Contrary to rumor, the San Francisco Bay Area has plenty of affordable housing. They’re called recreational vehicles. Unlike a car, they have a flat bed, a small kitchen, and other amenities that feel like home. But unlike an apartment around here, even people who earn less than six figures can afford one. And really, isn’t owning your own vehicle the American dream?
Some streets are lined with RVs, neighborhoods unto themselves. Why are RVs the new shantytown? Because while an empty plot of land in Palo Alto recently sold for over $3 million, the roads are free for public use and many towns also require new construction to include a certain amount of parking, which is also usually provided at no cost per direct use. So RVs are not only affordable housing, they are also subsidized by the government.
Subsidized government housing without a thousand-person waiting list? Is that even legal? Not totally, but if you park in a secluded spot and move at least every 72 hours, that should avoid attention from the police. And how better to be mobile for the gig economy? Anyway, if the nearest apartment you could afford puts you in traffic for hours on end anyway, why not sleep in a vehicle?
The only downside: it’s hard to find a water hookup outside of a rural RV park, so most residents use their toilet like a chamber pot and take showers at the gym. But if Flint taught us anything, it’s that basic utilities are a privilege, not a right.
When Elizabeth Lasky moved from her native Ohio to Silicon Valley a few years ago, her household income doubled but her rent went up fivefold. She concludes that Prop 13 can die in a fire.
A podcast on Market Urbanism, or the cross between free-market policies and urban issues. We discuss how a liberalized urban approach would lead to more housing, faster transport, improved public services, and better quality of life. Tap to listen.
Market Urbanism Report is sponsored by Panoramic Interests, a progressive developer in San Francisco. Panoramic, which is owned by Patrick Kennedy, specializes in 160 sqft micro-units (called MicroPads) that are built using modular construction materials. Panoramic has long touted these units as a cost-effective way to house San Francisco’s growing homeless population. But Panoramic also builds larger units of between 440-690 sqft. To learn more about Panoramic’s micro-unit model, read MUR’s coverage on the firm in its America’s Progressive Developers series. Or visit Panoramic’s website.
Market Urbanism Report is a media company that advances free-market city policy. We aim for a liberalized approach that produces cheaper housing, faster transport and better quality-of-life.