Planning for displacement

Regional planners want to put 280,000 more people into San Francisco — and they admit that many current residents will have to leave

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tredmond@sfbg.com

The intersection of Cesar Chavez and Evans Avenue is a good enough place to start. Face south.

Behind you is Potrero Hill, once a working-class neighborhood (and still home to a public housing project) where homes now sell for way more than a million dollars and rents are out of control. In front, down the hill, is one of the last remaining industrial areas in San Francisco.

Go straight along Evans and you find printing plants, an auto-wrecking yard, and light manufacturing, including a shop that makes flagpoles. Take a right instead on Toland, past the Bonanza restaurant, and you wander through auto-glass repair, lumber yards, plumbing suppliers, warehouses, the city's produce market — places that the city Planning Department refers to at Production, Distribution, and Repair facilities. Places that still offer blue-collar employment. There aren't many left anywhere in San Francisco, and it's amazing that this district has survived.

Cruise around for a while and you'll see a neighborhood with high home-ownership rates — and high levels of foreclosures. Bayview Hunters Point is home to much of the city's dwindling African American population, a growing number of Asians, and much higher unemployment rates than the rest of the city.

Now pull up the website of the Association of Bay Area Governments, a well-funded regional planning agency that is working on a state-mandated blueprint for future growth. There's a map on the site that identifies "priority development area" — in planning lingo, PDAs — places that ABAG, and many believers in so-called smart growth, see as the center of a much-more dense San Francisco, filled with nearly 100,000 more homes and 190,000 new jobs.

Guess what? You're right in the middle of it.

The southeastern part of the city — along with many of the eastern neighborhoods — is ground zero for massive, radical changes. And it's not just Bayview Hunters Point; in fact, there's a great swath of the city, from Chinatown/North Beach to Candlestick Park, where regional planners say there's space for new apartments and condos, new offices, new communities.

It's a bold vision, laid out in an airy document called the Plan Bay Area — and it's about to clash with the facts on the ground. Namely, that there are already people living and working in the path of the new development.

And there's a high risk that many of them will be displaced; collateral damage in the latest transformation of San Francisco.

CLIMATE CHANGE AND "SMART GROWTH"

The threat of global climate change hasn't convinced the governor or the state Legislature to raise gas taxes, impose an oil-severance tax, or redirect money from highways to transit. But it's driven Sacramento to mandate that regional planners find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in California cities.

The bill that lays this out, SB375, mandates that ABAG, and its equivalents in the Los Angeles Basin, the Central Coast, the Central Valley and other areas, set up "Sustainable Communities Strategies" — land-use plans for now through 2040 intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 percent.

The main path to that goal: Make sure that most of the 1.1 million people projected to live in the Bay Area by 2040 be housed in already developed areas, near transit and jobs, to avoid the suburban sprawl that leads to long commutes and vast amounts of car exhaust.

The notion of smart growth — also referred to as urban infill — has been around for years, embraced by a certain type of environmentalist, particularly those concerned with protecting open space. But now, it has the force of law.

Comments

is safe as long as you shift the focus of arguments.

"Oakland better suits their cultural and economic ethos" translates to black and "hispanic" people shouldn't live in SF after you and your fellow evictors tell people where not to live.

You said something entirely different from your last comment.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

it would appear that he is probably right and you are probably wrong here.

Posted by Anon on May. 29, 2013 @ 3:28 pm

lower income people live in lower housing cost areas--SE SF, the flatlands of the East Bay, etc.

You and your friend (which is probably also you) are racist, classist authoritarians.

But no one can touch your undefeated debating record.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:08 pm
Posted by Anonymous on May. 29, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

"...cultural and economic ethos" would that be?

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

But clearly it is not nothing.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 5:52 pm

...I'm asking you. Please be specific.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:11 pm

SF is a city full of neighborhoods with ethnic majorities.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 6:39 pm

You mention an ethnically linked ethos, or more than one, but don't describe its, or their, attributes.

Posted by Hortencia on May. 30, 2013 @ 1:53 pm

racial or other, are not factors that bind people to co-exist then I really cannot imagine what could convince you.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:39 pm

A few observations: 1) a 100% decrease in greenhouse gases is prerequisite pre-2020, if even this will stop the “tipping point,” 2) that planning requires, not only human habitat, but sustainable habitat, i.,e. flora, fauna, arable land, recreational spaces for humans, expandable mass transit systems to adequately (meaning that affordability is part of the discussion) developed suburban areas—only until human governments can effectively ratify human population control solutions and substantive implementation with time constraints set at 2020 or before, 3) the assertion that human population will cause more job creation (not matching), can only be valid if numerator and denominator reflect the same number increase each time there is a change in digits, or if the numerator “1” represents jobs and the denominator “1” represents population, then changing the denominator to “2” means that population is greater than number of jobs, or unemployment; 4) the Association of Bay Area Governments, Plan Bay Area is DoD as anti-tax sitting and future government officials will continue to collude with tax-cheats. The SF Bay Area will be approaching criticality by 2040, not forgetting the influence of neoliberal constituents in governments, academia and business. There is reason to be pessimistic about the new epoch, judging from the last quarter-century.

Posted by Awayneramsey on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:44 pm

Actually two. Naïve.

Posted by Guest on May. 29, 2013 @ 1:58 pm

I really appreciate the comprehensive analysis of growth and what it will do to the Bay Area. One way or another we are going to end up growing, it is probably better to do it in a planned way. Those Berkeley City Planning types are mostly okay, they are kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your efforts here have gotten me to thinking. Hopefully it kicks off a dialogue or at least some action.

Posted by GlenParkDaddy on May. 30, 2013 @ 6:33 am

not attractive places. Compare the dull, planned Brasilia with lively, spontaneous, chaotic Rio.

Likewise Canberra versus Sydney. Ottawa versus Montreal, and so on.

Posted by Guest on May. 30, 2013 @ 7:02 am

All of us are racists in one way or another.
That sais, the upcoming redevelopment by earthquake will not discriminate and destroy and kill many people of every color.
Prices will come down when insurance companies can't pay the massive claims and the city will be back to be affordable.

Posted by Guest on May. 31, 2013 @ 4:53 pm

Population of SF 2000 census was around 790K and in 2010 came out around 805K.
So help me here, where is this explosion coming from. Also population even decreased during 2000-2010 in some years. Population in the 70's was similar to now.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 02, 2013 @ 7:56 pm

Here's a solution to the transit issue: develop San Jose and Silicon Valley communities with infill and up to the "6-story sweet spot". If this huge wave of new employees are largely working there, they need to live there.

Why cram more folks in SF to commute south for minimum 1.5 hrs RT per day to another city? Stop commuting. Live where you work. If the companies where they work are not in SF, those companies are not paying taxes to support the city services for these employees.

Is there a city income tax on employees who live in SF but work outside it? Other municipalities in the US have such taxes. This might make a small dent in the cost of housing these people in SF and might encourage them to seek housing closer to where they work, which is logical, cheaper and ethical.

San Jose and surrounding Silicon Valley communities have much more room for in-fill and the build up to the "six-story sweet spot" for the new employees coming to work in their cities. San Francisco needs to hang the No Vacancy sign. It doesn't need more people or money.

Posted by Guest 1000 on Jun. 03, 2013 @ 3:26 am

Mountain View Patch. Mountain View low inventory of homes. Yesterday I went to Mountain View, had a look on a website to find some information instead found the above headline.

In May of 2012, 76 homes were sold.
In May of 2013, 8 homes were sold.

In the last 6 months new buildings have been built or approved. Total jobs going to be created over 2,000.

What does this mean, less housing, higher prices, more traffic. Because while 2,000 plus people will be working in a small area, they have to drive over a greater area. You think they will have to enjoy their backyard, neighborhood or any community benefit.

Our transit can't handle the amount of people works and living so far. Low income worker can take the bus and spend 1 1/2 hour one way. I did for a while. Newark to Mountain View.

In short if you are low income the chances are you have to work more hours, your partners also has to work more hours. If you have kids, you will spend a little bit of time with them.

Posted by Garrett on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 10:24 am

The Plan is unworkable as written and for all the reasons that are listed in this article.

In San Jose there is no appetite, except among a small group of politicians who are pro-BART in their districts!

They view single family parts of the city as "not economically attractive" for transit.

That's because of their limited view of transit.

What we need are politicians who will appoint representatives to ABAG who can "think outside the box" -- imagine just how horrible this picture of density and gridlock really sounds -- and find other solutions --

Rather than dismiss distance, we must dismiss the idea that current technology is what will drive future urban life --

And we have to start planning to be an American region -- not Singapore West!!

The people who least deserve this bizarre plan are the people who live in Hunters Point, South City and Chinatown!!!

We've forgotten that density brings crime and disease with it --

And this plan completely ignores the fact that at some point there will be another 7.5. or higher earthquake that will level all these planned yuppie high rises!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

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