Berkeley Was Special From the Get Go 

History professor Charles Wollenberg considers the city's DNA.

Page 3 of 3

A: The answer is that the "yuppie" concept is reflected in the development of things like the Gourmet Ghetto or later Fourth Street or the way the Elmwood district transformed. It was used to describe a group of relatively young (at that time), not necessarily family-oriented people — singles, really — who were trying to live an alternative lifestyle, a kind of middle-class alternative lifestyle. So we have coffee shops and gourmet restaurants and so on, and people around here take that for granted, but all of that really developed in the aftermath of the '60s. It's the baby-boom generation that spearheaded it as they got a little older and a little more affluent. They didn't want the suburban life but on the other hand they didn't want to spend their whole lives as street people. And given the kind of tone and thinking that's been present in Berkeley for decades, it's not surprising that word was used in Berkeley — and in the Bay Area as a whole — first.


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