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The fall and rise of the Bay Area

return to San Francisco retells the growth story

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You can trust a cab driver to give it to you straight. The one driving Euromoney to a meeting in San Francisco one morning last month narrowly missed clipping a pedestrian who had ambled into the street without looking. "Chinatown used to be the area of the city where we get most trouble from pedestrians crossing the street without looking," he says in a tone lacking any of the condescension many cabbies tend to use on things that get in their way. "But in the last few months the financial district is where we have to be most careful. These guys must have got so busy all of a sudden."

He's right, and for many in the Bay Area it's not before time. The first few years of the new millennium were not pleasant ones for those in the financial markets in San Francisco. Having become the focal point for the rapid growth of the technology sector that fuelled the US in the 1990s, the Bay Area's decline after the market collapse five years ago hit particularly hard.

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