Monday, November 26, 2018

Longtime Urban Planner Leaving Bay Area for Sydney, Says: Well that didn't work

Truth be told he didn't say "Well that didn't work." What he said was, and I kid you not, "Something has gone terribly wrong."

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Longtime urban planner leaving Bay Area for Sydney with frustrations, hopes
Gabriel Metcalf has spent a lifetime thinking about cities. He spent 21 years at SPUR, the Bay Area urban think tank in San Francisco, and led the organization for 13 years. Holding that job, he said, was “the honor of my life.”
He’ll be leaving town at the turn of the year, bound for Sydney, where he’ll be head of the Committee for Sydney, a planning organization similar to SPUR. In a way, he’s following a dream. Metcalf and his wife have always wanted to live and work abroad. So he was delighted when a job offer came from Australia, “right out of the blue,” he said.
He’d been in Sydney a few times.

“I fell in love with it,” he said, “It’s a great city.”

He said the same thing about San Francisco, when he moved here 22 years ago, “when it was still possible to come here without a job and figure it out,” he once said.

Metcalf thinks San Francisco is “the most progressive of American cities.” But problems are overwhelming the city and the Bay Area. “Something has gone terribly wrong,” he wrote in SPUR’s magazine.

The success of the region has also brought failure — and economics are the key, he thinks.
“The economy has changed fundamentally in the last 50 years,” Metcalf said. “We have made the transition to the knowledge economy,” with thousands of new people and new jobs. The Bay Area has become a player on the world stage, with an economy that is larger than Sweden’s. He calls it “the reluctant metropolis.”

The region has become so attractive and successful that no one can afford to live here. Economic studies show that the median price for a house in San Francisco is $1.6 million — twice what it was five years ago. And it’s not just San Francisco. Only 18 percent of Bay Area residents can afford a medium-price house.

Metcalf believes it’s our own fault. The current generation — the voters, the leaders, the ordinary citizens — are to blame....MUCH MORE
Reminiscent of another urban planner who, for a while and even worse, was referred to as a 'Thought Leader':

"Gadabout Urbanist Richard Florida Has a New Book..."
"It advises cities on what to do about problems that result from advice he gave them in his previous books..."
I take it the writer is not a fan.
From Canada's National Post:...
Some other media takes on Florida.
...The Washington Post's headline is "This guy convinced cities to cater to tech-savvy millennials. Now he’s reconsidering" while Slate says:
"Richard Florida is back with another theory about how to fix American cities. It’s a pipe dream—and even he knows it."
In Seattle we see "‘Creative class’ rises, creating new maladies".