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)
Each tube could carry between 400 and 600 letters and traveled at 30-35 miles per hour. In its full glory, the pneumatic tubes covered a 27-mile route, connecting 23 post offices…. 95,000 letters were moved daily [and] it took 4 minutes to get from the General Post Office to Grand Central using a transverse tube that cut across Manhattan.
Scientific American reports that New York City’s public awareness posters that show how many miles a person has to walk to burn off the calories in a 20oz soda can persuade people to make healthier decisions. Seeing calories is one thing, but translating that into exercise provides a whole new level of understanding.
New York City Transit (NYC Transit) is viewed as the world’s most expansive subway system due to its 468 subway stations, the most of any transit system in the world. It is also one of the world’s busiest subways, transporting 1.6 billion passengers annually. While the system emits 2 million tons of greenhouse gases each year, it prevents approximately 17 million tons of greenhouse gases annually, ‘making it one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas avoidance in the United States.’World’s Most Energy-Efficient Subway Systems (via Smarter Cities)
By far the bulk of the activity in the last eight years or so has happened in San Francisco. Facebook’s location on the Peninsula has been an outlier. The rest of the large companies are old Valley names like Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, and even wonkier names you wouldn’t recognize.New York isn’t the next Silicon Valley, and San Francisco isn’t the new Manhattan
This shift to the North is precisely what’s caused the handwringing over whether we should embrace our inner Manhattan. As the city government works to keep companies like Salesforce and Twitter and Zynga in “the city” — for the first time in Valley history — no one knows where on earth the employees are going to live. We’re already north of 90 percent occupancy.
Meanwhile, take a look at those companies in the Peninsula and South Bay. They aren’t located in high-rises either. They are large, sprawling campuses with their own parks and gyms and car washes and convenience stores. They are in no way hubs of any budding urban ecosystem. They are self-contained, gated (via scannable badges) fiefdoms that have more in common with old coal mining towns of yore than the headquarters of say, Conde Nast or a Wall Street mega-bank.
Google teams up with New York City to offer free Wi-Fi in Chelsea neighborhood - Ben Popper via Verge
Google has teamed up with city government and the Chelsea Improvement Project, a local New York City non-profit, to provide free Wi-Fi to the hundreds of thousands of residents and tourists who travel through this lower Manhattan neighborhood each year. Chelsea is best known as a chic district, home to Google’s major NYC offices, the Apple store, and numerous high-end shops, but also contains a large number of low-income housing projects and public schools.