petej + sanfrancisco   57

Mansplaining the city - Curbed
The irony is shattering. A group of very white, very loud men have confirmed that they are, indeed, the problem when it comes to our cities, and now the conversation about how to fix them is mostly being conducted by very white, very loud men—who happen to be very active on social media.
cities  development  gentrification  men  inequality  SanFrancisco  LosAngeles  architecture  gender  diversity  policy  planning  sexism  exclusion 
august 2017 by petej
Change the World - The New Yorker
"Young people drawn to Silicon Valley can be more insular than those in other industries—they tend to come from educated families and top universities, and achieve success at a very early age. “They’re ignorant, because many of them don’t feel the need to educate themselves outside their little world, and they’re not rewarded for doing so,” the young start-up entrepreneur said. “If you’re an engineer in Silicon Valley, you have no incentive to read The Economist. It’s not brought up at parties, your friends aren’t going to talk about it, your employers don’t care.” He found that college friends who came out to the Valley to seek their fortune subsequently lost interest in the wider world. “People with whom I used to talk about politics or policy or the arts, they’re just not as into it anymore. They don’t read the Wall Street Journal or the New York Times. They read TechCrunch and VentureBeat, and maybe they happen to see something from the Times on somebody’s Facebook news feed.” He went on, “The divide among people in my generation is not as much between traditional liberals and libertarians. It’s a divide between people who are inward-facing and outward-facing.”"
SiliconValley  PaloAlto  inequality  wealth  technology  SanFrancisco  entrepreneurs  startups  technoUtopianism  change  Google  Facebook  government  libertarianism  velocity  politics  ZuckerbergMark  AndreessenMarc  lobbying  advocacy  sharing  economy  poverty  exclusion  middleClass  pay  wages  Apple  meritocracy  sharingEconomy  pace  ObamaBarack 
august 2014 by petej
San Francisco Repurposes Old for the Future -
"At a glance, you can miss some of the tech incubators among the fleabag hotels and strip joints hanging on in SoMa, the swiftly gentrifying neighborhood South of Market. They’ve painted the facades of former industrial supply shops and garages black or gray and added frosted windows. On ritzy Alamo Square, high atop the city, a few of the so-called Painted Ladies that tourists and postcard illustrators love — colorful Victorian mansions — have been outfitted with bespoke bars, game rooms, conference centers and Japanese teahouses. The vibe mixes ashram, frat house and high-end brothel."
cities  gentrification  SanFrancisco  startups  culture  housing  affordability  prices 
june 2014 by petej
Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Get Off the Bus · LRB 20 February 2014
"One of the curious things about the crisis in San Francisco – precipitated by a huge influx of well-paid tech workers driving up housing costs and causing evictions, gentrification and cultural change – is that they seem unable to understand why many locals don’t love them. They’re convinced that they are members of the tribe. Their confusion may issue from Silicon Valley’s own favourite stories about itself. These days in TED talks and tech-world conversation, commerce is described as art and as revolution and huge corporations are portrayed as agents of the counterculture.

That may actually have been the case, briefly, in the popular tech Genesis story according to which Apple emerged from a garage somewhere at the south end of the San Francisco Peninsula, not yet known as Silicon Valley. But Google set itself up with the help of a $4.5 million dollar government subsidy, and Apple became a giant corporation that begat multimillion-dollar advertising campaigns and overseas sweatshops and the rest that you already know. Facebook, Google, eBay and Yahoo (though not Apple) belong to the conservative anti-environmental political action committee Alec (the American Legislative Exchange Council).

The story Silicon Valley less often tells about itself has to do with dollar signs and weapons systems. The industry came out of military contracting, and its alliance with the Pentagon has never ended. The valley’s first major firm, Hewlett-Packard, was a military contractor. One of its co-founders, David Packard, was an undersecretary of defence in the Nixon administration; his signal contribution as a civil servant was a paper about overriding the laws preventing the imposition of martial law. Many defence contractors have flourished in Silicon Valley in the decades since: weapons contractors United Technologies and Lockheed Martin, as well as sundry makers of drone, satellite and spying equipment and military robotics. Silicon Valley made technology for the military, and the military sponsored research that benefited Silicon Valley. The first supercomputer, made by New York’s Remington Rand, was for nuclear weapons research at the Bay Area’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

The internet itself, people sometimes remember, was created by the military, and publicly funded research has done a lot to make the hardware, the software and the vast private fortunes possible. Which you wouldn’t know from the hyperlibertarian language of the tech world’s kings. Even the mildest of them, Bill Gates, said in 1998: ‘There isn’t an industry in America that is more creative, more alive and more competitive. And the amazing thing is that all this happened without any government involvement.’ The current lords talk of various kinds of secession, quite literally at the Seasteading Institute, an organisation that’s looking into building artificial islands outside all national laws and regulations. And taxes. Let someone else subsidise all that research."
SanFrancisco  SiliconValley  Google  buses  activism  gentrification  cities  housing  culture  ideology  libertarianism  military  LRB  dctagged  dc:creator=SolnitRebecca 
february 2014 by petej
BART strike reveals tech, transit worker divide |
More reasons, if you need them, to hate Silicon Valley and techie privilege culture
culture  technology  SiliconValley  SanFrancisco  publicTransport  BART  strike 
july 2013 by petej
Rebecca Solnit · Diary: Google Invades · LRB 7 February 2013
"But there are ways in which technology is just another boom and the Bay Area is once again a boomtown, with transient populations, escalating housing costs, mass displacements and the casual erasure of what was here before. I think of it as frontierism, with all the frontier’s attitude and operational style, where people without a lot of attachments come and do things without a lot of concern for their impact, where money moves around pretty casually, and people are ground underfoot equally casually. Sometimes the Google Bus just seems like one face of Janus-headed capitalism; it contains the people too valuable even to use public transport or drive themselves. In the same spaces wander homeless people undeserving of private space, or the minimum comfort and security; right by the Google bus stop on Cesar Chavez Street immigrant men from Latin America stand waiting for employers in the building trade to scoop them up, or to be arrested and deported by the government. Both sides of the divide are bleak, and the middle way is hard to find."
SanFrancisco  SiliconValley  Google  technology  capitalism  buses  transport  housing  poverty  inequality  dctagged  dc:creator=SolnitRebecca 
january 2013 by petej
Ferocity: On Silicon Valley and Manly Macho Men
It’s pretty horrible to set and enforce similar standards of masculinity. Not quite as horrible: generally men haven’t been economically and socially oppressed by masculinity in the way women have by male demands that they live up to the demands of femininity. I mean, the kind of masculinity that dreams of being “tough” and “strong”, talks about “kicking ass” and so on. The picture of extreme masculinity is as bullshit as the picture of extreme femininity. Built into it is some kind of ridiculous picture of the Darwinian hunter-gatherer. We are at our most male when we have put all our girly feelings to oneside and are shooting a bear with a cross-bow before downing five beers and fucking a supermodel senseless.
technology  work  gaming  culture  racism  SanFrancisco  Kixeye  men  gamers 
october 2012 by petej

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