And not in a good sense.  When I first moved to California in the late 90’s the City by the Bay was the epicenter (for decades) of an organic form of thought that was gratuitously expressed in food, architecture and design, clothing, music and politics.  But, not anymore, the city that bred independent thought and a self-determination has been slowly eclipsed by Austin—yes, a city in Texas.  Austin has adopted all the same qualities of an earlier SF, but without the guilt or desire to using social planning to lower civic life to the lowest common denominator.  That’s exciting for Texans, but a real loss for California. For a recent evening out with friends it was suggested that we go to a particular restaurant on King St. W, but consensus was quickly reached that it would be too difficult to navigate King St, so we quickly settled on W. Queen W.  The Austin of Toronto.  Our Uber driver dropped us off right at the door of the restaurant and then afterwards we strolled down the frozen street for a night cap or two before catching the 501 home.  I have to admit that I have also lived in Texas, and as much as I love Austin, I really miss San Francisco.


Jeff is a partner and urban designer, planner and principal landscape architect at Terraplan.

Contact Jeff Craft at

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