“Hacking San Francisco’s Housing Crisis: A Response to Supply Siders’ ‘Solution'”
The success of design or social innovation “solutions” to San Francisco’s housing crisis will depend on a framework for housing affordability that addresses fundamental issues underpinning the practical realities of achieving Housing for All. That housing framework should address four fundamental questions: 1) the BALANCE of housing affordability that the City should be compelled to maintain; 2) ways to take housing out of the speculative market and under the OWNERSHIP and control of tenants and communities; 3) dedication of surplus public LAND for deeply affordable housing, and market incentives linking any value added through zoning changes to increased affordability; and 4) new private and public financing mechanisms, including dedicated private CAPITAL, pension funds, and the creation of a municipal community development bank. We face a choice: do we let the market continue to lead us down a path toward a segregated urban region, or do we prioritize public investment and market regulations to build out our dense, mixed-income, human-scaled, and transit-oriented neighborhoods? If we can’t move beyond the ingrained ideologies that lead us down paths of false solutions, all our creative innovations will be reduced to simple marketing or consumer niches trapped within the same market dependencies rather than systematic changes that result in meaningful public policy solutions. By Fernando Martí.