The changing fates and two faces of shared housing in San Francisco.
The tech-fueled economic boom has hit 16th and Mission streets in a big way, bringing with it Google buses, expensive condos and high-priced restaurants and boutiques. But just a few properties down from the famed intersection is the dubiously named Grand Southern Hotel, a single room occupancy hotel with 60 units. Many of them house families, and 22 children live inside – the most of any SRO in the Mission. (Bonus link to a photo essay on life in the SROs of San Francisco)
Across San Francisco and the region, young technocrats are taking over the leases of grand estates and transforming them into modern-day communes. Unlike hacker hostels, these “co-living spaces” are meant for entrepreneurs seeking a more permanent home and adopting a lifelong philosophy of communal living: shared groceries, family dinners and an emphasis on group perks (i.e., yoga rooms and bowling alleys) over personal space. (Bonus link to NYT profile on same topic)
The Red Victorian Bed and Breakfast was founded by Sami Sunchild in 1977, who passed away last July. On the website, Sunchild said she wanted the space to be a “living peace museum.” The hotel rented 18 rooms with names like “Flower Child,” “Earth Charter,” and “Summer of Love Room.” A Peaceful World Cafe and Peaceful World Center sell gifts inspired by the 1960s counterculture. Now a new counterculture, which comes with tiny computers and big ideas instead of peace signs and bell bottom jeans, will make its own mark. “We will be open to the public and be a cafe, but we’ll also be a collective-community and event space,” Schingler said.
Background reading: Alan Durning, “Bring back flophouses, rooming houses, and micro apartments“