Expanding Housing Choice
Housing Element Zoning Program
Expanding Housing Choice aims to expand housing affordability and availability by allowing for increased density throughout the City, especially along transit and commercial corridors.
Expanding Housing Choice will be developed to meet San Francisco’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation requirements set by the State of California.
All San Franciscans are impacted by the housing affordability crisis. As housing prices skyrocketed in recent years, teachers, first responders, service workers, and others who keep our city running have been forced to leave. American Indian and Black populations continue to decrease, while the population of unhoused residents has remained alarmingly high. Even for people with access to stable housing, the lack of diverse housing choices limits people's opportunities and impacts quality of life. (For instance, many seniors face challenges with finding suitable housing types as they age.)
Currently, the City's zoning rules limit the variety and types of housing that can be built and prevent us from building enough new housing to meet people’s needs. Most housing built in San Francisco in recent decades has been concentrated in the eastern neighborhoods, where zoning allows for mid- and large-sized developments. Meanwhile, the northern and western parts of the city have seen relatively little growth. These areas are primarily zoned for single-family development, which is less likely to be affordable to low- and middle-income residents and is shown to reinforce patterns of economic and racial segregation.
Expanding Housing Choice involves changes to San Francisco's zoning rules to accommodate new housing, increase housing affordability for low- and middle-income households, and help advance racial and social equity.
The project allows for more housing options in neighborhoods with greater access to economic opportunities and services that can support growth, such as public transit, parks, retail, and community facilities.
Some goals of the project include:
- Start to reverse housing segregation in compliance with state requirements
- Strengthen our communities by adding new neighbors and resources;
- Coordinate new development with investments in infrastructure and services
- Ensure all San Franciscans have a place to call home
Resources will be updated as materials become available. Please continue to check back for updates, or sign-up to receive our email newsletter.
More resources coming soon...
- Overview Presentation
- Housing Education Resources
- Frequently Asked Questions
Expanding Housing Choice is one of the key implementation actions of San Francisco’s Housing Element. Under state law, San Francisco is required to adopt compliant rezoning before January 2026. To meet this goal, Mayor London Breed’s Executive Directive on Housing for All requires the Planning Department to submit a final zoning proposal for consideration by policymakers by January 2024.
The Housing Element was adopted in January 2023 and is San Francisco’s plan for meeting our housing needs for the next 8 years (2023-2031). It is the City’s first housing plan centered on racial and social equity. Its policies and programs express San Francisco’s collective vision for the future of housing, guiding policymaking, housing programs, and the allocation of resources.
Expanding Housing Choice is one of several key implementation efforts beginning in Spring 2023. Other priority implementation actions include:
- Affordable Housing Funding & Production Strategy
- Community Planning & Engagement
- Housing Production & Process Streamlining;
Under state law, San Francisco must plan for roughly 36,000 housing units in the next eight years (2023-2031) to meet our city’s housing needs, on top of the housing units we already expect to be built. To foster more inclusive communities and undo the harmful effects of housing segregation and discrimination, the state requires that a significant share of new housing be built in neighborhoods with greater access to economic opportunities and services that can support growth, such as public transit, parks, retail, and community facilities.
Allowing for more and different types of housing in these neighborhoods helps ensure that more residents have access to housing that meets their needs, while strengthening community resources, infrastructure, and other services. New residents will also benefit from good access to public transportation, requiring fewer vehicle trips to access goods and services and reducing air pollution, including greenhouse gasses.
The City’s approach to increasing residential density in these neighborhoods will consider the need to protect communities vulnerable to displacement. It will also coordinate new development with infrastructure and services to ensure that new housing does not overburden our existing resources.
Map caption: This map illustrates corridors, nodes, and large sites that the City will prioritize for additional housing capacity. Other areas may be added during the community engagement and adoption process. View a larger map.
Expanding Housing Choice is one of many Housing Element implementation efforts that will begin as early as Spring 2023.
Mayor London Breed’s Executive Directive on Housing for All, directs the Planning Department to submit a final zoning proposal for consideration by policymakers by January 2024 to ensure we are on track to meet State requirements.
Phase 1 – Laying the Foundation: Initial zoning proposals will be shared with the public for feedback.
|Spring to Summer 2023||Outreach will include : *
Phase 2 – Building the Structure: Revised zoning scenarios will be shared, responding to public feedback from Phase 1.
|Fall 2023||Outreach will include : *
Phase 3 – Raising the Roof: A final zoning proposal will be brought to policymakers for adoption.
|Winter to Spring 2024||Community members will have opportunities to provide input throughout the adoption process.|
* Outreach events are subject to change.
This page will be updated as community engagement opportunities are announced.
For ongoing project updates, click here to subscribe to our email newsletter. For questions on the project, email email@example.com or contact:
Principal Planner, Project Manager
Senior Land Use Planner, Land Use Lead
Carla de Mesa
Senior Community Development Specialist, Community Engagement Lead