San Francisco Should Relocate
Its current location has become too expensive!

San Francisco Should Relocate - its current location is too expensive

San Francisco should relocate - The new city or San Francisco

The satirical newspaper, The Onion, reported that the City of San Francisco was looking to relocate…. A week or so later, Gabriel Metcalfe – head of the respected San Francisco urban planning organization SPUR – published a provocative piece in CityLab blaming the city’s affordability crisis on progressive politics – especially progressive politics of the no-growth kind. Progressive San Francisco, he argued, “had a fatal, Shakespearean flaw that would prove to be its undoing: It decided early on to be against new buildings. It decided that new development, except for publicly subsidized affordable housing, was not welcome.


But seriously, I would like to suggest Paso Robles as the new location. The new city of PR would be halfway between LA and the Bay Area; it has a perfect climate, buildable topography, coastal access, water infrastructure, and interesting geography. I hear the screams of ‘Nimby’s’ echoing across the hot springs, down through the wineries, olive trees, and orchards. To mitigate speculation and land price escalation we can identify the land we as a community do not want to lose, and make the rest available for development. By opening up significant areas, land costs reduce drastically. For example, the cost of land in Bay Area suburban Palo Alto is six times that of Paso Robles and rising.

Growth potential for California's existing urban area vs available urban area

Create a Green Space Checklist:

  • wetlands and stormwater retention buffers
  • floodways and flood plains
  • aquifer and recharge areas
  • woodlands, and urban forests
  • productive farmland
  • significant wildlife habitats, and ecological corridors
  • historic features
  • moderate and steep slopes
  • scenic views

Development can then proceed at a reduced cost as available land becomes plentiful, and land prices become affordable again to a growing middle class. The new city would be about 60 miles long by 40 miles wide. At 7,000 people per square mile, the population would be about 17 million. Home prices would start at around $100,000 for a pre-manufactured variety on small lots. 21st-century transportation design would get people around town in under an hour. The native urban forest of live oaks, and pines would be supplemented by drought-tolerant plants from around the world, creating a diverse urban ecology. Recreational facilities would abound in a linear park network of 2,400 miles.

Of course, the supply of this new affordable sustainable housing would create its own demand. People from LA and the Bay Area would stream in, as well as people from around the world. As Americans move from the Northeast to the Sun Belt, 100 million people might need to be accommodated in the dry west, and southwest. Once we have turned our cities into gardens of ecological diversity there is no need to limit growth.

The new San Francisco - Rosewood Ca

What then? The city of Paso Robles would have to relocate! I suggest Rosewood as the new location. The new city of Rosewood would be just west of Red Bluff; it has a perfect climate, buildable topography, mountain access, water infrastructure, and interesting geography…


Richard Vermeulen - Construction Economist for Green Building

Richard Vermeulen is the construction economist creating profitable sustainability in the built environment. He’s the founder of GreenLight™, author of Green at No Cost, and developer of the Total Benefit Analysis and The Value Process as well as co-CEO, lead economist, and chief estimator for Vermeulens. Richard has developed industry-leading standards for estimating and data-basing complex construction projects throughout North America. In addition to consulting for thousands of major projects over 30 years, Richard has designed and built residential and commercial projects, from hammering nails to hound-dogging bureaucracies. He has traveled extensively, always with an awareness of how cities do and don’t work.

Join The Future of the Built Environment
Subscribe to Green at No Cost™ for Future Updates from Richard Vermeulen
This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.
Skip to content