Updated on February 15, 2014
Why the solution to unaffordable housing requires building much more housing
Once you get past his job title, “planetary futurist in residence” Alex Steffen, of the design and innovation firm Ideo, makes a simple point in this Guardian essay that is too often missed in the debates about housing affordability: if you want social justice, “build a lot more housing.”
Steffen, a native of San Francisco and its insane housing market, argues that to make housing affordable again, “‘we need to catch up to decades worth of unmet demand.” To achieve that goal, we’ll have to change how we build cities.
Who wins? Steffen sees a growing constituency for this approach among the young. “Young people tend to understand that new housing, well-built, can be a tremendous force for positive transformation.”
Add in good design, and new housing can not only hold down housing costs, it can “help grow new, people-centred streets, incares use of bikes and transit and promote healthier and more active lives.”
Now about that “planetary futurist” job – where do I apply?