Haight-Ashbury- Home to San Fran’s Hippo Movement

The famed Haight-Ashbury was one of the few neighborhoods spared from the 1906  fires allowing its gorgeous Edwardian and Victorian houses to survive. But that doesn’t mean the neighborhood didn’t have its struggles. WWII brought about a sub diving of its large homes into apartments and the 50s a general decline from suburbanization. This left many buildings vacant or in decline and interestingly paved the way for the Beats allured by its cheap rent to move in during the 60s after being displaced from North Beach. This helped create a culture in Haight-Ashbury conducive to the 60s Hippie Movement and home of the Summer of Love in 1967. This alternative culture has remained in the neighborhood but most notably along Haight Avenue the business district. The late 70s and 80s brought revitalization and gentrification to the wider neighborhood and homes here are as expensive as anywhere else in San Francisco.

The smaller Cole Valley district to the SW is come to a smaller but attractive business district along Cole Street, newer architecture from the 1900s-1940s, and became a major destination for white collar dot-commers during the late 1990s. The area is also home to many  young University of California (San Francisco) students and staff.

Both Cole Valley and Haight-Ashbury are dense, highly walkable neighborhoods with close proximity to many parks (including Golden Gate) and cultural amenities. Compared to much of San Francisco, biking infrastructure and access to schools is a bit limited here. But similar to most of the City, housing is very expensive. At least 70% of all units are rent controlled. 

Click here to view my Haight-Ashbury Album on Flickr

URBAN STRENGTHS:

* Great public transit service and access to Downtown San Francisco.
* Good racial diversity.
* About 70% of units are rent controlled in the district.
* Great park access here between some of San Fran’s finest parks (i.e. Golden Gate, Buena Vista Park, Mt Sutro, Corona Heights Park, and the Panhandle). Also a handful of smaller parks.
* Excellent tree canopy.
* Some excellent historic architecture, especially the colorful Victorians in Haight Ashbury. Homes in Cole Valley are a bit newer and less ornate but still very attractive.
* Excellent urban form and streetscaping.
* Cultural amenities include a good array of restaurants, bars, and cafes, and several live music venues. Great access to several wonderful museums in Golden Gate Park (de Young Art Museum, Botanical Garden, Academy of Sciences, Conservatory of Flowers, & Japanese Tea Garden). Several “boutique museums” within the district.
* Neighborhood Amenities include a Whole Foods and many smaller local grocerias, several drug stores, a vast array of quirky boutiques, gift stores, unique stores, and fitness centers; there are also a couple book stores, several hardware stores, several churches library and post office, and two hospitals within a 1/2 mile of the district.

URBAN WEAKNESSES:

* ADA generally very good but a good amount of intersections in the hilly parts of Ashbury Heights don’t have modern curb cuts.
* Decent # of electric bikes and bike stations. Dedicated bike lanes are limited to only the Pan Handle Park.
* Economic and generational diversity is so .
* For sale housing is very expensive. 1-bedroom condos start around 700K and sell upwards of 1.3 M. 2-bedrooms start around 850K and sell upwards of 2 M. 3 bedrooms generally between 1-3M. Some larger homes selling btwn 3-5 M.
* Studios lease around 2K, 1-bedrooms mid2Ks-mid3Ks, 2 bedrooms 3 & 4Ks. 3-bedrooms 4K-5K.
* Modern architecture limited to some small scall residential in-fill built close to WWII.
* Only a handful of schools in the district but well rated & diverse.
* Only a handful of live music venues and banks.

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