clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Bye Bye Bohemia: Gentrification Kills the Counterculture

New, 1 comment

Who knew Randy Shaw reviewed books, too? Hold on, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves— author Erick Lyle's On the Lower Frequencies is, after all, a book about a group of 20-something San Franciscans struggling to cope with the cultural climate change that swept through the city with the dot com boom of the 1990's. Shaw wonders what this wave of housing hoopla holds in store for San Francisco's "ongoing counterculture":

The biggest change [from the 1990's] may be that dramatically escalating housing prices and rising evictions no longer arrive as a sudden and unexpected shock— which was the case when the dot-com boom followed nearly a decade of moderate price rises— but is now seen as one of the hazards of trying to live in San Francisco. Lyle does a good job conveying the sense among part-time or unemployed artists and cultural workers in the late 1990’s that their future status in the city was at stake— a battle for survival that continues to this day.Shaw manages to keep a fairly even hand (the man's not a blogger, believe it or not) while relaying Lyle's story, acknowledging the possible contradictions that arise when other factors— race, class, what have you— come into play in discussions surrounding gentrification and its effects on San Francisco's fleet of gutter punks on Haight Street bohemians. Take heed, developers: High housing costs + flight of the creative class = less public art to plop on your rooftops and deck your halls. Feel that burn.
· Maintaining Bohemia in a Gentrifying San Francisco [BeyondChron]