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Northern News October 2020

Northern News October 2020

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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The West’s wildfires collide with its housing crisis

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, Sept. 18, 2020. Oregon was short 155,000 homes before fires destroyed thousands more, including one county’s most affordable.

New research: Success for Santa Clara County homeless housing program

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, Sept. 17, 2020. Results of the study are significant because this type of program has rarely been studied using a control group.

State housing mandate doubles Bay Area production target

By Susan Steimle, CBS SF Bay Area, September 10, 2020. The new RHNA numbers are out and they’re higher than ever before.

Orange skies across California as wildfire smoke blankets state

By Lori A. Carter, The Press Democrat, Sept. 9, 2020. The ‘creepy, eerie’ sky colors seen Wednesday were caused by particles in the smoke that scattered blue light.

$1B development would bring 850 housing units to SF waterfront

By Joshua Sabatini, The San Francisco Examiner September 8, 2020. The proposal creatively redevelops the site, using the state’s density bonus to achieve viability.

Google village: Legislative flop impacts downtown San Jose project

By George Avalos, The Mercury News, Sept. 4, 2020. To get streamlined review, the project would need the governor’s certification or a special legislative session.

Housing solutions fizzle in legislature

By Ethan Elkind, September 3, 2020. Housing policy impacts all of our major societal problems: racial injustice, segregation, greenhouse gas emissions, economic inequality.

NACTO: Despite pandemic, micromobility is here to stay

By Chris Teale, SmartCities Dive, September 2, 2020. Shared bikes and e-scooters saw 136 million trips in 2019, up 60% from 2018.

San Jose passes new fees for funding affordable housing

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, September 2, 2020. New commercial linkage fees give the city another affordable housing funding stream.

Lafayette’s controversial ‘Terraces’ apartments approved

By Sam Richards, Bay City News Foundation, August 25, 2020. The 315-unit project epitomizes the regional debate about where and how housing is developed.

Decades of racist housing policy left neighborhoods sweltering

By Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, The New York Times, August 24, 2020. Research shows formerly redlined urban areas experience higher summer temperatures.

Northern News September 2020
Birthplace of Silicon Valley, 1938

Northern News September 2020

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

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Northern Section news, views, and announcements

Planning news roundup

The price of saving Paradise

By Laura Bliss, Bloomberg CityLab, August 25, 2020. “The fire was a monumental event and altered people’s way of thinking about things,” including whether the entire community should be surrounded by defensible space.

SF sees historic shift in housing inventory

By Andrew Chamings, SFGate, August 15, 2020. The convergence of coronavirus and the high cost of homeownership in San Francisco may have caused residents to leave for California’s less costly regions.

SF finally approves 1,100 homes at Balboa Reservoir

By Trisha Thadani, San Francisco Chronicle, August 12, 2020. The new project includes 550 affordable units, of which 150 are reserved for City College teachers and staff.

New research: Advancing environmental justice while rebuilding existing locally unwanted land uses

By Miriam Solis, Planetizen, August 11, 2020. A case study of a San Francisco wastewater plant considers the consequences of redeveloping, rather than siting, a locally unwanted land use.

Portland passes the ‘most pro-housing reform’ to low-density zones in US history

By Michael Andersen, Sightline Institute, August 11, 2020. Portland’s new upzoning reforms allow for a wide range of “middle housing” citywide and removes parking mandates from most residential land.

Report: Single-family zoning dominates Bay Area housing, presenting barrier to integration

By Marc Abizeid, UC Berkeley’s Othering & Belonging Institute, August 11, 2020. From the first-ever analysis of the proportion of single-family zoning in every Bay Area jurisdiction comes five general policy approaches to help address racial residential segregation.

Minor reparations

By Roxane Gay, Work Friend, The New York Times, August 9, 2020. It is absolutely unacceptable that your agency is asking you to spend your own money to improve the agency’s thinking and efforts around diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Sales tax to fund Caltrain will go before voters

Bay City News Service, Mountain View Voice, August 8, 2020. The tax would generate the necessary funding to operate the imperiled system if ultimately approved by two-thirds of voters across three affected counties.

Study: Marin to experience worst traffic delays from sea level rise

By Will Houston, Marin Independent Journal, August 7, 2020. A new Stanford study shows the North Bay may receive less flooding compared to other parts of the Bay Area, but the flooding occurs at critical connections where few alternative routes exist.

How do households describe where they live?

By Shawn Bucholtz, The Edge, August 6, 2020. New survey data collected by HUD and the US Census Bureau shows most people view themselves as living in suburbs, even those who live in central cities.

Nonmembers ask APA to support defunding the police

By Brentin Mock, Bloomberg CityLab, August 6, 2020. A letter with hundreds of signatories from across the planning field argues that planning decisions have historically contributed to police violence and harassment of Black people.

Bay Area cities reluctantly approve housing in face of state laws

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. From San Bruno to Castro Valley to Lafayette, major Bay Area housing approvals have been compelled by SB 35 and SB 330.

Sausalito confronts historic inequities, considers affordable housing on its waterfront

J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, August 5, 2020. After a general plan change, Sausalito residents argue whether to expand light industry or allow some senior or affordable housing.

Opinion: We must plan racial justice in our cities

By Dorothy Walker, Streetsblog USA, August 3, 2020. Dorothy Walker, founding president of APA, says cities’ local land-use decisions are “ripe for transformation” to lower barriers to housing for the “disadvantaged, disenfranchised, and the community at large.”

Revised SB 35 Guidelines near completion

William Fulton, CP&DR, August 2, 2020. The Department of Housing and Community Development has released a draft of updated guidelines for implementing SB 35 locally.

After 250 Years, Tribe regains Big Sur ancestral lands

By Kyle Edwards, Native News Online, July 29, 2020. The Esselen tribe plans to use the land to revitalize, and educate the public about, its culture, traditional ceremonies, and history.

Caltrans’ Low Carbon Transit Operations grants go to three North Coast jurisdictions

By Nazy Javid, KRCR News, July 29, 2020. The grants support free fares to populations that include low-income residents, youth and college students.

Northern News July-August 2020

Northern News July-August 2020

Northern News

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Northern Section news, announcements

Planning news roundup

Caltrain’s future in limbo after Santa Clara County defers tax measure

By Luke Johnson, San Jose Spotlight, July 22, 2020. County lawmakers considered a proposed ballot measure for a one-eighth cent sales tax to prevent Caltrain from potentially shutting down, ultimately deferring a vote on the proposal to a special meeting on August 6.

The pandemic has pushed aside city planning rules, but to whose benefit?

By Emily Badger, The New York Times, July 20, 2020. As bike lanes and cafes sprout on streets, marginalized residents wonder when their priorities will get attention.

Bay Area of 2050 will be more crowded — planners want to make it more equitable, too

By John King, San Francisco Chronicle, July 20, 2020. Only July 10, Association of Bay Area Governments and Metropolitan Transportation Commission released a draft of Plan Bay Area 2050 for public comment. It emphasizes 25 “bold strategies” for making the region “affordable, connected, diverse, healthy and vibrant for all.”

“After years of debate,” San Jose may charge non-residential developers to support affordable housing

By Sonya Herrera, San Jose Spotlight, July 18, 2020. The commercial linkage fee will go to the City Council on Aug. 25 and become effective on Nov. 14, if adopted.

Riots long ago seeded luxury living today

From The New York Times, July 16, 2020, comes another perceptive article on gentrification and race by Emily Badger and Quoctrung Bui. High-end development has transformed some Black neighborhoods into high-end development decades after they were scarred by unrest.

The 15-minute city as Covid-19 recovery

By Patrick Sisson, CityLab, July 15, 2020. To improve quality of life for an urbanite and boost the possibilities for municipal and economic recovery, you need to reduce the access radius for six essential functions: Living-dwelling, working, supplying and buying, well-being and caring, learning, and leisure.

The hidden toll of California’s Black exodus

By Lauren Hepler, CalMatters, July 15, 2020. Old regimes of housing and job discrimination have given way to predatory loans, disinvestment, and flare-ups of racism or violence in areas that once promised a level playing field.

‘A mini-urban miracle,’ new Berkeley homeless housing could be model for the state

By Emilie Raguso, Berkeleyside, July 10, 2020. Berkeley’s Zoning Adjustments Board approved a new supportive housing complex that substantially lowered development costs through modular construction.

One to four: the market potential of fourplexes in California’s single-family neighborhoods

By Paavo Monkkonen, Ian Carlton, and Kate Macfarlane, UCLA Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies, July 7, 2020. HCD guidelines emphasize realistic assessment of market and site capacity for new housing. Legislative efforts to promote fourplexes led UCLA’s Lewis Center for Regional Policy Studies to analyze their feasibility on 6.8 million existing single-family home parcels.

New research: “Eighty-five percent solution: historical look at crowdsourcing speed limits and the question of safety”

By Brian D. Taylor and Yu Hong Hwang, June 30, 2020. The “85th percentile rule” has been used for decades to set speed limits in jurisdictions across the US. New research shows it originated earlier than most thought, and it was intended as a starting point in setting speed limits, not a firm guideline.

Northern News June 2020

Northern News June 2020

Northern News

APA-CA-logo-no-tagline

A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

Making great communities happen

Where in the world?

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Planning news roundup

San José General Plan review and Station Area Advisory Group reconvening

Via email from Leslye Corsiglia, SV@Home, June 11, 2020. The SAAG will meet for the first time since January. All are welcome. Take the opportunity to offer feedback on the City’s most recent analyses and proposals related to the Diridon Station Area Plan. The General Plan Four-Year Review Task Force is also restarting, with the first video meeting June 25.

Bay Area billionaires are breaking my heart

By Farhad Manjoo, The New York Times, May 13, 2020. Rebuilding a fairer, more livable urban environment will take years of difficult work. It will require sacrifices from the wealthy.

Housing, the environment, the virus, and public transportation

Brief synopses of articles of interest to urban planners in addition to our longer summaries in “Planning news roundup.”

Caltrain faces ‘existential crisis’

By Isabella Jibilian, San Francisco Examiner, May 8, 2020. Unlike BART and Muni, Caltrain is not funded by sales or property taxes. It depends on fares and parking fees to say afloat.

Second SB 35 ruling lets Vallco project proceed

By Marisa Kendall, The Mercury News, May 7, 2020. Ruling ends a years-long battle over massive redevelopment of failed shopping mall in Cupertino. Decisions in two SB 35 cases say cities must apply objective design and planning standards in a very clear way.

Will telecommuting yield the best long-term environmental benefit of COVID-19?

By Ethan Elkind, May 4, 2020. Working from home seems the most likely candidate for a pandemic culture-changer that reduces emissions.

Mobility: Who is moving and why?

By Riordan Frost, Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, May 4, 2020. Seven questions and answers about potential changes in residential mobility.

California shrinks; still most populous state

By Associated Press, May 2, 2020. California has been creeping toward 40 million residents without ever quite getting there.

Milan mayor: ‘People are ready’ for green change

By Laurie Goering, Thomson Reuters Foundation, May 4, 2020. Milan comes out of COVID-19 lockdown with a climate-conscious attitude, encouraging other cities to follow.

The last time VMT dropped this sharply? WWII gas rationing

By Jeff Davis, Eno Center for Transportation, April 8, 2020. Gas rationing wasn’t rolled out to the whole country until December 1, 1942. But the VMT reductions were obvious as soon as rationing started in the East six months earlier.

Density isn’t easy, but it’s necessary

By Bruce Schaller, CityLab, May 4, 2020. Americans have always had difficulty with urban density, but in a crisis, we need what cities can provide. (Schaller is the former deputy commissioner of traffic and planning at the New York City Transportation Dept.)

Can we sustain a world without traffic?

By Adie Tomer and Lara Fishbine, Brookings, May 1, 2020. If leaders encourage telework, alter revenues structures, and retrofit roadways, the nation can emerge from the pandemic with stronger and safer transportation.

Northern News May 2020

Northern News May 2020

Northern News

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Planning news roundup

VTA drops plan for massive S.J. BART tunnel

By Nico Savidge, The Mercury News, April 19, 2020. Bold plans for deep downtown San Jose stations raised red flags.

Approval process for Balboa Reservoir project gets underway

By Ida Mojadad, San Francisco Examiner, April 9, 2020. After six years of public hearings, the San Francisco Planning Commission has approved the initiation of a General Plan Amendment for an 1,100-unit complex. Half of the units are to be permanently affordable for those with up to 120 percent of the area median income (AMI).

Telecommuting will likely continue long after the pandemic

By Katherine Guyot and Isabel V. Sawhill, Brookings, April 6, 2020. Telecommuting has been the fastest-growing method of commuting over the last several years. The pandemic promises to accelerate this trend dramatically.

Rapid urbanization abroad threatens old buildings, traditional markets

By Rina Chandran, Thomson Reuters Foundation, April 1, 2020. Losing heritage to modernization is not inevitable, but it requires careful choices as to what should go, what should stay, and what should come in place of things that are removed.

First-ever regionwide analysis of sea level rise impacts on Bay Area

Adapting to Rising Tides (ART), a program of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), was made available as a short summary report and main report on March 31.

What now for dense housing near transit?

By Debra Kahn, Politico, March 27, 2020. Opponents of infill and transit-oriented development are blaming population density as a primary factor behind the pandemic’s spread in urban areas.

Coronavirus: Fate of Lafayette’s big housing plan postponed

By Jon Kawamoto, East Bay Times, March 26, 2020. Only four more public hearings can be scheduled before Lafayette’s planning commission must decide on the controversial, 315-unit housing plan.

Boost for BART: Economic deal could send $1.3 billion to Bay Area public transit systems

By Nico Savidge, East Bay Times, March 25, 2020. Federal funds expected to provide some relief for BART as revenue from tickets and parking fees sharply declines.

Bay Area’s largest housing development appears dead

By J.K. Dineen, San Francisco Chronicle, March 25, 2020. Over labor issues, Concord’s City Council declined to extend negotiations with a building group hoping to redevelop a 5,000-acre former military base. As costs have soared, the many proposed community benefits no longer appeared financially feasible to the developer.

Coronavirus: Lockdowns slow Bay Area home construction, future projects

By Louis Hansen, The Mercury News, March 23, 2020. Housing developers are concerned that the shift by local governments to virtual planning and inspection could hamper their ability to meet tight construction deadlines.

Could coronavirus collide with wildfire season? California is preparing for it

By J.D. Morris, San Francisco Chronicle, March 15, 2020. Emergency officials in Sonoma County are already planning for the potential problems of wildfires and COVID-19 occurring at the same time.

Northern News April 2020

Northern News April 2020

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Planning news roundup

UBC expert: How coronavirus will impact future cities

By Lou Corpuz-Bosshart, UBC News, March 23, 2020. Regional housing inequality needs to be addressed. It makes no sense to continue a trend where increasingly the rich live in Vancouver and wage earners who provide services to the city are being forced further and further east.

Tackling transportation emissions in California — or ignoring them

By Melanie Curry, StreetsBlog Cal, March 5, 2020. Early in March, two California Senate committees held a joint hearing on reducing GHG emissions from transportation, the state’s highest-emitting sector.

“Grieving for my sick city”

By Michelle Goldberg, The New York Times, March 17, 2020. “When the Corona virus emergency is over, people are likely to emerge into fundamentally changed cities, with economies in crisis, and beloved restaurants, businesses, and cultural institutions gone for good. I wonder if our cultural romance with urban living will recover.”

As residents grapple with smog, Vietnam pushes renewable energy

By Michael Tatarski, New Naratif, March 16, 2020. Vietnam is often portrayed with bountiful economic opportunities for people across classes. But the construction and development that boosts economic growth is affecting health and quality of life, leaving people to deal with the situation according to their means.

Cities fighting climate woes hasten “green gentrification”

By Adam Rogers for Wired.com, February 23, 2020. Scholars say newly constructed flood-fighting infrastructure has promoted gentrification. In 2017, Northern News covered efforts in North Richmond to foster shoreline resilience without displacement.

Antioch, CA, ‘Last bastion of the good commute’ in the Bay Area

By Candace Jackson, The New York Times, February 25, 2020. The Times’ Real Estate section highlighted Antioch for its relatively affordable housing and BART access. We have included a response from Antioch’s Community Development Director at the end of the article.

Transportation Trends for 2020 (and what cities can do about them)

William Riggs, PhD, AICP, LEED AP, a professor of management at USF, reviews emerging trends in mobility and recommends city practices to foster positive aspects of these trends.

San Jose opens first tiny home community for formerly homeless residents

By Maggie Angst, Bay Area News Group, February 27, 2020. Forty tiny homes and supportive services dedicated for the homeless have opened near the San Jose Flea Market, about three miles north of downtown, on a site owned by the Valley Transportation Agency.

San Francisco debates when, where, and how to build affordable housing

By Sasha Perigo, San Francisco Examiner, March 8, 2020. San Francisco voters passed Proposition E, “The Balanced Development Act,” which ties the City’s cap on approved office space construction to its progress on the State’s affordable housing goals.

Report: SF must build taller, expand into western neighborhoods

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, March 9, 2020. San Francisco’s Planning Department released a Housing Affordability Strategy that identifies the current state of the City’s housing, and three core strategies.

Scott Weiner has another bill to build denser housing in California

By Alexei Koseff, San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2020. Senator Wiener’s SB 902 would allow by-right development of multi-unit housing in single-family zones statewide, while scaling the number of allowable units to city size.

San Jose’s Measure E passes; will fund homelessness services and affordable housing

By Richard Davis, associate editor. San Jose voters have likely passed Measure E, a new funding source for affordable housing and homelessness support programs funded by a property sale transaction tax.

Dozens of homeless find housing in downtown San Jose

By Marisa Kendall, East Bay Times, March 6, 2020. Villas on the Park — permanent supportive housing partially funded by the county’s $950 million affordable housing bond — has opened in downtown San Jose.

Northern News March 2020

Northern News March 2020

Northern News

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Marina CA shows cities can retreat from rising seas

By Rosanna Xia, Los Angeles Times, February 24, 2020. Sea walls are forbidden, real estate sales must disclose sea level rise, and the city is working to move infrastructure and resort properties away from the water.

Public meetings are broken. Here’s how to fix them.

By Patrick Sisson, Curbed, February 12, 2020. The traditional public meeting can be exclusionary and does not often result in the kind of participation and experiences for citizens that encourage feedback. But the current public hearing process can be enhanced, and there are alternatives to be considered.

A plan to combine the Bay Area’s dozens of transit networks

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed, February 5, 2020. A new bill would establish a single universal bus fare across the Bay Area, create a combined transit map and departure time reference, and develop a transfer that works across every transit line.

Fighting sea level rise the natural way

In an interview by Lori Pottinger, PPIC, on February 3, 2020, Letitia Grenier speaks of the huge potential to work across jurisdictions and redesign systems to let natural processes solve some of our more complicated flooding problems.

Danville ballot measure sparks debate over open space

By Guy Marzorati, KQED, February 11, 2020. A proposed development for a 400-acre private property in Danville would accommodate 69 new residential units and leave 213 acres of publicly accessible open space. But the Danville Open Space Committee — a citizens group — gathered thousands of signatures to challenge the project on the March 3rd ballot. Stay tuned.

Height limit exemption effort starts in San Mateo

By Zachary Clark, Daily Journal, February 7, 2020. Measure P is a 2004 extension of a measure approved by voters in 1991 and is set to sunset by the end of the year. Now a group of San Mateo residents is pushing to extend Measure P’s existing building height limits while exempting areas around transit from the measure’s height and density restrictions.

Bay Area gets boost to affordable housing from unlikely source

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 6, 2020. New apartment complexes built on Caltrain land near Caltrain stations must reserve at least 30 percent of their units for low-income residents. But there’s no requirement that such sites be reserved for housing.

San Mateo may be first in state to use AB 1763 for low-income units

By Emily DeRuy, Mercury News, February 16, 2020. Without AB 1763, the density limits of 50 units per acre approved by city voters in 1991 would have limited the number of affordable homes that could be built on the city-owned site.

Best urban designs to reduce road injuries

From Mirage News (Australia), January 28, 2020. ‘If reducing the road toll is your ultimate goal, it is better to invest in safer alternative transport options than continuing to focus on car-based safety interventions,’ said lead researcher Dr. Jason Thompson. The University of Melbourne research highlights the importance of urban design and planning as key to reducing transport-related injuries across the world. Hat tip to The Overhead Wire.

“Three lessons 21st century housing policy could learn from ‘Little Women’ ”

By Jenny Schuetz, Brookings’ The Avenue, February 5, 2020. “It may just be the meticulous recreation of 19th century New England in Greta Gerwig’s ‘Little Women’ that has the most to say about American homes, even offering some bold yet sensible lessons to improve our own 21st century housing policy.”

Northern News February 2020

Northern News February 2020

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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Planning news roundup

SB 50 is dead – voted down by State Senators representing affluent suburbs, including the Peninsula

Senate Bill 50, in a Senate vote late Wednesday afternoon, fell three votes short of the 21 it needed to advance to the State Assembly. Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, a supporter, said, ‘SB 50 might not be coming forward right now, but the status quo cannot stand.’

How we define “housing density” is a big part of the problem

By Michael Kimmelman, The New York Times, January 28, 2020. “Jane Jacobs wasn’t focused on gentrification, and New York is not Palo Alto is not Barcelona is not Hong Kong: Density is not one size fits all. Urbanism isn’t a mere kit of parts. That said, the implications today are still plain for rezoning legislation like [California’s] SB 50.”

Future of SB 50 up in the LA air

By Liam Dillon, Los Angeles Times, January 23, 2020. A coalition of groups representing low-income communities now opposes Senate Bill 50. That’s a blow to efforts to advance the bill before the Jan. 31 deadline for it to pass the Senate.

Long term effects of disasters

By Lily Jamali, KQED News, January 22, 2020. Three-quarters of new addresses listed in Paradise, CA, are for P.O. boxes, not homes — indicating these Camp Fire survivors haven’t gone far. But hundreds have left and moved east of the Rockies (map).

Small affordable housing project saved by city loan

By Gennady Sheyner, Palo Alto Online, January 19, 2020. HCD rejected a grant of $10.5 million for a 59-unit development that will target low-income residents and include units for adults with developmental disabilities. The city stepped in to bridge the gap with a $10.5 million loan made up of impact and “in lieu” fees.

Hundreds of SoCal homeless individuals and low-income families to receive safe, affordable housing

By Joseph Ronson, LifePulseHealth.com, January 16, 2020. A nonprofit affordable housing and service provider in Los Angeles and Ventura counties will utilize $24 million from HCD to build three new projects with 147 homes for low-income families, some of them homeless.

Yes, this study found that new housing drives down nearby rents

By Adam Brinklow, Curbed SF, January 15, 2020. Three years after a building’s completion, the adjusted effects on rents in the surrounding neighborhood hover around zero.

Growing cities up: California’s SB 50 is a model for addressing the urban housing crisis.

By Christopher S. Elmendorf in City-journal.org, January 14, 2020. The revamped SB50 has changed from the original in many ways.

Why affordable housing is facing a perfect storm

By Kelsi Maree Borland, GlobeSt.com, January 13, 2020. Housing costs are being driven up by more than just supply and demand.

Sprawling homeless camps well beyond San Francisco

By Eric Westervelt, NPR, January 13, 2020. Homelessness — a hard-to-fix national problem — is particularly severe in California. The state’s homeless population jumped 16 percent in 2019. A January 2020 HUD report notes that California’s homeless population of more than 150,000 accounts for 53 percent of all unsheltered people in the U.S.

SB 35 invoked to build 91 townhomes in Saratoga

By Janice Bitters, San Jose Spotlight, January 9, 2019. Sand Hill Property Co. previously invoked SB 35 at the Vallco Shopping Mall redevelopment in Cupertino, promising half the residential units to those earning less than the median income. Sand Hill is now pursuing a much smaller SB 35-compliant development with 10 percent of the units for very low-income residents.

The housing crisis is a problem for everyone — even wealthy homeowners

By Ally Schweitzer, WAMU American University Radio, January 9, 2020. High housing costs affect those who can’t afford to buy or rent. They also impact employers, local governments, the neighborhood coffee shop, and even well-to-do homeowners as traffic worsens, employers struggle to find workers, and cost-burdened people buy less.

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News December 2019-January 2020

Northern News

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A publication of the American Planning Association, California Chapter, Northern Section

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December 2019-January 2020

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Northern Section announcements

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“City Dreamers,” doc film on women architects who built 20th century cities

Through rare clips, the film pieces together the legacy these four women left — each with her own theory, vision, or approach to urban landscaping and planning.

Improving road safety in Oakland with equity

“When we ride out, we ride down the middle of the-street,” one resident told OakDOT. To center equity within its work, the City of Oakland created a Department of Race and Equity in 2019 to embed racial equity practices throughout city agencies, and developed a data-driven approach to equity that can help the agency hold itself accountable.”

Special Mobile Home zoning OK’d to save affordable housing

“Advocates said they hope to prevent conversions at a time when owners could be tempted to redevelop the properties to capitalize on rising housing and land costs. Such conversions have occurred in high-cost areas elsewhere in California, where mobile home parks are one of the few remaining sources of unsubsidized affordable housing, county officials said.”

San Diego looks to scrap residential density limits, use FAR instead

“San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is opening another salvo in his administration’s efforts to address the city’s housing affordability crisis by proposing the ‘Complete Communities Housing Solutions Initiative,’ a scheme that looks beyond simply building new housing to embrace holistic urban development. The proposal [would] refocus the zoning code to incentivize the development of smaller units and allow housing developers to offer community amenities that are decoupled from auto-oriented uses.”

San Diego city council strengthens inclusionary requirements

The new law requires developers to make 10 percent of the homes they build available to low-income renters — those earning 60 percent of Area Median Income — or pay an in lieu fee of $25 per square foot to opt out of the inclusionary requirement.

Worth a look: SF’s most underrated buildings

Curbed San Francisco readers reveal the local unpraised buildings they love most.

Court: California charter cities must prioritize Affordable Housing on Public Land

“Writing for the panel, Justice Eugene Premo [wrote] … ‘We find that the state can require a charter city to prioritize surplus city-owned land for affordable housing development and subject a charter city to restrictions in the manner of disposal of that land, because the shortage of sites available for affordable housing development is a matter of statewide concern.’ ”

Northern News October 2019
Above photo of the San Francisco skyline, looking south from Tiburon, is by George Osner. "Meet a local planner" returns in this issue.

Northern News October 2019

Northern News

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What SF crane watch does and doesn’t tell us

By Sarah Holder, CityLab, September 24, 2019. “As dots on a map, all cranes may look the same. But their impact isn’t indiscriminate. Are they harbingers of displacement, or agents of much-needed supply?”

Bay Area employment tops 4.1 million jobs for first time

Excerpts from a Mercury News article by George Avalos, September 21, 2019. The Bay Area’s job market growth has outpaced the state and the nation. For the first time, the Bay Area has more than 4.1 million non-farm payroll jobs, and the newest jobs pay more.

Vancouver may be able to pull off ride-hailing as a complement to public transit

Excerpts from an article in CityLab by Laura Bliss, September 17, 2019. Fifty-three percent of Vancouverites manage to get to work by means other than driving. One thing is conspicuously missing from this urbanist dreamscape: ride-hailing: Uber tried but couldn’t get its way into Vancouver in 2012. But applications to operate a TNC in British Columbia opened on September 3, and B.C. transportation leaders are cautiously optimistic about being a last-adopter.

“Accept the Era of the Ministerial”

“Cities around California are beginning to feel tremendous pressure from the state to accommodate new housing rather than just plan for it. And there’s a growing feeling among planners around California that the cities they work for had better be more proactive on the housing issue so that the state doesn’t step in with even more onerous requirements.” —Bill Fulton, remarking on CP&DR about a panel at the recent APA California conference in Santa Barbara.

Less disruptive passenger pick-ups and drop-offs for ride-hail apps

Univ of Washington press release, Sept 5, 2019. Creating a designated space for passenger loading (PLZ) can discourage double-parking and reduce traffic conflicts, with geofencing used to increase driver compliance.

SB 330 has passed the California Legislature and is on the governor’s desk

The new law will spur development of affordable housing, limit fees on affordable housing, prohibit demolition of affordable and rent-controlled units unless they’re replaced, and give existing tenants first right of return. The bill was enrolled and presented to the Governor at 2 pm on September 17th.

Main-Street Modern: How Columbus, Indiana, became a design capital

From an article by Kriston Capps, CityLab, with eight large color photos, Sept. 3, 2019. “Just 45 minutes south of Indianapolis, Columbus is in most respects a quaint Hoosier town brimming with main-street appeal. But in one vital way, it is unlike any other place in the country. It is a mecca for Modernism, a repository of mid-century architecture. As unlikely as it sounds, Columbus, Indiana, is a citadel of design.”