SF Gentrification Article From 1985 Could Have Been Written Today

| March 25, 2014
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Photo: Wiki Commons and Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED

Photo: Wiki Commons and Mark Andrew Boyer / KQED

Evictions, rising rents, a tech boom, declining Latino and African American populations, unstoppable “croissantification.” All realities of what’s been happening to San Francisco recently, but, as a 1985 Los Angeles Times piece entitled “Gentrification’s Price: S.F. Moves: Yuppies In, the Poor Out” attests, this gentrification has been going on for more years than many of the incoming techies have been alive!

Take this paragraph, for instance, that could easily fit right into any of the recent essays about San Francisco:

“San Francisco has become perhaps the most gentrified large city in the nation. Districts that a decade ago were blue collar are now ghettos for young urban professionals, who have spawned a consumptive economy in which one highly successful new chain mass markets croissants, sort of a Yuppie version of Winchell’s doughnut shops. … City Planning Director Dean Macris calls it the ’boutiquing of San Francisco.’”

Reading the article is like opening a time capsule that’s waited for us, locked and buried, for decades and finding a note that says I TOLD YOU SO! The piece also brings to mind San Francisco’s long history of tumultuous transformation: from the Spanish arrival and subsequent attempt at “Christianizing” the Ohlone people to Americans seizing the land from Mexico to the population rise from 1,000 to 25,000 in one single year during the Gold Rush, and on and on. The city’s current situation is just the next in a long lineage of conquest. Does placing San Francisco’s latest sea change into historical perspective make it seem less dramatic? Or does it bring up a sense of horror that this class war tradition could be so rooted into our city’s framework that it’s become our destiny?

Read the full LA Times piece:

Gentrification’s Price : S.F. Moves: Yuppies In, the Poor OutSAN FRANCISCO – After living 35 years in the same North Beach apartment, Frances Brandolino and her husband discovered there was no longer room for them in this city. A group of lawyers bought the 17-unit Victorian building in which they had been living to convert it into offices.

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About the Author ()

Emmanuel Hapsis studied creative writing at University of Maryland, College Park and went on to receive his MFA in the field from California College of the Arts. After a few years of odd jobs, he landed at KQED, where he worked his way up from an intern to being the lead producer of a literature podcast and then the creator and editor of KQED Pop. In his free time, he teaches yoga and sings his heart out at karaoke.
  • Leslie Nope

    Haha former City Planning Director Dean Macris is still at the department as a consultant. Pulling in a pension while at the same time charging the city a buttload for consulting. Sucking every penny dry from SF taxpayers. One reason why the Planning process is so expensive and as a result the cost of construction and living.

  • Guss Dolan

    bullshit.
    I can walk ten minutes in any direction today and find more than a
    dozen new condo/apartment developments that are priced out of reach of
    most San Francisco residents. In 1985 there was a poorer neighborhood I
    could move to. No more. This is gentrification on steroids created by
    developers, speculators, shitty politicians, and corporate thugs.
    bullshit.

    • matt dianich

      Let’s just live in squalor. Fuck progress.

  • chris8lee

    I miss the blight, and low quality of life..

  • chris8lee