Gentrification's simple math


Chuck Nevius is big into gentrification these days. He thinks it's a dandy thing and "no longer a dirty word," says the even longtime residents of the Mission love it, and has a nice photo of a person walking in Dogpatch, where two really cool dive bars just shut down -- thanks to the gentrication that's such a great thing.

Nevius quotes Randy Shaw, who has a bizarre statement:

In the '70s and '80s there was massive displacement of residents in the Haight, Noe Valley and the Castro," says Randy Shaw, executive director of the Tenderloin Housing Clinic. "But now you are seeing a massive influx of upper-income people into previously unoccupied areas."

What? "Previously unoccupied?" Like the Mission and Soma and Dogpatch? Unoccupied by the wealthy, maybe, but there are people living in almost every square inch of San Francisco, and in some parts of town, they are low-income people, and richer people force them out. That's happening on the same scale today that it did in the 1980s, except worse: In the 80s, if you werer priced out of the Haight or Noe Valley or the Castro you could move to the Western Addition or the Mission or Soma. Now prices are so high everywhere in town that your only move is out of San Francisco altogether.

And while ol' Chuck does admit there are downsides, he seems to think that somehow you can move wealthier people and more upscale establishments into existing lower-income areas without anything bad happening, as long as you respect "the delicate balancing act."

But it isn't a balancing act at all -- it's a zero-sum game. There's finite space in this city, and when when something or someone comes in, something or someone has to leave. (Yes, you could build a lot more housing, but nobody's building housing for working-class people.) But you can't build more storefronts on Valencia or Mission; force out the existing community serving businesses and they have noplace else to go.

San Francisco has failed spectacularly at the fundamental challenge facing a city under this kind of pressure. First, before you allow more development, more upscaling, more of what C.W. Nevius loves, you have to protect existing vulnerable populations. That's not a balancing act; that's a mandate. If you don't do it, you lose the character of the city and San Francisco becomes another sterile, corporate community.

Jesus. Why is this so hard to understand? I've lived through it several times, these booms that people like Mayor Lee and Nevius always celebrate, and every time, the pattern has been the same, the city has been damaged, and community institutions have been lost. I'm not one of those preservationists opposed to all change, but again: First protect existing vulnerable populations.




I've never quite understood the "act" of some people pretending to be "affluent" when they're not. Clearly a sign of superficiality, pretentiousness and insecurity which your posts reek of, pleb. You're clearing seething with envy of the bourgeois elite, pleb. In the time it took you to write all that smug stuff, pleb, you could have googled a good therapist in your area to begin dealing with and working on your insecurity, pretentiousness and superficiality and this act of yours of pretending to be part of the "wealthy bourgeois elite." Just thinking about that....Excuse me, while I get my nose out of the air and back down to the screen to type. None of those "traits" are good qualities of a well-adjusted, intelligent person, pleb. Secure people and well-adjusted people don't exhibit any of that needless stuff. They do have good therapists in Topeka don't they, pleb? If not, can't you just move your trailer to where there is one?

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Feb. 28, 2013 @ 6:27 pm

I'll move to a remote cabin in Montana the moment they close on their luxury mansion.

Posted by marcos on Feb. 28, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

You're as institutionalized as a lifer doing hard time at this point.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 10:56 am

I'm a law student at Hastings, and because I'm open about being low-income, disabled, and from a working-class background, people assume I want to be a "dependent plaything subject to the whims of fashion"...

Well, I guess exposing class bias is something. Maybe someday I'll be able to litigate against you.

Posted by HeartTenderloin on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 2:49 am

Oh I'd like to see that. I would be cheering you on!

International Troll Society Member #12360969212

Posted by International Troll Society Member #12360969212 on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 4:07 am
Posted by Guest on Mar. 01, 2013 @ 7:08 am

Looking good for SF property owners.

And on a day when the dow hits an all-time high.

Good times are back.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 10:52 am

The usual suspects will work passionately to stop all preparation. Shortages will magnify. Prices will rise.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 11:06 am

by going long SF RE and short bonds.

There isn't much profit or mileage in betting against growth, jobs, development and enterprise.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 05, 2013 @ 11:37 am

So sick of Mission hipsters. Why don't y'all show your solidarity with the downtrodden and take your black hoodies, skinny jeans, Pabst beer, snotty attitudes and fixed-gear bicycles to Vis Valley?

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 7:55 am

I remember this Gentrification thing has been going on for over 10 years, don't think anything could stop unless you pass a bunch of laws. Laws that mostly likely won't make any sense or just will prevent businesses moving in. Yes we would like small business, the kind that we use, but seeing what is opening in some of these retail spots, that is the trendy way.

Posted by Garrett on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

If we are committed to freedom, then we must allow people, jobs and businesses to move in and out as they see fit.

Posted by Guest on Mar. 06, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

What's so fascinating and worthy about dive bars? Don't get me wrong. I joined the great exodus of blue collar natives driven out by outrageous housing costs. Through hard work, resourcefulness and luck, I hope to return. I just find it amusing when my affluent friends (& their tattooed trustafarian buds from the burbs) bemoan the the transformation of their cherished neighborhood as it morphs into the next "Union Square."

I have roots in the neighborhood that go back to the 1850s. My great, great grandfather was an English orphan, who fought like hell to even make it to San Francisco. He built a house, learned a trade, and raised a family there. He and his brothers were part of a wave of immigrants who brought change and new energy into the Mission so many years ago. I have friends from different backgrounds who can say the same thing about their families, whether they arrived in the 1850s or 1950s. For better or worse, newcomers will continue to breathe change and new energy into the neighborhood through the 2050s and beyond. Dive bars? Come on now.

Posted by South Mission-Potrero Improvement Club on Mar. 07, 2013 @ 10:36 am

The people I know who are successful allw elcome and enjoy the fact that SF is constantly changing. It's that energy that is exciting and makes living here good.

Those who fear change know their skills are limited, and think that unless everything is preserved as is, then they worry that will not survive here, and will have to move elsewhere (which, in many cases, would be the right thing for them to do anyway).

Show me a NIMBY or a fearmonger, and I will show you someone who is a net debit to the city, and knows it.

Posted by anon on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 1:59 pm

Conservatives opining on resistance to change!

Posted by marcos on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

progress. They want SF to be frozen in time like some hippie theme park.

It is the moderates (there are no conservatives in SF) who actually want to build things, and grow and develop.

Posted by anon on Mar. 09, 2013 @ 4:32 pm