What We're Reading, Watching, and Listening To: May 2024

A roundup of news and multimedia from the Unfamiliar Terrain team:

San Francisco

Small and Mighty: How small businesses can reinvent downtown San Francisco (SPUR Policy Brief): SPUR’s research, drawn from a literature review and interviews with City staff, small business owners, and nonprofits, pinpoints seven interventions that would make a difference to help small downtown businesses succeed.

These tech workers want to build a co-living ‘campus’ across a square mile of S.F. But for whom? (SF Chronicle): The nonprofit City Campus envisions turning one square mile of the Lower Haight, Hayes Valley, and Alamo Square neighborhoods into a multigenerational campus.

S.F. prioritized building homes for the ‘missing middle.’ 80% of units sit empty (SF Chronicle): Developers who have recently built apartments aimed at moderate-income families in San Francisco have discovered a harsh reality: The missing middle seems to have gone missing.

Making the Ive Hive: Jony Ive’s bold plans to reshape a small slice of San Francisco (SF Standard): Entities tied to the legendary Apple designer are buying up nearly a city block in Jackson Square.

California and Beyond

Berkeley recognized as ‘pro-housing’ by state, eligible for millions in grants (Business Times): Berkeley is now eligible to apply for a share of an exclusive state housing grant after being named among 10 cities recognized for their pro-housing policies.

California’s most controversial housing law could get a makeover (CalMatters): Some California lawmakers want to clear up, but also rein in, the Builder’s Remedy.

California is building fewer homes. The state could get even more expensive (LA Times): Across California and the nation, developers moved to start fewer homes in 2023, a decline some experts say could eventually send home prices and rents even higher as supply shortages worsen.

Not your grandma’s granny flat: How San Diego hacked state housing law to build ADU ‘apartment buildings’ (CalMatters): A 2021 state law radically changed the housing equation in San Diego. Advocates, developers, and policymakers are split on whether it should be exported to other jurisdictions.

These California Companies Want to Buy Your Backyard — and Build a House (KQED): Companies are hoping to jumpstart the construction of SB 9 projects by taking on the permitting and development work themselves, as well as making it easier for homeowners to take advantage of the law.

‘Getting out of hand’: Legislator blasts California Coastal Commission on housing (SF Gate): Amid the state’s housing crisis, some legislators and housing advocates are arguing that the 12-member commission’s powers have expanded too far.

California’s population is on the rise. So much for the claims of the state’s demise (LA Times): California has resumed adding people after three years of shedding them.