That tension has been felt locally through the City of Mill Valley's broad range of efforts to make a dent in the lack of affordable housing supply in Mill Valley.
Dougherty will speak to the housing crisis at a virtual event via the Outdoor Art Club on Thursday, April 15 at 1pm via Zoom.
Dougherty excels in putting the housing crisis into broader context in terms of its impact on towns and cities. As he writes in a 2020 piece centering on Steve Falk, the former city manager of Lafayette in the East Bay, "Nearly all of the biggest challenges in America are, at some level, a housing problem. Rising home costs are a major driver of segregation, inequality, and racial and generational wealth gaps. You can’t talk about education or the shrinking middle class without talking about how much it costs to live near good schools and high-paying jobs. Transportation accounts for about a third of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions, so there’s no serious plan for climate change that doesn’t begin with a conversation about how to alter the urban landscape so that people can live closer to work. Nowhere is this more evident than California. It’s true that the state is addressing facets of the mess, with efforts on rent control, subsidized housing and homelessness. But the hardest remedy to implement, it turns out, is the most obvious: Build more housing."
In his resignation letter following community uproar over his support to build housing in Lafayette, Falk wrote, “All cities — even small ones — have a responsibility to address the most significant challenges of our time: climate change, income inequality, and housing affordability.”
City of Mill Valley officials have faced similar hurdles. Officials conducted a citywide review in 2020 of 71 city-owned parcels and the various ways they could be used, either as a possible site for affordable housing, like the current Public Safety Building on Hamilton Drive, or land that could be sold to generate revenue to support affordable housing or donated as part of a larger affordable housing development to potentially create an affordable housing development in town for the first time since 1986.
The public hearing was largely dominated by a neighborhood’s defense of a pair of City-owned vacant lots near Scott Highlands Park, despite the fact that there was no proposal to sell parks, or even park-adjacent land. Most of the community input on the issue of the identified sites focused on the possible sale of the park itself. City officials backed off the park-adjacent lots as a possible location of, or as a funding source for, affordable housing but pledged their continued commitment to create affordable housing in Mill Valley.
At his virtual OAC talk, Dougherty will seek to answer the question of whether or not it is possible to balance availability, affordability, and return on real estate investment. He'll also share real-life stories about people struggling to find affordable housing in San Francisco’s sky-high rental market and offer innovative solutions to the economic and political problems that have caused our housing crisis.
This event, set for Thursday, April 15 at 1pm, will be hosted on Zoom. MORE INFO & REGISTER.
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