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High Tech Companies Becoming Fools For the City 276

Posted by timothy
from the mass-transit-best-among-the-masses dept.
theodp writes "Drawn by amenities and talent, the WSJ reports that tech firms are saying goodbye to office parks and opting for cities. Pinterest, Zynga, Yelp, Square, Twitter, and Salesforce.com are some of the more notable tech companies who are taking up residence in San Francisco. New York City's Silicon Alley is now home to more than 500 new start-up companies like Kickstarter and Tumblr, not to mention the gigantic Google satellite in the old Port Authority Building. London, Seattle, and even downtown Las Vegas are also seeing infusions of techies. So, why are tech companies eschewing Silicon Valley and going all Fool for the City? 'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' Paul Graham presciently explained in 2006. 'It has fabulous weather, which makes it significantly better than the soul-crushing sprawl of most other American cities. But a competitor that managed to avoid sprawl would have real leverage.'"
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High Tech Companies Becoming Fools For the City

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  • Soul Crushing? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mikkeles (698461) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:26AM (#41204903)

    'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' ...

    And a city is "soul-crushing urban sprawl".

    Big difference!

    • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:40AM (#41204925)

      Even Manhattan is so small that you can walk across it in less than an hour. The length of it can be walked in 3. That's hardly "sprawl".

      The soul-crushing part rather depends on the person, but I don't know many who pine for the suburbs. People roughly fall into urban and rural preferences... I'm sure there are people who revel in suburban life, but it's just not something you run into that often (and I live in the suburbs). Most of the people I know moved to the suburbs because they have kids and want access to the good schools. Of course, I have selection bias since I myself have kids and therefore mostly meet other parents. I confess to knowing one neighbor who retired to our suburb because they were tired of Manhattan.

      • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aurispector (530273) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:35AM (#41205149)

        Yep, the parent poster misses the point. People like cities because that's where the cool stuff is concentrated. We aren't talking about cities in terms of the boundaries of the municipality but rather the city centers where culture thrives.

        Restaurants, shops, galleries, theaters, sports venues, you name it. Who in their right mind would choose a sterile office park with a subway franchise as the only choice for lunch when you could be near world class cuisine? And be within walking distance of a cultural event after work?

        Cities aren't soul crushing, they're the geographic locus of the human soul.

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          Quite right I work near Holbourn (London UK) and have the west end British museum and the globe on the south back a short walk away.
        • Cities aren't soul crushing, they're the geographic locus of the human soul.

          used to be. but that's old-people thinking. sorry...

          I like my car. I like its quiet time, or the music I can play. I like being able to get up and go where I want and not be a slave to public trans. I hate being stuck on foot or bike in bad weather. I hate the noise (!!) in the city and the pollution and the filth.

          I can drive to any cuisine I want in the bay area and it won't take me talk my lunch break, either. parking is po

          • Cities aren't soul crushing, they're the geographic locus of the human soul.

            used to be. but that's old-people thinking. sorry...

            I hate to break it to you, but a preference for the burbs is old-people thinking.

            • Yep, there is a strong movement of young people to the urban areas, and even a trend of not buying cars, which does not seem to be entirely based on a crap economy.

        • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:4, Informative)

          by morari (1080535) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @01:03PM (#41206477) Journal

          Restaurants, shops, galleries, theaters, sports venues, you name it.

          Crime, over population, pollution, noise, traffic congestion, rats and roaches, stupid regulations that limit personal freedoms, high cost of living, etc, etc, etc...
          Cities are about as soul crushing as you can get.

          • by AK Marc (707885)
            Depends on the city. I lived in Dallas, about 10 miles north of the city center, still well within the city limits. I always thought it was suburbia. My house was on a 1/2 acre lot. I could walk the 100 yards to the nearest shopping center. The schools (elementary, middle and high) were all within one mile of home. But 10 miles away was downtown Dallas. Though not world class in culture, it still had art and events. For a while, I was going to Deep Ellum weekly for the local culture. It wasn't soul
        • by G-Man (79561)

          Having lived in both the Boston area (Cambridge/Somerville) and Albuquerque (considered more of a 'sprawl' city), I can say that Boston was better if you are a *consumer* of culture. Obviously, ABQ cannot hold a candle to Boston for museums, symphony, cuisine, etc.

          However, I noticed when I moved to ABQ that a much greater percentage of people I met were *producers* of culture - people in dance/theater troupes, people in bands, folks who restored cars, someone who played amateur football - and this was worki

      • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by NJRoadfan (1254248) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @12:22PM (#41206173)
        It really depends on the suburb. The older ones tend to be more walkable and have things going on (along with a real downtown area). The stereotypical and HOA infested new ones are boring and sterile and require a car to get anywhere... including out of the subdivision.
      • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Austerity Empowers (669817) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @01:18PM (#41206607)

        Everyone is ignoring the insane cost of cities (especially Manhattan). I pay less monthly in mortgage now for a huge house in Austin than i would have paid for a small 2 bedroom in Manhattan. Forcing people to move in to the cities is effectively cutting their income or quality of life. They should be resisting...

        Cities were fun when I was 20. It's just insanely impractical now. I prefer to be "near" one, where "near" means I can visit on the weekends with some investment, but I'd rather live and work where I'm isolated from the costs, crowds, and crime.

      • by MogNuts (97512)

        As a disclaimer, I agree with you entirely. The suburbs are soul-crushing and the worst. Either live in the city or complete country. And the joy of being able to live and therefore have a 10-15 minute walk to work is the most amazing thing in the world. I come from a suburb in NJ and it's a soul-crushing commute. 45 minutes MINIMUM to any job in nearby NJ, or MINIMUM 1.5 hours *each way* (3 total) for the city. Nevermind the fact that that 1.5 hours includes a drive to the train station with NO parking and

        • Lastly, NYC can NOT be traversed in the time u mention. Hell, I had a co-worker long time ago who lived in the Village and had a 45 minute commute (using a quick 1 train ride) to Wall St. So unless you live right next to work, you are "commuting" in Manhattan as well.

          Dude, was your co-worker commuting on horse-and-carriage? You can *walk* from both the East Village and West Village to Wall St. in less than 45 minutes. I would regularly travel from the top of the Upper West Side down to the East Village and that would take only 45 minutes.

          And of course you know, 1 bedrooms start at $3,200/mo

          In a luxury apartment building (i.e. gym, door and laundry service, concierge, rooftop garden), yes, that's about right. However in places like the East Village - which is considered quite expensive in Manhattan standards - most decent

          • by MogNuts (97512)

            Lastly, NYC can NOT be traversed in the time u mention. Hell, I had a co-worker long time ago who lived in the Village and had a 45 minute commute (using a quick 1 train ride) to Wall St. So unless you live right next to work, you are "commuting" in Manhattan as well.

            Dude, was your co-worker commuting on horse-and-carriage? You can *walk* from both the East Village and West Village to Wall St. in less than 45 minutes. I would regularly travel from the top of the Upper West Side down to the East Village and that would take only 45 minutes.

            Haha, maybe. :) I'm just going by what she told me. 45 minutes, with a train ride. Don't forget Wall St is pretty big. Walking 45 min to the beginning of Wall *area* by the Seaport *maybe*. But I gotta call you out on walking from the Upper West to the East village. No way, train or walk, did you make it in 45 minutes.

            And of course you know, 1 bedrooms start at $3,200/mo

            In a luxury apartment building (i.e. gym, door and laundry service, concierge, rooftop garden), yes, that's about right. However in places like the East Village - which is considered quite expensive in Manhattan standards - most decent one-bedroom places go for around $2200 and you can pick up a two-bedroom for $2500.

            I'm sure you can find places that cheap, but I doubt that they're no less than super-rare. All my friends live in the city for years, and I've never even heard of rent that cheap unless it was

            • Lastly, NYC can NOT be traversed in the time u mention. Hell, I had a co-worker long time ago who lived in the Village and had a 45 minute commute (using a quick 1 train ride) to Wall St. So unless you live right next to work, you are "commuting" in Manhattan as well.

              Dude, was your co-worker commuting on horse-and-carriage? You can *walk* from both the East Village and West Village to Wall St. in less than 45 minutes. I would regularly travel from the top of the Upper West Side down to the East Village and that would take only 45 minutes.

              Haha, maybe. :) I'm just going by what she told me. 45 minutes, with a train ride. Don't forget Wall St is pretty big. Walking 45 min to the beginning of Wall *area* by the Seaport *maybe*. But I gotta call you out on walking from the Upper West to the East village. No way, train or walk, did you make it in 45 minutes.

              When I said I traveled from the Upper West Side to the East Village, I meant by train. I did this at least twice a week for a year. I lived on 103rd and Broadway (until last month) - just take the 1 to 96th st., hop on the 2/3 (express) to 14th st then transfer to the L to get to 1st avenue in the East Village. My gf lived on 11th and 1st and my trip never took longer than 45 mins, often it would be quicker if I was lucky with the trains.

              And of course you know, 1 bedrooms start at $3,200/mo

              In a luxury apartment building (i.e. gym, door and laundry service, concierge, rooftop garden), yes, that's about right. However in places like the East Village - which is considered quite expensive in Manhattan standards - most decent one-bedroom places go for around $2200 and you can pick up a two-bedroom for $2500.

              I'm sure you can find places that cheap, but I doubt that they're no less than super-rare. All my friends live in the city for years, and I've never even heard of rent that cheap unless it was for a shitty walk-up studio. And it's the East Village. Who wants to live there? It's not close to anything. Part of why people live in NYC to live within walking distance to work. It would take 45 minute commute to get anywhere from the E. Village. And no, it's $3,200 for a place with no amenities like you mentioned. And a walk-up. And no doorman. I don't know how you get the places you do, but to all reading this, let me assure you it's not the norm.

              Well as a personal anecdote, I am currently living in a luxury apartme

    • by c0lo (1497653)

      'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' ...

      And a city is "soul-crushing urban sprawl".

      Big difference!

      But... are there many suburban homes with basement?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      totally agree

      I cannot imagine anything more soul crushing that just being reminded that you have no identity, no visibility, and that you are little more than just one of the teeming horde which is exactly how I feel when I am in downtown anywhere. It might help if the cities he mentioned had any soul but I grew up in San Fran and let me tell you, after hours its a ghost town, and at other times of the day it is just a constant reminder of how completely f*ck*d we are as a society. the problem is not wher

      • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Informative)

        by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:00AM (#41204997)

        I grew up in San Fran and let me tell you, after hours its a ghost town,

        Huh? You might want to travel outside a 3-block radius of the Transamerica building.

        • by MightyYar (622222)

          I suspect he grew up either outside San Francisco or in one of the residential areas (like Sunset). Certainly it is a "ghost town" compared to Manhattan, but then people don't live in tightly-packed 35-story buildings either. The Castro certainly isn't dead after hours, whenever they are :)

          • Hey the Sunset is a happening place! 9th and Irving.

            I would expect someone who grew up in the city to figure out how to get from Lake Merced or wherever to the part of town where there is stuff going on. You don't find yourself in the ghost town part of San Francisco by accident--the locals have to work really, really hard to keep fun stuff from infiltrating.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              Forgive my ignorance :) My time in San Francisco is almost entirely as a visitor (my then-girlfriend lived there for 4 years). I never witnessed any "ghost town", except up in the hills of Sunset. But they are equally deserted during the day.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            On weekends, sure. And there used to be clubs open late dotted around. But most of those have been gentrified and during the week even the Haight or the Castro is deadsville after the businesses close. Sure, closing time is later, but they still roll up the sidewalks.

            • by MightyYar (622222)

              But "ghost town" compared to what? The Valley?

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                But "ghost town" compared to what? The Valley?

                Cities that never sleep. I've never been to any of those, but I'm led to believe there's a number of them throughout the world. SF is not one of those; it definitely has a bedtime that only* coffee addicts, eternal partiers, street sweepers, car thieves and crackheads habitually ignore.

                * (Statistically)

        • Around 2009, right after the big recession crash, it really was like that. I was walking near Union Square at "rush hour", and seeing empty streets. The first time I saw that, I asked a cop if there was some emergency or street blockage, and he said no, it's been like this for a few weeks now.

          San Jose was even deader. Very convenient, though; drive downtown, park in empty space in front of building, go in.

          For sheer city deadness, it's hard to beat Cleveland at night.

      • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by IANAAC (692242) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @10:16AM (#41205457)

        It might help if the cities he mentioned had any soul but I grew up in San Fran and let me tell you, after hours its a ghost town, and at other times of the day it is just a constant reminder of how completely f*ck*d we are as a society.

        When I was in my mid-twenties, I moved to SF as a single person. My parents, who lived in the suburban sprawl of Phoenix, AZ, were always worried about me. It was hard for them to imagine that there were vibrant communities throughout the entire city that provided safety for everyone living in the area. In fact, I don't know of a single area in SF proper that there aren't corner stores and eateries that are open past midnight.

        It was also hard for them to realize that it was relatively easy to become friends with owners and other patrons of all these corner spots, and we'd all eventually come to care for each other. If something happened to one of us, the rest of us would inquire what was happening, if there were anything any of us could do, whatever. Of course they couldn't understand that. Suburbs just don't offer that.

        If anything is a ghost town, it's suburban America. But I can assure you, such a compact, diverse city as SF is hardly a ghost town. Growing up in SF, surely you realize that you never had to travel many blocks to find plenty of human activity. If not, you were most likely a shut-in.

    • Re:Soul Crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dkleinsc (563838) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:46AM (#41204955) Homepage

      Well, here's what I think they're after: City centers (assuming there is a city center, not all cities have them), tend to be areas filled with the things that make the city unique: tourist attractions, public artwork, nifty historical architecture, headquarters skyscrapers of well-known businesses, etc. Suburban office parks tend to be identical no matter where you go: big glass boxes, concrete and glass boxes, brick and glass boxes, sometimes some marble veneers on the glass boxes, mixed with a variety of chain restaurants to feed the lunch crowd.

      Another way of looking at it: If you work in a suburban office park, describe how it's different in any significant way from the one portrayed in Office Space.

      • Another way of looking at it: If you work in a suburban office park, describe how it's different in any significant way from the one portrayed in Office Space.

        Wait, urban business don't have cube farms? For me personally, living in a city would be like my entire life is Office Space. Work in a cube, come home to a cube of an apartment. Except that the cube of an apartment is ridiculously expensive.

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          So true. I live right by Manhattan. One bedroom's start at $3,200/mo. But unless you're pulling $120k+, you're stuck with the typical $1,800/mo studio. So you're stuck, in a box. I'd love to work and live in the city. But I can't justify not only paying that much, but paying that much and living in a dorm room.

      • by Jerrry (43027)
        Well, here's what I think they're after: City centers (assuming there is a city center, not all cities have them), tend to be areas filled with the things that make the city unique: tourist attractions, public artwork, nifty historical architecture, headquarters skyscrapers of well-known businesses, etc.

        Yes, but they're also full of bums/beggars, filth, graffiti/grime coated buildings and streets, noise (constant car horns and sirens), congestion, bad smells, crowds, long waits, and many other reasons w
    • by DragonTHC (208439)

      simple. When the VC dollars dry up, at least cities offer hope to newly out of work nerds.
      Office parks in suburban satellites tend to only offer retail and food service opportunities when the large companies crawl out.

    • by Jawnn (445279)

      'Silicon Valley proper is soul-crushing suburban sprawl,' ...

      And a city is "soul-crushing urban sprawl".

      Big difference!

      Big difference yes, but "sprawl" is the antithesis of the dense urban high-rise community. Phoenix, Houston, Colorado Springs, and of course the Silicon Vallery are just a few places that come to mind when community "leaders" reject "restrictive" ideas like community planning. The result is miles and miles of surface streets as the only way to get from place to place, and those places are strip malls and tract homes, interspersed with ugly apartment complexes. Miles and miles and miles... and miles of them.

  • Soul-crushing? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by darjen (879890) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:40AM (#41204929)

    I grew up in midwest suburbs, and I don't think my childhood was "soul crushing". If you don't like the suburbs, well that's fine. You are welcome to not live there. But I just don't get the hateful crusade against them. I personally enjoyed having a decent sized yard as a kid.

    • We were lucky (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      But I just don't get the hateful crusade against them. I personally enjoyed having a decent sized yard as a kid

      "Decent sized yard" is the key. Many, all too many, suburbs don't have greenspace (parks and other places to play) or if they do they are driving distance for most kids. In my suburban neighborhood, the yards are on half acre or less plots, the nearest park is 5 miles away, and the kids have really no where to play outside; so they stay indoors playing video games and getting obese.

      When developers build a subdivision in suburbia, they put as many homes in the development as they can to maximize their profi

    • Re:Soul-crushing? (Score:5, Informative)

      by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:27AM (#41205097)

      There are suburbs and there are suburbs.

      Evanston, IL, is a pre-WWII suburb where you can take the El into Chicago, and can walk to the park, to the grocery store, to a restaurant, to a bookstore. There is a mix of detached single-family homes and apartment buildings.

      The suburb where I grew up in California is 30 miles outside of Sacramento. You can walk to... well you can walk to another house. If you want to go anywhere else, you have to drive. Most people commute more than 45 minutes to work. There is a mix of large detached single-family homes and larger detached single-family homes. (Because the locals will scream bloody murder if anyone attempts to build apartment buildings. Something about "property values" and making the community accessible to skeezy people such as singles, childless couples, and people who can't qualify for a mortgage.)

      If you grew up in a suburb like Evanston, I understand where you're coming from. If you grew up in a place like I did and loved it, I must conclude you do not have a soul to be crushed.

      • by vlm (69642)

        For my own education please elaborate on how

        you have to drive

        automagically translates to

        soul to be crushed.

        Something really weird and bad must be happening to some of you people when you sit in a car, thats never happened to me so I can't relate. Driving my car is not like those idiotic car commercials where its always a joyride in a empty nature preserve and when I park I'm instantly surrounded by supermodels, but driving is not that awful of a soul crushing experience, either. The drive is frankly not very important or noteworthy compared

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Something really weird and bad must be happening to some of you people when you sit in a car, thats never happened to me so I can't relate.

          You have to sit on your ass in in a massive air conditioned box just to get anywhere. Then when you get there, you have to circle around the massive parking lot to find a spot, possible battling it out with some asshole who decided to cut in line in front of you. Then you haul your groceries out to the car, sit down for another 20-30 minutes, get cut off by *another* asshole on the freeway. Maybe you pull over to a Starbucks, where park again, wait in line for some sugar-drenched coffee.

          Compare to:

          I walk ou

          • You have to sit on your ass in in a massive air conditioned box just to get anywhere. Then when you get there, you have to circle around the massive parking lot to find a spot, possible battling it out with some asshole who decided to cut in line in front of you

            Just for the record - if you pick a distant corner of the parking lot and park there, this is never a problem. Plus you get a little extra walking into your day.

        • driving is not that awful of a soul crushing experience, either. The drive is frankly not very important or noteworthy compared to the destination.

          It's not the driving, so much as it is all the stuff that has to be wiped out to make room for huge freeways and parking lots. But it's also the driving. When you have a highly populated area where everyone drives, you get sprawl, and with sprawl comes longer commutes. It is not uncommon to have longer than an hour commute in the Bay Area. Two hours a day in traf

        • Re:Soul-crushing? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by suomynonAyletamitlU (1618513) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @11:11AM (#41205775)

          I can't speak for the adult experience of living in a suburb, but as a child growing up there, "You have to drive to get anywhere" means "Unless you're friends with the neighbors or have a car, there is nothing to do."

          I didn't get my driver's license until I was about 18, which means that if I wanted to go somewhere, I was begging friends or family for a ride. I perhaps could have gotten on my bike and rode a half hour through traffic, without sidewalks or bike lanes (I have a few times, uncomfortably; also, this was Texas, where temperatures are often 100+ in the summer) to get to a small variety of stores, but I couldn't get, for example, to the mall, or a decently interesting strip mall.

          And asking parents for a ride...? They commuted an hour each day to get to their jobs and were not terribly interested in jumping in the car just to satisfy my boredom. It probably would have been easier if I'd had older friends, but I didn't.

          Everywhere I wanted to be and everyone I wanted to be with I couldn't reach without begging someone and potentially making them upset. So yes, I would say it crushed my soul a bit.

        • by PPH (736903)

          For my own education please elaborate on how

          you have to drive

          automagically translates to

          soul to be crushed.

          Well, if you live in Seattle, that's done by design.

          The local politicians in a conspiracy with downtown developers and car-haters have made traffic hell. It has gotten so bad that the commute from one of its major suburbs to the East (across two floating bridges) reversed about a decade or so ago. Now, people leave the city for jobs on the East side (Microsoft, Google and others). And the highway department (under pressure from Seattle politicians) has never switched the reversible lanes to reflect the rea

          • Goddamn you are stupid. People like you arguing against useful improvements have held back Seattle's transit system (generically, including cars) for at least a decade (my history doesn't go back too far, it may be a lot longer). And the next thing in line, the boondoggle know as the tunnel, does nothing except bypass downtown, and not in a useful way even. I'd sit and argue more, but I have better things to do today.

        • by MogNuts (97512)

          Haha you're kinda right. I'm just laughing having spent almost half of my life driving in a car.

          You must live in a suburban area where everything is close. Here in NJ, to go ANYWHERE, it's a minimum 30 minute drive. With soul-crushing traffic. It's all the congestion of a city, with none of the benefits.

          But you are right, for the first 20 minutes, driving really is a pleasure. I love rolling down the windows, opening the panoramic sunroff, and listening to my music.

        • Driving is one of the least pleasant things I do on a regular basis. The other being interacting with Boeing's Day One account system. Ew.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        You make it sound like eliminating people more prone to breaking into your house or preventing large, ugly tenements from entering your area is a bad thing. I get how the spread makes suburbs sort of cultural wastelands, but honestly, there has to be a better solution to a cultural problem than increasing your crime rate and turning it into an ugly, smelly concrete jungle.

        Personally, I don't mind driving 40 minutes to get to a metro area for some culture if it means that I can leave the bad parts behind wh

        • there has to be a better solution to a cultural problem than increasing your crime rate and turning it into an ugly, smelly concrete jungle.

          At what point did I describe Evanston, IL as a crime-ridden, ugly, smelly concrete jungle? It's a nice suburb where you can have your car and your yard but it's also not too sprawly. Problem is we don't build them like that any more.

      • Re:Soul-crushing? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by MogNuts (97512) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @02:42PM (#41207231)

        You are right. There are suburbs and there are suburbs. I live in a suburb that is almost country if you will. Lots of space, 1 acre lots, and next to towns that have a lot of stuff to do. But there are also suburbs right next to me where you literally see your neighbors bathroom window from yours. And a patch of grass is your lawn. So poster below you is right too.

        Back to topic though, shame on the WSJ for this article. This isn't some BS blog. This is the WSJ, who is supposed to give great business insights. They mention NYC as a spot. However, look at the companies:

        Pinterest: BS social networking site that won't be in business in 2-3 years.
        Yelp: no growth, but won't be out of business either.
        Zynga: bankrupt in 2-3 years.

        Salesforce is the only company with any prospects, stability, or growth. The WSJ should state that yes, companies are coming to cities. But they should also state that what will employees do when their BS companies go bust and they are left with a $4000/mo apartment to pay for. And the fact that these are all startups. What happens when they realize, like the banks are doing (all moving out of NYC), that the city is fucking expensive. Like just a floor in a building is fifty-fucking-thousand dollars a month in rent! Yea, you heard me. It may be trendy, but in 3-5 years they will all say "screw it" and move out to Piscataway, NJ where the industrial parks are.

        And again, this is the WSJ. They should mention that in NO WAY will these startups pay the salaries commensurate with living in NYC. A shitty one bedroom is $3,200/mo! Not only will the the companies rent costs be insane, but the salaries will have to be MINIMUM $120k/year. The WSJ should really mention this.

        Look, I'm sure this was a fluff piece by the WSJ. But the WSJ should really know better.

  • by vlm (69642) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:42AM (#41204941)

    Drawn by amenities

    Locally the only amenity offered by "the big city" over the suburbs is incredibly low rent because no one wants to work there. Crippling decaying infrastructure, one of the worst ranked school systems in the nation (no one between 25-50 wants to live here unless they're rich enough for private schools), extremely high crime, police don't respond to anyone not actively bleeding or shooting (that was weird to discover), one of the most racially segregated cities in the North (burbs are much more multicultural, weird but true), no parking so only locals are allowed, filthy, crippling tax/license/fee burdens, larger scale corruption in govt (note the burbs are almost as corrupt, just not quite as big). So why would anyone voluntarily work there? Oh, I see, rents are about a tenth the cost of equivalent rent in the burbs, assuming you can find burb space at similar level of squalor.

    Don't ague that world class cities are better than my "top 20 city". World class cities are surrounded by world class suburbs, so Again the only reason to locate in the city is low rents.

    There are exceptions where there are pretty good high rent locations squashed up against water features. They don't matter, less than 1% of the population lives and works there. For the 99% of the remaining population, the big cities suck.

    • by superdude72 (322167) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:12AM (#41205039)

      I just have to make sure... you're talking about San Francisco, right? I lived there for more than a decade and never felt particularly unsafe, so I'm not sure what city you're talking about with this "extremely high crime."

      no parking so only locals are allowed

      This seems to be what your complaint really boils down to. Just take transit. Eventually you might find you prefer a 20-minute bus ride to an hour commute from some soul-crushing suburb, and you will start to appreciate the urban amenities that are available to you that are impossible for a car-dependent suburb to offer.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        This seems to be what your complaint really boils down to. Just take transit. Eventually you might find you prefer a 20-minute bus ride to an hour commute from some soul-crushing suburb, and you will start to appreciate the urban amenities that are available to you that are impossible for a car-dependent suburb to offer.

        You had me until this nonsense. The public transportation system in SF is shit. Not only is it dirty and peopled with smelly dirtmerchants, and I say this as someone who has probably been described that way at least once (I wear Tevas, sue me) but it is also patently useless unless you are a paraplegic and the alternative is trying to roll yourself up hills. When I lived there I could drive to work including parking in fifteen minutes or take bus, light rail, and a bus for over an hour.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by MisterSquid (231834)

          When I lived there I could drive to work including parking in fifteen minutes or take bus, light rail, and a bus for over an hour.

          If you're telling the truth, your data/anecdote is of times past because there is nowhere in SF you can drive and park in 15 minutes that would take over an hour by public transit. To be honest, your story doesn't pass the smell test.

          But disregarding that, I think what many SF commuters overlook is the speed of foot power.

          I used to walk 25 minutes one-way to work. One of my co-workers was surprised I'd walk from Polk Gulch to the Financial District. He kept remarking how far that was. I could have taken pub

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Of course my anecdote is in the past. I used past tense, right?

            I think what many SF commuters overlook is the speed of foot power.

            Yes, I would have been able to walk the route in under an hour, probably, and should have done. I was in a lazy, depressed phase. Now I'm just lazy.

      • by tnk1 (899206)

        Having been on buses and mass transit, I would very much prefer the hour commute to the 20 minute bus ride. And it seems to me that people keep saying that the commute or whatever is soul-crushing, but I don't feel particularly crushed. About the only time it is even sort of like that is rush hour traffic, and even then, that's just like mass transit in the city, except on the Interstate, I can be annoyed in my own air-conditioned car playing my own music and thinking my own thoughts, while in the city, I

    • by MightyYar (622222) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:44AM (#41205227)

      San Francisco and New York are what we are talking about here, not Detroit or wherever you are referring to. Internet companies are NOT moving in droves to Detroit or Cleveland or whatever.

    • Low rents? Is there truly lower rent in large cities across the US?

      That's certainly not the case in San Francisco (unless you're under rent control), and especially not for businesses. In San Francisco, you not only get filth, falsified lowered crime statistics, and a broken infrastructure, but you also get sky high rent. One could argue that the folks under rent control pay little, but it's not like anyone under rent control is ever to give up their apartments, so that just increases the scarcity and the r

    • Locally the only amenity offered by "the big city" over the suburbs is incredibly low rent because no one wants to work there.

      Google a map of real estate prices/rent for any of these "thriving" cities. You are wrong. I mean provably wrong.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @08:44AM (#41204949)
    I've always wondered about that lol. Why are the tech companies almost always attracted to areas with exceptionally high cost of living? Must be something I'm missing.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:01AM (#41205007)

      Those areas have high costs of living BECAUSE they are attractive! People don't bust their ass at Stanford and MIT so they can live in North Dakota. If you want the best talent you have to be in place where the best talent wants to be. People from elite schools aren't interested in living in some hill billy backwater just so they can save 3% on sales tax or some other pissant shit low income tea party losers whine about. My guess is you've never lived in a world class city before.

      • by alen (225700)

        Young kids love to be packed into apartments they share with roommates and spend all their money on going out to eat and partying

    • Raleigh, NC (RTP) being the exception, which is why a lot of tech companies move here.

      Before anyone chimes in with redneck jokes, let me assure you that Raleigh/Cary is full of transplants. I go days at a time without hearing a southern accent. Living in Raleigh/Cary is nothing like the "typical south", as people like to call it.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      other way around.. attractive places have high cost of living, because, gosh, people want to live there and there's a limited supply.

      Compare the weather somewhere like La Jolla/UCSD to Baltimore/JHU. If you were a researcher, you'll probably spend your time in the lab, but when you do emerge, it's generally a heck of a lot nicer in La Jolla than B'more.

      Last month, they had several thousand people outside at 10PM watching MSL land. Could you reliably plan such an event anywhere else in the U.S.? In the su

    • by MogNuts (97512)

      I know. See my post elsewhere here. But this WSJ was shit. What company in their right mind would give up paying employees less, paying less rent for an office, and getting tax breaks for setting up shop at the location, for the cities. I'm from NJ, and all the banks are moving OUT of the city for that very reason. Everything is done over computers now. They don't need the locations. And tech companies don't need it AT ALL. The WSJ should really mention this. And even from the employee's perspective, why mo

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      I went to college so I wouldnt have to live in a place like texas.

  • Really the only important thing is who your neighbors are. Ideally they'll be as libertarian as yourself. Doesn't really matter whether they are social or conservative as both understand that people need to be able to live their private lives without undue government interance. You know the type I mean, the ones who don't give a shit if you smoke pot or have five spouses. The people who want to control what you do on your own time are authoritarians. A libertarian's only concern is that you both look after

  • by Kergan (780543) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @09:08AM (#41205031)

    Krugman wrote a similar prediction back in the y2k special issue of the NYT:

    Here again, there were straws in the wind. At the beginning of the 1990s, there was much speculation about which region would become the center of the burgeoning multimedia industry. Would it be Silicon Valley? Los Angeles? By 1996 the answer was clear; the winner was ... Manhattan, whose urban density favored the kind of close, face-to-face interaction that turned out to be essential.

    http://mit.edu/krugman/www/BACKWRD2.html [mit.edu]

  • Just skimming the comments here I can see that there are all kinds of opinion on this. Some folks are city people, some are not. Personally, I have never lived or worked in a city. I live and work in the Boston suburbs. The suburbs here are not exactly as 'sprawling' as those around larger cities in warmer climates. Office parks with high tech jobs follow all the ring roads around Boston. You can easily find a place to live near them, so that any supposed sprawl doesn't have to affect your daily life
  • Define "Sprawl."

    Is it perhaps the commute or the schools or the restaurants or the parks or the entertainment or the museums or the cost of housing or the type of housing or the transportation or the opportunities or the je ne sais qua that determines where one wants to work?

    • by MightyYar (622222)

      "Sprawl" to me means largely unplanned ad-hoc development. No through-streets, so all the developments dump onto congested main roads. Poor conditions for pedestrians, and terrible public transit, so you have to drive everywhere. Little or no public space, and when it does exist it is just as ad-hoc as the other development.

      Older suburbs are a bit less sprawly, if only because they were originally developed by railroad companies and so have sidewalks, small downtowns, and often still have an operating commu

  • Cool.
  • by russotto (537200) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @10:30AM (#41205551) Journal

    I work at the Port of New York Authority building, and I'd much rather my job were in some soul-less office park in the suburbs. The choices for housing in the NYC area are to rent in a shoebox in Manhattan for insanely high prices, rent a slightly larger place in Hoboken, Jersey City, Queens or Brooklyn for also insanely high prices (and have a relatively long subway commute), or to buy in the suburbs (also insanely costly) and have a ridiculously long commute (1hr+, whether Long Island or New Jersey). I'm not a city person, I need some space. My wife is an artist, she needs some space to work. I'm not so interested in "nightlife" (#1, I'm married, so the payoff isn't there. #2, I'm a geek, so it never was)

    I think there's two main reasons the tech companies are mostly going to cities. One is an ideological attraction to cities and antipathy to suburbs on the part of management. The other is an attraction to cities (particularly including New York and San Francisco) on the part of new grads; when you're competing for Ivy League CS grads, an office in Putnam County, NY or Eureka, IN just isn't going to cut it.

    • by ornil (33732)

      I live in the Silicon Valley, and I had a choice of moving to NYC, and chose not to. Basically for the same reason - not a great place to raise a family. In the valley, your huge companies aren't all on top of each other and their employees aren't always competing over the same one-mile-radius from the center. You have Google in Mountain View, Apple in Cupertino, Yahoo in Santa Clara, Facebook in Menlo Park, etc. That makes commutes saner and housing cheaper. And each of these cities has its own little "cul

  • by plurgid (943247) on Sunday September 02, 2012 @12:22PM (#41206171)

    everyone I work with is a telecommuter.
    everyone. for the past 7 years or so.
    some of them are in Europe, some of them are in America, some of them are in Australia, and some of them are in India.
    they are all in their homes, which may or may not be in a city, I don't really know because it doesn't matter in the slightest.

    and no, I don't work for some spiky hair'd startup hipster magnet.
    I work at one of the biggest companies in the world.

    this is how the future will be.

    • by downhole (831621)

      It might work in some cases, but I'm just a bit skeptical that telecommuting is the future for all jobs. Anything involving hardware, for one. Even if it's all software and documents, between time zones, poor quality conference calls, and text-based communications, there are some things that are just hopelessly inefficient if you can't actually get all of the people together in the same physical room.

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