Big cities need socioeconomic diversity to avoid turning it into playgrounds for the wealthy, this is very true of London, NewYork, Tokyo, or San Francisco amongst others. Let’s look at the case of San Francisco.
The expensive housing and living costs in the Bay Area, could one day in the near future turn San Francisco into a playground for the wealthy, and whereas there will always be diversity when it comes to ethnicity, no major city in the world can afford losing the socio-economic or intellectual diversity that adds creativity and edge to a place.
In this technologically driven part of the world and home to world renowned tech companies, such as Twitter, Uber, or Airbnb, there is a big emphasis on STEM in schools but this cannot be at the cost of pushing other more artistic or holistic disciplines to the side. Particularly in the Bay Area, where the alluring natural surrounding is the one thing that stands above it all and inspires everyone to value beauty and humanity and everything that comes with it.
There are those who still blame tech workers for driving up rents and homelessness and eliminating socio-economic diversity.
At the same time, there is still a thriving but struggling working class or arts community that together with the tech industry add to that new soul San Francisco has blended into its personality since the first dot-com boom started in the city.
Life, people and cities change, move on, recycle and to live happily ever after, one must accept the changes without allowing for complete colonisation. This is what San Francisco can’t afford right now, to lose those who add intellectual and socio-economic diversity to the city.
Wouldn’t we all love it if the native Americans of northern California together with the Spanish missionaries where still coexisting but happily and peacefully so without one taking over the other? The example seems extreme but it could be used to illustrate what is happening today.
Five centuries ago before the European settlers arrived from Spain to the Bay Area, this was a rich in plant and animal life part California and was populated by around 15,000 Ohlone peoples on lands stretching from the San Francisco Bay to Big Sur.
When the Spanish arrived in the 1700s, they quickly set up missions in California. To their surprise, the Ohlone peoples, did not farm or domesticated animals for survival.
As time went by, many Ohlone started to die because of diseases such as measles brought by the missionaries. By the end of the 18th century various epidemics killed hundreds of people at Mission San Francisco and Mission Santa Clara.
By the 19th century, the native population of California went from an estimated 310,000 to 100,000.
The Spanish established not only their Missions, but also their technological ideals on the land. However, the Ohlone continued to survive on acorns, trout, and other wild harvests as they were not keen on the Spanish agricultural logic on the landscape.
The differences between the Ohlone and the Spanish clashed , the lifestyle of the Ohlone peoples disappeared and this part of northern California just like the rest of the country, made way for one lifestyle only, that of Western civilization.
The history of this land is telling us something about how it is always better for communities to live equally, peacefully and coexist despite our differences.
In present day San Francisco, those differences have to do above it all, with socioecomic status but it is always the diversity of people and their creativity, and not how much money they earn, that make a place exceptional. Strong policies should be in place to keep those people who make this place a special one before it is too late.