — right as the current startup boom kicked off.

Those five years saw a lot of change in the city, as tensions between longtime San Francisco residents and the tech industry hit a fever pitch.

It all traces its roots back to the San Francisco Bay Area’s housing crisis, where people are going to ridiculous lengths, including living in boats, vans, and cardboard boxes, just to make ends meet.


"Tiny Home Test Drive"

New York Times | June 10, 2016

Last week, the first tenants moved into the city’s first micro apartment development on East 27th Street. I did, too, for one night.

Tucked into a New York City Housing Authority site, on a spot between First and Second Avenues that was once a parking lot, and flanked by linden and honeylocust trees and a small plaza lined with park benches, the nine-story building, with 55 apartments between 260 and 360 square feet, is an elegant design by nArchitects, and built by Monadnock Development and the Lower East Side People’s Mutual Housing Association.


"Construction begins of Arup-designed micro apartments"

TheConstructionIndex | June 7, 2016

Construction began last week of modular micro apartments designed to help solve student housing issues in Berlin, Germany.

The concept, developed by Arup, Berlinovo Immobilien and others, was created because of the high demand for affordable student housing in Berlin.

The first construction project on Storkower Straße in the district of Lichtenberg is part of a plan that aims to build a total of 2,500 apartments by 2020.


"A guy just transcribed 30 years of for-rent ads. Here’s what it taught us about housing prices"

NewCoShift | May 15, 2016

I don’t know anything about Eric Fischer except that he’s a freaking hero.
Much like everyone else who has recently attempted to live in San Francisco, Fischer is very interested in housing costs. However, unlike every other such person, Fischer decided to contribute to this conversation by doubling the depth of modern historical data about them.


"What Makes A Thriving And Interesting City? Something Called Collision Density"

Co.Exist | May 11, 2016

How often are you going to run into someone with whom you can do something creative or interesting?

Who was right, Jane Jacobs or Alfred Marshall and Michael Porter? The renowened urbanist, Jacobs argued for decades of the importance of density and diversity of economic actors in cities as a primary driver of innovation. Economists Marshall and Porter, on the other hand, have argued that clustering of similar industries in industrial parks and regions is the best way to stimulate innovation, job growth, and economic development.


"The Problem(s) with Tiny Houses"

LifeEdited | May 4, 2016

At LifeEdited, we love tiny houses! They are like architectural and existential reduction sauce. Every space and object that isn’t utterly essential, that isn’t something you absolutely need, is boiled away. They are great examples of how humans can live simpler, lower impact lives. Yet tiny houses have some big problems, ones that are often overlooked amidst the hype, and it’s not just their lack of legality.


"Tiny Houses Have A Not-So-Tiny Problem"

CoDesign.com | May 4, 2016

FROM 7-1-2014

Many tiny house designs fetishize smallness while missing what makes micro-housing so useful: density.

As much as we love gorgeous small-scale architecture, not all micro-housing is created equal. Over at City Lab, Kriston Capps argues that tiny houses plopped onto huge lots in the middle of nowhere miss the entire point of micro-housing: to provide more options for affordable housing, especially in crowded, expensive cities.


"Priced Out: Big Cities Are Becoming Too Costly For Lower-Income Residents"

Trulia | April 28, 2016

Can’t afford housing in your expensive city? The solution for many is to move out.

America’s 10 most expensive metros have a lot going for them. They’re big. They have plenty of jobs. And for many residents, they’re desirable places to live.
But there’s a catch: the cost of housing has become so expensive that lower-income households are getting squeezed out.

Rents and home prices have soared in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland, Orange County, Calif., San Francisco, San Jose and Washington, D.C.


"San Francisco is requiring solar panels on all new buildings. But here’s a much greener idea."

Vox | April 20, 2016

One of the greenest, most environmentally friendly moves that big cities like New York or San Francisco or Chicago can make is to increase housing density and allow more people to live in them. And yet, bizarrely, few people seem to think of this as an “environmental” policy.

But it is! And it’s hugely significant. In fact, we can illustrate just how significant by taking a closer look at San Francisco’s new solar law.


"These architects designed and built a concept for building affordable homes over existing parking lots"

Contemporist | April 20, 2016

British firm, Bill Dunster Architects, have always been committed to low carbon building and development. Now, their latest design named ZEDpod, is an idea to build affordable homes over existing parking lots.

In places where there are existing parking lots, the ZEDpod can easily be installed, and because it’s a pre-fabricated design, a pop-up village could be installed in a weekend.

The ZEDpod is zero-carbon, zero-waste, and would have no annual energy bills. They’ve integrated solar photo-voltaic panels (ZED Roof), which in enough numbers can create a solar farm without the loss of agricultural land, allowing enough power to be generated to operate the homes and charge electric cars, bikes, etc.


"What Makes Housing Too Expensive"

BloombergView | April 18, 2016

The U.S. has two big housing affordability problems. They’re related — and solving the first would go some way toward solving the second. But they’re not the same, and it’s important to understand that.

The first problem is that some coastal metropolitan areas in the U.S. are generating lots of good jobs but aren’t building enough housing to keep up with employment growth.


"A Closet-Sized Life: Shocking Findings Of SRO Families Report"

Hoodline | April 14, 2016

FROM NOV 25, 2015

Imagine living with all of your belongings and family members in a room in which you can nearly touch both walls with your arms outstretched.

That’s how many families get by in the city, and the vast majority—88 percent— are headed by the working poor who have jobs in industries such as hotels, sales, construction and restaurants. That’s just one of the findings in the 2015 SRO Families Report, published by the SRO Families Collaborative.


"Broken Promises: The Housing Market in San Francisco (And Ten Ideas to Fix It)"

Zachary Townsend Blog | March 30, 2016

San Francisco’s housing system is broken. The only way to fix it is through a radical change in our housing policy: a change that encourages (a lot of) building.

Failed public policy and political leadership has resulted in a massive imbalance between how much the city’s population has grown this century versus how much housing has been built. The last thirteen years worth of new housing units built is approximately equal to the population growth of the last two years.[0]


"Artist Designs Sleeping “Pod” to Afford Renting in San Francisco"

SF Curbed | March 28, 2016

40-square-foot “room” goes for $400 a month

Bay Area artist Peter Berkowitz couldn’t afford a place in San Francisco. His solution was “the pod,” a sleeper box that’s roughly eight feet long, five feet wide, and four feet tall. It’s made out of plywood and neatly installed in the corner of his roommate’s living room, a space he’s now paying $400 a month to rent. (Bertkowitz lists his total housing expenses as $508 a month, factoring in the $1,300 he spent building it.)


"Santa Monica Lawmaker Takes Aim at California’s Housing Shortage"

STREETSBLOG California | March 16, 2016

California State Assemblymember Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica) has set his sights on tackling the dire shortage of homes—and the resulting affordability crisis—currently facing the state.

Bloom, whose district includes Malibu, Santa Monica, West L.A., Brentwood, and Beverly Hills, currently has three bills pending—A.B. 2501, A.B. 2299, and A.B. 2522—that seek to lower barriers to new housing production in cities throughout California.


"High-Tech Millennial Lifestyle Inspires Micro Apartment Boom"

Curbed | March 15, 2016

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

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


"Munich Is Building Affordable Housing Atop Parking Lots"

The Atlantic CITYLAB | March 7, 2016

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

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


"This Lego House You Can Live In"

Wall Street Journal | February 24, 2016

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

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

So the locals dubbed it the Lego Building.


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

SPUR | February 18, 2016

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


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

SF Chronicle | February 6, 2016

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

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


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

Michael Mortensen Blog | February 4, 2016

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

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


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

FairCompanies | February 1, 2016

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

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


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

Wall Street Journal | January 30, 2016

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

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



The Book of Life | January 29, 2016

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


"Top 20 cities for venture capital investment"

Architect This City | January 28, 2016

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

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

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


"San Francisco’s Self-Defeating Housing Activists"

The Atlantic | December 29, 2015

Tech companies and workers are vilified while longtime homeowners who fight high-density growth continue to profit from rising rents and property values.

A recent This American Life episode, “Poetry of Propaganda,” describes a San Francisco after-school program’s production of an original musical starring young children. “I don’t know what I expected,” said the writer Jon Mooallem, whose daughter played a tiny part, “but it wasn’t this. Act One opened on a sinister tech-executive meeting with a corrupt mayor and San Francisco’s board of supervisors.”



Associated Press | December 28, 2015

NEW YORK (AP) — The apartments in a new Manhattan building boast little balconies, tall ceilings, dishwashers and storage space. All in 360 square feet or less.
It’s micro-living in the nation’s biggest city, and New Yorkers could be seeing more of it. Planning officials are proposing to end a limit on how small apartments can be, opening the door for more “micro-apartments” that advocates see as affordable adaptations to a growing population of single people. Critics fear a turn back toward the city’s tenement past and question whether less space will really mean less expensive.


"Don’t let fear get in the way of solutions"

SF Chronicle | December 19, 2015

Here in San Francisco, passions run high. But sometimes it’s hard to match the mood of anger and fear to the scale of the real effects on residents or to match the proposed solutions to the real issues, which makes me think that there are subtexts and currents below the surface.

When I served on the San Francisco Planning Commission, I was often puzzled by the angry, passionate objection to minor changes. Often, I realized, it had little to do with the item before us, which was sometimes just the trigger for people’s fears or other emotions.


"In Defense of Micro-Apartments"

Atlantic CityLab | December 16, 2015

It’s like Yoda once said: “Size matters not.”

Put aside for the moment the size of the units in Carmel Place, a new multifamily housing development that just went up in New York City. Here are a few numbers that matter more than the square footage: Carmel Place is a nine-story development that includes 55 units. Of those, 33 units are designated market-rate; eight of the 22 units slotted for affordable housing are reserved for very-low-income renters.


"The Micro Housing Development Boom Across the U.S., Mapped"

Curbed | December 15, 2015

The pronounced swing back towards urban living, and the renewed fervor for downtown development, has only made our cities more dense, making the search for cheap housing that much more challenging. While mayors across the U.S. have called for more affordable housing (in New York, both Bloomberg and De Blasio have said it was imperative the city offer more low-rent options), many developers have decided the solution to density and affordability is downsizing and designing smaller units.


"Zoning board approves new units on Telegraph, Shattuck"

Berkeleyside | December 14, 2015

Berkeley’s zoning board approved two largely car-free buildings Thursday set to add 92 new residential units to the city’s housing stock.

Both of the projects — 70 units on Telegraph Avenue and 22 units on Shattuck Avenue — were proposed by Patrick Kennedy’s Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests.

The Telegraph project, dubbed The Nexus, is set to take the place of a 1-story office building where the nationally recognized Center for Independent Living got its start.


"There’s Shelter, And Then There’s Housing. Utah Claims Muted Victory"

NPR | December 14, 2015

Utah has housed nearly all of its chronically homeless people — those who have a disabling condition, and who have been homeless for more than a year, or four times in the past three years. These days, there are fewer than 200.

But chronic homelessness is just a small part of a major problem.

An additional 14,000 people in Utah experienced homelessness this year. As in many places around the country, housing prices are rising, forcing people onto the street and into shelters.


"This Ad Campaign Hits Nail on Head About NYC’s Cramped Apartments"

LifeEdited | December 11, 2015

There’s been a lot of recent hype about New York City’s Carmel Place (aka “My Micro”). Rightfully so. It is the city’s first purpose built micro-apartment building after all. But if you have ever lived in or visited a typical NYC apartment, you know New Yorkers are no strangers to micro living.


"Micro Goes Even More Mainstream"

LifeEdited | December 10, 2015

When LifeEdited began several years ago, the micro housing conversation was happening but primarily in small pockets–the odd tiny house in northern California, Gary Chang’s tranSForming Hong Kong apartment and so. But in the last few years, spurred by things like the adAPT NYC competition and, we like to think, our own efforts, the micro-housing movement has grown considerably and become far more mainstream.


"New York City’s first micro-apartment is 302 square feet… and costs $2,750 a month"

Business Insider | December 4, 2015

Nearly three years after winning a competition to design a residential building with units smaller than 400 square feet, Carmel Place is on the verge of completion.

Located in Manhattan’s Kips Bay neighborhood, the building is the first micro-apartment development in New York City. Its 55 units range between 265 and 360 square feet, and market-rate units cost between $2,650 and $3,150 a month.



Austin On Your Feet | November 23, 2015

If you watch enough zoning hearings, the testimony begins to sound pretty repetitive. That novel argument you’re making? The Council members have heard it a million times before. Here are 9 of the things we hear most often at zoning hearings, illustrated by cats.



BISNOW | October 30, 2015

A growing number of Bay Area multifamily developments are cutting back on parking spaces. It’s already being done in some Bay Area cities and elsewhere, such as Washington DC, as transit-oriented development, car-sharing and more walkable communities gain in popularity. We caught up with Panoramic Interests’ Patrick Kennedy to talk about the hot trend.


"Developer, S.F. see new possibilities in assembly-line housing"

SF Chronicle | October 9, 2015

The 30,000-pound boxes being delivered by a fleet of flatbed trucks to the Bayview don’t look like much. But if you ask Mayor Ed Lee, they just might be a solution to the city’s housing crisis.

On Thursday morning, Lee stood next to a construction trailer at 5830 Third St., talking to developer Rick Holliday and contractor Larry Pace about the 136-unit apartment complex going up there, the biggest modular housing development ever erected in San Francisco.



BISNOW | October 7, 2015

We just got our hands on some exclusive renderings of a brand-new micro-unit project landing in SoMa—which is why we are also super excited to host our Bay Area Multifamily Heatin’ Up event Oct. 15 at Hotel Kabuki, starting at 7:30am.



BISNOW | September 30, 2015

Tiny living: It’s the future in more and more cities where space is at a premium and residents are willing to pay for a prime location. These eight micro unit developments are great examples of where the market’s heading.


"How to Make Micro-Units Work with Good Design"

SF Housing Action Coalition | August 3, 2015

Last week, twenty-five SF Housing Action Coalition (SFHAC) members walked through the City’s newest micro-units at The Panoramic during a tour led by the project’s developer, Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests. The building at the corner of 9th and Mission Streets includes 160 micro-homes, with studios as compact as 274 square feet and three-bedroom suits around 630 square feet. With all of the units fully leased to the California College of the Arts (CCA) and the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, we’ll soon see these efficient homes put to the test.


"A SoMa corner where there’s more than meets the eye"

SF Chronicle | July 24, 2015

Change hits cities in all sorts of ways, from blunt skyline changes to brash coats of paint. This stylized upgrade of a nondescript post-1906 corner building appeared in late May, commissioned by the bar inside that features such cocktails as Birds of Babylon. Exuberant yet dense, it’s a head-turning contrast both to the tawdrier aspects of this stretch of Mission Street and such transition signals as the 11-story box opening next door that will house several hundred college students.


"A Tiny House Fit for the Hamptons"

The New York Times | July 24, 2015

With his venture Cocoon9, Christopher Burch — the man behind the now-shuttered clothing brand C. Wonder and the former husband of the fashion designer Tory Burch — hopes to prove that small, prefabricated spaces can be luxurious and perfect for the Hamptons.


"What’s the Matter With San Francisco?"

The Atlantic CITYLAB | July 23, 2015

The city’s devastating affordability crisis has an unlikely villain—its famed progressive politics.

I moved to San Francisco for its radical politics. Lots of people did, for generations. Maybe it was like moving to Los Angeles if you wanted to be a movie star: If you wanted to be part of the grand project of reconstructing the American Left in the petri dish of a single city, San Francisco beckoned.


"Telegraph Avenue housing project plans to offer amenities to tenants with disabilities"

The Daily Californian | June 15, 2015

After hours of public comment and discussion Thursday, Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board unanimously approved an environmental impact report for a proposed six-story building on Telegraph Avenue.

The mixed-used project is planned to be built at 2539 Telegraph Ave. at a location that formerly housed the Center for Independent Living, or CIL, an organization that provides disability services to residents of the city and surrounding areas.


"NYC’s first prefab micro-unit apartment building starts to rise in Manhattan Read more: NYC’s adAPT Carmel Place prefab micro apartments begin to rise in Kips Bay (PHOTOS) | Inhabitat New York City"

inhabitat NEW YORK CITY | May 25, 2015

It’s been more than two years since nARCHITECTS’ My Micro NY apartment design won the adAPT NYC competition and now the micro-dwellings have begun to rise. The project, a collaboration between the DUMBO-based architecture firm and Monadnock Development, was selected as the winner of the 2013 call to develop innovative housing models for the city’s growing population of smaller households, and consists of 65 prefabricated modules


"The Place Report: Top ten global trends redefining how we shop, live, work and play"

The Place Report | April 23, 2015

Micro-Living: Supplying an affordable yet distinctive micro-living product, which trades private space for public amenities and infrastructure

According to the United Nations 2014 report ‘World Urbanization Prospects’, by 2050, the global population expected to live in cities will rise to 6.33 billion, or 66 per cent of the
world’s total forecast population of 9.6 billion.


"5 reasons why micro-units will be huge in the future"

Inman | April 21, 2015

Half the world today lives in cities — and, according to the United Nations, nearly 70 percent of the world will live in cities by 2050. At a recent National Association of City Transportation Officials conference in San Francisco, former Massachusetts Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey even went as far as to label this the “Century of the City.” Data shows that younger generations are leading this urban migration.


"Why people are choosing to live in smaller spaces and are happier for it"

Mobile.News.com.au | April 18, 2015

WHEN most people picture their dream home it’s hard to go past the six bedroom McMansion with seven bathrooms, home cinema and an acre of benchspace in the kitchen.

While it’s easy to get caught up in the cycle of wanting that bigger place, with the spare bedroom, bigger yard, study or airy dining area, an increasing number of people are waking up to the fact that instead of enjoying the extra space, having more room often means you just buy more stuff to fill it up.

And this clutter is not making people happier.


"“5 to 1″ Micro Apartment a Perfect 10"

LifeEdited | April 16, 2015

Architect Michael Chen has one of the most impressive portfolios of small apartment projects in the United States, if not the world. “Although we [MCKA, Chen’s firm] work at a broad range of scales, we are fascinated by the design of small spaces because they demand inventiveness,” Chen wrote to us in an email. “We love taking on a complicated and difficult problem with the intent of creating solutions that are thoughtful, beautiful and deceptively simple.” His latest project, dubbed the “5 to 1 Apartment,” is a beautiful representation of his love of tranSForming the complex to simple. It is also, to my mind, his finest work to date.


"Micro Maven Patrick Kennedy Plans 395-Square-Foot Affordable Rentals for SoMa"

SF Curbed | April 9, 2015

Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests is best known for developing teensy but livable micro-units. However, his newest proposal in San Francisco isn’t technically for his signature micro-studios, but instead for very small one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms whose diminutive size is meant to make them affordable by design—and thus cheaper than the average SoMa apartment. Panoramic just submitted a Preliminary Project Assessment (PPA) to SF Planning for a new building at SoMa’s 333 12th Street.


"Slack, Stripe and other billion-dollar ‘unicorns’ on the prowl for office space"

SF Business Times | March 25, 2015

When new billion-dollar companies known as “unicorns” lap up equity funding, they’re usually on the hunt for big chunks of office space.

So it’s no surprise that San Francisco’s email-slaying startup Slack – which reportedly got a fresh $2 billion valuation Monday – is in the market for a sizeable 50,000 to 75,000 square feet of space, market watchers say.


"California’s housing crunch costs us big time; how to fix it"

SF Chronicle | March 21, 2015

Californians already know how expensive housing is in our state. But a new report from the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office makes it clear that as a state, this ever-growing bill is one we simply can’t afford to keep paying.


"Ain’t Nothing New About Micro Housing"

LifeEdited | March 2, 2015

While tiny houses, micro-apartments and even tranSForming furniture may seem like recent phenomenon, the truth is quite the contrary: it’s big homes, excess space and stuff that are the new thing. People have been living in dense areas, in tight quarters with little stuff for eons. Nowhere is this more evident than in Manhattan. As strange as it sounds, there were over 600,000 more Manhattanites in 1910 than there were in 2013, 2.3M and 1.6M respectively. A recent piece in Curbed gives an account of the island’s various schemes to pack more people onto its 34 square miles.


"Inside the Partially Finished Micro-Units at SoMa’s Panoramic"

SF Curbed | February 27, 2015

The last time that we checked in on the under-construction micro-units at the Panoramic, the 11-story building taking shape in SoMa, they were just starting to come together. In December, as you may recall, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music leased the building’s top five floors. The California College of Arts had already taken out the bottom six, meaning that all of the building’s 160 units will go to students. Panoramic developer Patrick Kennedy, who doesn’t usually like to hear micro-apartments compared to dorm rooms, has ended up seeing both of his micro-unit projects in San Francisco—38 Harriet as well as the Panoramic—become student housing.


"Living Small, With Money Left Over"

The Wall Street Journal | February 27, 2015

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.—A push to live in smaller spaces is reaching the nation’s smaller cities.

When Kelly Lunt moved here from the San Francisco area in November, she rented a 550-square-foot one-bedroom apartment in the heart of this city’s downtown. She pays $900 a month with all utilities and Wi-Fi included.

The 29-year-old, who is a project manager for a nonprofit that helps tech businesses, is even considering downsizing—to a $685-a-month, 375-square-foot studio in the same building.


"Why and Where Micro-Apartments Are Going Up Might Surprise You"

LifeEdited | February 27, 2015

New York, San Francisco, Vancouver and, to a lesser extent, Seattle, DC, Boston and LA are logical places for micro-housing. These cities are very or fairly dense, they have high property values in many spots and have infrastructures that support micro-housing–i.e. decent public transportation systems, strong economies, walkable neighborhoods, etc (yes, LA might be a stretch).


"The Ultimate Guide to Living In A New York Microdwelling"

NY CURBED | February 25, 2015

What does it take to be able to live in a minuscule apartment? A penchant for throwing things away helps, as do friends with carpentry skills and a healthy dose of patience. Friendless and lacking diligence? Never fear. There are plenty of small space hacks that money can buy to make your adorable 100-square-foot house box in Cobble Hill a home. Come, learn the secrets to living in a microdwelling.


"From Shanties to Micro Units, NYC’s History of Living Small"

NY Curbed | February 25, 2015

New Yorkers have always scrambled for space. They’ve crammed into cellars, rookeries, and wooden shacks; hung rows of hammocks in seven-cent lodging houses; and huddled under low attic roofs. Now, with micro-apartments rising on East 27th Street, it seems like people are as desperate as ever for a foothold.

Like many apartments in the city, the new units may be derided as closet-sized. Starting at 250 square feet, the studios are indeed smaller than the zoning code usually allows.


"Co-Living is Coming to San Francisco"

SF HAC | February 23, 2015

As we are all well aware, housing is the Bay Area’s burning topic of the day. The housing shortage is reported by local and national news, and you can’t walk down the street or ride on BART without overhearing multiple people discussing how the housing crisis is affecting them. How the Bay Area will house everyone is a serious question. SFHAC, in conjunction with SPUR and AIA San Francisco, assembled this panel to consider if and how group housing can play a part.


"Test-Driving a 178-Square-Foot Micro-Unit, for Science"

SF Curbed | February 23, 2015

Every morning, the first thing Katherine Qiu had to do was turn her bed back into a couch. It was May of 2009, and Qiu, then a 25-year-old graduate student in MIT’s real estate development program, was living in a prototype micro-unit designed by the Berkeley-based developer Patrick Kennedy.


"Home Shrunken Home"

THe New York Times | February 20, 2015

Micro-Apartments, Tiny Homes Prefabricated in Brooklyn

For most single New Yorkers, the tyranny of living in a small space, or worse, a shared space, is all too familiar.


"The Billion Dollar Startup Club"

Wall Street Journal | February 18, 2015

The Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones VentureSource are tracking venture-backed private companies valued at $1 billion or more. See how the club has expanded since the project began in January 2014 and select companies to learn more about each.


"Ditching my car for Uber saves me over 6 days of time and $11,000 a year"

Business Insider | February 9, 2015

In 2010 I moved from Los Angeles to San Francisco and thought I had to bring my car with me.

LA, as anyone who’s ever heard anyone say anything about LA knows, is a car city. If you’re going anywhere, you’re going in your car.


"How to Fix Prefab Architecture? Make It More Like Product Design"

Core77 | January 31, 2015

Connect Homes’ cofounder argues for a new approach to modular home building.

I’m an architect, and for many reasons—quality, availability, efficiency, sustainability and aesthetics—I think residential architecture should be produced more like the industrial design typically found on Core77. Most important, if houses were designed, manufactured and distributed more like products, good design would be far more affordable and many more people could build their dream home.


"4 Minute walk from the Panoramic– ‘Feast Your Eyes on the Market, A Totally Bonkers Food Complex in the Twitter Building’"

San Francisco Eater | January 21, 2015

Groceries, sushi, pizza, wine, tacos, Blue Bottle, and anything else you could want.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Twitter building has arrived on the culinary scene. Right on schedule, The Market, the first of the many dining projects scheduled for the massive former SF Furniture Mart at 10th and Market, has made its debut, offering a dizzying array of groceries, takeout food, and other deliciousness in a project that its owners, Bruce Slesinger & Tom Collom (Small Foods), Chris Foley, and Richard Hoff (Oakville Grocery, Napa Farms Market) are dubbing Northern California’s answer to Eataly.


"Housing affordability crisis drives Bay Area middle-class exodus"

San Francisco Business Times | January 2, 2015

Seana O’Shaughnessy has lived in the Bay Area for 19 years — nearly half her life. Yet in the next few months,O’Shaughnessy, 41, and her husband will pack up and leave Redwood City for Chico in time for her daughter to start kindergarten in the fall. It breaks her heart, but O’Shaughnessy believes she has no choice.


"The Macro View on Micro Units"

Urban Land Institute | December 31, 2014

The Urban Land Institute Multifamily Housing Councils were awarded a ULI
Foundation research grant in fall 2013 to evaluate from multiple perspectives
the market performance and market acceptance of micro and small units.


"Web Extra: Small Spaces"

Form | December 3, 2014

As real estate values skyrocket, young professionals who want to live in the heart of big cities on a budget are increasingly drawn to micro apartments that provide them with a minimum of private space as an alternative to sharing. Living small is nothing new. The poor have always endured cramped quarters—from primitive huts to tenements or trailers—and the homeless are grateful for a modest room in an SRO. Le Corbusier and his wife spent many summers in their 12-foot-square cabin in Roquebrune.


"The Public Art To Adorn San Francisco’s First Micro-Unit Building"

SocketSite | December 1, 2014

With the construction of Panoramic Interest’s 11-story building rising on the southwest corner of Mission and 9th Streets nearing completion, a building which includes a total of 160 market-rate units, of which 120 are “micro-units” as small as 274 square feet in size, it’s time to unveil the public art which will adorn the south façade of  the building as rendered above.

From Ken Kalman, the San Francisco-based sculptor who holds an MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and has been commissioned for the installation:


"Living Small"

Form | October 15, 2014

Thirty-three architectural firms entered a competition initiated by Mayor Bloomberg for 300-square-foot apartments in New York, and it’s likely that his successor will push even harder to foster innovative housing solutions.  In San Francisco, the city authorities are part of the problem. In 2012, they revised their minimum space requirements to permit apartments as small as 220 square feet, but cautiously capped their number at 375. Panoramic Interests, a Berkeley-based developer, has already demonstrated their viability.


"S.F.’s dilemma: boom is pushing out those who make it desirable"

San Francisco Chronicle | September 30, 2014

Why do people pay so much to live in San Francisco?” a writer for San Francisco Magazine recently asked me. My answer: Because it’s worth it. San Francisco is one of the most innovative and creative places on the planet.

But the very forces that are making San Francisco boom are also dividing it. While techies and knowledge workers make enough extra in salary and income to afford it, the city’s working and middle classes fall further behind, accelerating a dual migration in which the affluent are pouring into the city while longtime residents and lower-paid workers are being pushed out.


"This Micro-Housing Developer is Smokin’"

Real Estate Bisnow | September 29, 2014

To celebrate the topping off of its 12th floor, the gang behind the Panoramic project threw a party Friday afternoon. We zipped up to the roof with Panoramic Interests’ Patrick Kennedy, the developer behind the micro-housing project delivering at the corner of 9th and Mission next June. The project will contain 120 microstudios and 40 microsuites, or two and three-bedroom apartments. 


"Strategies for dealing with S.F.’s housing crunch"

SF Chronicle | September 15, 2014

For those who can afford to live in San Francisco, it can be a gloriously dense network of professional opportunities, friends and artisanal edibles and goods. For those who are on the outside, it seems ridiculously unattainable – an image not helped by extreme rental listings (case in point: For the privilege of crashing in a Nob Hill living room, the renter was expected to pay a monthly rent of $900 as well as contribute hours of Web programming).


"Tour a Totally Livable 242-Square-Foot West Village Apartment"

Curbed New York | September 3, 2014

Jourdan Lawlor bought her tiny apartment on West 12th Street, in a quaintformer dormitory for Hudson River dockworkers, in 2011—three weeks before she met Tobin Ludwig. The director of sales development at The Daily Meal, she was tired of renting and decided to buy, scouring the city for a downtown apartment under $300,000 before settling on this prewar option, a high-ceilinged ground-floor studio that clocks in at a diminutive 242 square feet. That includes closets, cabinets, and a 29-square-foot storage nook above the bathroom door.


"Vexed in the city: Silicon Valley’s invasion of San Francisco"

CNET | August 22, 2014

A major migration is under way, with technology companies large and small setting up shop in San Francisco and bypassing the historic heart of the tech industry.

SAN FRANCISCO — From the sixth-floor boardroom where Zendesk holds its most important meetings, CEO Mikkel Svane has a unique view of San Francisco. It’s not the iconic snapshot of the city — no Golden Gate Bridge or Transamerica Pyramid.


"What It’s Like to Live in a Micro-Apartment"

Life Edited | August 21, 2014

As a New Yorker, burdened as I am with our stereotypical New York-centricity, it kinda pains me to admit that Seattle is America’s micro-apartment capital. Seattle’s micro-apartment’s might lack the flash of NYC’s adAPT pilot program or the innovation behind Panoramic Interests‘ San Francisco develops. 


"Vexed in the city: If you’re moving to San Francisco, bring cash. Lots of cash"

CNET | August 20, 2014

Most cities would die for the problems San Francisco is having. But with so many techies flooding the city, the cost of renting or buying a place to live is soaring.

SAN FRANCISCO — Two years and 18 bids after they first tried to find a place to live in San Francisco, Julia Knittel and her fiance Rasheq Zarif finally nabbed an apartment.


"Good Housing Comes in Small Packages"

California Real Estate | August 7, 2014

Real estate developer Patrick Kennedy prefers minimalism and efficiency. When he ends a phone conversation, he says, “Thanks, goodbye,” then hangs up. HIs email subject lines contain actual message-no need to waste time opening the email. And his hobby? Ultra-lightweight backpacking, where you strip down to the absolute minimum of what you carry.

As a developer and proponent of urban microapartments with his Berkeley-based company, Panoramic Interests, Kennedy is well aware that his hobby is a bit of a busman’s holiday version of his job.


"One9: Nine-Story Prefab Apartment Tower was Installed in Just Five Days"

Inhabitat | July 25, 2014

Prefab technology is revolutionizing the way we build our homes, one stackable Lego-like module at a time. Australian construction company Hickory Group recently completed one such example with the One9, a nine-story apartment tower that was installed in just five days. Built from 36 prefab modules, the One9 project also includes numerous environmentally sustainable features such as a gray water recycling system and solar hot water panels.


"How S.F.’s Mid-Mission district is tranSForming"

SF Gate | July 17, 2014

Over the past five years, 1,400 new housing units have opened on Mission Street between Fifth Street and South Van Ness Avenue, including 800 studio apartments that landlord Angelo Sangiacomo built between Seventh and Eighth streets.

And there are a lot more coming.

On Mission between Eighth Street and around 10th Street, contractors are pouring floors on three mid-rise residential towers, construction that will bring an additional 500 units to the corridor by the end of 2015.

At 1400 Mission St., Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corp. is building 190 affordable family units. Across the street, at 1415 Mission St., Martin Building Co. is working on 126 apartments, while a block to the east at 1321 Mission St., Berkeley developer Patrick Kennedy is well under way on 160 micro-studios and “micro-suites,” half of which will provide housing for students from the California College of the Arts.


"The Second Smartest Space in San Francisco"

Life Edited | June 25, 2014

A while ago we checked out San Francisco’s SMARTSPACE Harriet (i.e. the first smartest space in San Francisco), a four story, 23-unit building made up of prefab micro-apartments. SMARTSPACE Harriet was and is significant as it, along with Vancouver’s Micro Lofts, was one of the first true micro-apartment buildings in the modern sense of the term. The vigorously designed 295 sq ft apartments employed numerous tranSForming elements that made them perform like much larger spaces. The inclusion of things like a building car-share, communal spaces and solar hot water made them all the sweeter. Now (well, for a while actually) SMARTSPACE developer Panoramic Interests is building on its initial project. “The Panoramic” is a 160 unit, 11-story building going up in San Francisco’s SoMa District and it represents a lot of big ideas in small building and living.



BISNOW | May 30, 2014

Micro housing developer Patrick Kennedy is on a roll (and not just because of his treadmill desk, below). His latest project in Berkeley, Calif. proves thetiny living arrangement is here to stay in the US.

San Francisco is the trendsetter, with Patrick’s firm (Berkeley-based Panoramic Interests) delivering the country’s first prefab micro housing project in SoMa last year: 23 units less than 300 SF each, gobbled up in a flash.


"Millennials Prefer Cities to Suburbs, Subways to Driveways"

Nielson | May 4, 2014

Millennials are the social generation, both online and in-person. As the founders of the social media movement, they’re never more than a few clicks away from friends and family. And offline, they prefer to live in dense, diverse urban villages where social interaction is just outside their front doors.

Breaking from previous generations’ ideals, this group’s “American Dream” is transitioning from the white picket fence in the suburbs to the historic brownstone stoop in the heart of the city. And their dreams have the power to affect cities and towns across the U.S. According to Nielsen’s recent Millennials – Breaking the Myths report, those aged 18-36 are 77 million strong, or 24 percent of the population—the same as Baby Boomers (between 49-67 years old). As Millennials continue to come of age and control an increasing share of the economy, understanding how their diversity and values play into their lifestyle and purchasing preferences will be essential to appeal to this generation of consumers.


"Prefabricated Micro Apartments–Pretty Fabulous"

AXIOMETRICS Inc. | April 23, 2014

In a previous blog, we introduced the micro-apartment trend and discussed whether it was the “real thing” or the latest fad in city living. The micro-apartments, or micro-units, as they’re sometimes called, average around 500 square feet or less and are geared toward young, single folks in urban locales.


"How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained)"

Tech Crunch | April 14, 2014

The Santa Clara Valley was some of the most valuable agricultural land in the entire world, but it was paved over to create today’s Silicon Valley. This was simply the result of bad planning and layers of leadership failure — nobody thinks farms literally needed to be destroyed to create the technology industry’s success.


Today, the tech industry is apparently on track to destroy one of the world’s most valuable cultural treasures, San Francisco, by pushing out the diverse people who have helped create it. At least that’s the story you’ve read in hundreds of articles lately.

It doesn’t have to be this way. But everyone who lives in the Bay Area today needs to accept responsibility for making changes where they live so that everyone who wants to be here, can.

The alternative — inaction and self-absorption — very well could create the cynical elite paradise and middle-class dystopia that many fear. I’ve spent time looking into the city’s historical housing and development policies. With the protests escalating again, I am pretty tired of seeing the city’s young and disenfranchised fight each other amid an extreme housing shortage created by 30 to 40 years of NIMBYism (or “Not-In-My-Backyard-ism”) from the old wealth of the city and down from the peninsula suburbs.


"The 40 Most Notable New Developments Under Construction"

Curbed SF | March 20, 2014

It’s boom time in San Francisco, and it seems as though there’s more construction happening now than ever before. All over town, construction crews are busy building homes, hospitals and office towers to accommodate an impressive influx of new residents and businesses. Last Summer, Curbed mapped forty of San Francisco’s most prominent development projects. Since then, ground has been broken on a slew of hotly-anticipated towers, while construction has wrapped up on some staples from the old list. As such, it’s high time for a map update. See a project that deserves to be on the list, but hasn’t been featured? Drop us a line, or let us know in the comments. Here now, without further ado, an updated map of SF’s forty most notable active development sites.


"Housing in Berkeley"

The Daily Californian | March 14, 2014

Hard hats and construction trucks may become a familiar sight to Berkeley residents within the next few years as Downtown Berkeley experiences a surge in housing developments.


"Panoramic Interests’ buildings featured in Rizzoli Publications’ new book: Traditional Architecture…Timeless Building for the Twenty-First Century (2014)"

Rizzoli Publishers | February 18, 2014

N.B.: The August 15, 2001 edition of the Berkeley Daily Planet included a letter to the editor describing the Gaia Building as “…a monstrous, Stalinist-style monument to civic corruption.”




Community Builders | February 12, 2014

Even a cursory review of today’s real estate market reveals that there’s a lack of choice for certain households in the American West. If you’re on the market for an apartment without parking, or would like to build a “granny flat” for an aging parent, or desire to live in a tiny apartment in a hip neighborhood, you’re probably out of luck. Unfortunately, today’s building codes and land use regulations frequently prevent these types of moderately-priced housing options from being developed. In the “new normal” American economy, with limited resources at every level of government, the affordability crisis will only deepen if we don’t change regulations that prohibit sensible development.


"Developer’s macro loan for micro units shows small is big"

San Francisco Business Times | January 29, 2014

Builder Patrick Kennedy had landed a big construction loan for small pads in Central SoMa.

With half of the 11-story, 160-unit rental building at 1321 Mission St pre-leased to the California College of the Arts,Jones Lang LaSalle capital markets team has lined up a $50 million construction loan on the deal.

Washington Capital provided the first mortgage with TDA Capital Management providing the mezzanine financing. Managing Director John Manning and Senior Vice President Alex Witt led the JLL team on the transaction.


"S.F. apartment rents cool in winter but still red hot"

SF Chronicle | January 21, 2014

The incredible, escalating prices for apartments in San Francisco, the South Bay and East Bay edged down or flattened in the final three months of 2013 – but don’t get too excited.

The slight slump is a typical seasonal slowdown. After a year of rocket-like gains, asking rents remain sky-high compared with just a year ago.


"It’s Not Too Late to Make San Francisco Affordable Again. Here’s How"

The Atlantic Cities | January 20, 2014

My city, San Francisco, is in the midst of an affordability crisis. People here are angry and afraid. The skyrocketing cost of housing comes up in seemingly every conversation and dominates local news and local politics.

The recent piece on San Francisco’s housing crisis I wrote for The Atlantic Cities seemed to hit a nerve. But it was mostly devoted to describing how the city got to be a place with the highest housing costs in the country. Now, I want to turn to what we can actually do about it.

We face a complex problem. It has roots in income inequality, a national issue, as well as regional anti-growth attitudes that extend well beyond the city boundaries. But at the city level, there are a surprising number of things we can definitely do.


"SRO 2.0 Hits Harlem"

Life Edited | January 10, 2014

We’ve talked a lot about the merits of the SRO (single room occupancy). Throughout the 20th Century, the once-common, small and spartan apartments provided affordable urban dwellings for people looking for basic living accommodations. Unfortunately, in the latter part of the century, they became synonymous with drugs and graft. As neighborhoods gentrified, the unseemly SROs were excised from most cityscapes. Their demise left a gap in urban dwelling typology: i.e. the affordable crash pad. A nearly complete project in New York City is bringing back the SRO, albeit from decidedly 21st century perspective.


"Building Begins on 160 Micro-Units at 9th and Mission"

Curbed SF | January 9, 2014

160 micro-units are officially under construction in Mid-Market now that the single-story furniture store at the corner of 9th and Mission streets has been cleared away. Dubbed Smartspace Mission, the building will strategically maneuver the 160 units into an 11-floor frame that will also include nearly 3,400 sq. ft. of ground floor retail and parking for 240 bicycles. A rooftop garden will satiSFy the open space requirements and a snazzy lobby is planned. The building will be constructed to energy-efficient standards using all Energy Star appliances, sustainable building materials, storm-water management systems, and low-flow plumbing fixtures. The building is expected ready for occupancy late next year.


"What Tech Hasn’t Learned From Urban Planning"

The New York Times | December 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO — The tech sector is, increasingly, embracing the language of urban planning — town hall, public square, civic hackathons, community engagement. So why are tech companies such bad urbanists?


"SoMa development would put new twist on commune living"

San Francisco Business Times | December 9, 2013

Build Inc. is teaming up with EmbassySF to create the next frontier in co-living in the South of Market.

While the city characterizes the proposed 1532 Harrison St. as a “group home,” the project is more of a dense, urban iteration on the communes of the 1960s and 1970s, but with institutional backing and professional management.

The property would be broken up into 28 “houses” with common kitchens, dining areas, living rooms, and outside space. The 235 private spaces — suites — would range from 327 square feet to 409 square feet. These would have bathrooms, sinks, two-burner stoves, and private balconies. The three buildings would be joined by a series of sky bridges and would be separated by two 25-foot mid-block alleys. The project could have up to 470 individual beds.


"Growing pain"

The Economist | December 7, 2013

GLANCING at his phone a few years ago, Marty Castleberg noticed that he had dialled 911 more than almost any other number. Little wonder; he lived in San Francisco’s crime-ridden mid-Market area. His apartment block, a former office complex, had accepted tenants since the tech boom of the late 1990s. It did not meet the city’s strict residential codes (not enough windows), but Mr Castleberg could live in the city centre for a pittance.


"San Francisco apartment boom fuels corporate housing groups"

SF Business Times | December 3, 2013

The proliferation of new apartment complexes in San Francisco is proving to be a bonanza for corporate housing groups that help fast-growing tech firms find temporary digs for a wide variety of new hires, consultants and interns.


"A Tiny Revolution"

The Wall Street Journal | November 30, 2013

On a smug November Monday—crisp, sunny, 68 degrees in San Francisco—I went kayaking. The bay shimmered as my paddle split the water, and I felt lucky, light, even a little artistic. Such athletic transcendence had nothing to do with me, though. It was my ride: a prototype origami kayak. Yup, origami. It isn’t just for paper swans any more.


"Dorms For Developers In San Francisco?"

Socket Site | November 27, 2013

While it was originally reported that Build Inc. was planning to build around 120 rental units on the half-acre SoMa parking lot which fronts 12th, Norfolk and Harrison Streets, plans for the construction of three six-story buildings with 235 group housing suites and up to 470 individual beds, common living areas and shared kitchens have been drafted for the 1532 Harrison Street site.


"Clearing The Way For San Francisco’s First Micro-Unit Building"

Socket Site | November 22, 2013

Unless an appeal is filed within the next few hours, the permit to demolish the one-story building on the southwest corner of Mission and Ninth will be issued, clearing the way for San Francisco’s first micro-unit building to rise and be ready for occupancy in 2015.


"THE US 20: Twenty Huge Trends That Will Dominate America’s Future"

Business Insider | November 21, 2013

The year is winding down, so it’s time to take stock of where America is heading.


Last year’s inaugural U.S. 20 list featured things like the end of retail, the revival of manufacturing and the shale revolution.

Believe it or not, it wasn’t difficult at all to come up with 20 brand new trends this year that will dominate headlines over the next decade.

It’s not that all of last year’s forces have already dissipated.

But new movements have already sprung up.

The 2013 list includes two new geographic centers of the American economy, evolving patterns of relationships, robots, and the changing energy landscape.

Check it out.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/business-insider-us-20-2013-2013-11?op=1#ixzz2p5lvmgIt


"The Case Against Cars in 1 Utterly Entrancing GIF"

The Atlantic Cities | November 18, 2013

Here is a brilliant piece of data viz to show how public transit reduces congestion. I sort of can’t stop staring at it.

If you do succeed in dragging your eyes away, read more about America’s evolving car habits at The Atlantic Cities and check out Jordan Weissmann on the decline of driving in the U.S. over the last few years.


"Micro-apartment developments on rise in S.F."

SF Gate | November 3, 2013

Kayla Smith, 35, has been out of college for years, but she’s returned to dorm-style living in an apartment the size of a one-car garage in a brand-new building in San Francisco’s Tenderloin.

“It’s the price you pay for living in San Francisco,” she said. She winnowed her possessions to the bare minimum when she moved into the 279-square-foot space in September, paying $1,850 a month for the convenience of living blocks from work amid the emerging Mid-Market area.

Urban planners and San Francisco leaders say smaller units help tackle the city’s housing shortage and rising rental costs.


"How can we build cheaper urban housing?"

Markasauras | October 25, 2013

There were a number of suggestions from readers, via both the blog comments and Twitter, on how we could build cheaper multifamily housing. Here are a few ideas with my thoughts.


"Rents soaring across region"

San Francisco Chronicle | October 25, 2013

San Francisco rentals were a different world when Chuck Post became a leasing agent – just four years ago.

“In 2009 we were actually discounting rents, offering things like a free month’s rent when you moved in, perhaps throwing in free parking,” he said.


"Demand Continues to Pressure San Francisco Apartment Market"

The Registry | October 24, 2013

San Francisco has the reputation as the most bulletproof apartment market in the country, but a torrent of new construction promises to test its armor, as does reinvigorated condominium building.


"What is a Micro Apartment?"

Life Edited | October 16, 2013

Amidst its turmoil, the City of Seattle has drafted a proposal for establishing citywide micro-apartment (aka “micro-unit” and “micro-housing”) regulations. The good news is that “DPD [Dept. of Planning and Development] has found that micro-housing provides an important lower-cost housing option that is appealing to many renters, and we recommend that it continue to be allowed to meet this demand.”



dwell | October 10, 2013

German industrial designer Dieter Rams is a legend, and for good reason, thanks to his rational, less-is-more philosophy on design. Here, take a look at everything Rams from products to interviews to exhibitions.


"‘End of suburbia’ may nearly be upon us: Sam Zell"

CNBC | October 8, 2013

Young people shunning the suburbs in favor of the hustle and bustle of city life are leading the charge in the “reurbanization of America,” real estate mogul Sam Zell told CNBC on Tuesday.


"Press Release – September 27, 2013"

Berkeley Chamber of Commerce | September 27, 2013

The Berkeley Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Berkeley Start Up Cluster and the Skydeck accelerator are hosting the first Berkeley Visionary Awards on September 30th from 5-7:30 at the penthouse Skydeck at 2150 Shattuck Ave.


"Lease Application for Millennials"

The New Yorker | September 24, 2013


Applicant Gmail address:

Applicant Twitter Handle:

Number of Twitter Followers:

What is your current residence?

Why are you leaving current residence?
_Parents kicked me out.
_Amicable parting from parents (it was just time).


"Living Micro: Single Residents Embrace Tiny Apartments"

PBS Newshour | September 22, 2013

As more people across the country are living alone, the costs of rent and real estate are soaring in many urban areas. Cities like New York and Vancouver are trying to get the most out of available apartment space by creating “micro” apartments. Many of these apartments are smaller than what was previously allowed under the law.


"Micro-Apartments: Modular Building and Affordability in San Francisco"

Epoch Times | August 28, 2013

For developers in San Francisco, “it’s the best of times, and it’s the worst of times,” says Panoramic Interests CEO Patrick Kennedy.

If you’ve just put a building on the currently under-supplied market, it’s a really good time. But if you’re in the earlier stages of a project, everything is getting expensive.


"Living in a Box"

National Geographic | August 22, 2013

Amsterdam student Rose Mandungu stands in front of a colorful apartment complex constructed of a rather unusual material—discarded shipping containers. The crowded Dutch city has been meeting a pressing need for student and other low-income housing by using ubiquitous steel shipping containers. After years at sea, the containers were rusted and dented but ready for reuse to house people instead of products.


"Time to Make Room"

Spur | August 22, 2013

Single people are taking over U.S. cities. The numbers are so staggering that it’s hard to understand why housing policy has been so slow to react. In New York City, a third of all households are single people living alone. San Francisco beats New York at 38 percent, and Washington, D.C., Seattle and Denver top the charts for larger cities, with over 40 percent of their homes occupied by a lone resident.  But even in smaller cities like Atlanta, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh, single people make up close to half of their households.


"Why San Francisco May Be the New Silicon Valley"

The Atlantic Cities | August 6, 2013

A decade ago, billionaire entrepreneurs Peter Thiel and Elon Musk decided to take booming start-up PayPal public from a small coffee shop along Palo Alto’s University Avenue. The street, the epicenter of Silicon Valley high tech, also helped incubate such now-established giants as Facebook and Google. But today, Thiel has seemingly left the Valley behind.

The venture capital funds he runs are based 30 miles north, in a San Francisco building with views of the Golden Gate Bridge. A number of highly publicized start-ups like Twitter, Square, and Pinterest are also located in the heart of urban San Francisco. As Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted last February from his new headquarters in San Francisco’s Mid-Market neighborhood, “I love the idea of an urban corporate campus with all the energy and variety that provides.”


"Mini-Apartments Are The Next Big Thing in U.S. Cities"

NBC | August 6, 2013

When Gil Blattner hired a housekeeper for his elegant apartment with 12-foot ceilings, tall windows and marble fireplace mantle, the woman looked at the living room and asked, “Where’s the rest of it?”

There was no more. She’d seen all 250 square feet of his cocoon, located on a tony, tree-lined street in Chelsea near restaurants, art galleries and bookstores. His monthly rent: $2,500.


"Mini-apartments are the next big thing in U.S. cities"

USA Today | August 1, 2013


Construction will start soon on an experimental New York housing complex in Manhattan with 55 “micro-sized” apartments, from 250 to 370 square feet each. The prefabricated units, which will rent for $914 to $1,873 per month, aim to help alleviate the city’s shortage of less-pricey studios and one-bedroom apartments. As more urban dwellers live alone, other U.S. cities are considering similar solutions.


"The Rise of People Living Alone Has Led to More Sustainable Cities"

The Atlantic Cities | July 16, 2013

Whatever you want to call people living alone — some go with solos, others singletons — the fact is there’s a lot more of them than there used to be. In 1950, solos accounted for about 9 percent of all U.S. households; today that figure is roughly 28 percent. As sociologist Eric Klinenberg points out in his 2012 book Going Solo, one in seven American adults now lives alone, and the trend toward solitary living is truly global:


"The Tiniest Living Spaces in SF"

The Bold Italic | July 15, 2013

Whether it’s a closet-esque studio or the short-straw bedroom in an apartment, San Franciscans have evolved to forgo sofas and square footage for some of the “coziest” living spaces in the country. I talked to the inhabitants of seven spaces registering toward the “speck of dust” end of the size spectrum to learn about the good and the bad of micro living.


"San Francisco’s SmartSpace SoMa is the First Prefab Micro Housing Project in the US Read more: San Francisco’s SmartSpace SoMa is the First Prefab Micro Housing Project in the US | Inhabitat – Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building"

inhabitat | July 3, 2013

San Francisco recently saw the opening of the first prefabricated micro housing project in the US! Developed by Panoramic InterestsSmartSpace SoMA is a complex of sub-300 sq ft apartments designed by Lowney Architecture and fabricated by local prefab builder ZETA. The urban infill lot is close to transit and stores and provides 23 studio apartments with full kitchens and fold-out beds. The project is currently aiming for LEED Platinum certification and has secure bike parking along with an on-site City CarShare lot.


"Best Dorm Room Ever! A Peek Inside San Francisco’s New Tiny Apartments"

Architizer | June 27, 2013

The Berkeley, California-based developer Patrick Kennedy does not like to hear his apartments compared to dorm rooms. “That’s a bad word in our office,” he told Architizer. Kennedy, who owns Panoramic Interests, had just wrapped up a tour of SmartSpace SoMa, a new micro-living development in San Francisco’s trendy tech corridor, South of Market. The urban research nonprofit SPUR had organized the tour, giving a few dozen architects, builders, and micro-enthusiasts the chance to size up the project’s 295-square-foot units—which, in an inconvenient twist of fate, are slated for student housing. Come fall, California College of the Arts will lease the building while Panoramic looks for a buyer.


"ULI Announces Finalists for the 2013 Global Awards for Excellence Competition"

Urban Land Institute | June 26, 2013

Winning Projects to Be Announced at 2013 Fall Meeting in Chicago

For more information, contact: Robert Krueger at 202/624-7086

WASHINGTON (June 26, 2013) — The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected twenty-seven developments as finalists in the 35th annual ULI Global Awards for Excellence competition, widely recognized as the land use industry’s most prestigious recognition program.  The competition — which honors real estate projects that achieve a high standard of excellence in design, construction, economics, planning and management — is the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development.  From this elite group, the jury will select a smaller group of winners that will be announced in November during the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.


"Urban Land Institute Announces Finalists For The 2013 Global Awards For Excellence Competition"

The Wall Street Journal | June 26, 2013

Winning Projects to Be Announced at 2013 Fall Meeting in Chicago

WASHINGTON, June 26, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Urban Land Institute (ULI) has selected twenty-seven developments as finalists in the 35(th) annual ULI Global Awards for Excellence competition, widely recognized as the land use industry’s most prestigious recognition program. The competition — which honors real estate projects that achieve a high standard of excellence in design, construction, economics, planning and management — is the centerpiece of ULI’s efforts to identify and promote best practices in all types of real estate development. From this elite group, the jury will select a smaller group of winners that will be announced in November during the ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago.


"Is LA the next city to go micro?"

Life Edited | June 25, 2013

In the US, high density cities like New York, San Francisco and Boston are the likely candidates for micro-apartment booms. Their steep property values, limited land and solid public transportation infrastructures make them ideal for small housing. But other large cities are increasingly entertaining compact living as a solution for growing their housing capacity in a cost effective and environmentally responsible manner. Two exhibitions that just opened in Los Angeles, a city that has become synonymous with car-fueled sprawl, are looking at how that city might include micro-apartments in its future.


"Would you live in a micro-apartment? (And for how much?)"

Boston.comment | June 25, 2013

When it comes to living space, how minimalist would you go? Boston is one of many cities poised to join the micro-apartment bandwagon: the city has authorized 190 “innovation units” in the Seaport District, as small as 350 square feet, with access to common work and living spaces. But some want to see even more, smaller homes. A Globe editorial last weekend urged the city to lift its restrictions on micro-apartments, building up tiny units in neighborhoods like Forest Hills and Longwood — as a way to appeal to young workers, ease market pressures, and open up larger apartments to middle-class families.


"Micro-apartments: The anti-McMansions"

CNN Money | June 21, 2013

Move over McMansions: These days, pint-sized, micro-apartments are all the rage.

Typically ranging between 180 and 300 square-feet, these tiny apartments are becoming increasingly popular among the young-and-single set and even some retirees, seeking affordable places to live in the nation’s costliest cities.


"Thinking Beyond the 3BR, 2BA"

Urban Land | June 19, 2013

As they have for decades, Americans are moving toward cities and jobs. And now more than ever, they are willing to settle for less square footage in return for a carless commute, convenient access to shopping and entertainment destinations, and that hard-to-define quality called “place.” Fewer want to own their own home, and many more are looking for affordable options.


"Under Armour exec snaps up housing site in San Francisco’s Mid-Market"

San Francisco Business Times | June 18, 2013

A Maryland business executive who recently retired from Under Armour clothing company has shelled out approximately $9.5 million for 1028 Market St., a former billiards parlor that could be redeveloped with about 150 housing units, according to market sources.


"Living Large in Tiny Apartments"

Harvard Magazine | June 18, 2013

THE MICRO-UNIT TREND (see “Living Large in Tiny Apartments,” from the May-June 2013 issue) may have originated in cramped cities like Tokyo and Paris, but it is now starting to develop in the United States.


"Built Rams Tough. Dieter Rams that is"

Life Edited | June 18, 2013

At LifeEdited, we frequently use the expression “less, but better.” To us, it means that living an edited life is more about refinement than elimination. Have what you need, but love what you have. And as clever as we think we are, we weren’t so clever as to coin “less, but better”–that distinction goes to Dieter Rams. Even if you don’t know Rams by name, you know his work. The German industrial designer has become synonymous with economical and elegant design.


"Living Large in a 130-Square-Foot Apartment"

Wired | June 18, 2013

With dense urban centers and housing that was built hundreds of years ago, Europeans have long known how to make their tiny spaces feel triumphant. But this apartment in the Montparnasse neighborhood of Paris is an above-and-beyond exemplar of hyper-efficient, micro-urban living.


"Take That, Tokyo! San Francisco Approves 220-Square-Foot ‘Micro-Apartments’"

Wired | June 18, 2013

If you live in San Francisco, chances are you already feel like you’re living in a closet. But soon the city’s smallest living spaces will likely be tiny enough to fit in a compact one-car garage.

San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors tentatively approved Tuesday a trial run of 220-square-foot “micro-apartments” — carefully designed compact living spaces that have become all the rage in urban development. Pending ratification and mayoral approval next month, the plan beats, in smallness,Vancouver’s 226-square-foot “micro-lofts,” and make the 275-square-foot units under trial in New York look like airplane hangars.


"Small is Beautiful for Patrick Kennedy’s Micro-units"

San Francisco Business Times | June 18, 2013

SoMa Studios, a building of 23 micro-units in San Francisco, is hitting the for sale market.

Now that the building is built and fully-leased by the California College of the Arts to use for dorms, developer Patrick Kennedy of Panoramic Interests is ready to sell with an asking price of $7.4 million or about $321,500 per unit.


"Micro Living Trend Sweeps The U.S., As Cash-Strapped Renters Look For Affordable Housing In Pricey Cities"

Huffington Post | June 2, 2013

SEATTLE, June 2 (Reuters) – Aaron McConnell doesn’t mind sharing a kitchen with seven neighbors. He’s fine in living quarters with just enough room for a twin bed, a corner desk and little else. Closets? Forget about it – he stores his clothing and other possessions on shelves and hooks.


"Gulliver Seeks Rental: The New Found Fascination With Tiny Dwellings"

New York Times | May 20, 2013

In Luke Clark Tyler’s last New York City apartment, his shoes had some unusual companions in the closet. The shoes sat, in neat pairs, on a rack, directly below his dishes and right next to the microwave. A few inches away, a hip-high refrigerator lived beneath his desk. And the apartment was so narrow that Mr. Tyler could sit on a sofa pushed against one wall with his feet propped up on the opposite wall.


"Brave New World Department Mini Dinner"

The New Yorker | May 20, 2013

Depending on how you count, Graham Hill’s micro-apartment, in SoHo, has either six rooms or one. The other night, a dozen people gathered in them/it for a dinner party. “This is the first time I’ve had apartment envy for a place even smaller than my own,” one of them whispered.


"San Francisco rental construction soars"

San Francisco Business Times | May 17, 2013

A historic $5 billion explosion of rental housing is about to dramatically reshape San Francisco’s skyline, neighborhoods and politics.

Ending last decade’s flirtation with high-end condo towers, the city is rattling and humming with the biggest burst of apartment construction witnessed since Joe Alioto was mayor in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Nearly 8,000 new apartments, mostly in mid-rise and high-rise buildings, will come on line between now and 2015 — 3,498 in 2015 alone. It’s more new rental housing than was built in the last 15 years combined, according to real estate research firm Polaris Pacific.


"Don’t like Market Street? Wait a few minutes"

San Francisco Business Times | April 26, 2013

Central Market Street is not changing by the day, it’s changing by the hour.

After a week out of town traveling with my family, I cycled down Market Street Monday morning. Of course I expected some of the progress I saw: AvalonBay had added a couple of floors at 55 Ninth St., Crescent Heights had snapped on more of the glass skin at 1401 Market and poured a few more floors on the tower as well. But other developments were more startling.


"KCBS Cover Story: A Look Inside San Francisco’s Micro-Apartments"

KCBS | April 10, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – Crews are putting the finishing touches on some San Francisco micro-apartments, spaces under 300 square feet, meant to be a more affordable option for those looking to live in the city.

Just off Mission Street at 38 Harriet sits a sleek new building with 23 units, “smart spaces” that are small, but comfortable


"It’s a Small World"

Metropolismag.com | April 9, 2013

In Seattle, they call them “apodments,” a neologism that could have come straight from Douglas Coupland’s 1995 novel, Microserfs. Certainly that’s the target market. Some of these apodment buildings are even in suburban Redmond, convenient to Microsoft headquarters, with units that measure a mere 140 square feet. Kitchens are communal, like laundry rooms. The rent is about $800 a month, including Wi-Fi. Similarly, in some of Seattle’s most desirable residential neighborhoods, such as Capitol Hill, skinny towers full of tiny dwellings have popped up in recent years, encouraged by a loophole in the zoning law that allows as many as eight unrelated people to share a kitchen. Eight living spaces with one kitchen count as a single unit, allowing developers to add density without applying for a variance.


"Nine Berkeley buildings win ‘design excellence’ awards"

Berkeleyside | April 3, 2013

Nine buildings have been singled out as representing the best new design work in Berkeley for 2010-2012. Berkeley Design Advocates, a volunteer group of architects and urban planners, selected three UC Berkeley buildings, a restaurant, a senior home, two retail spaces — one newly built, one restored — a wine store, and the renovation of a branch library from a list of 15 submissions, and handed out the award certificates at a ceremony on Thursday, March 28. (See the 2013 Awards Brochure for full details.)


"Micro-apartments come to the City"

Marina Times | March 30, 2013

Micro-apartments. Twitter-apts. Mini-flats. There are many descriptive names one could come up with for the small apartments that we will soon be seeing more of in San Francisco. But judging from the opposition, you would think they were named like the media names disastrous East Coast storms: Apartmogeddon, Frankenapt, Apocalyptment.

Scary thoughts aside, in November 2012 the Board of Supervisors passed legislation by Supervisor Scott Weiner — the anti-Peskin —that approved the construction of a limited number of micro-apartments. The units, as small as 220-square-feet of total space, are expected to rent for around $1,500 per month, about a quarter less than the average apartment in the City.


"The Smartest Space in San Francisco"

Life Edited | March 27, 2013

Some time ago we saw a video with Patrick Kennedy from the development company Panoramic Interests show us around their SmartSpace 166 sq ft prototype micro-apartment. We gave reports as their building at 38 Harriet St in San Francisco’s trendy SoMa district went up; it would feature 23-apartments, each measuring 295 sq ft. The building was going to be pretty exciting, incorporating many of the prototype’s interior features like tranSForming furniture and high quality finishes as well as an in-house car-share, solar-thermal hot water, rain water collection, LEED Platinum certification, common spaces and much more. These guys were doing it right.


"Housing-starved cities seek relief in micro-apartments"

The Boston Globe | March 26, 2013

To cater to a growing population of young workers, San Francisco is now allowing construction of apartments as small as 220 square feet, putting it at the forefront of a micro housing debate ricocheting across the country. Officials in fast-growing cities from New York, to Boston, to Seattle are exploring development of these smaller units to satiSFy rising demand for urban housing and provide relief from skyrocketing prices.


"Modular Microhousing Shows Its Green Edge In San Francisco"

Earth Techling | March 24, 2013

“How-small-can-you-go?” has dominated the buzz on the new SmartSpace apartments at 38 Harriet Street in San Francisco. They’re each 295 square feet. Hey, that’s downright spacious compared to recent microhousing in Vancouver, to say nothing of Tokyo.

Two key features have tended to get lost in the buzz: the building is LEED Platinum (applied for), and it consists of 16 truck-sized modules that were built elsewhere and assembled here in the space of four days. They were built by Zeta Communities, an industry leader in green modular construction. You can watch the four days zoom by in stop action on Zeta’s website.


"Eleve to Open with Micro Apartments and Mega Roof"

ENR California | March 23, 2013

The new $34-million Eleve Lofts & Skydeck is big on ideas and luxury, yet compact and efficient. When opened next month, the 170,000-sq-ft mixed-use project will feature one of the country’s largest active roof and six levels of unique “micro-apartments” targeted at the emerging 20 to 34-yr-old Generation Y crowd of young professionals.

The massive roof deck includes all the project’s open space, from barbeques to a full dog park.

The project uses wood framing 65 ft above the podium, which is the maximum allowable height for bearing wood shear wall construction.


"Micro-Apartments in the Big City: A Trend Builds"

Business Week | March 14, 2013

Imagine waking in a 15-by-15-foot apartment that still manages to have everything you need. The bed collapses into the wall, and a breakfast table extends down from the back of the bed once it’s tucked away. Instead of closets, look overhead to nooks suspended from the ceiling. Company coming? Get out the stools that stack like nesting dolls in an ottoman.


"You Live Where?"

20/20 ABC | March 11, 2013

Fast forward to 4:14 into video to view SMARTSPACE.


"Living With Less. A Lot Less."

New York Times | March 9, 2013

I LIVE in a 420-square-foot studio. I sleep in a bed that folds down from the wall. I have six dress shirts. I have 10 shallow bowls that I use for salads and main dishes. When people come over for dinner, I pull out my extendable dining room table. I don’t have a single CD or DVD and I have 10 percent of the books I once did.


"Micro apartments: The next big thing?"

CBS | March 8, 2013

Space is at a premium in many big cities, driving up rents, so micro apartments are seen as one possible answer. CBS News’ John Blackstone reports from San Francisco, where a change in the law is allowing construction of the nation’s tiniest new apartments.


"Small gets big on Mid-Market in San Francisco"

San Francisco Business Times | March 8, 2013

It’s little buildings’ time to shine in the Mid-Market corridor.

Now that technology giants like Twitter, Square, Yammer, and Dolby have pounced on every large block of space on Market Street between Fifth Street and Van Ness, tenants and investors are turning attention to some smaller, long-forgotten gems.

At 1019 Market St. San Francisco-based Cannae Partners and financial partner Westport Capital Partners LLC are repositioning the Eastern Outfitting Co. building, a 75,000-square-foot structure with Corinthian columns and a five-story bay window. The investors bought the building for $9.5 million, about $125 a square foot. Contractor Howard Wright is in the …


"San Francisco’s ‘Micro-Apartment’: How Much Smaller Can We Go?"

AOL Real Estate | March 7, 2013

We thought a 325-square-foot apartment was tiny, but San Francisco has shrunk the size of a studio even further — to a ridiculously minuscule 160 square feet. Patrick Kennedy of the development firm Panoramic Interests designed a life-size model of the smallest-size studio apartment that’s legally allowed in California — and yes, it really is only 160 square feet. But according to Kennedy, that’s really all you need: Decked out in custom, modular, multipurpose furniture, the “micro-apartment” offers the functionalities of a regular one-bedroom.


"Geek-driven gentrification threatens San Francisco’s bohemian appeal"

The Guardian | March 5, 2013

The Romans used to celebrate victory by building triumphal arches through which troops would march, blowing trumpets. California‘s new technology lords are not quite so flamboyant but there is no denying the sleekness of the citadels springing up across San Francisco.

Twitter and Yammer have led the way by moving into Market Square, a downtown art deco landmark where employees enjoy gourmet food, yoga studios, arcades and rooftop gardens.


"One Size (Small) Fits All"

The New York Times | February 20, 2013

The so-called micro-pad is now a buzz phrase and a cultural touchstone, thanks to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. But when single-room living was being sketched out in the floor plans of Manhattan’s first apartment buildings, particularly during the boom years of the 1920s, it was called the studio apartment.

Designed for the eager young women and men on a budget who were flocking to the city, the romantic label was intended to evoke the glamour and Bohemianism of the artist’s preferred mode of living. Studio was a “magic word,” as Anatole Broyard once wrote about his own dive apartment on Prince Street in the 1940s.


"8 Tips for Making Your Own Micro Apartment"

Life Edited | January 31, 2013

With all the hoopla around the adAPT NYC competition and other micro-apartments around the country, it’s clear there’s a demand for smart, small apartments. In fact, people write us daily asking if we have apartments available to rent or buy.

While LifeEdited is working with development teams to get you your micro-apartments with the greatest haste (be sure to sign up for our list), many of the developments are years away. This leaves the question: What do I do now if I want a micro-apartment?


"Jones Lang: San Francisco Is a Global ‘Super City’"

The Registry | January 31, 2013

Boston Properties Inc. is so bullish on the future of San Francisco that it is investing more than twice as much capital in the city’s office market as it is in the rest of the country combined.

“It is a thick market with a tremendous labor pool coupled with barriers to entry,” said Raymond A. Ritchey, national director of acquisitions and development for the real estate investment trust. “We are betting long.

“Virtually all of our major new investments are coming to San Francisco,” he said.

The Boston-based company has owned the iconic Embarcadero Center since 1998, is redeveloping 680 Folsom St., which is leased to Macys.com and Riverbed Technology, and is building the 1.4 million square foot Transbay Tower with the Hines company. “We are designing it to appeal not only to technology tenants but also to be equally attractive to law firms at the top. A building that size, you have to expand your base to a large pool of prospective tenants,” he said.


"Startup dreams meet pop-up rentals"

SF Gate | January 26, 2013

Daniel Marienthal, 23, lives in a Twin Peaks mansion with 11 other men, where privacy is so scarce that for a few months he lived in a canvas tepee he had built.

Josh Furnas, 23, has taken up residence in a converted closet, near the living room, in a Bayview apartment that he shares with an Ecuadoran family of seven.

Dan Stifler, 24, wakes up – under two faucets – in a Mission District laundry room.

This is the reality of pop-up housing in San Francisco, where young entrepreneurs, drawn to the promise of startup riches yet finding few affordable housing options, are inventing homes of their own – often in violation of zoning codes.


"Next big thing in real estate: 300-square-foot apartments"

Today | January 25, 2013

In response to skyrocketing rents in New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a challenge to the city’s best architects: to design a space no bigger than 350 square feet into a comfortable and affordable micro-apartment. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk reports.

By Ben Popken, TODAY contributor

New Yorkers are famous for their teeny apartments, but a new trend in dwelling seeks to tranSForm those tiny spaces into big assets. They’re called “micro apartments,” and they make a few hundred square feet feel like over a thousand.


"Men and the Rise of Micro-Apartments"

Esquire | January 25, 2013

About a decade ago, right out of college, I visited my friend John in Manhattan. We ordered pizza that night, and the following morning I tried to heat up the leftovers. But I couldn’t get the oven to work. How do you turn the oven on, I asked John, who had been living in his one-bedroom apartment for about six months. “I don’t know,” he replied. “I’ve never tried to use it.”


"1321 Mission Offers Students Tiny Apartments"

SF Curbed | January 23, 2013

There’s loads of housing proposed for SoMa, and 1321 Mission Street is set to throw a bit more into the mix, courtesy of tiny apartment master Patrick Kennedy. The proposed Smartspace Mission project, which demos a one-story furniture store, will construct an 11-story-over-basement, 120-foot building with up to 160 units, 120 of which would be designated as efficiency dwelling-units with reduced square footage. The unit floorplans look pretty familiar, but we guess if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Currently a minimum of 80 units will be for student housing units, but the project sponsor has the flexibility to change the rest to student housing up until the first Certificate of Occupancy.


"In Winning Design, City Hopes to Address a Cramped Future"

The New York Times | January 22, 2013

The apartment of New York City’s future, as the city imagines it, has all the amenities of modern life: wheelchair-accessible bathroom, a full kitchen, space for entertaining and access to a gym, communal lounge, front and back porches and a rooftop garden — all in 250 to 370 square feet.


"Life Edited: Tiny NY Studio Functions like a 1,100-square-foot Space | At Home"

Life Edited | January 19, 2013

This 420-square-foot studio has a moveable wall that hides a guest bedroom. (Photo: By Matthew Williams for Life …People who live in big cities are used to small spaces — and to longing for larger ones . One green-minded entrepreneur may have found the perfect solution: He renovated a 420-square-foot studio in New York City to function like a 1,100-square apartment.


"Refusnik cities have to get with housing program"

San Francisco Business Times | January 18, 2013

Squeaky wheels tend to get the grease. But sometimes it’s more instructive to look at wheels that are spinning smoothly on their own, and how they got that way without all the dramatics.


"25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco"

The Art of Living | January 17, 2013

I moved to San Francisco 9 months ago from the East Coast bastion of Boston. Despite having experience living in a major US city, I found quite a few surprises coming here.  Some have been great, while others not so much.

If you’re planning the move here, I hope this will help you know better what to expect. And if you already live in SF, this should give you a laugh or two and hopefully inspire you to leave a comment with anything I missed. Consider this the guide I wish someone had given me when I moved here.


"Bay Area economy looking bright for 2013"

SF Gate | December 27, 2012

If the Bay Area economy were considered a stock, analysts would definitely rate it a “strong buy” for 2013.

“You folks will continue to outperform the U.S. economy and all of California,” predicts Wells Fargo’s chief economist, John Silvia.

Of course, prognosticators can be wrong. Many had predicted the state’s unemployment rate, for example, would continue in double digits through 2013. In fact, unemployment dipped below 10 percent last month for the first time in four years and continued to fall even further in the Bay Area. And job growth numbers were led by industries such as transportation, construction and leisure and hospitality, rather than high tech, which has almost single-handedly powered the local economy.


"Executive Profile: Patrick Kennedy, owner of Panoramic Interests"

San Francisco Business Times | December 21, 2012

Background: Kennedy spent 20 years developing apartments and condominiums in Berkeley, eventually selling a 500-unit rental housing portfolio to Equity Residential for $146 million. Kennedy bought his first San Francisco property in 2009 and developed the 23-unit 38 Harriet St. His company is now entitling 1321 Mission St., 180 units of efficiently designed studios and suites. He expects to break ground in spring 2013.


"6 rooms into 1: morphing apartment packs 1100 sq ft into 420"

LifeEdited | December 21, 2012

In 2010, we met Graham Hill- the founder of treehugger.com and a serial entrepreneur. He had just bought two tiny apartments in a century-old tenement building in Soho and he had plans to turn them into laboratories, and showcases, for tiny living. He’d spent most of the past year living in tiny spaces- “a tiny trailer, a tent, and then a boat” and he was convinced others would love it as much if small spaces could be designed right.

He wanted a tiny space that didn’t sacrifice function, but instead that would expand to provide a wish list including dinner parties for 12, accommodations for 2 overnight guests, a home office and a home theater with digital projector. Not wanting to limit himself to local architects, he crowdsourced the design as a competition and received 300 entries from all over the world. Two Romanian architecture students won with their design “One Size Fits All”.


"Cushman forecast: San Francisco is top U.S. city for office net growth"

San Francisco Business Times | December 20, 2012

San Francisco was the only U.S. city to rank in the top 10 of cities forecast to see the highest office rental rates over the next two years, according to a new forecast from Cushman & Wakefield.

According to the forecast, Jakarta, Sao Paolo and San Francisco will be the top cities for growth in 2013 and 2014.

While some markets and regions will experience increased activity later in 2013, noteworthy growth is not expected in the majority of locations until 2014 and beyond.


"Manhattan Mini Apartment Packs 6 Rooms into 1 TranSFormable Space"

Life Edited | December 19, 2012

The LifeEdited apartment in Manhattan’s SOHO neighborhood is a tiny 420 square foot apartment with a remarkable multifunction living space that can be configured into six different rooms. A moving wall and hideaway furniture can be arranged to create sleeping quarters for 4, two separate offices, or a dining room that can seat up to 12 people. The apartment is the brainchild of TreeHugger founder Graham Hill, who completely remodeled the flat after buying it in 2010. Hill demonstrates the many features of his apartment in this video tour by *faircompanies.


"Residential Behavioral Architecture 101"

Life Edited | December 14, 2012

The above image was taken from an article in a Wall Street Journal article about the book “Life at Home in the 21st Century.” The UCLA group responsible for the book followed 32 middle class Los Angeles families around their homes, tracking their every move to see how people actually live nowadays. This image shows ”the location of each parent and child on the first floor of the house of ‘Family 11′ every 10 minutes over two weekday afternoons and evenings.” In other words, primetime for their waking hours at home.


"Tiny House, Happy Life?"

National Geographic | December 10, 2012

Imagine stepping into a house 25 times smaller than your current abode. For the average American, that would amount to 100 square feet, a space so tiny it feels like it belongs in a tree.

That’s the way Jay Shafer has come home for the past decade. Shafer is considered something of a patriarch of the tiny house movement, a small but growing band of people who drastically shrink their living space in hopes of living a cheaper, less wasteful, and happier life.


"TVB Chinese National TV Broadcasts about SMARTSPACE"

TVB: National Chinese Television Station | December 6, 2012

Scroll to bottom of page and click link for video dated December 6, 2012.


"San Francisco is No. 1 real estate market nationwide, but for how long?"

The San Francisco Business Times | December 4, 2012

San Francisco is expected to reign as the nation’s top real estate market for investment, development and homebuilding in 2013, according a recently released annual report from the Urban Land Institute.