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Industry experts and SF notables reveal which neighborhoods they broke up with in 2018


Market Square Plaza just outside Twitter headquarters in Mid-Market.

There’s much to love about San Francisco—and much to loathe. And to confuse neighborhood ire and frustration with flippant snark would be a disservice to our readers and to the city we adore so deeply. Which is why we’ve asked our handful of industry experts and local notables to thoughtfully weigh in on the areas of San Francisco they had enough of in 2018.

John King (urban design critic, San Francisco Chronicle):

“I hate to say this, but Mid-Market has become a symbol of civic inadequacy—too immersive an example of social challenges that the city is struggling with, as yet with too little signs of positive change.”

Brian Wiedenmeier (executive director, San Francisco Bicycle Coalition):


Anne Fougeron (architect and founder, Fougeron Architecture):

“Van Ness which I now refer to as Van Mess. What happened? It went from bad to worse. Time to finish the road construction and tear down that hideous 1980s postmodernist building. Leave some room for beautiful high-rises with tons of affordable housing.”

Jon de la Cruz (interior architecture and design, DLC-ID):

“Overnight it seems that Hayes Valley became Union Street.”

Glen Park
Glen Park BART station.
Allison Arieff (columnist, New York Times):

“Someone on Twitter recently referred to Glen Park, where I live, as “the Atherton of San Francisco” and they’re not wrong. It’s enormously frustrating that a 10,000 -foot-house (like this one) can be approved in SF, but a four- or six-unit building of smaller square footage would never be. This isn’t about neighborhood character; it’s about a fundamental misunderstanding that living in a city means living with and amongst other people.”

Mike Isaac (technology reporter, New York Times):

“I’m breaking up with a neighborhood that doesn’t exist: ‘the East Cut.’ It’s supposed to be the ’hoods Rincon Hill and South of Market near the Embarcadero, but I hate that it’s become a real estate marketing project where they just decided to make a name up and blast it out to everyone here. THE EAST CUT DOES NOT EXIST. It’s just Rincon Hill, SoMa, and the Embarcadero.”

Kevin K. Ho and Jonathan B. McNarry (realtors, Vanguard Properties):

“The Sunset-Parkside industrial complex. Having to tell our buyers that the $899,000 list price for another four-bed, four-bath, 2,300-square-foot remodeled Sunset house is just a teaser price is getting tedious. Also, would a bit of design originality in the area hurt anyone? The folks at East Star Building Supply have dictated more of how San Franciscans live than many of the city’s best designers. And did every house flipper get the Thermador three-piece appliance special that included a dishwasher or hood too?”

Laura Foote (executive director, YIMBY Action):

“SoMa will never be a real neighborhood until we stop prioritizing cars over people. So much has been built in SoMa, but six-lane streets cut through the neighborhood and make it feel dystopian. Cars just blast through a neighborhood that is full of families and people who want to walk to work. The infrastructure has to catch up with the housing, and that’s going to mean taking lanes away from cars—always a politically difficult proposal.”

The Mission’s Valencia Street.
Mike Chino (senior editor, Dwell):

“I’ve lived in the Mission District for 11 years—and although we’ve yet to break up, let’s just say it’s complicated. The churn is real, and the neighborhood loses a little luster every time a friend or favored business packs up and moves to the East Bay.”

Joe Eskenazi (managing editor and columnist, Mission Local) and Julian Mark (reporter, Mission Local):

“Valencia Street is just too knit cozies on the bike infrastructure/small batch-artisanal everything. And has been for some time.”

Beth Spotswood (digital editor, Alta Magazine; columnist, San Francisco Chronicle):

“I’m breaking up with the Pacific Heights part of Fillmore Street—AND I WILL TELL YOU WHY: I used to find it so casually luxurious, but other than a few prime restaurants, it’s full of stores that never have sales, impossible parking, and people who take up more than their allotted table time at the Grove.”

Richie Nakano (restaurant consultant):

“West Portal. There’s never parking and meter maids seem to gather there.”

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