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Solution Map

1) Begin by "re"-defining your problem in 2-3 succinct sentences. This definition of

your problem should be addressed to a reader who is unfamiliar with your topic
and may not be convinced that this problem is legitimate or necessary to resolve.
Prove to this reader, in your short summary, that this problem is real and that it

Housing in San Francisco has become the most expensive in the United States. San
Francisco is facing an affordable housing crisis, where skyrocketing housing prices have
caused long-term residents to be displaced.
2) Define the various consequences of your problem. Who is hurt by this problem
and how? Answers to this question should be supported by logos-based evidence.
How can you prove through "data" that people are being hurt?
Social and economic diversity is threatened by this problem. Low-income, minorities,
and immigrants are hurt by this problem. As people cannot afford to live in San
Francisco, they move to neighboring cities, which also creates an economic burden.

3) Identify the problem's root causes. This is where your historical analysis comes
into play. Was there some event that triggered this problem, some court case, some
advancement in technology, or did it evolve over time? Include root causes that are
both intractable (human behavior), and causes that can be resolved through policy.

San Franciscos housing policy, which encourages low-density development and a
culture intent on preserving the built environment, has resulted in an under-supplied,
expensive housing market. The recent technology boom has also contributed to the rising
housing prices. Speculative buyers have a financial incentive to restrict housing. They
like to make quick profit by evicting tenants and converting properties to condominiums.
They also may have NIMBY sediments
4) Outline the major obstacles that are currently preventing this problem from
being resolved, including:
Political obstacles (lobbying, revolving doors, iron triangles)
Financial obstacles (Budget cuts, lack of funding, only low-income affected--
no on cares)
Legal obstacles (lawsuits by industry, loopholes, exemptions)
Moral/ethical/cultural obstacles (attitudes, trends, beliefs, media coverage)
San Francisco has an anti-growth culture due to NIMBYism. There is also a
cultural aspect since people would like to see their homes appreciate in value
rather than using it as housing.
5) List ALL potential solutions, even those that seem outrageous. Your solutions
should NOT be self-generated but should come from your analysis of what experts
have to say on the topic.

Protect the existing rent controlled housing stock.
There are approximately 172,000 rent-controlled units in San Francisco right now.1
While there are downsides to rent control, it is the core tenant protection allowing many
people to stay in the city.

a. Discourage the speculative practice of buying rent-controlled buildings for the
purpose of converting to tenancy-in-common units or condos by requiring
landlords to actually have been in the landlord business for a significant period of
time before using the Ellis Act to leave the business.

b. Raise the relocation payments to tenants when they are evicted.

Reinvest in public housing.
There are approximately 6,300 public housing units in San Francisco currently. The
mayor has announced an ambitious program to renovate and preserve these units3,
building on the major reconstructions proposed in the Hope SF program.

a. Fund Hope SF and the broader public housing program through a normal budget
appropriation over several years while the economy is strong. This is not a
permanent set aside, but rather a series of annual budget allocations made through
the budgeting process.

Double the amount of subsidized affordable housing.
There are approximately 16,000 privately developed, permanently affordable units today
primarily owned by nonprofits.4 We should set a goal of doubling this number. There
are nearly 8,000 affordable housing units in the development pipeline,5 and we currently
have in place several funding mechanisms for new affordable housing construction: the
inclusionary requirement; the Housing Trust Fund; and the jobs-housing linkage fee.
a. Pursue additional state and regional funding sources for affordable housing in
particular by helping with the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern
California (NPH)s Regional Quality of Life Initiative.

b. Create a city acquisition-rehab fund; seed it through a one-time appropriation of
city funds.

Make it much easier to add supply at all levels.
In the long run, fixing the structural inability to add more housing is the only way to
make the city more affordable for most people.

a. Make some housing possible to build as of right. Remove the automatic
discretionary permit requirements from new housing, by amending the citys
Business and Tax Regulation Code. Define small and medium-sized projects
(exact size to be determined) that comply with zoning to be as-of-right, reserving
the more intensive, discretionary process for larger projects. For as-of right
approvals, require city staff to conduct design review to assure projects
incorporate well established urban design standards.

b. Undertake neighborhood plans to increase housing along major transit corridors,
building on the success of the Better Neighborhoods Plans.6

c. Undertake a modest up-zoning of neighborhood shopping streets to encourage
housing above retail throughout the city.7

d. Except in RH-1 neighborhoods, remove density limits based on lot area that
encourage very large units; instead use height, yard and setback regulations to
control the building size. This has already been implemented in several
neighborhoods through Residential Transit Oriented zoning.

All Neighborhoods Should Help Increase Housing Supply.
Questions of fairness arise when 80 percent of new development takes place on
only 20 percent of the Citys land as it does now. The SFHAC believes that
density and development should be distributed fairly across the City and that
district supervisors can help carry this message.
6) Closely examine potential solutions to those that a) address root causes, and b)
overcome major current obstacles. Identify at least ONE expert per solution
(without expert credibility you solution will not be very persuasive).
Make it much easier to add supply at all levels, all Neighborhoods Should Help
Increase Housing Supply- Gabriel Metcalf
Double the amount of subsidized affordable housing-San Francisco Housing
Protect the existing rent controlled housing stock- Causa Justa
7) Of those solutions mentioned in no. 6, choose the solution that a) is most feasible
and b) has the greatest benefit with the fewest costs. Again, identify at least ONE
expert who has espoused this solution.
Protect the existing rent controlled housing stock- Gabriel Metcalf

8) Identify your chosen solution's relative weaknesses to other types of solutions. To
what extent can you expect your solution to solve the stated problem. Is this solution
temporary or permanent? What potential dangers might the solution create in the
future and how might those dangers be addressed.

A weakness would be the necessity of active involvement among various groups. As the
population continues, to increase, this solution may not address the long-term supply.