Inner Sunset- Another Chinatown located south of Golden Gate Park

Before construction of the Twin Peaks Tunnel in 1917, the Sunset was a vast, sparsely inhabited area of large sand dunes and coastal scrub land known as the “Outside Lands.” Development was initiated in the 1870s and 1880s with the creation of Golden Gate Park, but it took the 1906 San Francisco earthquake to accelerate development. By the 1930s the districts was mostly built out as a solid street car suburb.  Initially Inner Sunset hosted large Irish and Italian ethnic enclaves. But beginning in the late 1960s the neighborhood saw a steady influx of Asian (mostly Chinese) spurred by the lifting of the Chinese Exclusion Act. An additional influx of Chinese arrived in 1999 as Hong Kong began its reunification with China.

From an urban perspective this is a solid urban neighborhood by what I would consider a “second tier” urban neighborhood in San Francisco built mostly after the 1906 Earthquake. The district has a very attractive urban commercial district along Irwin St. and 9th Ave, great public transit access, and overall solid walkability. Inner Richmond also hosts several quality schools, great tree canopy, and excellent park access being adjacent to Golden Gate Park and hosting several other hilltop parks.

The southern half of the district, away from Golden Gate Park, is hilly and less urban and dense. Generally still pretty walkable but at least a 15 minute walk to the commercial districts. Considering the high demand for housing in San Fran medium density neighborhoods like these should be allowed to densify. Inner Sunset could easily be a district of at least 40K per square mile instead of 20K, which would also help foster a better urban environment. More dedicated bike lanes and some additional sidewalk infrastructure are also needed. 

Click here to view my Inner Sunset Album on Flickr


* Great public transit service and solid access to Dwtn.
* Excellent racial diversity and some of the best generational diversity in the City with about 38% of family household.
* Other than a few surface parking lots and autocentric businesses on 19th Avenue excellent urban form.
* Excellent tree canopy in Inner Sunset.
* This is a very safe district.
* Several generally well-rate schools with a nice mix of public and private. All are walkable.
* About 55% of all housing units are rent controlled in Inner Sunset.
* Park Amenities are pretty great considering the northern border of Inner Sunset is Golden Gate Park. The district also hosts the extensive hilltop park of Forest Knolls and the more modest Grandview Park & Golden Gate Heights Park. A handful of other smaller parks spread throughout.
* Cultural amenities include great access to the world class museums located in Golden Gate Park, plenty of ethnic restaurants, bars, & cafes concentrated along 9th Ave & Irving St. Good node of restaurants also on Noriega just west of Inner Sunset. Also several art galleries, a couple small community theaters, and a couple live music bars.
* No supermarkets within Inner Sunset but plenty of ethnic groceries, esp. Asian ones. Other retail amenities include plenty of drug stores & banks, great array of local boutiques & unique stores, a couple book stores, a hardware store,  plenty of dessert joints and several churches. Also a local post office & library, and the several hospitals at UCSF.


* Generally good sidewalk infrastructure but plenty of intersections without modern ADA curbs and sidewalks often missing from one side of the street in the hilly parts of the district.
* Decent bike lane infrastructure bike  retails are only available in and around the biz district.
* Median rent is around $2,300 about $500 more than the City Average.  Also no dedicated affordable housing located here.
* Housing is certainly expensive here. 1-bedroom product leases in the 2,000s and is concentrated in the older parts of the district near the park. 2-bedrooms anywhere btwn the mid $2000s and low 4Ks. 3-bedrooms lease for anywhere in the mid-3Ks to 5K.
* 1-bedroom condos sell for anywhere btwn 700K-and the low 1Ms but not a ton of them. 2-bedrroms homes condos generally sell around 1.5M but vary by price and condition. 3-bedroom range btwn mid 1 Ms to high 2 Ms. Some 4 bedroom product that max out around 4 M. 

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