Podcast: People Behind the Plans

John Rahaim

During NPC19 in San Francisco, host Courtney Kashima, AICP, sat down with John Rahaim, the city and county's planning director. On the table during their conversation are issues the city's grappling with now, from the housing crisis and homelessness to design review and short-term rentals. John divulges the route he took to his current position — he grew up in Detroit, got plugged in to planning in Pittsburgh, and eventually made a move to the West Coast. The two unpack the phenomenon of highly visible planning leaders, the growing pains San Francisco experienced in dealing with Airbnb, and the importance of the Citywide LGBTQ+ Cultural Heritage Strategy. Through concrete examples of actions the department has taken in its work, John underscores the need for planners to experiment with the programs and policies they develop.

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