News & Research Archive

Where has our city's pride gone?

Aug 07, 2014

SF Ferry BuildingAs a born-and-raised San Franciscan, I take immense pride in my city. It's where I was born, where I have lived my whole life, and where I have raised my family. San Francisco is quickly changing in ways that we have not experienced since the late 1960's. Around this time is when San Francisco experienced a major exodus of families who began to move to surrounding Bay Area locations in order to take advantage of new residential communities and to eliminate the hassle of commuting their children to school. This migration was also, in large part, a cause-and-effect of affirmative action requirements, which were imposed by the federal government.

Today, San Francisco is seeing yet another major demographic change and new people are coming into the city in order to participate in our second "dot-com boom." Since 2009, San Francisco has added 60,000 new jobs, most of which have come from the tech field and are also filled by people coming to live in San Francisco for the first time.

What we are currently seeing is that new arrivals are beginning to outnumber San Francisco natives. This change has happened over a short period of time and the pride in our city is at an all-time low.

I believe pride is shown in three distinguished ways. The first is in the way we treat our city. San Francisco has become one of the dirtiest cities in the United States. The days of being told not to be a "litter bug" are long gone. Litter can be found all over the city and no one bothers to pick up the trash. If each of us picked up one piece of litter per day, it would be notable. Every day, I pick up litter and almost every day I have someone come up to me in shock and thank me. To me, I'm not doing anything special. It just pains me to see our city not shine in its beauty.

The second way we show pride is in how we treat people. For such a progressive city, I can't believe how impersonal of a city we've become. The other day I took Muni to the Embarcadero train station and a man next to me starting having a seizure. He collapsed on the floor ahead of arriving to the station. I screamed, "This man is having a seizure" hoping for some help. I then ran to inform the Muni driver with an obvious sense of urgency and the driver just casually picked up his phone and called for help. He didn't even look at me or respond. When we arrived at the station, I found Muni workers and screamed that a man needed help on the train. All they did was look inside the train while all of the passengers left. No one came up to see if this man was okay. I felt like I was in a Federico Fellini movie! It was unbelievable that no one came up to help, nor acted concerned.

I have witnessed this on a number of occasions over the years. I realize that there are people out there who are helpless. There are so many people that need general help. I see how insensitive our community has become due to the daily tragedies witnessed. The man on the Muni did not even appear to be homeless. In fact, the first thought that I had was, "this could have been me."

The last way I believe pride is shown is through appreciation. We live in the greatest city in the world (in my opinion), but we can't assume it will remain great without public participation. Our citizens need to show pride everyday to the tourists, to our fellow residents, and to the world. Let's get our San Francisco pride back!


Written by: Hans Hansson


Hans Hansson is President of Starboard TCN Worldwide Real Estate Services as well as a member of the Board of Directors for TCN Worldwide Real Estate. Hans has been an active broker for over 29 years in the San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in office leasing and investments. If you have any questions or comments please email or call him at (415) 765-6897. You may also check out his website,

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