Housing and Relocation

Across the U.S., major job centers like New York and Los Angeles suffer from severe housing affordability issues.

San Francisco typifies the problem: in 2019, the median rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $3,550 (186% above the national median) while only 29% of households could afford to purchase a house compared to 56% of households across the U.S.

Widely referred to as an “affordability crisis”, at its core this trend is being driven by housing supply shortages tied to inefficient land use regulations and NIMBYism (local opposition to housing development).

High housing costs prevent workers with low education, wages and skills from migrating to where the jobs are, excluding them from making personal connections, gaining crucial work experience, and building skills that are necessary for transitioning to the jobs of the future.

Recapping some points from the earlier discussion we had on this:

@dianadaniels and I both argued the solution is telecommuting, and employers need to become more comfortable with having their employees work from home.

@sglaude1 called for more government intervention.

@Greenduck argued for greater density and using local companies and local workers for building and maintenance.

Our questions now are:

  • To what extent is this already happening? Are there successful examples?
  • To the extent that this *isn't* happening -- why? What is going wrong?

@Wingham, you may be interested in this discussion as well.

To clarify, greater density, but at a building height of less than 11 stories, which allows mass timber construction for much lower embodied carbon, and also keeps people connected to Nature better than taller structures.

I think density is achieved when speaking of affordable housing, but where we err is in relegating the affordable housing to its own little island. We need to build with diversity of incomes, abilities, and experiences for there to be a chance for a sustaining community to grow from the investment.

As for the workforce, I don’t know any examples of this.