California has always had a lot of planners. But now cities and other agencies are having trouble filling positions for an increasingly stressful and busy job. It's partly because of housing prices -- but there are other reasons too.
Santa Barbara's charms, and challenges, will be on full display this week at the conference of the American Planning Association's California chapter, says Community Development Director George Buell >>read more
A couple of weeks ago, the satirical newspaper The Onion reported that the City of San Francisco was looking to relocate because its current location had become too expensive. Funny though this was, I expected the follow-up story to focus on the economic development incentive package being put together to keep San Francisco where it is. >>read more
A week or so later, Gabriel Metcalfe - head of the respected San Francisco urban planning organization SPUR - published a provocative piece in CityLab blaming the city's affordability crisis on progressive politics - especially progressive politics of the no-growth kind. Progressive San Francisco, he argued, "had a fatal, Shakespearean flaw that would prove to be its undoing: It decided early on to be against new buildings. It decided that new development, with the exception of publicly subsidized affordable housing, was not welcome."
All up and down California - especially in the expensive coastal enclaves around San Francisco and Los Angeles - community activists have been lately decrying how the rising cost of housing is making it impossible for normal people with normal incomes to live in these towns. Yet, as Metcalf points out, most of the time these same community activists are arguing that the trend toward high housing cost must be countered with... less housing construction. Or at least less market-rate housing construction.