The Gentrification of San Francisco, Circa 1985

Stories about San Francisco’s latest wave of gentrification—perhaps exemplified by the tech bus battles—have been everywhere as of late. But this isn’t the first time critics have mourned the end of San Francisco-as-bohemian-enclave. From “Gentrification’s Price: Yuppies In, the Poor Out” which appeared in the Los Angeles Times on April 3, 1985:

In short, 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.

The change has created a new vocabulary:  Yuppification, croissantification, Manhattanization. City Planning Director Dean Macris calls it the “boutiquing of San Francisco.”

Whatever its name, its result is spiraling housing costs, clogged traffic, an exodus of middle-class and poor families and declining black and Latino populations. And the trend seems certain to continue despite a new effort by the city to limit growth, restrain housing costs and preserve neighborhoods.

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