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Finding the Downside In San Francisco's Tech Boom

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the rising-tide-raises-all-prices dept.

Businesses 373

snydeq writes "The NYTimes reports on the San Francisco's shifting socio-economic landscape thanks to a massive influx of tech workers and tax and regulation breaks to big-name startups. 'In a city often regarded as unfriendly to business, Mayor Edwin M. Lee, elected last year with the tech industry's strong backing, has aggressively courted start-ups. But this boom has also raised fears about the tech industry's growing political clout and its spillover economic effects. Apartment rents have soared to record highs as affordable housing advocates warn that a new wave of gentrification will price middle-class residents out of the city. At risk, many say, are the very qualities that have drawn generations of outsiders here, like the city's diversity and creativity. Families, black residents, artists and others will increasingly be forced across the bridge to Oakland, they warn.'"

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373 comments

So what they're really saying is... (5, Insightful)

pellik (193063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221243)

That this is also an economic boon for Oakland.

O noes! (2)

Aviancer (645528) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221259)

Rich people spending too much money results in inflation at a local level. Film at 11.

Re:O noes! (2)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222279)

The only real way to fix this is to make everybody poor.

Re:O noes! (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222459)

There seem to be a lot of people doing that. Hint: it's largely not the businessmen who want to sell us stuff.

Gentrification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221271)

So, they're warning that the tech boom in San Francisco could lead to another Full House?

Re:Gentrification (1)

MushMouth (5650) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221685)

When Full House being filmed, Alamo square (upon which lie the painted ladies the fictional location) was nearly a war zone. Just 13 years ago the San Francisco Chronicle had a front page story about 6 murders in a year only a block away due to the drug trade. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/1999/08/14/MN46914.DTL [sfgate.com]

Re:Gentrification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221915)

Now i know why there were so many single men living in that house.

Re:Gentrification (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222461)

And people still think we need to continue the "war on drugs". Just legalize everything already!

Complain, complain..... (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221289)

First they complained because of "suburb flight" where affluent persons moved to the suburbs and left-behind a poor base in the city.

Now they are complaining that the affluent people are moving back in.
I wish they'd make up their mind.
Do they want the upper/middle incomes to leave the city, or stay in the city? Either way, it appears they will wine about it.

Re:Complain, complain..... (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221345)

And let's be honest, San Francisco isn't exactly priced for 'middle-class residents.' Unless you don't mind sharing a studio, it's expensive to live there.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221429)

Consider hiding 3 or 4 spare beds to really economize. Beds can be hidden just about anywhere [flyingbeds.com] .

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221659)

That looks really cool, to hide a bed in your kitchen like that, but on the other hand a twin mattress is probably not big enough for my sleeping style.

There are lots of things you can do, in poor countries I've seen people sharing the same bed, and it makes things cheaper, but do you really want to be forced to that level?

Re:Complain, complain..... (2)

pigiron (104729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221757)

All depends on who it is in bed with me...

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221941)

Your 17 year-old son. Or three of your brothers and sisters. If you need extra cash, you can also try selling your toilet, I've seen that too. Or only take showers when it rains, to keep your water bill lower.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221895)

"...in poor countries I've seen people sharing the same bed..."

Yes, no one in America shares a bed with anyone.

Re:Complain, complain..... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221365)

Who wants all those well paid, self sufficient people around? What good are people who can't be put into government servitude to the sociopaths in office?

And I love the stealth racism in the summary. Successful people moving in means no black people, or simply that a successful, educated population can't be "diverse".

Re:Complain, complain..... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221417)

Also I like how they act like the huge Asian population, including one of the biggest chinatowns in America, isn't "diversity".

Re:Complain, complain..... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221749)

A huge Asian population isn't diversity. It's uniformy Asian.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222263)

oh snap!

Asians don't count for diversity (5, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222321)

If you can't pretend to be a victim, you are not welcome as a participant in "diversity".

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

jythie (914043) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221377)

Who is 'they'? It kinda depends on if they are the same people saying these things or not.

Though in general what urban planners want is balance, so yes, they are likely to raise alarm when things tip too far one way or the other. While I understand the appeal of 'If X is good, going to the extreme of X must be better', this rarely pans out very well in the real word.

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221595)

Who usually does the complaining about "the poor". Bleeding-heart liberals. (Not that there's anything wrong with that.)

Re:Complain, complain..... (4, Interesting)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222129)

I don't know, when I was living in (a very nice part of) San Francisco, local liberals did a pretty good job of not allowing chain or fast food restaurants into the area (resulting in "quaint" locally owned establishments charging $15 for a cheeseburger), enacting very high sales taxes and high parking rates and other measures that did an excellent job of ensuring that there were no smelly poor people polluting the main shopping street. All with good intentions of course.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222365)

That term always makes me think the speaker has a head full of conservative ignorance, and it usually turns out to be the case. Pretty much everyone but the conservative monsters understands that we can best be judged by how we treat our least fortunate.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221537)

they aren't complaining about the affluent. they're complaining about you idiotic computer people and your
terrible sense of dress, your constant nattering about options and which fucking star trek was better

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221629)

yes, most of the larger population are the young professionals. I didn't read the article however and they mention families, however they failed to mention that the families that aren't moving there and moving away are white families because there are plenty of chinese families

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

xevioso (598654) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221815)

It's not nattering. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was clearly the best. And I have a handlebar mustache and I wear a bowler.

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222371)

John De Lancie is clearly Best Po-- er, Best Villain.

as if they truly care about affordable housing.... (5, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221571)

it takes years to get any large structure built and while you read about politicians and community activist bemoaning the lack of affordable housing you never see real progress. Instead you get locals doing the classic NIMBY maneuver. Oh its fine and dandy if you build it OVER THERE!... which of course the over there crowd don't want it either. Lots of lip service and little action, the point being that the type of construction needed for truly affordable and sustainable housing is not the type that occurs.

then there is the whole concept of what affordable housing really means.

Re:as if they truly care about affordable housing. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222175)

Yep. Our housing finance system forces the middle class portfolio to be overweighted towards leveraged real estate. If you were constructing a portfolio with liquid assets, no manager in his right mind would recommend: 75% REITs bought on margin, 25% other things. Yet that's where a lot of people are except that it's an illiquid asset instead of a REIT.

Until this situation changes, nobody will really want affordable housing despite what they say.

Affordable housing means falling prices, and the whole system is designed so that falling prices are bad. That's why "affordable housing" requires you to earn the poverty badge. A world where section 8 vouchers provided $100 of your $120/mo rent instead of $800 of your $900 rent would work just as well, if not better for the government. It's the trannsition that's a bitch. We missed a golden opportunity with this crisis. The rallying cry should be "START FORECLOSURES". Yes, "owners" would have to move; but if we let the blood run in the housing market, they'd move into a place where the rent was 25% of the mortgage. They could put the other 75% in CDs earning 8% interest instead of paying it to the banks.

Maybe some day the bank/housing cartel really will collapse. I certainly won't mourn its loss; but for now it continues to be propped up.

Re:Complain, complain..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221695)

I'd rather they keep the illegals and gang types coming to Cali. Damn rich 1%ers are plain evil compared to that!

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221817)

First they complained because of "suburb flight" where affluent persons moved to the suburbs and left-behind a poor base in the city.

Now they are complaining that the affluent people are moving back in. I wish they'd make up their mind. Do they want the upper/middle incomes to leave the city, or stay in the city? Either way, it appears they will wine about it.

There are arguably several things at play here:

Most simply, there isn't a single 'they', so 'they' are always going to sound kind of incoherent, since 'they' are a number of distinct groups with distinct interests.

In addition, it is quite likely that 'they' are complaining because what 'they' really want is a permanent settlement at some equilibrium point between squalor and gentrification, where the really scary crime and abandoned buildings are gone; but the local families who go way back, artistists, and (less noisy) students haven't been entirely driven out by the gentrification that they were the shock troops for. Unfortunately for 'them' that equilibrium point simply may not be a stable one. If it isn't, you'll see a constant ebb and flow, overshoot/undershoot, and a constant sense of dissatisfaction(since, even if things are oscillating around the ideal point, they'll still appear to be trending the wrong way a considerable portion of the time...)

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222095)

complaining because what 'they' really want is a permanent settlement at some equilibrium point between squalor and gentrification

So what you're saying is "they" don't understand that averages are calculated, and you can't ACTUALLY have 2.2 children and a 1.3-income household?

If you're not changing, you're dead. There's no such thing as maintained "perfect stasis" in nature, and expecting it in a complex construction like a city, or even a neighborhood, is ridiculous. Equilibrium points aren't reached and never deviated from.

Re:Complain, complain..... (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222295)

No, I don't think that they are that stupid.

My point is that, inevitably those oscillations hurt some people in visible ways. There are also positive effects; but it bleeds, it leads and human-interest sob stuff are always highly visible.

City on an upswing? Here's a story about some colorful local business/resident of 40 years who cannot pay his now tripled rent and is being driven out to make way for a Starbucks and a 'Social Enterprise Incubator'. Artists are hunted down and slain by yuppies, etc, etc.

City on a downswing? Here's an abandoned building, a business going out of business, and a kid who got shot by crack dealers or something, complete with a quote from Police HQ about how terrible budget cuts are for the cops' toy fund.

People don't say(or even necessarily believe) in as many words that "I desire stasis forever and a statistically perfect equilibrium"; but deviations can be painful in quite visible ways for some, even as they are exciting for others.

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222035)

First they complained because of "suburb flight" where affluent persons moved to the suburbs and left-behind a poor base in the city...I wish they'd make up their mind.

You do see that the two things you mentioned are not opposites, right? Both are essentially the same thing: a geographical segregation of the wealthy and the poor. It's not about whether the rich people are in cities or not, it's about the Eloi/Morlock-like separation between classes. Now if you want to argue that this kind of segregation is healthy and appropriate, then go ahead, but don't be so naive as to think this is an argument about whether it's better for rich people to live in cities or suburbs.

Re:Complain, complain..... (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222421)

Now they are complaining that the affluent people are moving back in.

also the gays are complaining they are getting priced out of the Castro district.

Finding a downside to an upside. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221291)

Shocking

What's new? (4, Informative)

Vinegar Joe (998110) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221293)

USA Today was reporting on this 5 years ago.....

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-08-26-urban-blacks_N.htm [usatoday.com]

Re:What's new? (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221721)

USA Today was reporting on this 5 years ago.....

I remember being in San Francisco for a while back around 1999-2001 or so. At the time, a 400 square foot studio was going for something like $1600/month because the .com era had more or less caused the same thing.

I remember people saying that if someone chose to move out of San Francisco to work in another state, they were essentially economic refugees ... because they'd never have the capital to move back to San Francisco and buy a place because the market would have left them behind.

Hell, I used to know someone with a 2.5 hour commute because he had the choice of a 4 bedroom house with a yard, or a 2 bedroom tiny apartment. Since he had three kids, it wasn't really a choice.

San Francisco has been really expensive for a long time. I'm not really surprised to hear it hasn't really changed much.

Re:What's new? (2)

xevioso (598654) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221843)

Ive been here for 12 years now, paying $1100 for a 700sq foot 1 bedroom. I love it, and would never live anywhere else, but if I had to move out I'd probably not be able to move back into the city.

Re:What's new? (1)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222037)

$1600 a month? Try $4000 back then. I had a friend renting a basement for nearly $5000. I lived in the suburbs, out in Dublin and rented a two bedroom for $2400.

The prices have come down a bit but not to the point that it makes any economic sense to live there. The state in general is in deep shit, living there is pointless and building a startup there is fucking suicide.

Re:What's new? (1)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222215)

$1600 a month? Try $4000 back then.

You know, come to think of it, I think I agree with your number more than mine.

I just remember picking up one of those apartment rental magazines for something to flip through in my hotel room and thinking "WTF is this?".

The prices definitely seemed astronomical to me, and I remember thinking that I didn't have the slightest idea of how most people could afford to live there. I just can't imagine that kind of housing costs.

USA Yesterday (1)

schlachter (862210) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221961)

It feels weird to cite articles from USA Today that are from 5 yrs ago.

The NY Times didnt' say shit when Wall St. did it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221299)

When bankers and other finance capitalists turned Manhattan into their personal playground I don't remember any snotty articles from the NY Times about it. In fact the NY Times is always trying to hype up and promote the tech industry in NYC. Oh no, so artists will have to move to Oakland? I work in design so I guess I'm kind of "artistish" and in NYC everyone has accepted the fact of life that if you want to do art or music you're going to live in Brooklyn. That's just the way it is.

Re:The NY Times didnt' say shit when Wall St. did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221635)

...I work in design so I guess I'm kind of "artistish" and in NYC everyone has accepted the fact of life that if you want to do art or music you're going to live in Brooklyn. That's just the way it is.

Er, accepted it as a "fact of life"? I guess I'm not following you there, as a truly gifted artist could "do" art or music anywhere in the world.

However, only the successful artists are able to choose where they live, but that does for damn near any profession.

Re:The NY Times didnt' say shit when Wall St. did (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221699)

Gifted and commercially successful aren't the same thing, nice try though.

Re:The NY Times didnt' say shit when Wall St. did (0)

pigiron (104729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221793)

Except throughout history they often are. The Sistine chapel wasn't painted for free.

Or... (1)

Un pobre guey (593801) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221305)

At risk, many say, are the very qualities that have drawn generations of outsiders here, like the city's diversity and creativity. Families, black residents, artists and others will increasingly be forced across the bridge to Oakland, they warn.

Means:

The diversity and creativity formerly accumulated in SF will now spread throughout the SF Bay Area.

Why is this a bad thing?

Re:Or... (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221527)

They wanted to centralize the patchouli stink to one location.

Re:Or... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221875)

You're trying too hard. The East Bay -- which includes Oakland and Berkeley -- is already diverse and full of creativity. Sure this'll add to it, but it probably won't change things too drastically. On the other hand, draining out the lower and especially the middle class from San Francisco is a significant loss for the city.
 
I wish I could remember which newspaper or magazine wrote a great article a few years back detailing the exact cycle or gentrification, but my approximation from memory:

  1. Immigrant or working poor neighborhood.
  2. Artists move in, thanks in part to low rents and also because of existing culture.
  3. A few wealthier people who like to stay associated with artists move in.
  4. Working poor start to get priced out of neighborhood
  5. More conservative wealthy people start to hear about neighborhood and move in.
  6. Artists and remaining working poor are almost entirely removed from neighborhood.

The end stage is when the neighborhood is the least diverse and in many people's eyes, including those wealthy people who moved in because of the artists, it is essentially culturally dead. That doesn't mean it's impossible to find cool things to do, but what made the neighborhood interesting and appealing to so many is now almost entirely gone.

Re:Or... (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221925)

At risk, many say, are the very qualities that have drawn generations of outsiders here, like the city's diversity and creativity. Families, black residents, artists and others will increasingly be forced across the bridge to Oakland, they warn.

Means:

The diversity and creativity formerly accumulated in SF will now spread throughout the SF Bay Area.

Why is this a bad thing?

The Bay Area is already pretty diverse. I guess everyone has different ideas when they mention 'diversity,' but, in 7 out of 11 Bay Area counties, caucasians are 48% of the population or lower.

I can only imagine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221337)

what this is going to do to the traffic situation around there, especially the Bay and San Mateo bridges if everyone moves to the East Bay.... What a mess.

Re:I can only imagine (1)

pigiron (104729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221809)

Take BART, dummy.

wow.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221347)

"Families, black residents, artists and others...."

black residents.. really? Oh, no they didn't

Relax... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221407)

.... the same thing happened in the Dot-Com 1.0 boom and bust cycle - high rents and home prices, scarce commercial real estate (with landlords often kicking tenants out so they could double and triple and quadruple the per square foot price), fresh tech school and college grads getting six figure salaries. It's deja vu all over again. The Facebook IPO bust is a harbinger that the bubble will be popping soon - I'm giving it 12-18 months to the massive mobile/sugar water-related VC investments start completely tanking. Of course rents in SF have ALWAYS been high - tech boom or no tech boom - just like in New York City. It's a global city and attracts many, many people to it annually. Yes there is a historical core of working-class/blue-collar San Franciscans that are getting squeezed out but that trend has been ongoing for nearly 20 years now.

This is news? (1)

dorpus (636554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221451)

SF has long since been a homogeneous place of wealthy professionals, with a fringe of poor lefties living in the Tenderloin. Blacks have long since moved out of California, often to Atlanta.

Re:This is news? (0)

Sunshinerat (1114191) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222347)

Are you implying that there are no wealthy professionals in SF who are aligned with the political left?
Do you realize that Nancy Polosi's district is San Francisco?

Re:This is news? (1)

dorpus (636554) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222439)

Not in the slightest. The wealthy professionals wear their designer eco-sandals, grow their organic gardens, take their "eco-trips" to the Amazon, adopt babies from the latest fashionable country for $100,000, and wonder why everyone else cannot live like them.

Re:This is news? (1)

Caerdwyn (829058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222451)

Haven't been to Oakland, have you?

It's the culture. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221453)

California is rich in the real resources that these new start ups need. People, and culture. - No really! It's the place to come if you've got good ideas and the drive to execute them. It's also a great place to live if you enjoy being with people that think that way. (In b4 shitstorm of groupthink California hate-on comments. Sorry guys, get your own ideas.) The facebook movie illustrates this idea very well. They went to California because it's the only place they could find the people, talent, places, and other resources to make their idea work. It's the culture.

-
Funny how supposedly business hostile California is home to the most cutting edge, high tech companies in the nation. California is only "hostile to business" if you are in the business courting of govt handouts to corporations or abusing your workers.

Nice summary (5, Insightful)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221459)

So there's no way a successful and educated population can be diverse and creative. Got it. I do like to check in on ideologythink now and again.

Why not report on the apparent boon that's coming Oakland's way, what with the tide of diverse and creative refugee artist families heading their way.

Re:Nice summary (2)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222063)

So there's no way a successful and educated population can be diverse and creative. Got it. I do like to check in on ideologythink now and again.

Why not report on the apparent boon that's coming Oakland's way, what with the tide of diverse and creative refugee artist families heading their way.

Artists have been heading to Oakland for almost two decades now. Oakland is in the midst of full-fledged gentrification and is probably the most desirable place to live in the Bay Area for the under 30 set. So, yeah, it's getting more expensive.

If I were a starving artist, I'd look in Richmond for affordable housing.

Cry me a river (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221481)

This is an attention-whore article if ever there was one.. San Francisco is a *crazy* city, always has been. Make it or don't, no social engineering will change that

Basic Economics! (3, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221501)

If you make X more desirable, you will likewise make X more valuable. It doesn't much matter what X is as long as X is a finite resource. Whether it's a boom town in North Dakota with rents in the thousands of dollars per month or San Francisco is completely moot. Demand increases value, value increases cost, cost decreases affordability.

Why, oh why, are people surprised by this? This was old news in the times or the ancient Romans. To put it simply, this economics 101, supply and demand in action. Next big surprise story, Chinese factories have long hours for little wages, yet still turn down 10 applications for every job?

Re:Basic Economics! (0)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222005)

The problem that they are proposing is that an un-free market (special tax incentives to special industries) has caused deviation from the market equilibrium. So housing is more expensive than it otherwise would be. In fact, some of those tax incentives just got reallocated into real estate prices.

So, just like any deviation from a "free" market or market equilibrium, it has far reaching effects. And it has costs usually not factored into the original decision.

So logically (sarcasm alert) the critics probably want to create another incentive (rent controls?) to deviate even more from market equilibrium. That will have far reach consequences and they will create more laws and policies to deviate even further. This is the current "progressive" mindset. Bring progress through laws instead of the elimination of the problem law in the first place.

Re:Basic Economics! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222167)

Housing in California is fucked because of Prop 13, not because of recent SF tax incentives to tech businesses.

haha reek what you had sowed maroons! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221509)

we like oakland better anyhow you white zombeez!

Thats happening everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221519)

where there is tech. NYC, Boston, even Portland, Oregon,..

Re:Thats happening everywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221625)

where there is tech. NYC, Boston, even Portland, Oregon,..

But in san francisco, we care ;^)

So what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221611)

So what? Why not just let economies run their course?

predicted outcomes don't always occur as predicted (1)

Gimbal (2474818) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221639)

I think it just makes for a nice conversation piece - intriguing news, at that, honestly. Certainly, an economic change in any area may serve to create some related cultural shifts, in that area and surrounding areas. Whether in the abstract, or in any more pragmatic details, why should we be so concerned about it, at that?

Do we want the city to stop developing a stronger technological entrepreneurship base? Probably not the best of goals.

Do we want real estate agents to stop increasing prices, if that trend continues? "Good luck with that."

Or do we simply not want to replace all the struggling artists with entrepreneurs? Is that the expected outcome? Maybe some of those new businesses will support the local arts communities - "problem solved," lol.

I'm certain that the city of San Francisco, and of her neighboring metropolitan areas, can constructively adapt to such change, in however it goes.

If the same flight was occurring... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221641)

...because of high taxation and land use regulation, the NYT would be defending it.

   

Happening for a While, City now favors Yuppies (4, Interesting)

Koreantoast (527520) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221647)

This has already been happening for quite a while, and among friends who live in the area, San Francisco has already developed a reputation as being a sort of fortress of elite upper middle income people. The city's demographic, according to friends, is most favorable to mid-career types in their late twenties and early thirties: people who have already established their careers and have the money to afford the skyrocketing cost of living in the city but at the same time do not need space for raising children. Lower-middle incomes, poor people and families are being replaced by yuppies. You see similar trends in major cities across the United States, New York, Washington DC, etc., but San Francisco is noteworthy because of the sheer amounts of money being thrown around thanks to the new tech boom.

Re:Happening for a While, City now favors Yuppies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221977)

I can't wait for a horde of upper income homeless. A few million in the bank, living on the streets, panhandling for their next hit - Grande Iced Caffe Mocha Latte with Soy Milk, no Whip.

Re:Happening for a While, City now favors Yuppies (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222099)

The city's demographic, according to friends, is most favorable to mid-career types in their late twenties and early thirties: people who have already established their careers and have the money to afford the skyrocketing cost of living in the city but at the same time do not need space for raising children.

30 years old is now "mid-career"? So everyone is going to retire at 40? Hooray!

Re:Happening for a While, City now favors Yuppies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222199)

Yeah, the fuck is that?

I don't know where this guys been the last 4 years, but in this economy, 30 is when college grads can finally expect to start their career, after they finally break the entry-level internship holding pattern we are being thrown into.

Re:Happening for a While, City now favors Yuppies (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222425)

They started their careers pre 2008.

If you graduated in 2000 you will be rich just by showing up to work if you have a degree. Post 2008 ? HA, customers need those lattes time to get off slashdot

Yes, because builidng in SF is a nightmare (1)

Gordo_1 (256312) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222219)

Everyone in SF gets to have their say over new building developments (witness the nastiness over 8 Washington http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/18/BAHR1M13A6.DTL [sfgate.com] ), so virtually nothing gets built, which acts to ensure housing prices stay sky high.

Rather than complain about Yuppies, why not support the construction of more housing units, so that supply meets demand and prices come down? And don't give me any crap about low income housing versus market rate units. If you build enough market rate units to meet the massive pent-up demand, then housing will become more affordable for everyone.

ask the locals how they feel about (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221661)

'techies,' 'geeks,' and 'nerds': they fuckin' *hate* them...

Yea, but the coming EARTHQUAKE (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221677)

Fact of the matter is the whole freaking area is WAY overdue for a huge earthquake of the proportions that crashed and burned the city at the start of the 20th century. Until that occurs I have to wonder about putting my family in danger.

Sure, there is danger everywhere but ask any Geologist about the chances of a major earthquake in San Francisco and it's definitely not trivial.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/ucerf/ [usgs.gov]

Re:Yea, but the coming EARTHQUAKE (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221917)

Get a sense of proportion, how many people died in the Loma Prieta earthquake? 63. Your chances of dying in an earthquake are lower than dying in a terrorist attack or fire. If you are really worried, then move to a one-story house built recently, since construction standards have gone up since 1989.

Re:Yea, but the coming EARTHQUAKE (1)

pegasustonans (589396) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222133)

Fact of the matter is the whole freaking area is WAY overdue for a huge earthquake of the proportions that crashed and burned the city at the start of the 20th century. Until that occurs I have to wonder about putting my family in danger.

Sure, there is danger everywhere but ask any Geologist about the chances of a major earthquake in San Francisco and it's definitely not trivial.

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/regional/nca/ucerf/ [usgs.gov]

No matter where you live, you can always worry about something.

An earthquake that kills 75 people once in a lifetime? I'll take my chances...

The East Bay is totally cool. (5, Insightful)

pigiron (104729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221697)

It's more laid back and the Berkeley/Oakland hills are backed up by thousands of acres of parks and undeveloped reservoir land. Plus both the views and the weather are better. And you can get into the city in a matter of minutes plus have a shorter drive to Tahoe and Yosemite.

Re:The East Bay is totally cool. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222053)

plus black people.

yay richmond!
yay oakland!

Re:The East Bay is totally cool. (1)

pigiron (104729) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222309)

Not so many blacks except in the flats and a lot of them have moved to San Leandro and Pittsburg. As for Richmond, you no longer have to get off the freeway to get to the San Rafael Bridge. Another downside to SF is all the Asians. They tear down all the neat old buildings in the Sunset and Richmond and put up horrendous stucco buildings that cover the lot all the way to the property lines. Plus they can't drive for shit because of their genetic predisposition to presbyopia so they can't see for shit. Plus when the average mama-san drives a Benz she can't see over the steering wheel.

What's with the 'Facebook' tag? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221733)

Facebook is in Palo Alto and Menlo Park, people. This is talking about San Francisco, not exactly the same thing.

Is this bad? (5, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221761)

Wow, now that I've read the article, look at the first two sentences:

Wayne Cooksey joined the flight of African-Americans from this city last year to escape soaring rents and buy a home. Michael Higgenbotham left six years ago for a safer neighborhood and better schools for his three children.

One guy bought a home, and the other guy found a better school? Sounds to me like people are moving up in the world! These are two success stories.

Re:Is this bad? (5, Interesting)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222097)

Pretty much this. I moved out of state. I now live in Idaho and make half what I used to. However, my living expenses are about 1/8th of what they used to be. I was paying $2000+ in rent on average when I lived int he bay area. I now pay $300. I'll never go back. In just 2 years I have paid off every bill I had with the exception of one because I'm using it to build credit.

Add to this, the average cost of a house out here is just two years of my salary. My fiance and I will be buying in a few months with 40-50% down. I didn't understand how much better it was in other states until I moved to one.

Re:Is this bad? (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222373)

When I lived in Anchorage Alaska I had a roomate who was doing just that. We both paid about $750 a month for a room in a basement. He was just a dental assistant but saved $90,000 and planned to buy 3 homes with 25% down for all 3.

He planned on making 1 million in 30 years renting and flipping all 3 homes. Damn lucky bastard. He showed me the housing crash in Boise and these homes were 1/3 the price they were in 2006.

A Must See!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40221799)

I'll advocate Pittsburgh, our population has declined since the steel industry collapse. But what does that mean for your job opportunities?... Ohh, he said Economics, I thought he said beat the homeless.

Why not just celebrate diversity? (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221905)

I grew up in Cupertino, which when I grew up in the early 80s had the diversity of being white and hispanic. Now if you compare my elementary school class photos of those of the current children, you'll see the diversity is now illustrated by Indian and Chinese.

Same homes. Just now these people pay over $1m for the 1400sq ft house I grew up in.

Diversity is all about which races you need to have to be diverse. Can you be diverse without any african americans? Is it more diverse to have only Indian/Chinese vs. White/Mexican? Btw, in certain schools in Cupertino and parts of Sunnyvale, being white is a minority.

Accept the times, or move.

Re:Why not just celebrate diversity? (5, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222275)

Diversity is all about which races you need to have to be diverse.

Racial diversity is not what diversity is all about. Its also about differences that tend to break down on financial lines (though that is often just a coincidence of our societal priorities).

A community where a 1400sq ft. house costs $1m has no place for people who devote their lives to educating children, caring for the victims of unpopular maladies like getting old or mental illness, or even ensuring that basic infrastructure is maintained and protected. When the providers of these services are not part of the community, they invisible to residents, the value that they provide is artificially diminished, as is their incentive to perform or even continue to provide services. This drives quality down, and the cost of raising quality up.

A tale ot two cities... in two cities (1)

tekrat (242117) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221929)

Same thing is happening in Manhattan NYC -- Only the very wealthy can afford to live there, so what you end up with is the rich lawyers, wall-street people and the like, and the dirt-poor, homeless types -- and everyone else has to commute in.

I mean really, if you ever want a photograph of the divide between the haves and have-nots, just start clicking away just about anywhere in NYC on an average day, and you'll see a multi-millionaire walking past a homeless dude.

The age-old question (5, Funny)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#40221983)

Which is worse: hobos or hipsters?

Super easy and awesome (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40222041)

...these are the main downside, with a side order of offentimes.

Booms are unsustainable. (4, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222113)

"Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness." - Major Motoko Kusanagi

This situation probably sounds like something somewhere on the scale from no big deal to f'in great if you are a 20-30 something temporarily occupying that space between overpaying employer and overcharging rentier.

Meanwhile, cities can not sustain themselves on these kind of demographic patterns. Cities need all kinds of people working at all income levels to work efficiently. Banishing the working poor to the hinterlands drives up costs (commuting). It also perverts the perspectives of those living on either side of the tracks, where the motivations and plights of each other become alien, leading to misunderstanding and unnecessary tensions.

Sooner or later, these booms become busts or the underlying social structure collapses, leaving dysfunction.

What I want to know is how an industry that constantly sells itself on easy communication and reduced operational friction continues to centralize itself in a way that drives up its own costs of living and makes it physically vulnerable.

Move to New York (2)

virtigex (323685) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222193)

So the New York Times is complaining that San Francisco rents are too high. Why don't they do an article on how the influx of finance industry professionals are pushing the middle class out of New York? Oh wait, that happened 50 years ago.

Why Austin Texas is sounding better (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222311)

No huge budget deficit, ultra conservative politicians, low cost of living, low taxes, low regulation, educated workforce, etc.

If my idea turns into a .com startup I am going there. I can't afford a $700,000 studio apartment for myself, let alone my workers which I can't pay much yet. Last time I looked you could get studio condo in Austin for $90,000. Taxes are lower and I do not have to give out health benefits to my employees.

I know the last line sounded greedy, but when you only have $200,000 in capital you can't waste it. Shoot even if you hire someone for $35,000 a year you spend $30,000 in health benefits! California requires anyone working more than 19 hours a week health insurance. That is just too much money.

Also I do not feel bad paying people $35,000 a year as a college student in UT @ Austin will be thrilled and can make a decent living and not move back in with Mom and Dad for that price.

Seriously California is so business unfriendly I just do not see any point at all doing business there unless you already setup shop years ago.

It's not just starving artists /welfare recipients (5, Interesting)

AtlanticCarbon (760109) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222411)

Reading some of the early comments, it seems like people are acting like this just affects artists or poor black people or that this is somehow a reversal of white flight (largely a middle-class phenomenon).

I grew up in San Francisco and still live in the Bay Area. Middle-class and even many (by national standards) upper-middle class people have been and continue to be pushed out of the city. It's not really about racial diversity either. It's a socio-economic and cultural thing. It's also an age thing. To me the quintessential San Francisco resident is a yuppy transplant female in her late 20s or early 30s . She works in tech marketing. She's a foodie and loves visiting all the trendy new brunch places and maybe hitting up a street fair afterwards. She could be white, Asian, hispanic or something else. That doesn't mean it's not monotonous and homogenous. It is homogenous and that's what people are complaining about. And if you want to have a family in San Francisco, you need to be downright wealthy. So there's nothing wrong with being a young professional in itself, but when that's all a city has it's lost a lot of its character.

Anyway, such is life in a market economy. I don't know if there's a right or wrong here and a city like San Francisco has seen waves of demographic changes. But don't think this is like people complaining if white people were to return to inner-city Detroit. This is nothing like that. This is really an entire city becoming like the wealthier parts of Manhattan. I don't expect people from other cities to care, but as a San Francisco native I wish Silicon Valley had been a place in Washington state.

Racism (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 2 years ago | (#40222433)

Can anyone explain why "black residents" in particular would have to move to Oakland? Is high-tech threatening to the high levels of melanin?
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