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Five is magic number in SF housing crisis

April 12, 2015

By examiner – excerpt

If San Francisco is able to solve its housing crisis and become a city where middle- income families can survive, we might celebrate the day Eugene Lew, 78,  learned how to use a MacBook computer in the Apple store at Stonestown Mall…

When it comes to architectural trends, Lew has seen it all. He studied Le Corb- usier, a 1920s pioneer of high-rise urbanism. Then, Lew’s practice coincided with the suburban sprawl of the last third of the 20th century. With today’s move back to cities, he wants to make sure we avoid history’s mistakes.

That means something between Le Corbusier and sprawl — a happy medium of five or six stories.

“Five stories is a useful height,” Lew said. “You can house more people and keep a nice scale. It makes sense for families. At five stories, you can still whistle to your kid in the courtyard and call him to dinner.”

Lew’s big idea is family housing in five-story, five-unit buildings with a shared outdoor garden. Each floor is a unit of about 1,400 square feet with three bedrooms and two bathrooms — larger than the typical San Francisco home built in the 1930s to 1950s and with the open layout today’s families want.

The construction includes concrete floors so noisy kids won’t disturb neighbors.

To keep the units affordable, Lew is asking banks to consider a loan option in which the lender shares in the appreciated value of the home.

“Dom-I-City” is perfect for in-fill development in places like the Sunset — Supervisor Katy Tang wants to build more housing along transit and commercial corridors there — where existing height limits are underutilized.

The footprint of each building is the width of three standard-size lots. Instead of the drab rows of attached homes that are common in San Francisco’s outer neighborhoods, Lew envisions his buildings will foster minicommunities in a welcoming space… (more)

This is the first reasonable solution we have seen that fits the science and the social realities cities are facing. The 5 story buildings can be powered by solar systems. They should create less shadows and wind tunnels, especially if the buildings are staggered. The fact that Lew includes a financing idea should win the favor of people most concerned about affordability. limiting the building heights to five stories in neighborhoods that want limited growth would keep excessive land values in check as well.

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 12, 2015 12:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Grassroots Actions.


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