An incredible political and economic experiment is playing out within San Francisco and its metropolitan area. The tech boom and the hyper-gentrification associated with it are testing the resolve and character of the city in a way the city or any other major American city has never experienced…San Francisco’s rightward turn: Why it may no longer be America’s iconic liberal city - Salon.com
We could end up witnessing a San Francisco that reflexively tightens up its tenant protections and votes overwhelmingly against condominium development projects… On the other end, the city could become a Manhattan-esque playground for the rich of haute cafes that serve $4 toast, a place where community development centers get evicted and replaced by fusion restaurants catering to the whims of the latest food trends.
Today, 2.5 billion people are online. It sounds like a lot. But really, that’s a little more than a third of everyone on Earth. By 2025, that number will have more than doubled to nearly 6 billion, or 80 percent of the world’s population, who will primarily connect to the world through mobile devices and digital platforms.Google’s Chief Business Officer Nikesh Arora Says It’s Time to Invent What’s Next
Five of the six most-visited websites in the world are [in Silicon Valley], in ranked order: Facebook, Google, YouTube (which Google owns), Yahoo! and Wikipedia. (Number five is a Chinese-language site.) If corporations founded by Stanford alumni were to form an independent nation, it would be the tenth largest economy in the world, with an annual revenue of $2.7 trillion, as some professors at that university recently calculated. Another new report says: ‘If the internet was a country, its gross domestic product would eclipse all others but four within four years.’Diary: Google Invades · LRB
A study last year found that driving by young people decreased 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. The millennials don’t value cars and car ownership, they value technology — they care about what kinds of devices you own … The percentage of young drivers is inversely related to the availability of the Internet [research found]. Why spend an hour driving to work when you could take the bus or train and be online?The End of Car Culture - NYTimes.com
The technology industry, by sequestering itself from the community it inhabits, has transformed the Bay Area without being changed by it—in a sense, without getting its hands dirty… Technology can be an answer to incompetence and inefficiency. But it has little to say about larger issues of justice and fairness, unless you think that political problems are bugs that can be fixed by engineering rather than fundamental conflicts of interest and value.How the Tech Industry Is Quietly Changing the Face of American Cities (quote from The New Yorker)
Google’s urbanism, on the other hand, is that of someone who is trying to get to a shopping mall in their self-driving car. It’s profoundly utilitarian, even selfish in character, with little to no concern for how public space is experienced. In Google’s world, public space is just something that stands between your house and the well-reviewed restaurant that you are dying to get to. Since no one formally reviews public space or mentions it in their emails, it might as well disappear from Google’s highly personalized maps.Google Maps personalization will hurt public space and engagement. - Slate Magazine (via iamdanw)