San Francisco, CA

How to put San Francisco back on the map

Josue Torres

San Francisco is being choked by the affordability conundrum. If you don’t have a six-figure income, rent control, a trust fund, or a desire to live in poverty, you’re out of luck.

Friends, neighbors, coworkers, and lovers who might alter our life but who we’ll never meet are the ones who don’t show up. 

We’re becoming a boring, homogenous metropolis, as well as a hypocritical metropolis, more disconnected from our own ideas of variety and inclusion.

Something has gone wrong. Why don’t we take care of it?

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Photo by Meriç Dağlı.Unsplash

Cities, particularly beautiful ones, are pricey. And not everyone can live in the precise location they want. Communities, on the other hand, are a mirror of their values, and the systems and policies we implement transform our beliefs into the reality we witness on a daily basis.

We claim we embrace diversity and integration in San Francisco, yet we pursue policies that are at best useless, and at worst, harmful in achieving our goals. 

The remedies; rent control, affordable housing, and Airbnb regulation are bandaids. They may assist some people in certain circumstances, but they do not address the underlying supply and demand problems.

And it shows: as the cost of living rises, San Francisco’s variety of all kinds is dwindling. 

In our communities, on our streets, and on our corporate campuses, it’s self-evident.

Of course, the real answer is to increase the housing supply. We need to absorb more people since San Francisco is undergoing an economic boom. 

However, we are surrounded by water, and most of our current land is occupied by low-rises and Victorians.

Increasing density will only get us so far, high-rise construction in the Inner Sunset is not only impractical in the short term, but it also doesn’t guarantee affordability. 

Manhattan is more densely populated than San Francisco, yet it is not more expensive.

We don’t want buildings on the outskirts of Golden Gate Park, either. San Francisco isn’t the same as New York.

Because the Bay Area is not interconnected, there are no options. BART, which is supposed to link us, doesn’t. It does not serve the cities of San Jose or the North Bay. 

It’s very pricey, and there’s no option for a monthly pass. It’s only on at night. 

To go to Los Angeles, we’re talking about constructing bullet trains and hyperloops, but there’s no simple way to get from Oakland to Palo Alto. 

On the other hand, much of San Francisco may be reached through San Jose. Alternatively, North Bay to anyplace. 

It’s tough and costly to commute from Oakland to much of San Francisco. 

Since BART’s Transbay tube debuted in 1972, no additional transit capacity has been added over the Bay, according to SPUR.

The state of public transportation has deteriorated to the point that internet firms are hiring private bus fleets. This is the polar opposite of integration and openness.

Finally, additional communities that appeal to individuals who want to be close to San Francisco and Oakland, and San Jose but can’t afford to reside in the city center are needed. 

We need more communities like Bushwick, where individuals of all ages, professions, ambitions, and financial situations can live together. 

The misfits and weirdos who used to flock to Northern California need a place to call home. These are the individuals that keep the Bay Area alive and vibrant.

These communities must also be culturally and physically connected with our urban centers. We need a monthly pass that provides us unrestricted access to high-frequency, wide-ranging fast transportation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Integration is a commitment made by a community that supports diversity and inclusion.

To make the commitment to change, we must take drastic measures.

A regional issue necessitates a regional strategy. A regional strategy, on the other hand, requires regional leadership and power.

We should reorganize the Bay Area’s political borders and establish a central office to coordinate our activities, as well as a single person to hold responsible. We need a prominent, elected leader for the Bay Area, who will lead a strategy to integrate and link our area, allowing people to dwell in new locations.

Slowly but steadily, the Bay Area’s affordability problem is killing it; it’s driving away and, more crucially, preventing the entrance of the people who make it so unique.

It’s as though it’s suffocating us.

For decades, our community will be defined by how we respond to the catastrophe. Do we want to be a white-washed factory for software engineers or a dynamic, varied, integrated metropolis? If it’s the second, it’s time to branch out. We don’t only need additional housing and transportation; we also need metropolitan planning and leadership.

In the end, this is our greatest chance to save the particular communities, and the larger Bay Area community that so many of us care about.

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San Francisco, CA
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