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Slamming Shut that Golden Gate: The Role of New Media & the Unlikely Coalitions Against Regional Planning in the San Francisco Bay Area

Flamenco, Emilio Felipe

This paper assesses how opponents of regional planning efforts in the San Francisco Bay Area transcend political party affiliations and established coalitions through an examination of their organization strategies across digital platforms and traditional strategies. Contrary to widespread perception, Bay Area opponents to regional planning are not a monolithic, wealthy, suburban group of ‘NIMBYs,’ but instead span a broad spectrum that includes anti-gentrification and tenants’ rights advocates, libertarians, environmentalists, Tea Party members, liberal progressives, anti-globalists, and more. With the adoption of the region’s first comprehensive housing and transportation plan in 2013, Plan Bay Area, these groups have for the first time joined forces as unlikely allies to oppose the goals of regional planning; namely, transit-oriented development and proposed increases in housing supply. This paper explores these strange bedfellow coalitions — how and why they’ve banded together, and how they’ve overcome their many ideological differences to rally so effectively as united fronts against regional planning. It concludes with takeaways for practice — how planners can understand these maligned groups, engage with them non-confrontationally in public fora, and find common ground to advance regional planning while alleviating their fears and addressing their grievances.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
O'Neill-Hutson, Moira K.
Degree
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
August 12, 2020