San Francisco’s South of Market is rapidly evolving into a hot neighborhood.  As quoted in today’s San Francisco Chronicle, ‘South of the Slot’ was the original name of this industrial area located on the wrong side of the cable car tracks.  Today over 50 residential projects have been completed and many of the buyers are in high tech or finance.  What can explain the growth of this area in spite of the housing woes across the country? 

Richard Florida, author of ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ has recently come out with the book “Who’s Your City?” This book is also covered in this recent SF Chronicle article. He states that it is the creative class that has driven our economy. San Francisco and Silicon Valley are home to some of the most brilliant entrepreneurs, scientists and artists.  Florida’s argument is that it is where you live that fuels this kind of creativity which is counter intuitive to our growing global economy.  One may believe that we can remain connected and productive anywhere in the world thanks to the internet, but ‘megaregions’ such as the Bay Area are central to this kind of innovation.

I recently read ‘Bowling Alone – Collapse and Revival of the American Community’ .  He writes in depth about the decline in social networks that tied communities together such as bowling leagues, church outings, monthly picnics and more .  People are feeling disconnected from their families and communities and the impact is a decline in education, creativity, and our overall happiness.  Perhaps the draw to the new and improved ‘South of the Slot’ aka ‘SOMA’ is the pull of social connectedness in a community that fosters creativity. I look forward to the new residents of this neighborhood.