Gentrification

San Francisco Apparently Has Some Reservations About Their Tech Boom

Nope, a huge infusion of cash doesn't solve all of a city's problems, sorry.
5658689037 44a2a108a6 San Francisco Apparently Has Some Reservations About Their Tech Boom

Gentrification begins. (flickr.com/oneloneclone)

New York City has devoted a lot of time, effort, and money to fostering the local tech scene. Not one but two tech campuses; all those meetups and happy hours. But once we reach critical mass, it’s all gravy, right? Right? Nope. As a smart man once said: Mo’ money, mo’ problems.

As companies like Twitter start developing San Francisco’s downtown, the New York Times reports that their tech boom comes at a cost. One local business owner told the Times her landlord was raising her rent from $8,000 to $12,000 and asked, “Of course, Twitter is good for the city, but how about me?”

Meanwhile, the director of the San Francisco Tenants Union reports the trend has “driven up rents extremely” in the last year, while economist Kenneth Rosen predicted the boom would hurt “poor and middle class” while helping the “upper middle class.”

The end result: 

“If you have a city that is wall to wall with tech workers, that might be really cool from a tech worker’s standpoint,” said Peter Cohen, director of the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations, a private group representing nonprofit housing developers. “But that is not the kind of rich diversity of population that makes San Francisco the place that it is.”

Nataurally, mayor Ed Lee frames things a little differently:

“It’s economic civil rights. You get people a job, you build their economic foundation, and then, if you set the right tone, they will start helping you build communities. We can’t do it with government-funded programs. We have do it with the private sector.”

No, this Betabeat writer isn’t worried about the continued affordability of New York on a journalist’s salary, why do you ask?

Follow Kelly Faircloth on Twitter or via RSS. kfaircloth@observer.com