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Hidden gems in the Tenderloin

I’ve written about the Tenderloin neighborhood in San Francisco before. It’s an infamous neighborhood in the center of the city that has for decades resisted gentrification (which was the topic of my post).

But as the technology sector continues to urbanize, many fear that it’s only a matter of time before it does eventually gentrify. A new nickname has even emerged for the neighborhood: the Twitterloin.

However, a local nonprofit called the Wildflowers Institute is trying to ensure that gentrification doesn’t erase the cultural assets currently housed in the neighborhood. Through a project called “Hidden Gems”, the group is literally knocking on doors to find active artists within the community (many of whom live in single rooms) and then supporting them through fellowship programs and other investments.

What’s fascinating about their approach is that they are actively seeking out the informal activities taking place within the community – activities that would otherwise be hidden and then potentially lost. Once discovered, they then do a number of mapping exercises to keep track of this data.

As somebody who believes city building will become a lot more data driven in the future, I think this is a really interesting initiative. And as gentrification pressures continue to increase in San Francisco, I’m sure this information will help guide the discussions. You can’t account for something you don’t know exists.

If you’d like to learn more about this initiative, check out this short 4 minute video from the New York Times. I would then love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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