pacific region

Media Release: Sonja Trauss Breakfast Seminar

March 31, 2017

Former Math Teacher Sonja Trauss Shares Housing Lessons from San Francisco

Friday March 31, 2017
VANCOUVER, BC— Greater Vancouver and San Francisco have a renters versus homeowners class war, says Sonja Trauss, a US economist and former math teacher, turned housing density advocate.

To help promote more housing options in traditional single family neighbourhoods, she founded the San Francisco Bay Area Renters’ Federation, whose cheeky acronym (SFBARF) says something about its fearless leader. While the name may be provocative, her message is simple: housing supply of all kinds, from tall towers, condos, rentals to subsidized housing, are needed. She’s also credited with launching a YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) movement, to counter the NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) density opponents in San Francisco.
Vancouver developers, municipal officials, politicians, planners, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade staff and other stakeholders gathered to hear Trauss’ advice to counter single family neighborhood opposition to other housing forms.


  • If developers had the political clout that NIMBYs think they do, Trauss’ lobby group wouldn’t be necessary.
  • Don’t let a small group of citizens veto a housing project that benefits homes for the masses. Engage with your politicians and decision-makers.


Quotes: “Today, Sonja gave us a game plan.  If we ignore this, we’ll continue to see a brain drain of young people leaving our cities,” says Anne McMullin, President and CEO, UDI BC. “We’ll also lose valuable employees, causing a ripple effect throughout our economy. The lack of housing options isn’t just a development problem. This is a regional issue that affects our parents, our children, our communities and our own future.”




Media contact

Cheryl Ziola @udibc C: 604-719-2909 E: cziola@udi.org http://www.udi.bc.ca/


The Urban Development Institute is an association of the real estate development industry which supports more than 220,000 BC jobs plus billions in economic activity.  Through municipal fees and contributions, the industry funds the construction of daycares, social housing, parks, public art, museums, schools and community centers throughout BC.

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