It’s easy to see all of those construction cranes (or witness our obsession with tech gadgets) and think of San Francisco as only interested in new, shiny things. But this interactive map from the National Trust for Historic Preservation shows there are still large swaths of the city with turn of the century architecture.
The color-coded map, where the warmer shades refer to 1900s-era buildings and the cooler shades are more recent builds, allows you to click on specific areas to get the original construction dates along certain streets. A quick glance shows a lot of neighborhoods (The Mission, Western Addition, Financial District) shaded in large swaths of yellow and orange, while the Bayview, Dogpatch, and Sunset's purple shadings indicate buildings from the 1950s on.
The area with the highest concentration of new buildings? Definitely Mission Bay, where the median year of construction is 2006. Also in the running for newest construction 'hoods were a few pockets of SOMA, and a whole section of the Outer Richmond at Ocean Beach, where most of the buildings were erected in 1991.
The map has other settings that include color-coded grids to show new businesses, the number of minority- or women-owned companies, and the number of non-chain shops around the city. Some of these stats are discouraging – particularly the paltry number of businesses owned by women and minorities in our supposedly progressive town. But at least we beat Washington D.C., which only has one tiny square representing companies not owned by white men.
The data for these maps came from a study by the National Trust for Historic Preservation called the Older, Smaller, Better project. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the findings come down firmly on the side of old buildings. The report claims, “Analysis of data from three major American cities shows that areas with a mix of older, smaller buildings perform better than districts with larger, newer structures when tested against a range of economic, social, and environmental outcome measures."
That’s one area where preservationists and people who love tech gadgets can finally agree. The New York Times did a story just last week about the tech sector's love affair with old buildings in San Francisco, where many of them have set up offices.
Photo courtesy of preservationnation.org.
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