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San Francisco may collapse. What ought to California do about it?

San Francisco may collapse. What ought to California do about it?

2023-04-01 11:16:31

Downtown San Francisco is prone to collapsing — and taking a lot of the Bay Space with it.

Specialists say post-pandemic woes stemming from workplace staff staying dwelling as a substitute of commuting into town may ship San Francisco right into a “doom loop” that might intestine its tax base, decimate fare-reliant regional transit methods like BART and entice it in an financial loss of life spiral.

Who may have predicted such a destiny?

Anybody who paid consideration to what occurred in New York after the 9/11 terrorist assaults.

Like San Francisco, decrease Manhattan’s Monetary District was as soon as a virtually unique daytime hub for suburban workplace commuters and the companies who fed them lunch — and a ghost city after darkish.

That every one modified after 9/11.

The assaults not solely devastated decrease Manhattan bodily, additionally they threw into query the very logic of the neighborhood’s city material; commuters, it was assumed, would by no means once more need to work in workplace towers over fears of terrorism. 

So, to stave off a doom loop of its personal, New York got here up with a vision for reinvention. 

The Monetary District would change into a spot the place individuals truly lived in addition to labored. Native, state and federal officers rallied behind the plan. It took an estimated $20 billion in public and private investments to fund this imaginative and prescient, which included two new prepare stations, public parks, malls and once-in-a-generation tax breaks for builders to transform workplace buildings into residences. The federal Housing and City Improvement Division additionally distributed $281 million to incentivize individuals to dwell within the neighborhood.

The world greater than bounced again. It added over 60,000 residents who, maybe unsurprisingly, wanted little convincing to maneuver to a climate-friendly, 24-hour neighborhood filled with pedestrians, eating places, tradition, nightlife and quick access to public transit.

The tragedy of 9/11 inadvertently revealed the evident vulnerabilities and inadequacies of office-dependent, 9-to-5 enterprise districts — and created a brand new mannequin for making American downtowns extra steady financial engines for native governments and fostering higher, extra compelling city life.

Sadly, San Francisco didn’t get the memo.

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