The chaos theory of physics says the fluttering wings of a butterfly begin a chain reaction of effects that make big things happen. Bohemia Redux, like the butterfly wings, is the start of something .
Two issues motivate us. The first is the housing crisis, now felt across the country, but painfully so in San Francisco, where our once huge community of artists lost its place in the social fabric. The second is that artists are undervalued, and casually expelled, to make way for those with more money, and that’s folly. No place has ever had a golden age without lots of them.
We advocate taking much of the profit motive out of housing, for artists and everyone else struggling to pay rent in places like San Francisco. The current tax bill, as we discuss under “How,” makes this curiously possible and even beneficial to those with large tax liabilities. For people who want to be part of a solution, this simple idea offers an elegant way to do so.
First, we want to give artists a place again in the city, and venues that allow them to thrive. Their presence heals, and wherever they congregate, people are compelled to go. We can watch another golden age blossom, and use the model for artists’ housing to create affordable space for others as well. If there’s enough nonprofit housing, the overall cost of living goes down.
The current housing paradigms—developers and the profit motive, the rentier class, and government’s slow pursuit of viable options—are failing us. We need fresh models if we ever hope to change things, and artists to inspire and intrigue us on the long road forward, with the beating of their wings.