How Burrowing Owls Lead To Vomiting Anarchists (Or SF’s Housing Crisis Explained) is Kim Mai-Cutler’s 2014 TechCrunch masterpiece exploring the history of Bay Area land use policy. It was the first investigatory piece to thoroughly survey the political, economic, and historical precursors of today’s housing crisis. And in explaining the problems that plague San Francisco, it provided the intellectual spark for nearly two years of grass roots organizing and advocacy.
And now there’s a kickstarter to turn it into a comic book.
As it stands, the kickstarter has raised over 16K in pledges (I personally pledged $100 last week). This total means a professional artist can work on the project full time and produce a finished product come March. Turning KMC’s tome on Bay Area land use into a graphic novel might seem a frivolous use of resources to some, but let me tell you why this is actually important.
Burrowing Owls is the seminal work on Bay Are Housing. It’s also over 10,000 words long. That means that as good as it is, there was only going to be a small audience of wonkish individuals that would ever be able to wade through the entire thing. Translating the article’s information, ideas and arguments into a visually consumable format, however, makes it accessible to a much larger group of people. For every person that read the original article, there are probably fifty who would thumb through the comic book if left out on your coffee table.
So if you’ve got a few bucks, please consider making a pledge. And after that, pass the message along. Ideas matter, but so do the ways in which we choose to communicate them. And this a great opportunity to better communicate some incredibly important ideas.