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The dark side of Startup City

Few cities have seen as much disruption as San Francisco has over the last 10 years. Once a hotbed of progressive political activism and engagement, the city is being remade in the image of the booming tech industry, headquartered in Silicon Valley to the south.Rents in some of San Francisco’s most desirable neighborhoods have doubled in a year. Apartment construction has exploded in order to absorb the new residents. The city is developing so rapidly that Google’s streetview photos from 2011 are already well outdated.The local government has embraced the disruption. Longtime residents, meanwhile, talk about fleeing or saving their city as though a hurricane is coming. But the hurricane has landed.The storm has brought a surge of tech-driven initiatives designed to supplant services that have traditionally been viewed as public domain. Where downtown urban planning failed, city leaders hope a new Twitter headquarters and other tech outlets will transform a long-troubled business district — and they’re offering up the tax breaks to make it happen. And on the streets, Google and other companies now run their own, very private version of public transit: a fleet of unmarked buses that shuttle the tech class to and from jobs at corporate campuses south of the city.

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26 Jul
Omar Alonso @elunca
RT @miguelrios: “[The Google Bus] contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves” http://t.co/fPpy7nCWoU
26 Jul
Miguel Rios @miguelrios
“[The Google Bus] contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves” http://t.co/fPpy7nCWoU