How did the Bay Area’s housing crisis get so bad – and what might be done to solve it? These are the main questions Oakland-based New York Times reporter Conor Dougherty tackles in “Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America.” In addition to tracing the origins of policies that led to some of the most expensive property values in the nation, this wide-ranging book also follows the trajectories of families fighting massive rent increases, pro-development activists, besieged politicians and profit-seeking speculators. Refreshingly, Dougherty brings much-needed nuance to political battles that are often characterized by bitterness, hyperbole and scorched Earth-style Twitter wars.
By exploring the many failures (and well-intentioned missteps) that led to this current shortage, the book offers a useful primer for anyone seeking to understand how Bay Area housing politics became so gridlocked and dysfunctional. “If there’s a rhyme to postwar history,” Dougherty writes. “It’s that whatever system we use, and whatever level of government is orchestrating it, when we think of cities as buildings and markets, and not collections of people, we are doomed to make the same mistakes.”
Listen to the new episode to hear Conor Dougherty discuss what some of those mistakes were, why it’s so challenging to build affordable housing, the sharp rise in homelessness since the Reagan era, and much more. East Bay Yesterday can’t survive without your support. Please donate to keep this show alive: www.patreon.com/eastbayyesterday