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Why people pay so much to live in San Francisco, and what Phoenix is learning from that

As someone who lives in Phoenix, my mind is always boggled by how much people are willing to pay to live in San Francisco. I mean, it's just crazy, right? There must be some kind of "mass hypnosis" or something. But that's not it, and it's something that Phoenix is learning.

The city (as San Francisco is called by the people who live there, as if no other city in the world mattered) is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. And at the risk of not sounding romantic about it, it's mostly about the architecture. Even the bridge across the bay is beautiful. And of course there's the ocean, and the mountains. And that beauty that surrounds you in the city gives a feeling. And it's that feeling that people want to live with every day. And yes, they're willing to pay for that. A lot of money!

Like Phoenix, San Francisco started out as a purely utilitarian place. San Francisco was a place where ships docked, where commerce was done, and it still is. But early on it became a place that transcended that, and became a place of beauty. Yes, it's crowded, and dense, but care has always been taken to preserve the beauty. Building just another ugly, bland building just so that people could live in a box, or businesses could be conducted in ugliness, hasn't happened to the City.

It's a lesson that Phoenix is learning. It's that delicate balance between commerce and beauty. And if someone tells you that the two can't be combined, I beg to differ. I present San Francisco, and I rest my case.

Image at the top of this post: Postcard of the Golden Gate Bridge, San Fransisco, California

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