Also: Berlin approves a five-year rent freeze, and why landlords file for eviction.
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What We’re Following
Google home: On Tuesday, Google announced the single largest commitment by a private employer to address the Bay Area’s affordable housing crisis. Its plan: Invest a billion dollars in land and money to construct housing over the next decade. The effort is unique not just for its size, but for its focus on land: The bulk of the investment comes from repurposing company property for residential use, turning parts of its office campuses into new homes. While many employers in Silicon Valley have begun to build housing for their own workers, Google’s would be the first to unlock its land to house the general public.
The company’s other redevelopment proposals suggest this pledge could follow its pattern of building high-density, mixed-use developments, combating sprawl in a region where tech companies have been criticized for putting pressure on housing and commuting. Google will likely still face opposition from NIMBY groups that have slowed building before, but the tech giant’s more direct role is a hopeful sign for housing advocates. As one policy advisor to the region’s companies puts it, “When most in the Bay Area cry ‘Not In My Backyard,’ Google is saying ‘Yes, In Our Own Yard.’” CityLab’s Laura Bliss has the story: Google’s $1 Billion Housing Pledge Is All About the Land
More on CityLab
Attention New York readers! Join CityLab and the Museum of the City of New York tonight for a conversation about the future of cities. “Dwelling in the Future” is our final installment of the Housing Tomorrow’s City series, and features CityLab editor K.A. Dilday in conversation with a designer, an architect, an artist, and a science fiction writer about how New Yorkers might inhabit and experience the city generations from now. The event starts at 6:30 p.m. tonight. You can get tickets here.
What We’re Reading
California utility PG&E to pay $1 billion to local governments for wildfire damage (NPR)
These are the cities overtourism could threaten next (Washington Post)
How graffiti became gentrified (New Republic)
One Trump tax cut was meant to help the poor. A billionaire ended up winning big. (ProPublica)
How New York’s skyline is changing to give the wealthy a better view (New York Times)