Culture

A quick morning rant on gentrification

 

A quick rant on gentrification

 

This morning I heard the local newscaster note that “housing prices are about where they should be and doesn’t expect them to go up much more.”  I wanted to call them, rant and ask them if they truly believed that housing prices were where they are supposed to be. There is no way any sane person would note that.

 

I for one did one of the silliest thing ever in terms of cost of living. I moved from New York to the San Francisco Bay Area. Yes, I went from the expensive “fire pan” into the mega-expensive “fire”.   Let me give you a concrete example. A furnished studio of about 250 square feet in Oakland, California ranged from $2700 to $3500. Those of you that know US cities and their histories would realize this type of cost for Oakland would have been unheard of 15 years. What is a person to do?

 

 

In the US, we don’t have great infrastructure in terms of public transportation. Thus, if you want a good job, you tend to work in big cities and cluster about. The money-making technology people in the California region are crowding the areas more and more and those that are not as fortunate get driven further and further out. Walk down O’Farrell Street in San Francisco and it is vibrant and there are tons of tourist’s. Turn down a “wrong” street you get threatened with getting your head bashed in.   Every side street has many poor, disenfranchised individuals that have no choice but to live, eat, sleep on the streets.

 

 

I know I am not saying anything that has not been said before. This is just my personal experience these past few days. I understand wanting to change neighborhoods for the better. However, there has to be a delicate way to do so that meets the needs of the differing community populations.   My wish this morning is that we would have a true conversation and national action plan to combat poverty and engage in job growth discussions and steps that benefit all.

 

 

Do I sound naïve? Perhaps. Probably.

3 replies »

  1. One of my MBA classmates has lived in San Francisco since we graduated in 1980. She lived in a very small apartment for 15 years or so till she was able to barely afford to purchase a Victorian that for the ensuing 15 years or so was a money pit. When I visited her last year, she pointed out to me all the high-rises that are going up in parts of the city, as well as the new modern condos and townhouses that are replacing parking lots on the block directly behind her.

    These monstrosities are being snapped up by the new dot-com millionaires who are paying the price that goes along with the cachet of being able to say that they live in the city while being bussed exclusively to their jobs in Silicon Valley. I guess this situation extends to the other side of the bay as well. If it’s any consolation, I know that both SF and Oakland are trying to balance the gentrification by extending services and maintaining living wages as much as possible for the people who already live and work there.

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