This is How You Know Your Neighborhood Gentrified

Aug 18 at 10am

Every generation makes its own clues as to whether the neighborhood around it is gentrifying. I for one will never forget the oxygen bar popping up on Valencia Street in the late '90s as a sign that all hell was about to break loose. 

And while it can seem at times like we're currently in a boom of fancy- and artisan-everything, the concern over changing neighborhoods has been around forever. So it was entertaining to see how the standards of gentrification have been created and scrapped over the decades with this quiz that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in 1985 asking, "Has Your Neighborhood Become 'Upscale'?" It was recently rediscovered and posted on Twitter by Devin McCutchen. 

I found the quiz on The Atlantic's CityLab, where writer John Metcalfe points out the price of coffee this graphic bemoans in the '80s ($5 for a pound of beans) is a price we would kill for in this modern world of $18.50 for 12 twelve ounces of the same. Metcalfe also explains that McCutchen, a UCLA Ph.D. candidate studying post-war San Francisco, found this gem within a larger news package that mapped out some genuine concerns for the upscaling of this city. 

It's interesting that today, the second half of this list contains shops that would be considered relics or cornerstones of an old neighborhood (especially the video rental store) as San Franciscans now suspiciously eyeball a different set of "upscaling" standards. If we were running this jokey quiz today, I'd have on there:

LONG LINES of people waiting an hour or more for something they could easily pick up at a grocery store.

SHUTTLE BUSES whisking workers away to mystery jobs outside the city.

UPSCALE BARBER SHOPS that give all men the same Don-Draper-meets-Macklemore haircut.

ONE-THING BOUTIQUES where the cost of that one thing is almost the price of your rent.

FANCY TOAST which we all are sick of hearing about but not so sick of eating.

COCKTAIL OR COFFEE BARS where making said drink takes almost as long as growing the ingredients for it. 

THREE-THING BOUTIQUES just because there's more stuff on offer doesn't mean you can afford the other two things either. 

RESTAURANTS WHERE THEY RECOMMEND EATING THINGS "FAMILY STYLE" when all that means is slicing your tiny lettuce leaves and two bites of meat on a plate four ways and going out for burritos later. Which brings me to...

TACO BELL if their "premium taco" chain, U.S. Taco Co., heads north, you might as well leave now. 

Feel free to add to this list in the comments. 

[Via CityLab, photo of quiz from San Francisco Chronicle, Devin McCutchen

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