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Image of the day: The Bay Area is another boomtown reluctant to build
Sioux Falls, South Dakota is building more housing than San Francisco, San Jose, and Oakland combined
A couple related articles by Justin Fox:
What Happened When the San Francisco Bay Area Rejected Growth. December 2022.
This turn against growth [in the 1960s and 1970s] has long been celebrated in the Bay Area, where I grew up, as having averted dystopia. … In the 1985 edition of his “The San Francisco Bay Area: A Metropolis in Perspective,” University of California at Berkeley planning professor Mel Scott wrote, “No one can fail to be impressed by the vigor with which conservationists, many political leaders, most members of the city planning profession, and thousands of concerned citizens throughout the Bay Area have challenged some of the frontier values and attitudes of this country in the past twenty-five years.”
It’s not so clear, though, that these efforts succeeded in heading off dystopia. The Bay Area has the country’s highest housing prices, a homeless population of more than 35,000 and, before the arrival of Covid-19, the nation’s largest concentration of “super commuters” who spent more than three hours a day getting to and from their jobs.
He quotes Bernard Frieden, an urban studies professor at MIT who spent a year at Berkeley. The Environmental Protection Hustle (1979):
Resistance to growth began as a very reasonable political shift, concentrating on saving such priceless assets as the San Francisco Bay and Napa Valley wine country. But as it gathered power, and as people discovered they could stop growth at little cost to themselves, the movement became a good deal less reasonable. Soon it turned into general hostility toward homebuilding for the average family, using the rhetoric of environmental protection in order to look after the narrow interests of people who got to the suburbs first.
What Do US Growth Zones Have in Common? They Build Housing. February 2023.
Local governments in the South and inland West — what the US Census Bureau calls the Mountain division — are building lots of new houses and apartments for people to move into. In April 2020, these regions were home to 45.6% of 331.4 million US residents, a share that had risen to 46.3% by mid-2022. From 2020 through 2022, they accounted for 65.8% of new housing construction.