green, and affordable

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By Tim Redmond

Casey Mills, the former managing editor of BeyondChron, has a great piece today that explains how too much of the "new urbanism" fails to consider affordable housing:

A disturbing trend already underway involves sustainability and ‘green’ advocates aligning with developers to promote density above all other considerations. Requiring developers to contribute towards affordable housing, for example, simply represents a roadblock to the more important overall goal – brining more housing downtown. If affordable housing becomes viewed as a necessary component of sustainability, not a roadblock to it, this sort of alliance would be impossible to maintain.

He's right: as market-rate housing in urban centers drives out poor people (and it does, always), those people have to live further and further from work. Since there will always be a need for less-well-paid service workers (not to mention the likes of bus drivers and teachers, who can't possibly afford any of the new housing we're building) in cities, gentrification and displacement are significant causes of sprawl.

And yet San Franicsco continues to build housing for people who don't live here (or even work here), driving out the people who do work here and promoting exactly the kind of sprawl everyone at City Hall is officially against. Insane.