How similar or different (in feel) is Sacramento from San Jose, CA? (San Francisco: low crime, income)
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The Yolo Causeway really cuts Davis off from the rest of Sacramento region and from the City of Sacramento. Most people who live grid have no idea what is happening in Davis and people who live in Davis generally have no idea what is happening in the grid. There is very little cross pollination between the two areas.
A big part of the reason is that the Davis community is fairly insular. In 2007 of the 23,671 undergrads 20,748 lived either on campus or in the city of Davis. Only 2,923 students commuted to campus from outside of Davis.
We don't have firm data for this, but of that 2923 number its doubtful that even 2000 UCD students lived inside the City of Sacramento. You have a fair amount of students commuting from Dixon, West Sac, Winters and Woodland because those locations are closer and offer better connections via Yolo Bus. You also probably have some students living with mom and dad to save on room and board but living in the region maybe commuting in from Fairfield, Fair Oaks, Roseville etc. While the city of Sacramento is the largest city in the region. Of the 2.1 million plus, it represents a little less than 25% of the regions population. To assume that the City of Sacramento is getting 2/3 of the student population outside of Davis is probably exceedingly over optimistic. I suspect the true number is probably under 1500 undergrads living in the City of Sacramento.
Culturally Davis is also fairly cut off from this region. This region goes nuts for the Sacramento Kings, but you see very little coverage of UCD athletics in any of the local media outlets. Cal and Stanford probably have better coverage in the sports section of the Sacramento Bee than UCD. The same is true on local tv and radio. Its tough to find coverage of UCD athletics and what coverage there is doesn't do well in the ratings.
Culturally Stanford is a big deal in the South Bay. Even if you didn't attend either Cal or Stanford, if you live in the South Bay, you know about the Big Game. The people who live in San Jose are much more likely to go to Stanford game or follow Stanford athletics than people in Sacramento who following what is happening in Davis. In the South Bay, Stanford functions more like the Kings do here. Its something people follow even if they aren't big about sports in general and even if they didn't attend Stanford University itself.
While Stanford attracts students nationwide, when they graduate a lot stay close to school and don't leave the bay area or even the Silicon Valley. Again UC Davis is different. UCD draws students statewide, but when they graduate a lot fewer of them stay in the Sacramento region. I think that has a big impact in terms of how much loyalty there is in the two regions to these respective universities.
If San Jose can claim Stanford (you said "well Stanford isn't in S.J. but close"), why can't Sacramento claim UC Davis? It's close! When Davis was founded as an agricultural school, Sacramento was the agricultural processing and transportation center of the region, and the closest major city--Davis was barely a village when UC Davis was founded. Thousands of UC Davis students, and plenty of faculty, live in Sacramento. Sacramento State is about the same size as UC Davis, and while it is a commuter campus, all those commuters live in the Sacramento area. And this is the Sacramento area, after all--San Jose is just part of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Sacramento's "small-town feel" is based on the class distinction I mentioned earlier--we're a city that doesn't put on many airs. We don't have a whole lot of huge cultural institutions because the people who got rich here moved to the Bay Area after making their money. One example is Leland Stanford, who got rich here and lived here for decades, but built his university in the Bay Area. San Jose was much smaller than Sacramento at the time--but he had already moved out of town, and he had a big estate in the south bay. The only reason we have the Crocker Art Museum, the oldest art gallery on the west coast, is because EB Crocker died before he could move to San Francisco.
We're a city built by shopkeepers, middle managers, government employees, and immigrants who came here to work in the canneries or for the railroads. But that certainly doesn't preclude us from being a city--just a city that doesn't really care if you don't know what fork to use for dessert at a formal dinner. Knowing where to get a good cheeseburger is generally a higher priority.
Most of those cities had a much larger pre-war population than Sacramento, which meant they had a "more developed central core" in that they were built before the modern, horizontal, car-centric Western city became the model for urban development. We have a convention center, one suited to our size, but as mentioned above, our lack of sports teams and major cultural institutions is largely due to the proximity of the Bay Area and the aforementioned habit of people who made their money here to move there.
Another factor might be the fact that we destroyed much of our past "development", especially the industries, hotels and mixed-use neighborhoods along the waterfront and downtown, during our urban renewal period. There are still entire city blocks in downtown Sacramento that were once fully built out that are now parking lots or brownfields.
San Jose grew larger than Sacramento because of the profound effects of Silicon Valley and the enormous amount of money and talent drawn to it. But it's still largely a modern car-centric city, with enormous suburban sprawl, a maze of freeways, and industries headquartered in big, horizontal, landscaped "campuses" surrounded by seas of parking.
I don't consider either part of the cities we are discussing, I was giving the repsonder the benefit of the doubt...NO, obviously Palo Alto is not part of SJ and Davis not part of Sacramento. In both cases the cities are very different.
I took a look at the study...if you look at graduate students and faculty, a much higher percentage of them live outside of Davis than undergrads. I suppose I just happen to know an awful lot of people who go to UC Davis for one reason or another, who happen to live in Sacramento--lots of graduate students, a couple of faculty, and a whole passel of KDVS DJs. KDVS itself is a powerful university ambassador--their signal jumps the causeway just fine, thank you very much, and their position as the only real alternative radio in the region means that Davis looms pretty large in the underground music community. I suppose I don't notice the sports thing much, because I don't care about sports, but on the Sac State campus one tends to hear about the Aggies/Hornets stuff if only because they're the nearby school we have a rivalry with. We don't hear about it much because neither team is particularly good at whatever sport it is that they play, I suppose.
Heck, I know people in the downtown music scene who kind of get weirded out at the idea of going to a show in Citrus Heights but will run over the causeway to catch a show at the DAM House or DOV without a second thought. I also know quite a few people who live in Davis but commute to Sacramento to work.
Maybe it's something that is more noticeable if you are out in the eastern suburbs, but the links between Sacramento's central city and Davis abound, despite the causeway. Maybe you're just not traveling in the right circles to notice it, Phil.
nita: Stanford is pretty close to San Jose. Davis is pretty close to Sacramento. Nobody is saying they are part of those cities.
Davis' proximity to Sacramento is far more apparent when you consider distances rather than spaces. Downtown Sacramento is on the very western edge of the city. From downtown Sacramento to Davis is about 12 miles to the west. If you travel 12 miles to the east, the same amount of space, you end up in the suburbs just a bit outside of Sacramento, in an unincorporated area that people tend to refer to as "Sacramento" if you ask them where they are--the "uncity" that is really part of the city culturally and economically.
I suppose I just don't see this supposedly monstrous divide between Davis and Sacramento. Davis is part of the Sacramento metropolitan area, it is a university in this region. Davis' relatively insular attitude is one reason why I tend to be overly reminded of the Patrick McGooghan TV show "The Prisoner" when I go there (besides the penny-farthing bicycle logo) but it seems more due to Davisites' obsession with being an island unto themselves than actual distance. But just because Davis pretends there isn't a city 8 times its size just a few miles away doesn't mean we aren't there...the assertion that Sacramento is about the size of Williams or Esparto is an illusion.
That's cute. Which is more dense? Which has vacant lots scattered throughout the central core? Which has wide open fields between that core and its hinterland suburbs?
Originally Posted by nmnita
I was sorta wondering about that statement as well??
While Majin is obviously exaggerating about Sacramento's density, Sacramento is slightly less dense than San Jose overall: 5858/square mile in San Jose, 4813/square mile in Sacramento. So they're roughly in the same category in terms of denisty.
Vacant lots scattered throughout the central core are, without exception, places where buildings USED to be, including (in some cases) heavy industry and densely populated neighborhoods, but were knocked down for one reason or another. I am still surprised to hear people say that Sacramento "never" developed its waterfront--of course we did, but there is almost no trace of it because we demolished it.
The wide open fields between the core and some of the hinterland suburbs are, in many cases, places that still flood every year, or are such a high risk of flooding that even the least scrupulous developers haven't tried getting permission to build on them yet. If you wonder why nobody built anything between West Sacramento and Davis or Sacramento and Woodland, take a look along the causeway in February and note how little of the landscape is not under water. Sacramento's development has traditionally moved to the east, where the high ground is. Others are still highly productive farmland owned by people who would rather continue to farm than sell their property to a suburban developer. Yet others are toxic brownfields or otherwise not so desirable for building, like the area around Aerojet or the areas around Folsom where the Natomas Company dredged for gold, leaving gigantic fields of tailing piles.
To me they don't seem similar, but yeah, they are both mid sized Northern California cities. The San Jose area is even more suburban than Sacramento; Sacramento has a more vibrant core, the rivers, and more access to farm land still in use, and while San Jose is nearly double the population, it lacks a cultural center because people just consider San Francisco to be "the city". There is no farmland left because it is filled with low density housing. San Jose's light rail is so poorly designed it makes Sacramento's seem like the Paris Metro. However there is less to do than Sacramento.
However this thing called Silicon Valley where you can get paid big money to work for Google and I guess people want to live there and are willing to pay extreme amounts for housing for relatively little in culture and entertainment for the big bucks. Did I mention SF is only 40 minutes?
Both regions offer a suburban lifestyle if you want it, however the same house that will cost 300,000 in the Sac suburbs would cost 1.3 Mill in San Jose. A Hollywood Park starter in Sacramento is around 800,000 in San Jose and these aren't "nice" neighborhoods, just expensive. The Cactus Club was cool, but last I heard it's gone.
I think the viewpoint of a person living in Sacramento will be different than one living in San Jose. Here's a viewpoint of a person who lived in San Jose for nearly 20 years and is planning on moving to the Sacramento area...
I think San Jose is probably more working class than most people in Sacramento think. Sure, there are a lot of people who live there involved in the tech industry, but many that aren't. It's one of the most diverse cities in the Bay Area in terms of home values and neighborhoods. One pocket can have an average home price of $1.2 mil, while another pocket a mile away can be $700k.
Though San Jose might be seen as lacking a cultural center, that's because it's what one might call a jack of all trades and master of none, while Sacramento appears to have a strong identity being the state capital. There is lots to do in San Jose, but even more to do in the surrounding cities and areas (the coast is 30 minutes away, along with countless other very popular attractions within an hour's drive or so).
Still, San Jose suffers from an identity crisis - not sure if it's a suburb or a big city. In reality, it's both. You can find just about everything any other big city has to offer in San Jose. You just have to do a lot of driving to get to everything. And since it's a big city AND a suburb, it's more expensive. And some will point out that it seems to lack a few of the things that make big cities attractive.
The idea that homes are still outrageously priced in San Jose like this poster has suggested is not quite accurate anymore. You can find starter homes in San Jose for much less than $800k, as this poster suggests. That was true 4 years ago, and might still be true in the really desirable parts of San Jose (yes, there are desirable parts of SJ), but the "average" areas in San Jose have come way down in price.
The biggest draw for San Jose is it's location in the Bay Area. It's convenient and it's less expensive than some of the surrounding cities. Not to mention there are probably more jobs available in SJ than most of the surrounding cities due to its sheer size. And it seems more people are wanting to live closer to their jobs these days.
With all of that said, one of the reasons why we're planning on moving to the Sacramento suburbs and not back to San Jose, after having left SJ 4 years ago is because we want a slightly slower pace of life than SJ with some of the benefits of being close to a big city. The Sac suburbs are less expensive than comparable Bay Area suburbs, the schools are better rated than most areas we could afford, and it just "seems" nicer to us overall.
Though San Jose (and much of the Bay Area in general) is very safe, it still can look pretty run down in many areas. And the people tend to be too caught up in the fast pace of life to say hello sometimes, not to mention the extreme sense of materialism that you see day in and day out. Of course, this is just our opinion, and part of the reason why we left. It may not be the view of others.
Don't get me wrong, we're still going to miss some of the culture and amenities that you will only find in the Bay Area, but we're hoping we'll be close enough to enjoy those things and far enough away to not endure the things we don't miss. We're looking forward to giving Sacramento a try.
Last edited by Ludachris; 11-09-2009 at 12:05 PM..
I can tell you that Stanford may not be in San Jose, but it still feels like it is to many who live there. With the entire Bay Area being one big metro area, the city limits are somewhat ignored a lot of the time.
I think there are probably just as many similarites to both areas as there are differences.
-Both cities have relatively small urban centers with lots of outward suburban sprawl.
-Both cities are car-centric with weak public transportation.
-Both cities had relatively recent population booms that transformed them into large cities.
-Both cities are culturally diverse, although SJ more-so.
-Both cities tend to have inferiority complexes.
-Both cities have experienced numerous growing pains but seem to be coming to terms with them and are improving in terms of typical big-city ammenities.
-Both cities don't feel as big as they actually are. (for example, SJ is mostly suburban development and has a height-limited skyline due to its proximity to the airport. It's actually the 3rd largest city in CA by population, but it doesn't really feel like a typical big city.)
-Both cities have interesting history.
-Both cities have been the site of the state capital.
-Both cities have easy access to outdoor recreational activities.
-Both cities have large jazz festivals every summer.
-Both cities have major CSU campuses
-Both cities have a river running through the downtown area (SJ has the Guadalupe River and Sac has the Sacramento River)
-Traffic is about the same in both cities.
I'm sure I could think of more similarities, but those are some that come to mind.
As far as differences go...
-Sac's weather is more extreme (colder in the winter and hotter in the summer). SJ's temps are more moderate due to its closeness to the SF Bay.
-Sac is closer to the snow and SJ is closer to the beach.
-SJ is much more expensive to live in.
-SJ's economy is mostly based on high-tech and Sac's tends to be based more on government-type jobs.
-Sac's highest crime areas are really bad, whereas even SJ's worst areas are not that scary. Sac has a much higher per-capita crime rate than SJ.
-Most of SJ's recent population increase is due to people moving from other countries whereas Sac's population increase tends to be from people coming from SJ and the Bay Area in general.
-Sac's skyline/downtown architecture is more interesting.
-Sac preserved it's "old-town" whereas SJ razed most of its old buildings downtown to make way for new buildings (many of which are not asthetically pleasing)
I've lived in San Jose/the Bay Area my whole life and I have lots of friends and family in the Sacramento area (Granite Bay, Roseville, Antelope...) and this is my take on both areas.
Sacramento is more "Ghetto" it's kind of a mini LA and has more of the hillbilly redneck culture , more homeless, trailor trash types, lots ghetto rats live in Sac, high crime , lower cost of living brings all the low income types and more crimes
my sister recently moved to Sacramento from San Francisco and she says the crime seems much worse than SF
they already broke her cars window and now she must park inside the garage to avoid vandals
San Jose seems less ghetto and cleaner, not as run down as Sac, more educated , higher income, more professionals in SJ, more white collar.
Last edited by mr bolo; 11-12-2009 at 11:58 AM..
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