Our community

My Inner Sunset neighborhood
What makes a community? It is what we make it, and the community of Metroblogging SF has made it quite large, including the San Jose area. For me, it makes sense. My daily life includes both cities, as well as many of the surrounding towns, and I am always meeting people with similar connections to both areas. I am lucky to live in a community that has so many interesting and diverse areas, all connected by people traveling between them.

This is my community (after the jump).

I live and work down here in south San Jose. My activities take me to Los Gatos and Santa Clara every week. I visit friends in San Mateo, Hollister, Sunnyvale, San Francisco, and San Carlos. I go out to the bars and restaurants in San Francisco and downtown San Jose.

I have friends who live in San Francisco and work down in Coyote Valley, and so they are constantly going back and forth between the two cities. I am too. And it seems that there are always friends heading up to Berkeley and Oakland to visit people or to go to concerts.

Blossom Valley is my neighborhood, but I have adopted Los Gatos, Hayes Valley, and Inner Sunset as my neighborhoods too. And I am constantly finding new and interesting places thanks to missed turns, new friends, and restaurant recommendations.

What’s your community?

8 Comments so far

  1. cd (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 11:46 am

    I, for one, love reading the content here that reports from beyond the 7×7 confines of SF’s personal navel-gazing empire. To our San Jose writers, I say, blog-on. Region-love is important and, given the way people move between parts of the Bay for work and play and life and everything in between, I’d say we were being a bad blog if we didn’t cover it all.

    My community changes by the day it seems. It can feel as large as the world or as small as my family, depending on the issue discussed, the action contemplated, or the people involved.

  2. doug (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 3:46 pm

    I ‘m not a fan of the regional city idea,. For one, SJ and SF are about 45 miles apart. The fact that so many people are driving between the two each day because of a sprawling, fragmented economy (that is spread in equal proportion to the terrible Bay Area suburb sprawl) is an environmental disaster. It means more smog, more traffic, more global warming, more highways, more ugly parking lots, etc. etc. Further, if you look at the history of SF, you will find that the planners that de-centralized the Bay Area did this in order to decentralize a strong, highly unionized, highly sophisticated working-class movement and culture; a culture that took decades to create here in SF. By moving port jobs to Oakland, heavy industry to Richmond, and by strengthening SF’s corporate and financial center, these planners at once broke apart a tightly woven working-class movement in the city, created all of the shitty Southbay sprawl (destroying a largely independent agricultural culture), and made each Bay Area city more homogenous as each type of worker eventually came to live around only others like her or him. Its why SF lost its middle class and why Richmond is so poor. Regional urbanism has been a conscious attempt to de-cosmopolitanism the Bay.; to put the poor away in their corner and permit the rich it up reely in the more attractive parts of our aea.
    San Jose is its own city–larger in population and by far larger in area than San Francisco. Why not give it its own blog? If it is a “real” city then there must be plenty enough going on their to legitimate such a move.

  3. cd (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 4:39 pm

    Doug – if you live in San Jose, grab your friends and try to get the momentum necessary to start an SJ metblog. Until then, it’s far better to give that area a voice on this site then leave them completely unrepresented.

    Or if you feel that there are too many SJ themed posts here, you can apply to blog for this site and get more SF content up – dilute the SJ stuff. Our SJ writers are diligent and writing good stuff – something for which, as the former Captain here, I’m very grateful.

    And lastly: one man’s “shitty Southbay sprawl” is many other’s family-friendly, almost-affordable housing paradise. I have zero tolerance who promote their own hometown by invalidating the status of others’.

  4. doug (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 5:11 pm

    I see why many people would want to live in the Bay Area ‘burbs (I could never afford to buy a home in SF, let alone start a family here and if I choose to do these things I’d have to move elsewhere, too). What I actually mean (or, to put a positive rather than a negative spin on it) is that people deserve BETTER than the alienating, isolating ugliness of a Jack in the Box on every corner and an absurdly long commute on an ugly freeway while forced to look at billboard ads. Why should only rich people live in a beautiful, relatively parking-lot, fast-food, bigbox store-free city like SF? You are illustrating my point about the bad things regionalism has done to the Bay Area. Anyone who isn’t rich has to live in a gulch of freeways instead of on a beautiful hill overlooking the bay. Before regional urbainsim, thousands of families and working-class people lived in SF and the Southbay was was a greenbelt peopled by agriculture families of modest means.

  5. Lauren (unregistered) on July 10th, 2006 @ 9:43 pm

    Hi Doug, I knew you’d probably jump in here, since your earlier comments prompted this post. First of all, let me say that I agree with you that there has been plenty of bad planning, especially in the South Bay, creating a culture that is spread out and car-focused. That is why I am happy when I see thoughtful planning going on like what is happening in Coyote Valley (although I know others feel otherwise on this issue). I, too, lament the loss of the agricultural community that once was Santa Clara County, especially when my grandfather told me about life here in the 30s when he was going to school at San Jose State. That is why I am happy to know that the farm by my condo will never be developed. I try to remember that the past is in the past and we can only make the best of what the bay area is now and how we can make it better moving forward.

    When I first moved to San Jose, I admit that turned my nose up at it like so many others. But since then I have gotten off of the freeways that criss-cross the city and explored the real city that does exist here. For example, just today I had lunch at Riga on The Alameda with a friend who lives in the Rose Garden neighborhood. Between his apartment ($900/month for a 2br/1bath) and the bakery, we took no freeways and saw no fast-food joints, just beautiful houses, old trees, and little shops. The people at the bakery harassed my friend for not coming in as much as he used to since he moved down the road. That experience was just as real and just as wonderful as meeting my friend for lunch in the Inner Sunset would have been. You just have to live here for a while to realize it.

    As for the driving between the two cities, everyone I know either takes the train or carpools, preferably with three people. I have one friend, in fact, who refuses to drive and only uses public transportation to get between his two apartments in SF and SJ. I bought a condo near work so my commute is only 12 miles (15 minutes by car, 30 minutes by train). And I am never stuck in traffic.

    Finally, one of the reasons for my post was to explain why I like having one blog for the whole area and not a separate SJ blog. I am all for an SJ blog if we get the people to do it, but I wouldn’t want to give up writing about my wanderings in the city.

  6. cd (unregistered) on July 11th, 2006 @ 9:57 am

    Lauren brings up a good point: don’t judge any of these South Bay towns by your experience looking out from the freeway or driving down a few main streets. Most towns have a small-town center to them if you know where to look. And people are quite good at creating community even among Jacks-in-the-Box. To think otherwise is a bit condescending.

    By the way – this article from today’s chron is an interestig addition to this discussion: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/07/11/DDG8SJRVOH1.DTL

  7. anna (unregistered) on July 11th, 2006 @ 10:39 pm

    Doug- regarding your sprawl argument, I agree on one point, that the freeway makers, and random people who live in the south bay and think “oh sure, I’ll take a job in South SF and commute from San Jose every day” do contribute to sprawl, pollution, etc. but I’d also like to give you my perspective. I grew up in Cupertino, and lived in a very self-contained town for a long time. My parents lived within 20 minutes commute of their house, and we all went to school, one in san jose, and the rest in cupertino school dist (actually, it “sprawls” all the way to santa clara). So what you see as a sprawling suburban, depressing expanse to me was a lively small community with lots of interest and neighbors, activities, etc. I was bored there, sure, as a teenager would be of their town, but it was far from the depressing billboard-strewn bay area that you see. Each town is like that- from Milpitas to Fremont, from Union City to San Anselmo. Yes, cars have made us a bit more flippant than my SF friends are to “go to Berkeley to buy records,” as we frequently did, but then again, it was a huge strength that the brain trusts of Cal and Stanford were “close” by our standards.

  8. cd (unregistered) on July 12th, 2006 @ 7:04 am

    cars don’t make sprawl. housing makes sprawl and it might not even be all bad: http://www.laobserved.com/archive/2006/07/to_sprawl_or_not_to_sprawl.html

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