In conversation with Reed Albergotti
Spacious and affordable homes used to be the hallmark of American prosperity. Today, however, punishing rents and the increasingly prohibitive cost of ownership have turned housing into the foremost symbol of inequality and an economy gone wrong. Nowhere is this more visible than in the San Francisco Bay Area, where fleets of private buses ferry software engineers past the tarp-and-plywood shanties where the homeless make their homes. The adage that California is a glimpse of the nation's future has become a cautionary tale.
With propulsive storytelling and ground-level reporting, New York Times journalist Conor Dougherty chronicles America's housing crisis from its West Coast epicenter, peeling back the decades of history and economic forces that brought us here and taking readers inside the activist uprisings that have risen in tandem with housing costs.
To tell this new story of housing, Dougherty follows a struggling math teacher who builds a political movement dedicated to ending single-family-house neighborhoods. A teenaged girl who leads her apartment complex against their rent-raising landlord. A nun who tries to outmaneuver private equity investors by amassing a multimillion-dollar portfolio of affordable homes. A suburban bureaucrat who roguishly embraces density in response to the threat of climate change. A developer who manufactures homeless housing on an assembly line.
Sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, Golden Gates captures a vast political realignment during a moment of rapid technological and social change.
Conor Dougherty is an economics reporter at The New York Times. He previously spent a decade in New York covering housing and the economy for The Wall Street Journal. He grew up in the Bay Area and lives with his family in Oakland.
Reed Albergotti is The Washington Post's consumer electronics reporter, arriving at The Post from the Information. His coverage of sexual harassment in venture capital rocked the tech industry and led to new legislation in California that protects entrepreneurs from harassment by investors. His article on inappropriate relationships at the top ranks of Google eventually led the company’s employees around the world to walk out in protest. Before joining the Information, Albergotti spent 12 years at the Wall Street Journal, covering beats that ranged from sports to white-collar crime. In 2010, he uncovered emails that detailed doping on Lance Armstrong’s cycling team. His subsequent award-winning coverage in The Journal led to a bestselling book, Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, The Tour de France and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, which he co-wrote with Vanessa O’Connell.