GreenTown Los Altos

Could The Housing Crisis Ruin Our Economy?


Oct 2014


At an Oct. 23 Helix talk at the Exploratorium’s Los Altos outpost, John Barton, Director of Stanford’s Architectural Design Program laid out the challenges for the future in a talk entitled, “The Housing Crisis That Could Ruin Our Economy.”

GTLA Helix

His key issue centered around what he called the housing disconnect:

– Housing is too expensive and hurts many people.

– For every tech job created, there are six low wage community jobs needed to keep the economy humming.

So how’s that dynamic working out?  Badly. The list of issues includes long commutes, wasted time, less productive workers, less time with the kids, and more.

That means if things get bad enough, tech companies might just pack up and relocate.  So what to do?

John Barton

John Barton and Margo Horn at the Helix talk at the Exploratorium.

Barton presented literally dozens of possible solutions: from tax policy, regional resource sharing, zoning changes, and even direct assistance to help this potentially dire situation.

It was a good audience in attendance, including council members and this year’s candidates in attendance.

With long commutes cited as one of the real challenges from the environmental perspective what are the possible next steps?  The problem isn’t going away folks, so let’s take action and get moving in the right direction!


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