Over at Slate, Reihan Salam sees the city I live in, San Francisco, as a selfish, selfish place:
Or consider San Francisco, one of the least-affordable major cities in the United States. San Francisco’s population is about 825,000. If it had the same population density as my hometown, New York City, it would instead have a population of 1.2 million. Note that I’m referring to the population density of all five boroughs of New York City, including suburban Staten Island and the low-rise outer reaches of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. A San Francisco of 1.2 million would not be a Blade Runner-style dystopia in which mole people were forced to live cheek-by-jowl in blighted tenements. San Francisco at 1.2 million people would still be only half as dense as Paris, a city that is hardly a Dickensian nightmare.
I’m not an urban planner and I don’t have a silver bullet solution to the housing problem here in San Francisco, but something has to give. What San Franciscans have been experiencing in recent years is what cities like New York have been dealing with for decades and decades and decades.
My wife was born and raised in San Francisco proper, and agrees with me that it’s more of a suburban metropolis than a city. San Francisco needs to put on it’s big boy and big girl pants and start acting like a top tier city. A better transit system than the shitty BART we currently have, more development and more infrastructure.
As beneficial as expanded development could be for San Francisco, I can’t help but think about when—not if—the next earthquake hits the Bay Area.
Perhaps all these smart, young brains in Silicon Valley should use their collective brainpower to focus on earthquakes and not how to charge people for fucking parking spaces.
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