Durable Growth

Setting the stage to discuss affordable housing

Housing project near London

In four years of writing this blog, I’ve touched on affordable housing exactly once, in a 2013 post about demographically mixed communities. (I’ve also written about public housing a few times, but that’s something of a different beast than affordable housing, although the two can have much in common from […]

Durable Growth, Government

Delay tactics plague the county housing element

by Lotus Carroll, on Flickr

As the county comes down the home stretch of approving its housing element (HE), opponents of the element, led by Marin Against Density (MAD) and Community Venture Partners (CVP) have taken up a tactic of delay. Calling the effectively two-year process a fast-track giveaway to developers, they have called […]

Durable Growth, Government

Fairfax’s progressive zoning under threat

Downtown Fairfax. By Ryan, on Flickr

About 16 years ago, I was excited to be a newly-minted Drake High freshman and Fairfax was excited to start on a major update to its General Plan. Three months ago I celebrated my 30th and Fairfax celebrated the passage of the final piece of its general plan […]

Durable Growth

Row-scrapers for family city living

The row-scraper concept. Image from The Tyson’s Corner.

While there is undoubtedly a huge demand for new small apartments in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and the East Bay, new family-sized homes are lacking in new apartment units being built across the region. As cities grow up, it’s vital that they figure out how to […]

Durable Growth

How to interpret the Google bus protests

From a Google shuttle protest. Image by Steven Rhodes, on Flickr.

Private shuttle buses have recently become a Bay Area controversy. The buses are usually described as Google buses, although that term is inaccurate because more than 30 companies operate shuttles between urban residential neighborhoods in San Francisco and Oakland and offices in the […]

Durable Growth

Micro-apartments revisited

Street of micro-apartments in Venice, Italy

Nearly eighteen months ago, I took a look at “micro-apartments”, which can be roughly described as apartments of 300 square feet or less. Single-occupancy seems the most likely use of such small apartments, although some jurisdictions, by putting an occupancy cap of two people on the units, acknowledge […]

Durable Growth, Government

Palo Alto turns down nonprofit senior housing

Palo Alto: for rich seniors only. By Andrew Mager, on Flickr.

The rejection of 8 Washington in San Francisco has the region’s urbanists feeling pretty down. Rather than help ease the housing shortage, the story of 8 Washington will simply add to the risk faced by developers who might want to add housing to […]

Durable Growth

Supply, meet demand: Lessons in housing from the DC region

Holdout by mj*laflaca, on Flickr

Rising rents have led to much consternation in San Francisco. People are outraged as luxury developments displace the poor from their homes, disrupting communities and threatening the very character of the City.

SPUR caused a stir by suggesting that adding more housing could slow, or even stop, the rise. […]


Regional democracy wouldn’t pan out for slow-growth

by stephen schiller, on Flickr

Unelected bureaucrats want to impose their will upon us, cry critics of Plan Bay Area. Nobody chose their town’s representative to the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG), after all. We elected them to city councils, not the ABAG General Assembly or Executive Committee. Plan Bay Area, […]

Durable Growth

Demographically-mixed housing plans still draw opposition

Mixed use housing in Portland

Almost two decades ago, when I was living in a different state, I had a first-hand view of a land-use controversy at a destination resort. I wasn’t personally involved, but knew people who were.

The resort was about fifteen miles from the nearest city. There was a successful mall […]