Using cell phone data to gauge the decline of downtowns post-Covid.

Fascinating chart. San Francisco, which seems to represent the worst case scenario, appears to be deserted.

3 thoughts on “Using cell phone data to gauge the decline of downtowns post-Covid.

  1. sjsixer, you forgot to mention the rampant crime, drug use and vagrancy overrunning downtown San Francisco, those tend to scare off tourists (and apparently the residents & business owners too).

  2. Thanks for that insight. I live in Tucson (from back East) and have seen a lot of California and Texas license plates in my apartment complex. I’m happy to have them since they’re usually more outgoing and intelligent than the local leper colony (of local Arid-zonans) who are trapped in the past. I’ve made a living as a contractor living out of a suitcase (another story) but have learned to appreciate local demographics as a defensive strategy.

    I’ve been out to soCal many times to work and saw the decay in the LA area coming years ago.

  3. I live in the Bay Area. What is considered “Downtown” San Francisco is a very small portion of the city, and except for City Hall or the Opera, there’s not a lot there. It’s also nestled between the Tenderloin and the southwestern part of SOMA. Neither are particularly nice areas of the city and never have been. Where people visit are Golden Gate Park, The Presidio, the Marina, Fisherman’s Wharf. So, depending on how they collected the data, it could be very skewed.

    That said, SF is not in good shape. From the company managing the Hilton Union Square defaulting to The Metreon being empty and looking nearly abandoned, it’s clear SF needs to do something about tourism. Some of it has to do with that the entire Bay Area is just too damn expensive even after the pandemic.

    San Jose is suffering a different problem. It’s empty for different reasons. The companies that occupied most of Downtown have either closed up, moved out, or done more work from home. Adobe is the major anchor business, but have they returned to the office? Oracle and PWC are the other big businesses there. Same thing. The construction project that was going to be Google’s SJ downtown center seems to be on hold due to lack of need.

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