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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

BetterKnowanSFBlog - Curbed SF

Posted By on Tue, Jan 29, 2008 at 8:42 AM

Every Tuesday morning we profile one of the Bay's many cool blogs in a segment we call -- BetterKnowanSFBlog. This week: real estate just got more real.

By Tyler Callister

Curbed SF is San Francisco's premier blog of structural phenomena. "Instead of being generalists, we are very focused on neighborhoods, on real estate, on the built environment, on architecture," Curbed SF editor Sarah Hromack said in a telephone interview from her home in the Upper Market Castro area. "We're interested in looking at San Francisco in its changing urban landscape."

But Curbed SF covers usually boring topics like real estate and urban development with a little pep in their prose. One recent blog post deals with a rumor that a wild feral cat terrorized construction workers at a construction site in the Mission. The rumor came in an e-mail from a Curbed SF reader who wrote:

"Word on the street is that there is a crazy, feral cat that haunts that site. Goes by the moniker of "Oswald" - like Lee Harvey; dig? Apparently the construction workers are scared crapless of this thing and they all walked off the job sending construction to a grinding halt."

Similar to the "-ist" blogs, Curbed got its start in New York. Now, the company has a Curbed blog in LA as well as the food blog Eater and the fashion blog Racked.

Hromack says blogs have a narrative quality. "Collectively their content starts to tell a story, and of course, our readers commenting tell a story as well. So I think we like to let that story unfold in some community discussion rather than taking a really hard angle."

One story that may end in tragedy is the gentrification of San Francisco. As we learned recently in an interview with urban historian Joel Kotkin, San Francisco may already be in the final stage of gentrification. Kotkin told us an affluent class has entrenched itself here and the middle class and working class populations are on their way out. He called San Francisco an, "an urban theme park for Silicon Valley."

Hromack, emphasizing that she was speaking on behalf of herself and not Curbed SF as a publication, agreed that the city is becoming increasingly gentrified. "I think we should all keep our critical minds in tact when looking at problems such as gentrification," she said. "However, I think taking a very, very hard position and not being willing to look at the broader picture is also detrimental to the city. I think there tends to be a bit of that in San Francisco -- perhaps everywhere. People are very protective of this city. This is a city that has harbored all kinds of folks who have sought refuge in San Francisco, and it's very easy to get protective of a place that you love."

But there may be hope yet. Curbed SF tries to avoid pushing any one agenda, but Hromack herself supports the concept of dense living when it comes to urban development. She speaks positively about those working on the future urban landscape of San Francisco. "We have a lot of very intelligent architects and planners in the city that I really enjoy watching change the city," she said.


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Ty Callister


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