The Neighborhood is a campus of 200+ growth-minded friends living within 10 minutes of each other in central San Francisco. It’ll be as homey as a small town and as stimulating as college, while still having all the advantages of a big city.
This doc is about where the Neighborhood should be. We, the first movers(Rose Wang, Michael Lai, Kanjun Qiu, Josh Albrecht, Arram Sabeti, Tina Kim, Taylor Rogalski, and Jason Benn), have narrowed it down to three finalists:
Pac Heights, centered on Alta Plaza and Fillmore St between Jackson and Bush.
Duboce & Buena, which is what we’re calling the area around Duboce Park and stretching up into Buena Vista.
Dolores Heights, centered on 20th and Castro.
These three areas are shown to the right →
Green squiggles have a radius of a 5 minute walk.
Blue squiggles have a radius of a 5 minute bike ride.
These lines are based on actual trip predictions and consider local terrain and bike routes. And they’re not hard boundaries. You can still be in the Neighborhood even if you don’t stay within the lines. We like rule breakers.
Keen observers will notice that the blue squiggle around Duboce & Buena is way bigger than the other two blue squiggles. This is because of the Wiggle. You can travel 2-3x farther from Duboce Park in 5 minutes as a result. Pac Heights and Dolores Heights, meanwhile, are among mountains. The hint is in the name. The views are epic, though.
Duboce & Buena
Area bikeable in 5m
.37 square miles
.86 square miles
.48 square miles
Criteria for an epic Neighborhood
Walkable. The magic of campus living is that you build connection automatically, simply by living your day-to-day life. This is because there’s an abundance of unplanned interactions with people you care about.
Normal adult living means you mostly see your friends when you find an hour on your calendars. But in a Neighborhood that’s dense with friends and walking destinations, you’ll have moments of connection every single day.
That’s why it’s essential to choose a location with beautiful parks, walkable downtowns, restaurants with outdoor seating, etc — people have to be excited to get out of the house if they’re going to bump into each other.
I’m convinced that this is the same principle that makes college feel so special. It’s the minimal change that makes a life go from default disconnected to default connected.
Existing community. One of these locations already has half a Neighborhood! An estimate of where the rest of our friends that don’t live in coliving houses is ongoing: if you’re comfortable, please take 30 seconds to let us know about your nearest cross streets here.
Viable for a Neighborhood. There should be plenty of rentable homes costing $2-4K per bedroom per month, and they hit the market regularly. Otherwise, it’ll be harder to achieve the density we want.(There is a chance that market availability isn’t as much of a limitation as it may seem, though. See +How can we discover homes before they hit the market?)
Access to epic houses. By my count, there are just four truly spectacular coliving mansions in San Francisco: the Embassy, Agape, Moomin, and Crest. Houses like these aren’t evenly distributed throughout the city: they’re clustered into a few areas. In this section I discuss the prime clusters.
Access to large apartment complexes. Large apartment complexes will be easy entry points into the Neighborhood, and come with a variety of nice-to-have benefits.
Low crime. It needs to be safe to walk at night and you should feel OK raising your kids there. By the way, speaking of raising kids here: we know that SF public schools are terrible. The bet is that the edtech landscape just got a massive kick in the pants from the Pandemic and that the frontier of education might look pretty different by the time our kids turn 5. In the meantime, we can franchise a daycare and maybe a Montessori school. If everything still looks bad in 7-10 years, then we’ll start another Neighborhood in a city with better schools.
Transit options. Common commutes are to FiDi/SoMa, South Bay via Caltrain, and East Bay via BART.
Good weather. Sunshine makes us happy and affects walkability. Note that all of these locations are east of Karl the Fog.
Here’s the high-level summary of my findings. Click the links and you’ll be whisked away to that section. You can also hover on the left of this page to see a Table of Contents. Higher numbers are better.
Criteria for an epic Neighborhood