After living for five years in San Francisco, Oakland native Eduardo Segura, 33, moved back to his hometown last month. Segura, a tech worker, didn’t return in search of cheaper rent or a parking space, however.
“In San Francisco, people spectate, instead of actually participate,” he told Hoodline in a phone interview. “That’s one of the things that really tilted me towards moving back to Oakland; I really like how the community pulls together here and how everyone interacts to make the place a lot better.”
Segura spent the last three years living with a roommate near 25th Ave. & Irving St., but now lives in a studio close to Lake Merritt. “I’m not saving any money at all,” he said. “If anything, my rent’s gone up a couple of hundred dollars.”
Even though he’s now several miles farther from his SoMa office, “it’s an easier commute,” said Segura. Getting into San Francisco is “very easy” via BART, he added, but “Muni can be a little bit challenging, since it’s got a bit of an aging infrastructure and stops every two blocks.”
Today, he hops on BART at Lake Merritt and gets off at Powell Station before walking several minutes to his office. “When I lived in the Sunset, any day, that commute would be more than half an hour,” he said.
Generally, Oakland is “a lot better than what it used to be when I grew up here,” Segura said, but he wasn’t attracted by a dynamic restaurant scene or revitalized shopping districts.
“One of the things I’ve always liked about Oakland is that it has a greater sense of community than San Francisco,” he said. “More people move here to be involved with what’s going on in their immediate community or neighborhood, compared to San Francisco, where more people move for job opportunities or just to be part of a scene.”
This winter, Segura plans to get involved with an after-school mentoring program, a resource he didn’t have access to as a student in Oakland. In his day, “our school system was pretty broken,” which meant that “even getting an idea of a career that best suited me was never really given to me,” he said.
“If I can help bypass that for someone else, that’s something I’d like to do.”
Segura describes his new Lakeside neighborhood as an up-and-coming, “very quiet” and diverse area. “I miss some of the Sunset, but I’m a lot happier here in Oakland,” he said.
“I like the diversity that I see here, and it’s not just on a cultural level, but socioeconomic diversity. You tend to run into people here that come from all different paths and backgrounds.” According to Segura, San Francisco has become “a lot more homogenous, where most people you meet have some sort of gig in the same industry,” frequently technology.
Segura, who grew up in East Oakland, said his move back has brought back a lot of nostalgia and highlighted how important a strong sense of community is for him personally. “People all coming together and sharing a space is what makes a city cool, and that’s what I get in Oakland,” he said.
“I see things moving and changing, and I want to be a part of it,” said Segura. “In San Francisco, I never felt that way.”
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