Here are links to a few interesting articles I came across recently. They are about the negative effects of the current “silicon valley” boom in the Bay Area.
Link 1: Venture Capital’s Answer to High-Priced Housing: Dorms for Grown Ups
Venture capitalists think they have an answer to the growing housing crunch in San Francisco and other big cities across the U.S.: adult dorms. Shared office space giant WeWork Cos., recently valued at $16 billion, and a handful of smaller startups are experimenting with “coliving,” a concept that involves tiny apartments, shared kitchens and lounges, and a communal atmosphere. Unlike traditional investments in the real-estate sector, which tends to be a slow-growth market with moderate returns, financial backers including Fidelity Investments and consumer-focused venture-capital fund Maveron are betting on hyper-fast expansion and startup-like profit. The wager is that 20-something residents moving to new cities will pay a premium to live in clusters of small apartments packed with peers in similar places in their lives. Apartment rents in big cities are high, furnishing an apartment is expensive and finding housing on Craigslist can be daunting, the thinking goes.
Link 2: Teachers Can’t Afford to Live Where They Teach
In San Francisco and Silicon Valley, housing is expensive and in short supply. All throughout the Bay Area, cities are discussing where the hell all their schoolteachers are supposed to live. It’s well known that housing costs in booming Bay Area cities are out of range of most public school teachers, who earn middle class salaries. And yet all of these cities have public schools. Gotta put those teachers somewhere. The most popular current out-of-the-box solution for this issue seems to be: build designated affordable housing for teachers. USA Today reports that San Francisco, Cupertino (where Apple is headquartered), Palo Alto, and Santa Clara are all building or considering building teacher-specific housing—although not enough to meet the need of all the teachers. In Mountain View, where Google is headquartered, the school district is also considering various ways it could build housing for teachers.
Link 3: Death by gentrification: the killing that shamed San Francisco
Alex Nieto was 28 years old when he was killed, in the neighbourhood where he had spent his whole life. He died in a barrage of bullets fired at him by four San Francisco policemen. There are a few things about his death that everyone agrees on: he was in a hilltop park eating a burrito and tortilla chips, wearing the Taser he carried for his job as a bouncer at a nightclub, when someone called 911 on him a little after 7pm on the evening of 21 March 2014. When police officers arrived a few minutes later, they claim Nieto defiantly pointed the Taser at them, and that they mistook its red laser light for the laser sights of a gun, and shot him in self-defence. However, the stories of the four officers contradict each other, and some of the evidence.
He had graduated from community college with a focus on criminal justice, and hoped to help young people as a probation officer. He had an internship with the city’s juvenile probation department not long before his death, according to former city probation officer Carlos Gonzalez, who became a friend. Gonzalez said Nieto knew how criminal justice worked in the city. No one has ever provided a convincing motive for why he would point a gun-shaped object at the police when he knew that it would probably be a fatal act.
What do you think? Comments?