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This is a story of young, ambitious artists wanting to learn and hone their skills in the city with others of their kind; where else could they do it better than in Oakland, CA. This is a story of Oakland, and of San Francisco by extension (thus the photo above).
San Francisco has the MOST expensive rentals in the country. As a New York native I am used to exorbitant figures, but even San Fran prices blow my mind away. My nephew, a 21 year old Google engineer pays $2,000 (half of the total rent) for one bedroom in a 2-bedroom apartment in Mountainview, CA (near SF). Gasp!
The entire region strongly discourages new buildings, keeps zoning envelope low, and forces 'Landmark District' or 'Green Building' (both low rise and super expensive, making it un-affordable) over the housing needs of an average citizen. While the burgeoning Silicon Valley and its spillover is demanding rapid growth in housing in the entire region. Silicon Valley-ers are able to pay high rents while young music artists are not, ending up in ramshackle, unsafe housing situations.
If our cities do not grow, or are not vitalized with new comers, new ideas, new talents etc they will die. Read Jane Jacobs, the urban designer, for her view on this topic.
Who is to blame for the deaths in Ghost Ship Warehouse fire?
The lack of adequate egress or the city planners for not letting builders build to keep up with the demand of a growing city?
Stay tuned. This is article 2 of 4.
Article by Ritu Saheb, Architect, AIA