From afar, San Francisco’s skyline looks pristine and thriving. But take a closer look. From how we interact with each other to vivid displays of the widening divide between rich and poor, it’s not as booming as it appears from a distance. As many have suggested over the last decade: The city might be broken.
Never mind the benign stuff that riles the gatekeepers—replacing in-person communication with a permanent gaze upon our screens, a sartorial identity reduced to a uniform of Patagonia vests and Allbirds shoes, $15 salad lounges, Muni—it’s the malignant mainstays that have caused real damage: Unprecedented wealth has contrasted sharply with our growing homeless population. The middle class (including first responders, service industry workers, and teachers) can no longer afford to live here. The issue of sanitation, or lack thereof. And above all, unrivaled economic inequality.