San Francisco, United States
This chapter examines the sustainable economic development implications of the City of San Francisco’s recent industrial zoning efforts. We evaluate the extent to which the City’s new zoning measures are able to balance the needs of different economies and workforces and the associated trade-offs involved. Like many cities in the US, San Francisco has lost a significant amount of industrial land to higher-value office, residential and mixed-use development. Manufacturing advocates argue that higher dollar real estate combined with the deterioration of suitable production space harms the interconnected agglomeration of a nascent urban manufacturing sector, while reducing the availability of living wage jobs in the central city. Recognizing that current industrial zoning has not sufficiently protected manufacturers from competing uses nor provided for contemporary manufacturing needs, the City has experimented with innovative new zoning measures that attempt to balance the needs of manufacturers with the demand for residential and office space. The question is if this program assists small manufactures and enables the growth of career ladder jobs and resilient economic development or opens the city’s scarce supply of industrial land for upscale real estate development.