5 ways apartments can save the Bay Area

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I read this article written by  Reporter- San Francisco Business Times  


The Bay Area is a great place to live, and people keep moving here regardless of astronomical housing prices.

Somehow a prohibitively expensive cost of living doesn’t ward off population growth.

In fact, the Bay Area is expected to swell 30 percent by 2040 to 9.3 million people — meaning we will need an estimated 660,000 new housing units. Policy and market demands influence developers to build, yet residents often oppose planning for population growth.

I wrote on a story for our current print edition on how policy and market demands influence developers. That piece accompanies a larger story about residents who oppose planning for population growth.

The Bay Area’s perception of development is full of ironies.

No one wants sprawl because we want to preserve natural environments, but people also don’t want density or tall buildings that could possibly, at some angles, block views of nature.

People love it when companies go on hiring sprees and industries flourish, but they don’t like it when a new apartment building to house those workers comes along.

“Growth really needs to be seen as an opportunity,” said Gabriel Metcalf, executive director of SPUR, San Francisco Planning and Urban Research, during a recent Commonwealth Club panel I attended on how development trends need to address climate change. “Regions of the United States that are growing have the opportunity to take all that growth and rebuild both our cities and our suburbs so that they become more walkable, so that they can be organized into nodes for transit”

I know many dream of owning a single family home with all the fixings, but in reality, that’s just not sustainable and this is the Bay Area, right, aren’t we all about sustainability?

Now, here’s my take on why we should consider apartments a viable solution even though time and time again, residents do what they can to block those developments from moving forward.

1. Young and old people don’t like mowing lawns or cleaning large homes.

2. People in the Bay Area like using public transit — when it’s nearby. So, put apartments near transit and more people get to live by it.

3. Apartments are a way to fit lots of people in less space using up fewer resources such as land and energy.

4. Roof decks on apartments are great for catching views of the region and nature. If you are worried about an apartment building blocking your view, hike up Mt. Diablo and take some photos with your smartphone that you can refer to later.

5. Apartment developments can energize underutilized areas, such as vacant lots that you drive by and ignore all the time, places that won’t be turned into tract homes anyway.

Blanca Torres covers East Bay real estate for the San Francisco Business Times.

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