Dire Need for Housing in the San Francisco Bay Area

A housing crisis has plagued the San Francisco Bay Area for decades, with a severe shortage of available housing to accommodate the region’s job and population growth. Despite various efforts and initiatives, the Bay Area has not been able to keep up, leading to sky-high housing prices and an affordability crisis.

A recent report by SPUR, a San Francisco-based planning and urban development think tank, revealed that between 2000 and 2018, the Bay Area added only about one-third of the necessary homes. The report estimates that by 2070, the region needs to produce at least 2.2 million more homes, equivalent to around 45,000 units per year.

Megaprojects, such as the recently completed Orion building and Artizan Apartments, as well as the upcoming Caspian development, aim to address this housing shortage. These projects, which add thousands of homes to a city’s inventory, are considered significant steps towards alleviating the housing crisis.

However, the development process for such megaprojects is complex and time-consuming due to the need for careful planning and community input. Sarah Karlinsky, a housing and land use policy expert with SPUR, emphasizes the importance of getting these projects right, considering that they will be people’s homes for generations.

Developers and city planners across the Bay Area are reimagining various sites, including former industrial parks, military bases, and parking lots, to create new housing opportunities. Projects like the transformation of Treasure Island, Google’s plans for downtown San José, and the San Francisco Giants’ redevelopment of Mission Bay’s surface parking are examples of efforts to provide more housing options.

Matt Regan, Senior Vice President of Public Policy for the Bay Area Council, highlights that while megaprojects alone cannot solve the housing crisis, they are crucial in making any progress. With the current state of housing in the region, these projects are necessary to address the affordability crisis and prevent low- and middle-income households from being pushed out of the area.

Nonprofit developer MidPen Housing is also making significant contributions to affordable housing in the Bay Area, with the completion and construction of several subsidized buildings. These buildings will provide housing for low-income seniors, families, and formerly homeless individuals. The high demand for these units exemplifies the depth of the housing need in Oakland and the Bay Area as a whole.

– SPUR (PDF): “The Housing Crisis in the Bay Area”
– KQED: “Megaprojects Aim to Address Bay Area’s Housing Crisis”