RUD: Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America
Author Conor Dougherty (New York Times reporter) in conversation with William Gilchrist, Oakland Planning & Building Department Director.
A discussion of the housing crisis and socio-economic cleft in the San Francisco Bay Area, with implications and lessons for the rest of the country.
From the Golden Gates book flap: Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties where the homeless make their homes. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation’s future has become a cautionary tale.
About the speakers:
Conor Dougherty is an economics and housing reporter at The New York Times, based in San Francisco. He is originally from the Bay Area and grew up in San Francisco and Napa. Dougherty took a circuitous route to journalism, majoring in chemistry at U.C. San Diego and teaching high school math in Berkeley before getting a job as a researcher at the Los Angeles Business Journal in 2000. He made his way up to reporter and worked for the San Diego Union-Tribune and The Wall Street Journal before joining The Times in 2014.
Over a two-decade career he has covered a range of topics including banking, entertainment and sports, but has mostly focused on economics and housing. In 2017 Dougherty’s “Cramped and Costly” series won the Deadline Club award for beat reporting. Those stories inspired his first book, Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America, which was reported over a three year-period from 2015 to 2018, and will be published by Penguin Press in 2020.
Dougherty continues to cover California and the west, and lives in Oakland, with his wife and two children. You can find his book here
Director Gilchrist has 35 years of experience as a planner and designer. He was director of place-based planning in New Orleans where he focused on the city’s design and development strategy. He was previously a senior associate at AECOM in Atlanta and planning director in Birmingham, Alabama.