The San Francisco Bay Area Portal
The San Francisco Bay Area (referred to locally as the Bay Area) is a populous region surrounding the San Francisco and San Pablo estuaries in Northern California. The region encompasses the major cities and metropolitan areas of San Jose, San Francisco, and Oakland, along with smaller urban and rural areas. The Bay Area's nine counties are Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, and Sonoma. Home to approximately 7.68 million people, the nine-county Bay Area contains many cities, towns, airports, and associated regional, state, and national parks, connected by a network of roads, highways, railroads, bridges, tunnels, and commuter rail. The combined statistical area of the region is the second-largest in California (after the Greater Los Angeles area), the fifth-largest in the United States, and the 43rd-largest urban area in the world with 8.80 million people.
The Bay Area has the second-most Fortune 500
companies in the United States, after the New York metropolitan area
, and is known for its natural beauty, liberal
politics, entrepreneurship, and diversity
. The area ranks second in highest density of college graduates, after the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area
and performs above the state median household income in the 2010 census; it includes the five highest California counties by per capita income
and two of the top 25 wealthiest counties in the United States
. Based on a 2013 population report from the California Department of Finance
, the Bay Area is the only region in California where the rate of people migrating in from other areas in the United States is greater than the rate of those leaving the region, led by Alameda and Contra Costa counties. (more...)
The Mother of All Demos
is a name given retrospectively to Douglas Engelbart
's December 9, 1968, computer demonstration at the Fall Joint Computer Conference
in San Francisco
. The live demonstration featured the introduction of a complete computer hardware--software system called the oN-Line System
or more commonly, NLS. The 90-minute presentation essentially demonstrated almost all the fundamental elements of modern personal computing: windows
, graphics, efficient navigation and command input, video conferencing
, the computer mouse
, word processing
, dynamic file linking
, revision control
, and a collaborative real-time editor
(collaborative work). Engelbart's presentation was the first to publicly demonstrate all these elements in a single system. The demonstration was highly influential and spawned similar projects at Xerox PARC
in the early 1970s. The underlying technologies influenced both the Apple Macintosh
and Microsoft Windows graphical user interface
operating systems in the 1980s and 1990s. (more...)
Recently in the Bay Area
- Starting January 1, with the Adult Use of Marijuana Act going into effect statewide, Harborside Health Center, The Berkeley Patients Group, and many other Marijuana dispensaries in the Bay Area begin retail sales of Marijuana to the general public  (public performer on 2016 Independence Day pictured)
- Parks in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, including Muir Woods National Monument and Fort Point National Historic Site, experience partial or total closure, due to the United States federal government shutdown of 2018 
- More than 150,000 people attend 2018 Women's March protests across the Bay Area, adding the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements to the protests against President Donald Trump (San Francisco event pictured) 
- The San Francisco Board of Supervisors votes to replace acting mayor London Breed with an interim mayor, former supervisor Mark Farrell (pictured), amid accusations of racism 
- San Jose mayor Sam Liccardo resigns from the Federal Communications Commission Broadband Advisory Board, citing undue influence from telecommunications companies 
- San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón announces his department will begin to retroactively apply Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, which legalized the possession and recreational use of marijuana for adults ages 21 years or older, to misdemeanor and felony convictions dating back to 1975, recalling and re-sentencing up to 4,940 felony marijuana convictions and dismissing and sealing 3,038 misdemeanors 
- The Berkeley City Council declares Berkeley a "sanctuary city" for recreational cannabis sales, prohibiting the use of city resources to assist in enforcing federal marijuana laws or providing information on legal cannabis sales, the first city in California to do so 
- Marin County is ranked worst among all California counties in racial disparity, according to Race Counts and Advancement Project California, with a spokesperson for the groups stating, "We were surprised, and were not expecting Marin to be the number-one county in terms of disparity...It's not that progressive counties have it all figured out" 
- Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley announces that her office will review thousands of marijuana convictions, dating back to 1974, for possible dismissal under Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, guidelines, following closely after San Francisco announced a similar plan (above) 
- Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf alerts city residents to imminent Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids, earning criticism from some federal authorities. She responds, "I was sharing information in a way that was legal and was not obstructing justice, and it was an opportunity to ensure that people were aware of their rights." 
- Two studies conclude that the housing crisis in the Bay Area and California is reaching emergency proportions, with one study estimating that two counties alone, Santa Clara and Alameda, will need more than 50,000 new homes to meet the demand for affordable housing for lower-income residents, while homelessness increased by 36% in Alameda County from 2016-2017
- The father of some of the ten children that were removed from a home in Fairfield, where they were living in conditions of severe neglect and abuse, is arrested and booked on seven counts of torture and nine counts of felony child abuse 
- A nine-story electronic sculpture, "Day for Night", created by artist Jim Campbell, that features low resolution, abstract videos of San Francisco, debuts at the top of Salesforce Tower 
- San Francisco voters pass an ordinance banning the sale of flavored tobacco products, due in part to concerns that candy-flavored products may lure teenagers into nicotine addiction 
- Santa Clara County voters remove Santa Clara County Superior Court judge Aaron Persky, who came to national attention in 2016 when he sentenced a Stanford University student to just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman 
- London Breed is elected Mayor of San Francisco in a special election, defeating close rival Mark Leno 
- Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, and former president and COO Ramesh Balwani are indicted on charges of wire fraud, accused of carrying out a multi-million dollar scheme to defraud investors, doctors and patients. Theranos announced that Holmes would resign as CEO, but retain her position as chairwoman of the board 
- Hanabiko "Koko", a female western lowland gorilla born at the San Francisco Zoo, who was known for having learned a large number of hand signs from a modified version of American Sign Language. dies at her home in Woodside, California 
The Bay Area by year
Selected historical image
San Francisco Harbor, 1851
Did you know...
o ... that filmmaker Emiko Omori (pictured, left, with Victor Wong) began her career in 1968 at KQED, becoming one of the first camerawomen to work in news documentaries?
o ... that Fisher Creek is tributary to the largest freshwater wetland in Santa Clara County, Laguna Seca, a seasonal lake important to groundwater recharge and migratory birds?
o ... that San Francisco based architect Jack Hillmer is known for his meticulously hand-crafted Modernist homes built from redwood, and was an exponent of what Lewis Mumford called the "Bay Region style"?
o ... that Stanford University Department of Biology chairman Tim Stearns (pictured), together with his wife, medical researcher Susan Cleveland, tend a fruit tree orchard at their home in Redwood City?
o ... that the Occidental and Oriental Steamship Company's flagship, the Oceanic (pictured), set a Pacific crossing record of 16 days and 10 hours, 8 days less than the ships of the Pacific Mail Steamship Company?
o ... that the building consumed in the 2016 Oakland warehouse fire had at least ten complaints filed on it since 1998? (interior damage pictured)
o ... that after Agnes Fay Morgan conducted a nutritional study with foxes, she presented her data wearing a stole made from the fur of her subjects?
Previous Did you know...
Selected periodic event
Litquake is a literary festival in San Francisco, first held in 1999. It has been described as "Literature as Carnival". In 2012, Litquake featured a total of 860 authors over the course of the 9 day festival. The festival closes with a "Lit Crawl," a literary pub crawl that includes bars, cafes, bookstores, theaters, galleries, clothing boutiques, furniture showrooms, parking lots, a laundromat and even a bee-keeping store. (local author and attendee Zarina Zabrisky pictured)
~ George Sterling, "The Cool, Grey City of Love" in The San Francisco Bulletin, vol. 133, no. 31 (11 December 1920), p. 1
||The winds of the Future wait
At the iron walls of her Gate,
And the western ocean breaks in thunder,
And the western stars go slowly under,
And her gaze is ever West
In the dream of her young unrest.
Her sea is a voice that calls,
And her star a voice above,
And her wind a voice on her walls--
My cool, grey city of love.
Selected multimedia file
Bay Area regions, geographic features and protected areas
Things you can do
San Francisco Bay Area categories