To keep San Francisco weird
Recently, a talented young novelist visited my flat and was amazed at how spacious it is. He's struggling to keep on living in San Francisco, and I don't know how he and his wife manage writing and running an international creative nonprofit while paying our city's rents, especially with a child. I do know that unless San Francisco makes room for people like him, as it made room for me, with rent control, we will lose the distinctive character of our city—or what remains of it. Rent control made it possible for me to be a writer, but 25 years later, it's a lot harder for him.
Rent control is essential to keeping San Francisco's creative character. But it isn't sufficient if the city wants to help young people who are trying to embark on creative careers outside of the tech sector in San Francisco today. We need affordable housing; we need rent controls to extend to vacant apartments; mainly, we need to want to keep San Francisco weird.
Laura Fraser is the author of the New York Times bestseller An Italian Affair, among other books.