The San Francisco Exodus

At our TechTable with Bruce Katz (briefing; photo album), we discussed the housing affordability crisis in San Francisco. Yesterday, The Atlantic Cities featured an article written by attendee Gabriel Metcalf, Executive Director of SPUR. In it, he argues that “subsidized, below-market-rate units are too expensive to build to help very many people,” and that “[r]ailing against Google buses, fancy restaurants or new condos—the visible signs of gentrification—will do nothing to stop San Francisco from becoming more expensive.” He calls for the city to take more aggressive, innovative steps to “fix the supply problem,” including:

  • Allowing for an increase in high-density development
  • Increase rate of production to 5,000 units per year
  • Pick one neighborhood with great transit where we say, all housing produced here has to be car-free
  • Get some more neighborhoods to allow micro-units and new secondary units (sometimes called “in-law” units) as “naturally affordable,” un-subsidized types of housing
  • Tweak the city’s “inclusionary housing” program that can generate more middle-income units


What are your thoughts? Are these good ideas?