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Your Curbed Cup neighborhood of the year: Dogpatch

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An auspicious start to the Year of the Dog

Dogpatch. Photo by Dale Cruse

The votes are in, the ballots counted, the judges have authorized the final tally, and San Franciscans anxiously await the final word on which neighborhood takes the prestigious Curbed Cup this year.

Those who kept a close eye on the polling know that one of our two finalists took an early lead last Friday and never let up. Indeed, the voting revealed this year’s winner to always be a clear favorite from the beginning.

On the Chinese Lunar Calendar, the Year of the Dog doesn’t start until February 16. But the year of Dogpatch starts right here and now, as this bayside locale with the mysterious name dogged its challengers all the way to the finish line and took the big gold cup for 2017.

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Dogpatch finished with 63.25 percent of the vote in the end. Competitor Hayes Valley—a tireless fighter in its own right—made quite a bit of ground on the new champ, coming back from an early deficit (the vote split almost 80-20 for Dogpatch the first day) to nip at the heels of its fleeter rival several times but never catching up before polls closed.

Back in 2016, Dogpatch didn’t even make it into the bracket, as voters favored its more established neighbor to the south, Bayview. But 2017 proved a big year for the city’s canine concourse, as new businesses brought a quintessentially SF-like bounty of bagels, barbecue, and local art to the neighborhood scene.

And right alongside the eateries and galleries came hundreds of new homes, with thousands more already in the pipe and many thousands already geared up for future years in big-deal redevelopment spots like Pier 70. San Francisco Chronicle predicted this year that Dogpatch would quadruple in population to roughly 8,000 people by 2025.

Now that all is said and done, it’s not surprising that Dogpatch proved so doggedly popular this year, as in many ways it really is the ideal here-and-now San Francisco neighborhood.

Like the entire city, Dogpatch is changing. And yet, as our Dogpatch of the present becomes a Dogpatch of the future, a sense of optimism accompanies the metamorphosis.

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True, all of this attention has driven Dogpatch rents sky-high lately, but putting that aside for a moment, in this neighborhood we can see the best possible future for the city at large, a place where the city’s growing population and proximity to society-changing outposts of wealth and commerce is turning it into something bigger, newer, and different, but still recognizably and unmistakably it’s old self underneath it all.

If the rest of San Francisco can learn Dogpatch’s old trick of taking to change with bravery and aplomb while still keeping its heart and soul in the same place, the future of the city will remain a golden one.

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And so, in recognition of its neighborhood spirit, enduring charm, and role as an admirable vessel for all our hopes and dreams, Dogpatch takes this year’s Curbed Cup.

All of this year’s competitors are great neighborhoods, but it’s time to declare 2018 the Year of Dogpatch.