What better way to spend a sunny September Saturday morning than a walk around the block with twenty five other housing advocates? The Forbidden Homes Tour, Palo Alto edition was a great way to explore the naturally dense, walkable neighborhood of Downtown South in Palo Alto, and to have a candid discussion about why Palo Alto has been experiencing extreme inaffordability.
Forbidden Homes Tour
Downtown Palo Alto is a haven of walkability with diverse housing types all around. From tall and dense structures, to small apartments buildings to duplexes and quadplexes, the neighborhoods around Downtown Palo Alto are naturally NOT single-family residential. The result is a great mix of all types of housing, which allow a good number of people to live convenient lives. But most of these denser housing types are rather old with the tallest being from the 1920s and 1930s. Fewer new structures have been constructed on University Avenue, or around downtown in recent years, especially in the last 10 or 15.
The Forbidden Homes Walking Tour brought people into several higher density homes to experience how delightful density can be. Many participants shared their own experiences living in the buildings we walked by or toured. And most of the homes we saw on our short neighborhood walk couldn't be constructed today, therefore Forbidden, because these structures would not meet current zoning development standards (like height, setbacks, parking ratios, density limits and Floor Area Ratio (FAR) for those sites.
For those of you who couldn't make it, we missed you, but check out the fun in the images below!