The California Housing Crisis: Beyond SB 827

By Daniel Shimmy Li : medium – excerpt

In January 2018, Senator Scott Wiener introduced a bill that stirred up controversy and discussion across California. Here’s a summary of the first draft of Senate Bill 827, also known as the Transit Zoning Bill:

Senate Bill 827 would usurp certain local building restrictions for new construction near transit hubs, setting looser state standards instead. It would allow residential developers to skirt local rules on height, density, and parking — if their buildings are within a half-mile of a train or subway station

Although SB 827 was rejected in its first committee hearing in April, it’s important to analyze the discourse surrounding the proposed solution and the encompassing issue — the housing crisis. For this article, I’d like to spotlight the discussion on the most controversial idea proposed in SB 827: increased market-rate housing…

SB 827’s push for more residential development on land that only allowed single family homes, also known as upzoning, made it the most aggressive bill recently pitched in California to address the housing crisis. The San Francisco Planning Commission said the bill would have effectively upzoned close to 96 percent of city parcels. With an interactive map, you can see that large portions of LA, San Diego, Berkeley, and several other cities would have been upzoned…

Shift the Discourse

SB 827 may be dead, but it sparked national discourse and drew mainstream attention to the crisis of housing and development. More thoughtful and committed citizens have joined the conversation and have begun thinking about new directions to establish the fundamentals of a new community….

Though not necessarily the case for new home owners, most NIMBY opposition to development is rooted in simply being a good capitalist and defending one’s major asset…

Decommodifying housing simply means preventing housing from being treated as a commodity. The goal is to prioritize housing that is a place to live, not an investment vehicle or an asset to accumulate wealth…

Other bills are at the forefront of the conversation with elections coming up. With strategic decisions and demands, it is possible to lay the groundwork for a community-sustaining and democratizing transformative change…(more)

Special thanks to Jimmy Wu, Shrinu Sivakumar, and Magdalene Lim.

Who determines the capacity of a community? Many communities that set limits have been overruled by the courts, now our state representatives are trying to force more housing growth on us.

How do we protect the existing affordable housing ? The answer seems to rest on a need for protections for renters and small landlords and homeowners, who are all threatened by the privatization and corporate takeover of land and property by wealthy developers and financial giants.

Attempts to pit the landlords against tenants is showing signs of failing.

Advertisements

Resistance and feminism: what to expect from this year’s Armory Show

By Nadja Sayej : theguardian – excerpt

The much-anticipated contemporary art fair hits New York with a range of provocative pieces, taking aim at Trump and highlighting the work of female artists.

It’s that time of year again, when black-clad art enthusiasts descend upon New York’s Armory Show, the labyrinth-like contemporary art fair at Piers 92 and 94 in midtown Manhattan. Kicking off 8 March, over 200 international art galleries will set up their booths in the white wall jungle to dazzle, sell and sizzle on Instagram. Let’s hope they have free wifi.

On top of your painting and photo fare, there will be tech-inspired artworks in the new Focus section, where 34 artists imagine a post-human world. From 3D-printed sculptures to digital spiritualism, it’s curated by Gabriel Ritter, who is fascinated by our online personas… (more)

The new direction of art in a world of tech and the internet shares the stage with traditional media in a show of international moods and modes. Art as always leads the way into our future. This is a good show to catch if you can.

When Silicon Valley Took Over Journalism

 

By Franklin Foer : theatlantic –  excerpt

The pursuit of digital readership broke the New Republic—and an entire industry.

Chris Hughes was a mythical savior—boyishly innocent, fantastically rich, intellectually curious, unexpectedly humble, and proudly idealistic.

My entire career at the New Republic had been spent dreaming of such a benefactor. For years, my colleagues and I had sputtered our way through the internet era, drifting from one ownership group to the next, each eager to save the magazine and its historic mission as the intellectual organ for hard-nosed liberalism. But these investors either lacked the resources to invest in our future or didn’t have quite enough faith to fully commit. The unending search for patronage exhausted me, and in 2010, I resigned as editor…

Over the past generation, journalism has been slowly swallowed. The ascendant media companies of our era don’t think of themselves as heirs to a great ink-stained tradition. Some like to compare themselves to technology firms. This redefinition isn’t just a bit of fashionable branding. As Silicon Valley has infiltrated the profession, journalism has come to unhealthily depend on the big tech companies, which now supply journalism with an enormous percentage of its audience—and, therefore, a big chunk of its revenue… (more)

A completely different view of the world, based on future expectations of where technology will take us, is unveiled as a major funding partner of Facebook pours his wealth into The New Republic. Having been interviewed by The Atlantic, I can speak from experience on how that movement feels. Both extremes, living in the past and living in the future are not getting most of us anywhere other than longing for a clear presence in the presence that is lacking in both.