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The Bay Area’s Breaking Point — Bisnow’s Building A Better City Event

The Bay Area's social and economic struggles have grown into full-blown crises. But finding solutions may require aligning the interests of groups that frequently appear at odds.

Californians are in desperate need of more affordable housing, but no one is quite sure who should shoulder that burden. With resistance growing to new development, the dialogue around solving the housing crisis has only gotten more complex.


While doing the right thing for the future of the Bay Area may be its own reward, government officials and nonprofits won’t be able to solve these issues on their own. The local business community, and especially the commercial real estate community, have significant roles to play.

At Bisnow’s Building a Better City event on Oct. 23, a diverse group of Bay Area leaders will debate and devise solutions to some of the Bay Area’s most pressing and divisive issues. Developers, community activists, major employers and public officials will cover topics including housing affordability, homelessness and construction costs.

Speakers at Bisnow’s event run the gamut from government officials, chairs of activist funds and for-profit and nonprofit developers.

  • Michael Covarrubias, CEO of TMG Partners
  • Mayor Sam Licardo, City of San Jose
  • Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland
  • Tomiquia Moss, CEO of Hamilton Families, a nonprofit developer creating housing for homeless families in the Bay Area
  • Jennifer Friedenbach, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness
  • Michael Matthews, California Director of Public Policy at Facebook
  • Ruby Bolaria-Shifrin, Manager of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative

The Bay Area’s tech boom brought unprecedented wealth and growth to the area, but that prosperity has not been spread equally. Housing prices keep climbing, and the financial pressure is squeezing members of the middle class out.

Whether they are concerned with their ability to lease their retail properties or they just want to help people move off the streets, everyone in the Bay Area agrees that solving the homelessness crisis is a priority. But the rising costs of construction have made it more difficult to create the housing the city needs, while the middle class increasingly disappears. 

Bisnow’s goal at this event is to highlight the commonalities between government organizations, nonprofits and the business community and to foster cooperation to solve our cities’ most pressing issues.

Bisnow’s Building a Better City event is on Oct. 23.