There’s Now a 3D-Printable Sculpture of SF Housing Misery

(Courtesy Simon Martin)

There’s no shortage of street art in San Francisco displaying the emotions of gentrification and the city’s cost of living (just take a stroll down Clarion Alley in the Mission District for proof). And now, if you want a daily reminder of the housing crisis, there’s a 3D-printed sculpture for that.

Doug McCune, a programmer and artist, has lived in the Bay Area for 15 years, currently in Oakland. Before living in the East Bay, he says “went through the rollercoaster that is buying and selling a home in [San Francisco], and so the housing market is something that fascinates me and is still fairly top of mind.” That led McCune to mine data from Redfin, the real estate website, to create a hexagonal representation of housing prices in different San Francisco neighborhoods. But why settle on 2D when you can print something in 3D?

Using his programming knowledge, McCune created a script that would convert the data into a 3D model in which the hexagons rise to a certain height depending on the residential cost per square foot of various neighborhoods. From above it’s the shape of San Francisco, but from the side it’s a bit gnarly.

“I started having this yearning to hold the model in my hand and run my fingers over it,” he says. “I did my first 3D printing by using a 3D printing service and the experience of holding a thing that I designed was enough to get me hooked.”

McCune made the files available on Thingiverse for anyone to download and 3D print themselves. And if you don’t like his version, McCune made the design adaptable with any data set.

“I encourage anyone who wants to start making art to just start — and to share your work as frequently as possible,” he says. “And don’t worry too much about whether you get a good response on any individual thing you create, just keep throwing seeds into the wind.”

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