The Changing Face of San Francisco

A classic muni sign, our distinct street lamps, and a crane busily building a new rental building near Market St. This picture really captures for me the change that is happening in San Francisco.

Muni: San Francisco has a “transit first” policy that uses a variety of carrots and sticks to try and encourage public transit and bike riding while decreasing reliance on automobiles. You see this in planning policies that don’t allow 1 parking spot for every new home being built in buildings like The Millennium, for example.

This photo really captures the change taking place in San Francisco. In the foreground is a vintage muni sign, with classic street lamps behind that, followed by a new construction building and crane.
This photo really captures the change taking place in San Francisco. In the foreground is a vintage muni sign, with classic street lamps behind that, followed by a new construction building and crane.

Street Lamp: There’s no street lamp lobby in SF – at least that I’m aware of, but it’s such a great visual reminder of San Francisco’s history as a gold rush town, where the streets were once lit by gas-powered lamps. In the scope of things, San Francisco is a relatively young town but I love that we cherish and try to preserve our history instead of just immediately knocking it down to build something else (with the exception of the 50’s and 60’s when city planners tried to build a freeway just about anywhere they could).

Crane & New Construction: Over the past several years our economy has done far better than the national economy, thanks in no small part to the numerous startup companies, heavily concentrated in tech and biotech that have put increasing pressure on the city to develop housing, offices, and infrastructure to meet the perpetual demand for those coming to make their fortune in San Francisco. 160 years ago people came west to strike gold in the foothills of the Sierra, now they arrive to do the exact same thing with a laptop and a (sometimes) great idea.

 

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