Monday, February 03, 2014

Myth of anti-development San Francisco lives on

Photo by Jake Stangel for Time

The myth of an anti-development San Francisco lives on in the current edition of Time Magazine:

The place columnist Herb Caen called an "enchanting, troubled, gallant little city" has limitations that most other big cities don't. Its 49 sq. mi. (127 sq km) would fit inside New York City six times. And the local government has long indulged development-averse residents, fighting tall, dense buildings while preserving rows of quaint Victorian houses. "That's where San Francisco as a city has failed," says [Enrico]Moretti. "By constraining the amount of new housing, San Francisco has essentially pushed up the price of housing."

No evidence is provided by Time's pseudo-expert, but facts are often fatal to myths. That the city has an active, effective anti-development movement is a favorite trope of some local journalists. The reality: the only thing that's hindered housing projects in San Francisco over the last ten years was the Great Recession, which made it hard for developers to get financing for projects.

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