Golden Gates: Fighting for Housing in America

Penguin Pr. Feb. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9780525560210. $28. SOC SCI
Economics reporter Dougherty’s first book identifies housing as a profound American social and economic challenge which also influences other problems, from educational gaps and racial disparity to climate change. The increasing unaffordability of housing in growing, high-opportunity cities represents a decades-long trend, according to Dougherty. While considering issues such as suburbanization and redlining through a national lens, Dougherty primarily focuses on the San Francisco area, with its mix of Silicon Valley megawealth, homelessness, progressive politics, subjection to California’s initiative system, array of diversities, and activist culture. The author explores the fate of tenants who organize in response to a rent increase in North Fair Oaks near Redwood City while also looking at local and state politics, both current and historical, along with gentrification, displacement, NIMBYism, the YIMBY movement, and other factors in the complicated issue of availability and affordability of a place to live. The story of activist turned candidate for local office Sonja Trauss bookends this well-reported and well-documented, not to mention fascinating, treatment of a topic that Dougherty convincingly argues is critical to equity and stability in America.
VERDICT Recommended for renters, owners, developers, and policymakers alike.

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