As part of a class project for my photography class, I decided to create a collection of photos that embodies the theme I chose: Homelessness as a Result of Innovation
I went to various districts in SF, ranging from poor to rich, dangerous to safe, in order to document, interview, and photograph the homeless people of SF. To do so, I drove and strolled through various neighborhoods of SF, including Downtown Union Square, Mission, SoMa, Nob Hill, Tenderloin, Yerba Buena, Candlestick Point, and Height Ashbury.
While working on this project, I came across several eye-opening things that continued to linger in the back of my mind.
Of all the countless cities that I've visited or lived in across the globe, no other city has ever gone through gentrification as rapidly and severely as SF.
And, of all those cities, SF inhabitants stretched across the spectrum of rich-to-poor more than any other city, and SF possessed the most extremes on each end of the spectrum. In what other city do you see tourists shopping extravagantly, "transplants" driving luxurious cars like Tesla, and homeless people, all on the same block
No homeless population of any other cities that I've been to was as diverse as that of SF. It goes to show how negative outcomes of gentrification plagues people of all race and color.
I chose to refrain from including any other thoughts or comments simply because I don't know enough about the whole situation, how it came to be, what the causes are, or what remedial strategies or policies have been implemented. Any of the observations that I made could be wrong, as this wasn't a research project, nor about the accuracy of specifics.
One thing that I want to mention is that, as I drove and walked around SF, I was surprised by how easy it was to find homeless people regardless of which area I was in, and this caught me by surprise because even after having been here countless times, I never really realized how rampant homelessness was. I saw them, but only when I felt like I was in danger while walking at night, or if they were doing things that attracts a lot of attention. It's as if we've all been entrapped by a tunnel vision, in which everything that doesn't impact or concern us is blurred away.
Next time you are walking in SF, I encourage you to observe the city in more depth, and I hope that you can find a place in your heart to take a moment of your time to stop and share some don't forget to share some pocket money with the less fortunate.