Perched on a jagged peninsula of steep hills and canyons, with breathtaking views of the ocean and the bay, San Francisco’s landscape used to reflect its rare ability to embrace the new, the strange, the outrageous, and make it its own. You can do it in the streets, as long as you don’t frighten the horses. Thirty percent of the U.S. internet business is based in the Bay Area, and while on the surface the industry embraces innovation, the homogenizing effect of money erodes and turns SF into a plain and a platitude, no longer punctuated by diverse voices, as it is with heights and valleys.
The Wild West of ideas turned into a Wild West of capitalism, and San Francisco might as well be the future of American urbanism – a city that’s being hollowed out. I am a newcomer to San Francisco and I walk the city from North Beach to Glen Canyon, from Hunters Point to Outer Sunset, mapping its landscape and myths onto my memory.