Billionaire famous for early Facebook investment wants America to rebuild — just not housing in his backyard

In 2020, as the pandemic was taking hold, billionaire Marc Andreessen turned heads by posting an essay on his company’s website titled “It’s Time to Build.”

“I expect this essay to be the target of criticism,” he wrote while expressing a mindset called YIMBY, for “yes in my backyard.”

“You see it in the housing and physical footprint of our cities,” he wrote. “We can’t build nearly enough housing in our cities with growing economic potential — which results in skyrocketing housing prices in places like San Francisco, making it nearly impossible for regular people to settle down and get jobs future”. He then expressed his dissatisfaction with the state of urban architecture. “We should have glittering skyscrapers and spectacular living environments in all our best cities at levels far beyond what we have now. where is?”

Andreessen also lives in Atherton, California, America’s wealthiest city, which has held the title of the most expensive zip code in the US for five consecutive years, according to Property Shark data. Atherton also topped Bloomberg’s annual Riches Places index for four years running through 2020. And as a prominent local citizen, new reporting from the Atlantic reveals he may be more of a NIMBY.

Andreessen, co-founder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, is known as an early investor in major tech companies such as Meta, GitHub, Skype and Twitter. In June, Andreessen and his wife Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen wrote an email expressing their opposition to a proposal that would increase the zoning capacity for multifamily development in Atherton.

“I am writing this letter to express our HUGE objection to multi-family overlay zoning in Atherton,” the two wrote in their email, signed by both of them, they say The Atlanticof Jerusalem Demsa. “Please IMMEDIATELY REMOVE all multi-family overlay zoning projects from the Housing Item that will be submitted to the state in July. They will MASSIVELY decrease our home values, the quality of life for ourselves and our neighbors, and ABSOLUTELY increase noise and traffic.”

The comment, which was also reviewed by Luck, posted on July 14 by Atherton’s design department. Andreessen did not respond The Atlantic the Luckhis request for comment.

In his original essay, Andreessen linked the need to build more housing to the American Dream. “The things we manufacture in huge quantities, like computers and televisions, are rapidly falling in price,” he wrote. “The things we don’t like, like housing, schools and hospitals, are skyrocketing.” With a home out of reach for so many, he said, the American dream was in jeopardy.

His essay also included a call to action, citing the need to “break the rapidly escalating price curves for housing, education and health care, to ensure that every American can realize the dream.” The only way to do this, he wrote, is to build.

Elsewhere in the Bay Area, pro-housing council candidates are dropping out of the race because they can’t afford to live there, while a general lack of new building projects has prompted others to seek innovative solutions. Atherton in particular has trouble staffing its fire and police departments because public employees can’t afford to live there and are put off by the long commute. The Bay Area’s public transportation is rather inadequate, aside from its housing.

Andreessen wasn’t the only Atherton resident to voice strong opposition to the housing proposal. “Nearly all of the comments received expressed opposition to the use of overlay zones,” the city planning department wrote when it released the slate of public comments it had received on the issue.

In his 2020 essay, Andreesson traced the reason there is any housing crisis to the issue of shortage. “The problem is desire,” he wrote, referring to the desire to invest in large building projects. “We must *want* these things.”

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