These are all great points. Mountain View voted in 2012 to remove zoning for housing that Google employees could have used, and ‘council members gave a preliminary OK to more offices for Shoreline Boulevard last week as a “precise plan” for the area is developed this year’. Meanwhile, “The biggest beneficiaries of Prop 13 are large companies and corporate landowners who use tax loopholes to avoid paying property taxes.” This is politics, not just culture.
John Coté for the San Francisco Chronicle: Political high jinks give ammunition to S.F. Prop. B opponents.
I’ve previously compared Google’s satellite view of that space with Soho, in the centre of London. It’s a somewhat unfair comparison, but it goes to show how much space is wasted on infrastructure for cars in the US (even in cities like San Francisco) compared to European cities.
The urban village plan is threatened by Prop B (June 2014), which follows from last year’s successful Prop B (November 2013). The latter effectively stopped a development on the north-east shoreline near the Ferry Building at the ballot box, despite years of planning. It seems that, despite San Francisco’s lack of housing, the population would rather vote against building anything than actually see housing constructed.
New York will kick you in the hole, but it will never stab you in the back. It will, however, stab you multiple times right in your face.
New York City does not lie. Its honesty is the only thing that makes this cold chunk of over-developed concrete special. Complain. Life can suck. It really can.
Complaining is the natural opera of New York. The arias spill out onto the streets, over tablecloth, between smartphones.
That’s all you get.
Buzz Andersen: New York City Doesn’t Love You, via Briana Mowrey.
This is also how London is, basically. There are some people who love London (I’m one), but we realise that London is, at best, indifferent to us, and probably actually hates us. (“London loves / the way people just fall apart / London loves / the way you just don’t stand a chance”, as Blur once sang.) Those of us who like it anyway know that lots of people - probably a majority - live there because they have to, or endure horrific commutes because not just their jobs but their professions are only in the one place. We don’t expect them to like it, and even when you meet someone who does, the conversation will be peppered with those times the Tube stranded you at Seven Sisters at one o’clock leaving you needing two night buses to get home.
Now I live in San Francisco. SF loves you, and wants you to love it back, and the people who do expect you to, too. You can barely criticise the place at all, and that’s especially true if you can’t claim sufficient bona fides (“I moved here ten years ago”). It’s stultifying, even though I’ve learnt to like a lot about the place. Nowhere’s perfect, and I resent people here pretending it is (and almost insisting that if you don’t find it so, you should move). Complaints don’t mean hate; they just mean honesty. If that’s so threatening to your home, you should probably move to New York for a year or two to harden up.