which came first, the coffee shop or the gentrifier?

This map displays the geographical relationship between rent prices and coffee shops in San Francisco neighborhoods. ... more
Select a year: pre-2010
Average monthly rent:

Inspired by the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, this map strives to explore the link between gentrification and neighborhood coffee shops.

The phenomenon of gentrification is easy enough to quantify: we can look at now-and-then comparisons of racial breakdowns, percentage of college-educated adults, or average income, just to name a few numerical markers. But what's the street-view version of it? A brief perusal of Craigslist, Airbnb, or similar housing forums reveal a carelessly codified language that paint an image of what gentrification of a neighborhood physically looks like. "Safe, up-and-coming neighborhood," many advertise. "Young families," "new wine bars opening," "hip restaurants," "prime location," "artsy" — it seems clear what these terms really signify.

Here's the thing: if you really want an idea of how high the rent in a given area is, count the yoga studios. Count the vintage clothing shops, the art galleries, the restaurants that use mason jars in place of glasses, the man-bun-sporting white millenials, the Trader Joes and Whole Foods. And, of course, the coffee shops, replete with cheeky names on chalkboard menus and $5 mint-infused mochas. It's a curious correlation: why is cold brew such an overt symbol of second-wave gentrification? And what, exactly, powers the phenomenon — do the yuppies drive rent up, or is it the swathes of trendy coffee shops that follow? Or maybe precede? Where does the displacement begin?

I don't have the answers to these questions, but I wanted to gather and visualize the data that might provide some insight. Each red dot on this map represents a coffee shop; the year it appears represents the year it opened. Clicking on a point will bring you to the Yelp page of that coffee shop. The opacity of the neighborhood background corresponds to the median rent of a one-bedroom apartment — the higher the rent, the darker the blue.

Housing data was collected via Zumper, Zillow, Priceonomics, and Padmapper. To resolve conflicting data for the same neighborhood at the same timestamp, I took the mean.

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