In an effort that could turn the Bay Area's housing wars on their head, the pro-development San Francisco Bay Area Renters' Federation (SFBARF) is launching an effort called Sue the Suburbs, setting its sights on the East Bay city of Lafayette, where a newly trimmed down residential community is shaping up to be a novel kind of battleground.Of course, it isn't tragedy of the commons at all, and certainly not a classic. The property isn't held in common, it's owned by property developers who aren't being allowed to do as they please--and as it pleases their customers--with it.
Between 2007 and 2014, the nine Bay Area counties issued permits for only about half the number of housing units needed to keep pace with population growth, according to an assessment by the Association of Bay Area Governments. This has created "a classic tragedy of the commons or collective action problem," says Gabriel Metcalf, director of the urban planning think tank SPUR. "Every neighborhood has an incentive to say no to higher-density development because some of the impacts are felt locally. But when you aggregate that at the level of the whole Bay Area, the net effect of each neighborhood saying no is a profound crisis of affordability."
Which has enormous potential implications for California land use regulations. Wonder if the activists realize that?