Theses Master's

The San Francisco Housing Crisis (1985–2015): How Policies Have Ignored the Human Right to Housing with Suggestions for a Remedy

Rambo, Obai

Housing affordability and access is one of the most important social and political issues affecting America today. Many Americans are left with having to live with multiple roommates, move back home with family, or becoming homeless. Ground zero for America’s housing crisis is San Francisco, California. Located on the Northern California coastline, San Francisco is home to the nation’s highest rent and home prices with hardly any site of reversal. At its core, due to the rampant displacement, lack of housing security, and inability for many to obtain housing, the San Francisco housing crisis is a human rights issue that needs solving. Over the years, experts have discussed various ideas of how to address the crisis in the city. Some groups will advocate for YIMBY-ism (“Yes In My Backyard”) over NIMBY-ism (“No In My Backyard”) because they believe that in order to solve the crisis we need to build more housing of any type (luxury, market rate, and affordable) to meet the crisis head-on. Tenants unions are advocating for a proliferation of affordable housing. Policy makers are devising plans for reforming zoning laws, transit-oriented housing, and rethinking older policies that could lead to better housing access for all. This thesis will explore solutions to the human rights issue that is the San Francisco housing crisis. The topics that I will discuss in pursuit of finding the solution to the housing crisis facing San Francisco will include examining policies that have hindered or usurped the human right to housing, contemporary ideas from leaders in the field on how to address it, and international soft law on the human right to housing. This thesis will conclude that the solution to the state’s housing crisis will require a mixture of policy innovations, transit solutions, density and increase in housing stock, and a need for more mixed-income housing to address the city’s housing crisis. In short, I am focusing on housing as a human right because adequate shelter should not be considered a luxury.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Chasin, Noah B.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
May 22, 2019