Shanty towns grow in Oakland

Images courtesy of Digital Globe, 6/26/18 and 12/6/16. Coordinates 37.82N, -122.30E.

There are shanty towns on the streets of one of the richest metropoles the world has ever known. Rents in the San Francisco Bay Area rose 40-50% from 2012-2017, driving residents from their communities or into ever more tenuous housing. More people are without homes, and those people are getting older and spending longer times on the streets. Impromptu settlements are assuming a permanent character.  Here on Wood St., in industrial West Oakland, a two-block stretch of structures, built of wood pallets, framed windows, rope-and-carabiner rigging, campers, and tarpaulins, began to coalesce in late 2016. Outside there is a porta-potty, a hand-washing station, and yesterday, music playing.  People live also out of RVs and campers, parked notably on the streets around the ball fields, many more now than there were in 2016. 

Over the same period a large condo complex was constructed on Wood St. (the collection of white roofs at left in the image above, and inset below), closer to the commuter rail station. Two-bedroom units start at around $760,000.

The examples of Tokyo and Finland suggest that housing problems are soluble. What's needed is more housing. 

Edward Boyda