San Francisco 2.0 – Is New Better?

Documentary: San Francisco 2.0 (2015). Toward the end of the film, director Alexandra Pelosi asks, “What is the price of change? And what will the growing divide between rich and poor do to the fabric of America?” Returning to her hometown, Pelosi documents how the technology boom has impacted this historically progressive city, talking to various industry representatives, politicians and longtime residents hoping to maintain their place and not be left behind.

San Francisco 2.0 | HBO Documentary Films | Trailer

Pelosi interviews local activists; tech-industry notables such as Michael Birch (Monkey Inferno), Andrew Houston (Dropbox), Ron Conway (SV Angel) and Sean Gourley (Quid.com); well-known politicians including Governor Jerry Brown, current mayor Ed Lee, and former mayors Gavin Newsom (the current Lieutenant Governor), Willie Brown and Art Agnos; and noted economist Robert Reich who touches on the themes of inequality covered in his own documentary, Inequality for All, a previous SavvyRecommendation.

The changes have been felt most acutely in places like the Mission District, where the immigrant community is being uprooted. The number of no-fault evictions – via The Ellis Act – has spiked and developers are squeezing out local businesses. Activist Roberto Hernandez notes “The heart and soul of San Francisco is being ripped out from the city.”

Available on HBO [including HBO Go and HBO Now].

San Francsico 2.0

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

4 Comments

  1. I had a chance to watch this last week. San Francisco is my second favorite city I’ve visited so far. My parents live just outside and I also have family in the Oakland area. My son relocated to SF a few years ago, and even then rent was astronomical. He had two room mates, a realtor and a financial planner. None of them could afford the rent on their own. Not to mention parking if you own a car (garage parking lease for about $375 mo). It is looking more and more like what happened in silicon valley. So many people homeless due to housing costs. These people have jobs but can’t afford rent nor can they afford to move. The same sort of gentrification is happening all over the country, including in my own hometown, Denver. Rent has gone up by an average 21% since 2010 yet wages are the same. The old neighborhoods that were once considered “ghetto” are now coveted, forcing long term tenants out. Progress is good but, there needs to be balance. Rent control at the very least. So much greed. It’s a shame, we as a society cannot continue this way for much longer.

    • Thanks for stopping by, Kim and sharing your experience. Like you, I fear we are headed in the wrong direction with respect to the widening gap between the haves and have nots and the hollowing out of the middle-class. You see it reflected in income and wealth disparity; the sharing economy and gentrification in places like San Francisco, Brooklyn and Harlem.

  2. I had the chance to watch this recently. It’s interest to see what’s happening in SF, with all the tech giants moving it they seem to be forcing out the middle class.

    • Indeed. It’s interesting – not necessarily in a good way – to watch as the impacts of the sharing economy and widening income (and wealth) inequality play out in places like San Francisco and across the country.

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