| Will [Baby Boomers] whose sheer numbers and market mastery
| brought us endless subdivisions, monster malls, and life in
| the SUV lane, want to keep sprawling out in the ample swath
| of golden years that modern medicine seems to promise them?
=v= Sigh. This trendazoid prose is annoying. The U.S. pattern
of mall-sprawl is a project started by an earlier generation
(think Robert Moses and the Eisenhower Administration), and
"life in the SUV lane" has been embraced by far too many
Americans born after 1964. Pointing fingers at people from
the get-go isn't the best way to introduce new ideas to them.
=v= It distracts from the larger issue of elders who become
utterly dependent on cars that they may no longer be able to
drive, and how the problem is about to become much worse.
| A big potential: widening the supply of "accessory dwelling
| units" -- also called "granny flats" or "mother-in-law
| apartments." These small upstairs and backyard units,
| sized correctly for one or two people, were common in the
| late 19th and early 20th centuries in towns both large and
| small. But they've been opposed in recent years by neighbors
| complaining they'll bring renters or undesirable people into
| communities, or create parking problems.
=v= A huge problem in San Francisco is the widespread attempt
to address "parking problems" by destroying these units to put
in garages. I would venture a guess that most of them have
been destroyed already, along with street trees, entire front
yards, and other things that make communities walkable. (And
of course it doesn't help parking at all, since accommodating
more cars only induces more traffic.)
=v= The monied interests in S.F. are trying to require that all
new construction has one garage parking space per unit. This
means that all new residents will need to be able to afford a
garage that they may not need (30% of the households in this
city are carfree). They haven't dredged up the "undesirables"
angle, but that is of a piece with their previous campaigns.