Open Wounds of San Francisco : The Effects of Gentrification in the Mission District
Rubio, Wendy Lizbeth
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San Francisco is facing a monster that people are describing now as hypergentrification. The Mission District is the neighborhood that is changing at the most fastest rate compared to other neighborhoods in San Francisco and others around the United States. In the last four to seven years the city has had a complete makeover by having openings of luxurious condominiums, the closing of long-term businesses, the opening of new businesses, and the change in population. In the last few years with technology booming in certain areas of the United States there has been shifts among cities dominated by people of color. In San Francisco, the Mission District has always been a neighborhood populated by Latinos. It is in the Mission where one finds most of the Latin American products and businesses. It is in the Mission, where the Latino Cultural Center is found. Moreover, it is in the Mission where many Latin Americans families especially immigrants families were able to find affordable housing. In the last 15 years but primarily in the last four years San Francisco has become one of the most expensive cities to live in and has become affordable only for a selected few. The Mission District for many families was the only place that living in San Francisco was not a burden. In addition, for many immigrant families the Mission was a home away from home. It was one of the very few places in San Francisco where people could find the products that are sold in their native countries. Besides that, in the Mission there was a sense of community and less of the individualistic mentality, which is how many Latin American communities function. It was a neighborhood with resources for Latinos in San Francisco. Today these feelings have been dissolved because technology workers and people with wealth have made living in the Mission unaffordable because they have populated the Mission neighborhood. There has been a displacement of people of color in the Mission due to the so-called "techies". This is term being used in the Mission to describe the people who work in Silicon Valley companies invested in technology but live in the Mission. Because these "techies" are able to afford a life of high expenses, the cost of living has increased tremendously. It is important to not only acknowledge what is happening in San Francisco but also understand why it is happening and what is currently being done. The author asks, what has been happening to the Latino community of the Mission? Why are certain businesses and cultural aspects of the neighborhood being kept but others shut down? Furthermore, where are Latinos moving? The author focuses on forms of resistance. What are the murals expressing in this community? Are they a form of resistance and empowerment or are they an exotic exhibition for its new residents? What is happening to the churches in that community and how are they being involved in stopping gentrification?