Out of Control Policy Blog

San Fran Needs 'New Suburbanism'

Noting the rapid growth in San Francisco suburbs and the heavy out-migration from the urban core, Joel Kotkin writes in the S.F. Chronicle that the Bay Area should open its arms to development on the periphery:

    Although widely vilified, embracing a suburban growth model does not have dystopian consequences. New single-family oriented suburban communities can be developed intelligently, with green space around them and a small, denser core for residents who will want that style of living. These communities should be developed, or improved, with the notion of providing many of the cultural, recreational and entertainment functions traditionally associated with cities. Such suburban villages have begun to emerge throughout the Bay Area from Santa Clara to Pleasanton and Dublin.

    By welcoming companies and entrepreneurs to start up in the periphery, and accelerating the use of digital technology to encourage working at home, these new suburban hubs can reduce the usual traffic consequences associated with new development, especially if we also make appropriate transportation investments.

    Such a course -- the adoption of an enlightened new suburbanism -- could help restore the Bay Area's lost luster as a region of opportunity for the next generation. Such a development may not fulfill the notions of nostalgic city boosters or environmental fundamentalists, but could help the Bay Area adjust to the realities of our increasingly suburbanized age.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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