Micro-hood: Yerba Buena

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Yerba Buena was the original name of the Spanish settlement that would later become San Francisco, California. Located near the northeastern end of the San Francisco Peninsula, between the Presidio of San Francisco and the Mission San Francisco de Asís, it was originally intended as a trading post for ships visiting San Francisco Bay. The settlement was arranged in the Spanish style around a plaza that remains as the present day Portsmouth Square.

The name of the town was taken from the Yerba buena (Micromeria douglasii) plant, native to the pueblo site. Franciscan missionary Pedro Font, accompanying the Juan Bautista de Anza expedition of 1775-76, applied the Spanish name to the common native herb he found abundant in the landscape.The plant’s common name, yerba buena, the same in English and Spanish, is an alternate form of the Spanish hierba buena (meaning “good herb”).

The earliest report of the use of Yerba Buena as a place name comes from the log of George Vancouver, who in 1792 sailed his ship HMS Discovery into San Francisco Bay and anchored “about a league below the Presidio in a place they called Yerba Buena”.

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Location: Northeastern end of the Peninsula, between the Presidio and the Mission

Commercial: Shopping, shopping, shopping. Surrounded by shopping areas, galleries, restaurants, bars and recreation.

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Residential: Condos, high-rises.

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Accessibility: Accessible through all modes of transportation. Paid public parking garages are available if you don’t have your own.

Is it for you? Singles and couples as well as small families may love living here. It’s buzzing with activity any day of the week and its proximity to shopping and recreation makes it an urban professional/family dream.

Neighborhood Feature: Mission Bay

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Before urbanization, Mission Bay was nestled inside of a +500 acre salt marsh and lagoon, and was occupied by year-round tidal waters.[5] This area was a natural habitat and refuge for large water foul populations that included ducks, geese, herons, egrets, ospreys and gulls. The Native American tribes who resided in this area were the Costanoan people. The tribe most prevalent in the Bay area was the Patwin people who resided in the area for over 5,000 years.

Beginning in the mid-1800s, in attempts to make this area suitable for building, Mission Bay was used as a convenient place to deposit refuse from building projects and debris from the 1906 Earthquake. As the marsh quickly stabilized with the weight of the infill, the area quickly became an industrial district. By 1850 the area was used for shipbuilding and repair, butchery and meat production, and oyster and clam fishing.

In 1998 the area was announced by the Board of Supervisors as a redevelopment project. Much of the land was long a railyard of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, and transferred to Catellus Development Corporation when it was spun off as part of the aborted merger of Southern Pacific and the Santa Fe Railway. Catellus subsequently sold or sub-contracted several parcels to other developers. It has rapidly evolved into a wealthy neighborhood of luxury condominiums, hospitals, and biotechnology research and development.

Location: Townsend St on the North, Third St and SF Bay on the East, Mariposa St on the South, and 7th St and I-280 on the West.

Commercial: High-end restaurants and retail stores line this neighborhood along with biotechnology research and development office buildings.

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Residential: luxury high-rises, mid-rises, apartment buildings

Accessibility: Highly accessible to all modes of transportation. MUNI, BART and Caltrain especially accessible.

Is it for you? It is still up-and-coming but that doesn’t mean it’s not ready. Recommended for empty nesters, single professionals and small families. You’ll love the sweeping water views as well as the accessibility.

Neighborhood Feature: Hayes Valley

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Location: As of April 2012, after changes to the district boundaries used by the Board of Supervisors, the Hayes Valley Neighborhood Association considers the neighborhood as a whole to be bound by Webster Street in the west, Van Ness Avenue in the east, Fulton Street in the north, and Hermann Street and Market Street in the south, with extensions as far west as Fillmore, between Haight Street and Hermann Street, as far north as McAllister Street, between Franklin Street and Van Ness Avenue, and as far south as Market Street, between Buchanan Street and Laguna Street.

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History: Native people in many small bands, now referred to collectively as the Ohlone tribe, lived in San Francisco part of the year, gathering food in the Mission Creek area, which included seasonal Hayes Creek, and other parts of today’s city. Hayes Valley would have been thickly covered with wildflowers every spring.[6] When it was running in the winter, Hayes Creek cut diagonally through the current Hayes Valley.[7] It is now underground year-round.

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Commercial: high-end fashion boutiques, classy coffee shops and dining options plus cultural recreation options

Residential: a mix of classic Victorian homes and mid/high-rises

Accessibility: Walking and pretty much all modes of transportation are viable. Street parking can be tricky so a private garage is advisable.

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Is it for you? Hayes Valley is a mix of old SF charm and the reflection of our rapid gentrification. Families and single professionals will love this area. Raising a child in Hayes Valley is very common as it’s also one of SF’s “stroller neighborhoods”.