When a metropolitan area is running out of housing, particularly affordable housing, deregulation and greater density of housing development can create more and cheaper housing units, according to Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith. But in San Francisco, where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $3,500 per month, resident activists have another solution – come down hard on the technology industry, in the hopes of driving out its workers.
Activists’ proposals include a 1.5% income tax for tech companies, strict limits on private tech company transportation, and height restrictions on any development that is not 100% housing below market rate.
Noah Smith fears that “nimby”, or “not in my back yard” policies such as these could inspire similar legislation in nearby tech cities like Oakland and South Bay, if they were to go into effect. This would in turn affect these cities’ low income residents, and decrease regional productivity.