Which came first, the Google bus stop, the two-bedroom apartment for $10,500 a month, or the new place that sells organic fruit juice and nut milk for $12 per serving? "San Francisco has always been a really expensive place to live, but I wanted to see if these neighborhoods had become even more gentrified and affluent with the arrival of all these tech workers who commute to the South Bay," said Walker. Walker, a Union City native, worked in data visualization for a large tech company before deciding to shift those skills to data journalism to tell, as he described it, "important news stories that I care about." Feeding upon itselfAs Walker sees it, technology companies stationed their bus stops in fun, hip neighborhoods where their young workers were increasingly moving. Companies like Google, Apple, Yahoo and Facebook hire private shuttles to pick up their workers in the Mission, and it's there that protesters in recent months have blocked some buses, arguing that tech companies are responsible for the neighborhood's skyrocketing housing prices and rampant evictions. Not everyone happyThe loud clangs of construction equipment just outside his door are music to his ears because they signify more buildings and more potential customers. Wearing a T-shirt reading "I love to get chai" and sporting long blond curls, he said he gets by using about 10 different skills, including photography and restoring antique furniture. A thoughtful, soft-spoken man, he said he's deliberated a lot about contributing to gentrification and thinks everybody - the anti-eviction protesters, tech companies, landlords and city officials - needs to stop blaming each other and actually talk. A recent report by the city's budget and legislative analyst showed that Ellis Act evictions, used to clear a building to sell it, jumped by 170 between 2010 and 2013. Peter Cohen, director of the Council of Community Housing Organizations, said it's not at all surprising to learn about Walker's "clusters of affluence," where tech shuttles, new restaurants and skyrocketing property values are clumped together. Asked to predict what the Mission could look like in several years without such interventions, Cohen predicted a fate that would surely strike fear into the hearts of longtime Mission District residents and newcomers alike. The brightest areas show that restaurants and cafes tend to cluster in the same neighborhoods that have multiple shuttle stops.
|Scooped by PIRatE Lab|
PIRatE Lab's insight:
More data from the epicenter of gentrification: San Francisco.