R&D Pontential in San Francisco’s Housing Issues

San Francisco is the most expensive city in the USA to buy a home or even rent. The average house cost $1,360,000. Average rent for a one bedroom apartment is $3,590 per month. There is a video about this topic.

There are several factors

  1. Surrounded by water on three sides
  2. Land area of 46 square miles with over 864,000 people living on that piece of land
  3. Height limit on buildings
  4. Strong demand for living in San Francisco

In short, one cannot built horizontally and building vertically is limited.This is the question. How does one alleviate housing issues in San Francisco working with very little land and height limits on buildings?

Though the video does touch on this subject, this entry will be more detailed. There is another issue to contend with. Earthquakes. San Francisco has been hit by earthquakes and with severe damage and loss of life. With this, San Francisco could be a major center of research and development for housing. With a high percentage of university students and college-educated individuals due to several universities in the Bay Area, this could be a very good place to start. Research could be conducted as how to solve housing problems in cities with miniscule land area, height restrictions, and environmental issues to contend with, like earthquakes.

What solutions could be brainstormed?

We could look at how other places with similar issues are dealing with this problem. In The Netherlands, floating houses are being built.


The Netherlands is a nation that has had to deal with the sea, and with limited amounts of land. New land has been created by reclamation. Now, floating homes are being experimented with in The Netherlands. In San Ftancisco, houseboats are being used. And there is a community of floating homes.


It is a question of how much further this idea can be expanded. Will it be effective? Will it cause environmental issues?

Could reclaimed land be the solution? Parts of San Francisco are already built from reclaimed land. In theory, it can be done. Will it cause more damage to the environment? There is another thing to look at. Will the ground be stable? San Francisco is in an earthquake zone. If an earthquake occurs, liquefaction would destroy buildings constructed on the reclaimed land. This has already happened in Japan, in 2011.


This is one reason San Francisco would be a great place for research and development in terms of urban design is because of its own unique geography, which affects how house takes place. The Bay Area is already a major high tech hub due to Silicon Valley. And with high numbers of college educated individuals and college students in places such as UCSF, SFSU, SJSU, UC-Berkeley, and Stanford, this would be a great place to have an urban design R&D center. One major question would be where to put it. It would leave plenty to look at in terms of developing innovative solutions in response to one’s geography.


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