Illustration by Gina Ledor
All over the Bay Area, new developments are sprouting up like spring flowers. New housing, parking, and restaurants are changing the way neighborhoods look and feel. Communities that were once rich with culture and history are now being stripped of that, as new developments invade.
In the Temescal district of Oakland, a new Whole Foods is being built in the bottom of a large apartment building. On a surface level, new housing seems like something that everyone could get behind. As prices have skyrocketed, renters have been forced out.
Gentrification is clearly underway. New housing may seem to offer opportunities for people who lost their homes to get a new one. However, this new housing is rarely affordable and is rarely built with the homeless and evicted in mind.
We need more housing that has low income families in mind. This will take subsidies to offset the lost revenue from higher prices. In January, Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that the city would be incentivizing having low income tenants. The program has the right ideals in mind and is a great first step in maintaining and creating more affordable housing.
Besides the Temescal district, Oakland has been experiencing gentrification as a whole. At the worst point of the great recession, Oakland median house prices were barely above 150 thousand dollars, according to data on Zillow. Now, almost ten years later, prices have reached seven hundred thousand dollars. Hundreds of thousands of dollars above the national median.
Another part of the Bay Area where gentrification is so apparent is in the Mission District of San Francisco. A neighborhood hailed for its rich culture has been invaded by Silicon Valley and SF techies.
What was once an affordable place for those of all economic statuses, now houses rich newcomers such as Mark Zuckerberg. Old buildings which used to be dollar stores or family business are being turned into banks and boujee restaurants.
Diversity is what makes the Bay Area so special. White, black, rich, poor and everything in between. If the Bay Area becomes the hub of the techies and forces everyone else out, it will lose its identity which made it such a desired location in the first place.