I have always been something of a pedestrian urban explorer, but it seems my voyages have become far more frequent and thought-provoking since I started doing geographic data analysis in the San Francisco’s Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development. Indeed, there is something about playing with maps all day that makes one want to get outside and see those streets and neighborhoods for oneself. Also, since SF’s affordability crisis is due in part to the staggering demand for and relative shortage of housing in the city, I figure I should see for myself why so many people want to live here. So, rather than beeline down Market Street from my office building to the Civic Center BART station, I’ve been detouring to different neighborhoods around San Francisco, making observations, and trying to get a feel for this fascinating, dynamic, and rapidly changing city. Continue reading
Posted by Matsui Local Government Fellow Denim Ohmit.
My coworkers keep telling me I picked a very exciting time to start working at the San Francisco Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD), and it’s not just because they started parking food trucks down the street from our office. In case you haven’t heard, San Francisco is in the middle of one of the greatest housing crises in its history. As the department that supports the development and maintenance of affordable housing in one of the most notoriously expensive cities in the country, MOHCD is at the center of some of the most interesting (and often contentious) conversations in city government. As an intern tasked with data collection, management, and visualization using Geographic Information Systems software, I thought I would be quietly making maps far away from the political debates. However, I’m quickly learning that, when it comes to housing in SF, everything is political.