Why the SF Bay Area is a Great Place to Live
Why the San Francisco Bay Area is a Great Place to Live
The San Francisco Bay Area is a great place to live, but not all reasons are immediately apparent. On the short list of instant positive factors, is the weather and the public art. For those who are fair weather friends, this region does not have extreme hot and humid summers, or cold and snowy winters. The visual beauty in public artworks and murals, gardens and creative architecture has a positive impact on the inhabitants of the SF Bay Area. But there is a longer list of more profound positive factors, which took this writer 20 years to distill into this essay.
Personal freedom in its highest form of democracy is the most profound reason SF is a great place to live. ‘Free to be you and me’ is a song many of us in the States grew up with, illustrating the openness and diversity that this country offers to its citizens. But for many people, there are places in the US which do not wholeheartedly or even partially embrace individual uniqueness, when it comes to sexual orientation, gender identity, or feminism in particular. The SF Bay area has traditionally been a safe haven for those who do not confirm to mainstream social norms. The result within the SF Bay Area is a higher and universal tolerance for diversity of sexual and gender identity, race, and creed. With this tolerance and respect for all, SF is illustrating the truest values of democracy and our First Amendment rights.
The SF Bay Area is a great place to live because it attracts Thinkers, Creatives and Doers. The SF MoMA art museum wrote about Buckminster Fuller in a 2012 exhibit of his works, “The San Francisco Bay Area attracts dreamers, progressives, nonconformists and inventors….” (See photograph below). In having a wide range of tolerance for that which is not mainstream, there is not only an openness of culture for all of us to be true to ourselves, but there is room for excellence. If a society is not draining its personal energies on sabotaging other people’s personal freedoms, there is mental space for its society to be fully productive culturally, in the arts, with innovation, and political movement forward. Conversely for the folks who would in other places spend their time and energies merely surviving or being depressed, can in a tolerant, respectful and healthy atmosphere give fully of their talents, contributing to the benefit of the greater whole. In short, the whole society flourishes.
The SF Bay Area a society that is clearly flourishing on many fronts springing from the respect for full personal freedoms. Bloomberg Businessweek / Lifestyle named San Francisco as the 2012 America’s Best City. In this article, the focus includes a list of items that showcase a productive, peaceful and well-cultivated society; including excellent education, prosperity, a low crime rate, good air quality, and culturally stimulating events in the world of art and music (Konrad). Professional Blog sites such as Movoto continue the conversation of the Businessweek article, citing that the SF Bay Area has a strong job market, that the salaries tend to match the high cost of living, it is a safe place to live, the residents are highly educated, and that it has some of the best rated public schools and universities (D, Tayna. “Is SF a Good Place to Live?”)
In the Epoch Times article “Sister Cities Sibling Rivalry: San Francisco and Zurich”, the article describes both excellent cities as having a kind of a rivalry over which one is more impressive. Each have spectacular landscapes, beautifully designed modern and old architecture, thrives in the culinary arts, have progressive environmental views, and are proud of daring, modern art in their revamped or new art museums (Carlson). As such these two cities are close contenders of being great places to live.
San Francisco is known as a city that works towards safeguarding the environment, being a precedent setter environmentally for the rest of the country. Not only has the city set up region wide composting and recycling services, but there is an awareness to conserve water in daily use, the SF Muni system has long run electric buses in an effort for the city to leave less of a carbon footprint. The SF based company Deeproot, whose mission is to create a more sustainable environment, with a tagline of ‘GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE for Your Community’, is the company responsible for the planting of a vast number of bushes and trees within and without the SF airport. No urban, cement structure is a wasted opportunity for reducing the carbon footprint, and for creating visual inspiration.
The ultimate example of whether or not a city is a great place to live is reading peoples’ personal stories of inspiration. Bloggers like Jason Evanish touch on the kernel of truth of why the positives outweigh the negatives of living in SF. In his blog “25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco,” he writes honestly about the negative realities: it gets cold at 4pm, the neighborhoods come with stereotypes, the even-keeled weather creates a higher ratio of homeless people, the regional distances are farther than you think, Muni is not perfect, and the rent and cost of living is high (Jasonevanish.com). However, Evanish’s list of positives outweigh the negatives, and so it is possible that this adage is true: you get what you pay for. Evanish’s list of positives radiates enthusiasm about SF: there are amazing views; there is incredible nature within and without the City; it’s a foodies definition of heaven; fresh-food farmers markets are plentiful and amazing, SF Bay Area is a bike and mobility friendly place, and is therefore a fit and healthy city; there is a freedom to dress as one is inspired; and there is of love of new adventures and boundless opportunities (Jasonevanish.com). Evanish sums it up in one eloquent heart-felt declaration: “With all the personality of the city and each individual neighborhood, there’s new things to discover and appreciate every where you go.”
Utopia it is not – and no one has even mentioned the earthquakes – but if a person is aiming to fulfill intangibles like inspiration and passion, and following ones heart and soul, the SF Bay Area might be the closest thing to utopia there is.
Carlson, Ruth. "Sister Cities Sibling Rivalry: San Francisco and Zurich." The Epoch Times. 8 Sept. 2011. Web 13 Oct. 2013.
D, Tanya. "Is San Francisco a Good Place to Live?” Movoto Blog. 18 April 2013. Web 13 Oct. 2013.
Evanish, Jason. “25 Things I wish I knew before moving to San Francisco.” Jasonevanish.com. 7 Jan. 2013. Web 13 Oct. 2013.
Konrad, Alex. “San Francisco Is America’s Best City in 2012.” BloombergBusinessweek. 26 Sept. 2012. Web 13 Oct. 2013.
Marritz, Leda. “The Trees & Plants of San Francisco International Airport.” Deeproot. 6. July. 2012. Web 13 Oct. 2013.