How tech hubs contributed to America’s housing predicament — and what they can do about it

Homes in San Francisco. (Flickr Photo / Chris Chabot)

America’s housing predicament is a national problem, though it’s generally strident in San Francisco and Seattle, home to a country’s largest record industries.

The “terrible twins,” as New York Times contributor Conor Dougherty describes them, paint a ideal charge of fast pursuit growth, an liquid of wealth, and prevalent single-family zoning that creates it formidable to densify housing. In an talk with GeekWire this week, Dougherty explained how a dual tech hubs have turn centers of event for some while squeezing out others.

“The economy altered in some large ways that make inequality most some-more structural,” he said. “And we’ve not built scarcely adequate housing where wealth is happening.”

Dougherty has been covering economics and genuine estate for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal on-and-off for a decade. He assimilated us for this partial of a GeekWire podcast to plead his new book “Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America.”

Listen to a podcast above, or allow to GeekWire in your favorite podcast app, and review highlights from a review below.

New York Times contributor Conor Dougherty, author of “Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America.”

On elucidate a housing crisis: “Did we learn some china bullet? No. But we consider that there are places that are holding certain steps. Minneapolis became a initial vital city in America to effectively finish single-family zoning. That does not meant we can build a high arise building subsequent to a single-family home. It means we can put fundamentally a grandma prosaic … in a backyard … that’s a really certain step. There are places like San Francisco which, notwithstanding a many problems, has upheld a satisfactory volume of income for affordable housing. There are a lot of opposite certain stairs we can take, though if we lay around watchful for this panacea, that’s how we get ourselves into a problem in a initial place.”

On a tech industry’s impact: “[Tech] companies grow during a rate that we’ve never contemplated, that substantially has to do with only how program multiplies … if we could grow cities like we could grow tech companies, that is not physically possible, it wouldn’t be a problem … it’s roughly like a augmenting universe of pieces using into a really slow, linear universe of city building. Obviously a rate of expansion has done it really formidable since we can’t build cities during that rate.”

On fatiguing Big Tech to account housing: “Whether or not a association like Amazon would select to have an bureau in a opposite partial of this region, we can’t envision … though we consider that Seattle does some-more for Amazon. we consider that these places do some-more to emanate these companies than these companies do to emanate these places. we solidly trust that. Look during what happened with this HQ2 thing, all these mean towns are prostrating themselves for this absurd foe and afterwards [Amazon goes] to New York and Washington D.C., that we could have predicted.”

On augmenting housing firmness nearby tech hubs: “These companies are a industrial powerhouses of a time. Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook, and also a smaller versions of them that are in a same space, and other believe companies. These are a companies that people who wish to do better, to make some-more money, to turn improved educated, to have a event to improved themselves by mercantile growth, that’s where they have that opportunity. That is a categorical escalator in a multitude during this moment. The same approach that GM and Ford were in a opposite time. It seems pornographic to me — and overtly terribly astray to a rest of America … that’s a lot of people, unless they’re flattering rich or peaceful to continue a lot, can’t even live nearby those industrial powerhouses of a time that all of America played some diminutive purpose in building.”

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