SF Tech Boom: A New City


Cranes standing above a condominium under construction in downtown SF.

Isabella Doolan, Staff Writer

San Francisco has had many changes, some even drastic, to the soulful city in the past 10 years. The city’s charm that has been attracting people for years is in a decline with the influx of tech companies and corporations.

Now, it might seem weird to compare San Francisco to Folsom, but Folsom’s tech community is currently also growing, so it’s a city that can somewhat relate, especially since it’s home to a few big tech corporations as well, including Intel.  

The technology boom that is taking place in San Francisco — and all over the nation — has brought about big changes. As new technologies replace the old ways of doing things, the effects of those changes will include increasing population diversity, gentrification rates rising and poverty rates at a standstill.

According to Priceonomics, “San Francisco was 13.4 percent African American in 1970, but its population, as of 2016, is less than 6 percent black. The population has steadily declined, and the trend seems likely to continue.”

Has the city become less diverse since the new tech companies have integrated into it, therefore losing what makes San Francisco special?

Folsom is currently 74.3 percent Caucasian, according to the census bureau, which is not very diverse compared to San Francisco but it is a drop from past years, such as in 2000 when the percentage was 77.89. The increase in diversity in Folsom is happening because of the tech companies moving into the city and bringing in all different walks of life, while the opposite is happening in San Francisco.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, there are stories of modern residents in the city who are facing gentrification. One of them is Rose Hunter, a beautician who was forced out of her salon due to the rise in rent and not being able to afford it any longer. This is happening in different locations throughout the city because of the new tech buildings taking over the city’s charm.

While San Francisco is facing these hardships, Folsom is lucky to not have to face the negative effects from our growing tech community yet, although Folsom is becoming a rather expensive suburb to live.

It’s sort of  a ‘tale of two cities’; while San Francisco is losing diversity and the old school charm due to tech companies moving in and driving up the price of living, Folsom is actually gaining diversity by the tech companies coming in and bringing in different walks of life to this small and un-diverse city, mostly by Intel who has a large foreign population.

Jill Klein, a mother and restaurant owner residing in Half Moon Bay, moved there in 2013 from San Francisco where she resided since 1992. She was living in San Francisco for the first tech boom and the start of the next. However, she believes the tech boom is neither good or bad, just another change in the dynamic of the city of San Francisco. “San Francisco is a city that will always change. I left that because I needed peace that I could not create within myself. I got tired of having no parking. I got tired of riding my bike and feeling like I was going to die. I got tired of my friends being evicted. I got tired of my kid not being able to do the things I did as a kid,” Klein said.

There were many factors that pushed her to leave “I left for the coast to give my daughter dirt, water, trees and bicycles. Cost of living is the reason to move, quality of life is why the city was killing my soul. Nature heals and allows me to continue growing and dreaming. However, when my daughter graduates from high school I will leave the entire bay area because it is too expensive for someone who works in hospitality,” Klein stated.  

Rent and housing prices in the Bay Area are skyrocketing. They have been tearing down old housing developments, buildings with charm and forcing people out of their long-time homes because the tenants cannot afford living there any longer. This is in order to make room for businesses like Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Uber and Tesla who are able to do this simply because they have the money.

As a result, rent in these modernized neighborhoods is going up. According to the local news source SFist, “Rent in San Francisco has increased by 10.5 percent.”

Overall, both cities are changing at different paces, just as all of America is becoming more tech-oriented.