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

Andrew Small


More on CityLab

Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

Rebecca Gale

Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Why FOMO Is the Enemy of Good Urban Mobility Policy

Fear of Missing Out does not make good transportation policy. Sometimes a new bus shelter is a better investment than flashy new technology.

David Zipper

Berlin Approves a Five-Year Rent Freeze

Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with the Germany’s national government.

Feargus O'Sullivan

Julián Castro Wants to Hold Police Accountable

In an interview, the presidential hopeful outlines ambitious plans for reforming immigration and policing.

Adam Serwer


Dwell Informed

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)


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