Nearly 50 years of protests, lawsuits and ballot battles over low-income housing have made San Francisco a nationwide model for efforts to keep urban America from becoming home to only the very rich or the very poor, according to a paper that will be released Wednesday.
The land-use struggles that continue today, along with the long-remembered urban renewal fights of the 1960s, make it easy to forget just how far the city has come toward a community-centered development plan, said Marcia Rosen, former director of the city's Redevelopment Agency and lead author of the study of the city's affordable housing policy.
Once notorious for urban renewal that diminished housing affordability and displaced residents," the paper says, "San Francisco is now renowned nationally for its best practices in housing and community development.
Despite "limited land for development, extremely low rental vacancy rates and high demand for housing," over decades the city has developed "thoughtful policies designed to preserve and enhance housing opportunities ... prevent displacement of low-income families and create inclusive communities," the authors say.
The redevelopment projects of the '60s bulldozed chunks of the Western Addition and Yerba Buena, sending poor and middle-income residents packing to make way for wider streets, commercial development and civic projects.