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San Mateo County, California

Silicon Valley Housing

Client: OMA & OLIN

Role: Design and development adviser

Define, Design

Challenge

Silicon Valley is experiencing a housing crisis of epic proportions. It is a place with far more
jobs than homes. Only a third of first-time buyers in Silicon Valley can afford to purchase a median-priced home. The convergence of market forces, regulations, and rising construction costs are making it increasingly difficult to build affordable housing. For context, California currently has a shortage of 3.4 million units, but builds only 85,000 units annually. According to McKinsey, the State loses $140 billion per year of economic output as a direct result of the housing shortage.

Solution

OMA & OLIN’s master plan for a 50-acre site located in the heart of Silicon Valley includes 4,000 units of affordable and market-rate housing, 500,000 square feet of office space, a hotel, and community-centered retail, services, and open spaces. Envisioned as a symbiosis of city and nature to improve community health and real estate value, the urban environment is a flexible framework that increases residential density over time, introduces new housing typologies, improves environmental, social, and financial sustainability, and creates a welcoming human-scale experience.

Impact

WOWA WEST supported OMA & OLIN’s master plan to improve housing in Silicon Valley. Access to decent, affordable housing is so fundamental to the health and well-being of people and the smooth functioning of economies that it is embedded in the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We identified potentials to increase affordable housing supply, increase density, reduce traffic congestion, improve community health, and help the world’s most forward-thinking and creative communities and organizations to attract residents and employees, who no longer have to face long and expensive commutes.