Navigating the Challenges of San Francisco’s Meteoric Growth: City Planning Director John Rahaim on This Week’s ‘Leading Voices in Real Estate’ Podcast

Matt Slepin’s latest episode on his Leading Voices Podcast features John Rahaim, San Francisco’s Planning Director. Together, these leading minds in real estate discuss John’s career and the rapidly changing development and design landscape happening in growing cities.

John’s experience in urban design has taken him from Pittsburgh’s steel mill disintegration as a young planner to working within Seattle’s strict city boundary policies, to his current role leading one of the nation’s most active urban development markets.

“We have to know a little about a lot of things. It’s not just about buildings and design,” he said of the city planning process. “It’s about the economy of the city, it’s about public spaces, and it’s about transportation, and it’s about the price of housing, and all of those things. That is really the kind of mix of things we have to deal with. And that was an enormous lesson for me.”

Today, he is tackling and transforming San Francisco’s housing market and its jobs-driven, rising skyline while also battling sea level rise and stabilizing neighborhoods such as the hyper-popular Mission District. Despite challenges, his team is facilitating more housing than the city has approved in many years, at a pace to meet a three-year goal of building 30,000 units.

You can listen to the full episode at, and download other recent guests Gerald Hines, Sam Zell, Keith Oden of Camden Property Trust, A-P Hurd, president of Touchstone and author of “The Carbon Efficient City”, among others.

About Host Matt Slepin
Matt Slepin is the Founder and Managing Partner of Terra Search Partners, a national executive search firm dedicated to the real estate industry. Terra Search Partners’ mission is to provide a highly consultative service, highly focused with expertise and passion in the real estate business, with both a client-centric and candidate-centric approach that ultimately leads to better results.

About Leading Voices
The Leading Voices in Real Estate podcast series interviews some of the most successful, interesting, entrepreneurial people who shape our cities and the built environment. Host Matt Slepin gets to the personal side not often heard from these legends and visionaries, their career stories and advice, and their role in creating vibrant communities with character, beauty, and a high quality of life. Podcasts are available on ITunes, Stitcher and other services, or at

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