Tech Success Contrasts With Immigrants' Peril In Los Angeles

The 800,000 undocumented immigrants in Los Angeles County are at the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum from the 1,900 employees at Snapchat. The fate of both populations have deep implications for L.A.'s housing crisis.
March 1, 2017, 11am PST | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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The "Binoculars Building" in Venice, designed by Frank Gehry and currently home to Google, Inc.
Bart Everett

"Back when Snapchat was just a sketchy platform for kids to send, um, silly photos to each other, the fledgling company operated out of a cottage in Venice Beach. As it grew into a social media juggernaut, it didn't follow convention by renting space in a high rise or building a mega-campus in the suburbs. Instead, it colonized its own neighborhood, expanding from cottage to cottage, scooping up small office spaces, and oozing its way through Venice." 

"Despite all pressure to the contrary, coastal cities and neighborhoods have refused to add housing. Los Angeles has done so in places, but housing supply on the Westside is growing at rates somewhere between 0 and negative-22 billion percent. Home prices are already bonkers. We can only imagine what will happen when the Snap folks get real money in their bank accounts."

"On the very same day that the New York Times reported on Snap’s impending riches, President Donald Trump announced his intention to fulfill his promise to aggressively deport undocumented immigrants."

"If it succeeds, 800,000 people in Los Angeles County could disappear like so many Snap messages. That’s 800,000 lost workers. 800,000 lost customers. 800,000 lost mothers, fathers, siblings and friends. 800,000 lost taxpayers. It’s also 800,000 bedrooms that will open up....I don’t want to say any more about it other than that deportation is — to say the least — the most perverse way to solve a housing crisis."

"The Snap IPO completes the process of turning Venice into a superstar neighborhood in a superstar city – which, as Richard Florida describes in The New Urban Crisis, is marked by inequality, unaffordability, segregation, and economic dysfunction. It’s also marked, I’d argue, by political apathy."

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Published on Wednesday, February 22, 2017 in California Planning & Development Report
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