For nearly a decade, New York YIMBY has covered the architecture, planning, and real estate of New York City and the Tri-State Area. Following the August launches of Chicago YIMBY and Philly YIMBY, we are excited to announce our latest expansion into the San Francisco metropolitan area. YIMBY’s latest sister website for the City By the Bay is now officially live.
The Bay Area is a resilient and vibrant region, but despite its strengths, many challenges have proven increasingly daunting in recent decades, including the climate and housing crisis. We expect to see recognition that creativity and change are needed for the city to prepare for the near future. That future will be reflected in the built environment, hopefully with more housing and public transportation.
When writing about this city, it helps to reflect on the extraordinary history preceding the present day. Before colonization, the Bay contained one of the most ecologically diverse habitats in the world thanks to the intervention of the native people. In 1776, as settlers on a distant coast signed the Declaration of Independence, the city of San Francisco was established by Spanish colonizers on the Ohlone people’s land. From there, the city’s international magnetism attracted visitors from around the world, though most prominently from eastern Asia. This legacy is still strongly felt far beyond just San Francisco’s Chinatown.
Oakland’s surviving art-deco building reflect the economic boom propelled by the automotive industry in the 1920s. Silicon Valley has its origins back in 1956 with the Shockley Semiconductor Laboratory. That one small business soon mushroomed into dozens, then hundreds of small businesses, all competing while living in the same city. On the other side of the tunnel, in Contra Costa County, the imposing Mount Diablo has been a focal point for development for the Tri-Valley area.
After the establishment of California statehood in 1850, The gridded street plans pf Benicia, Martinez, and Vallejo reflect their early prominence in American history. There was a time when some believed that the beautiful topography with pleasant climate along the waterfront could bring a city to rival San Francisco.
Benicia, Martinez, Vallejo, and Mare Island, Collinsville and Antioch, and as much more as might be required, I venture once more to assert, that taken as a whole there is no spot on earth superior to it. Well and artistically laid out, artistically and well built, well and honestly governed…the place would have been as nearly paradise as this earth shall ever produce. Athens, Rome, Paris, London, Venice, Vienna, St Petersburg, and the rest of them do not surpass what this could be.
Hubert Howe Bancroft, 1886
This history has guided development through post-War suburbanization and urban renewal and into the modern-day. While we write about projects across this region, we will remain humbled by this long past, although we recognize that the city’s best moments are made possible when it evolves to accommodate the needs of the people.
While YIMBY’s main focus is construction and new development, we expect our coverage to be guided by the regional housing crisis, especially given how San Francisco and San Jose are among the most expensive cities in the world. This crisis has flourished because of a series of issues, one of which is an underdeveloped housing market.
Finally, we want to give a shoutout to SFYIMBY.org, and their accompanying twitter account. The existing political YIMBY network within the Bay Area includes incredible champions who advocate for new housing across the region. Their political activism includes organizing and fighting to push the City of San Francisco to build all types of homes. We are excited to see what they do next, and we also intend to both cover and support their efforts in demanding solutions for the housing crisis in California.