The Bay Area is one of the fastest developing regions in the United States. The beautiful weather, safe neighborhoods, and abundance of jobs has made living in the Bay Area a hot commodity over the past decade or so especially with the rise of the “tech boom”.
As one could probably imagine, landlords are taking advantage by skyrocketing rent and mortgages everywhere in the Bay Area, making the cost of living too high for some long time Bay Area residents. This practice, commonly referred to as gentrification, has especially affected the city of San Francisco.
“My family has lived in San Francisco since the 1950’s,” said lifelong San Francisco resident Bhavjeet Bains. “But recently, my aunt and uncle got kicked out of the city and had to move to the east bay.”
The gentrification epidemic has hit districts like the Mission and SOMA the hardest. The change in demographic doesn’t seem like it will change anytime soon, but for some reason, one district has managed to relatively dodge the gentrification issue. The Richmond, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, has managed to side stepped the epidemic for the most part.
“I grew up here [the Richmond District] and for the most part the majority of the people around me have stayed the same,” Richmond resident Nicole Aguirre said. “I think it’s because many of the homes here are passed down from generation to generation.”
The Richmond is a quiet, safe neighborhood with close proximity to downtown San Francisco and Golden Gate Park. On the surface, it seems as if the Richmond should be one of the more gentrified neighborhoods in the city, up there with the Mission district and Noe Valley. The schools are top notch and there’s little to no crime. Part of the Richmond’s saving grace has to be the success of local businesses. Many of the residents in the district have a store and/or work in the district, making housing a priority in the area.
“There’s so many locally owned shops here,” Skyline college student Marijane Asuncion said. “We kind of thrive off of that over here.”
The Richmond is filled with family owned businesses such as Elegant Restaurant on Clement street and Little Street Boba shop on Geary boulevard. There’s liquor stores and random shops on every corner, further pushing the small business identity of the Richmond.
Let’s look at some of the reasons other parts of San Francisco are going through massive gentrification. The Castro district, historically Latino and one of the most LGBT friendly communities in the country, is now basically unaffordable for the people that shaped the identity of the neighborhood. The tech boom in the Silicon Valley has forced the district to create housing opportunities for “techies’.
Noe Valley, historically known as a quiet, family-oriented neighborhood has also undergone mass gentrification. The main culprit again is the tech boom, with techies taking advantage of the I-280 corridor.
The SOMA/finical district has also undergone a huge make over in the recent past. With the success and growth of businesses in the Financial district, housing prices skyrocketed, kicking long time residents out of the area for wealthier employees of thriving businesses.
The Richmond is one of the few neighborhoods in San Francisco fighting off the gentrification invasion. The Richmond district and its people have a rich history, and it would be a shame if gentrification destroyed the fabric of the neighborhood. The Richmond probably won’t be able to fight off the gentrification issue for much longer, but if they do go down, they’ll go down swinging.