The October issue of San Francisco Magazine is out, and the cover story deals with something pretty much everyone has been talking about for the last two years. The headline: "How Much Tech Can One City Take?" Salon columnist David Talbot delves into the sweetheart deals brokered by Ed Lee, rising rents, the booming food scene, and asks (kind of like people did during the dot-com boom) if the city isn't quickly losing its bohemian character as a result.

He points out that the new bubble, if that's what it is, "promises to be even fatter—and potentially more damaging to the soul of the city." He cites the nature of social media being more isolating, and the fact that rising real estate prices are significantly changing the character of a neighborhood like Bernal Heights, the way the first boom changed the character of the Mission. He writes:

In short, do we wish to be a city of enlightenment, or a city of apps? Many of those who have lived in San Francisco the longest and care for it the most are worried that their charmed oasis is becoming a dangerously one-dimensional company town—a techie’s Los Angeles, a VC’s D.C. If San Francisco is swallowed whole by the digital elite, many city lovers fear, the once-lush urban landscape will become as flat as a computer screen.

As evidence of positive change, he cites a woman who started an old-fashioned salon in her Pac Heights home, and Dave Eggers and his Mid-Market Makers Mart, a "showcase for artisans and craftspeople" and the process of making physical objects which he's proposed to move in near Twitter's new headquarters.

We don't know if there's reason to believe SF will be hurt any more by this boom than they were the last, but his angle here seems to be that SF's soul has more to do with tactile stuff, Dolores Park, and physical interaction between people than it does with tech and virtual interactions. And maybe that's a new angle on this decade-long argument?

[SF Mag]

Previously: Is Oakland Cooler Than San Francisco, Asks 'SF Bay Guardian'