Every day, it seems, there’s another story about how difficult it is to live in San Francisco. The rents are too high, the government is a bloated beast of inefficiency, families are fleeing, there’s a bedbug-esque techie infestation, and the rents are too high. Oh, and the rents are too high. Perhaps worst of all, as someone who loves this town and its eccentricities, San Francisco has become distressingly normal.
That said, the city’s population is approaching 850,000. It was 675,000 in 1980. It stands to reason that the city is doing something right to attract 175,000 more residents, even if most of them are Academy of Art students. So what’s luring all these new people?
Despite what most city residents think, San Francisco natives do exist. I know because I’m one of them, and a huge percentage of my network was either born here or has lived here longer than the Internet has existed (much longer, in fact). So I asked them. I emailed more than 50 people who know this city better than Willie Brown knows hats and compiled a list of things that have actually improved in SF. I make no claims to this being statistically sound. Instead, think of it as the collective wisdom of old-school San Franciscans, the top 10 things that are better now in San Francisco than they were then*, if you will. (*Note: your “then” may vary.)