In S.F., it's Tech Companies In and Diversity Out

Twitter’s move into San Francisco this month is part of a new trend of tech companies setting up in the city, causing rents to skyrocket, and forcing lower-income residents out.
June 7, 2012, 6am PDT | Akemi Leung
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

A different kind of gold rush is hitting San Francisco. But instead of golden nuggets, entrepreneurs are looking for office space.

Norimitsu Onishi reports that tech companies, such as Twitter, are repositioning their headquarters in the middle of the city, bringing with them jobs and gentrification. But the pull away from Silicon Valley brings young workers along with it, raising residential rents and putting at risk, "the very qualities that have drawn generations of outsiders here, like the city's diversity and creativity. Families, black residents, artists and others will increasingly be forced across the bridge to Oakland, they [critics] warn."

"If you have a city that is wall to wall with tech workers, that might be really cool from a tech worker's standpoint," said Peter Cohen, director of the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations, a private group representing nonprofit housing developers. "But that is not the kind of rich diversity of population that makes San Francisco the place that it is."

While Mayor Edwin Lee, who has aggressively courted the start-ups, "recently proposed creating a housing trust to finance affordable housing for the next thee [sic] decades,...It is not clear whether the trust - which must be approved by the Board of Supervisors and voters in a vote in November - will become reality, much less what effect it will have over decades."

Thanks to Akemi Leung

Full Story:
Published on Monday, June 4, 2012 in The New York Times
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email