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The underlying injury is that people who feel they belong to a neighborhood cannot afford live there anymore. Now, as a society, there are a variety of ways to entitle someone to live in a neighborhood: primarily, by owning a home in the neighborhood, or possibly by coming to an arrangement with the owner voluntarily (a long-term lease negotiated up front, or continually paying more money, commensurate with the rising rents).

We also have other ways. San Francisco's rent control is one such way. It entitles the tenant to continued occupancy and limits the rent the owner can charge that tenant. Of course, this has significant negative side effects. It deliberately fails to respect the owner's interests, instead rejecting him as an invalid actor, some sort of Evil Capitalist type. It effectively functions as a wealth transfer from the owner to the renter, in the form of foregone rent increases. This naturally changes the capitalist's incentives, inhibiting the maintenance of and formation of new capital (specifically the capital we call a "housing stock"), and provides other perverse incentives for the landlord to mess with tenants.

In the case of San Francisco, this housing shortfall exacerbates its problems by raising the price of all housing... a humanitarian tragedy far in excess of mere neighborhood-dissolution. Not that this is the only thing that inhibits homebuilding in the Bay Area, though.




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