Saturday, December 5
Social Conditioning and the Corporate Campus
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Social Conditioning and the Corporate Campus

By Sharon Simonson For the urbanist, the Apple Inc. campus being built in Silicon Valley is a tragedy: a 176-acre tear in the community fabric delineated with security fencing and destined to last. For the architectural historian, it is that plus a reminder: The stark separations in land use that characterize most of modern America have had — and have — purposes of people separation too. “(Apple, Google and Facebook) have created these closed enclaves where you have only badged access. It’s not exclusive in race or age or economics, or by intent to have a homogenous population, but it does create these prestigious enclaves where they control the access." Bryant Rice, business and workplace-design consultant  Despite its futuristic design and association with one of the world’s most r...
Economists: Google Garbles ‘Diversity’ Discussion
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Economists: Google Garbles ‘Diversity’ Discussion

By Sharon Simonson The ethnic and racial profile of Mountain View-based Google Inc.’s workforce is an irrelevant measure of the wrong metric premised on a weakly defined attribute, say the chair of the San Jose State University economics department and a labor-market expert at Cornell University. The search engine, advertising and invention-driven company released a demographic profile on May 28 showing that 61 percent of its U.S. workforce is white and another 30 percent is Asian. Seventy percent of its workers worldwide are men. “Google is not where it wants to be when it comes to diversity,” wrote Laszlo Bock, senior vice president of people operations for Google, in a blog post where he released the data. Bock does not indicate what demographic makeup would satisfy his company. H...
Bloomin’ ‘Burbs
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Bloomin’ ‘Burbs

By Sharon Simonson New residents settling in the East Bay suburbs and exurbs are leading regional population growth, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Of 20 Bay Area cities, Pleasanton and Brentwood were the fastest growing at 2.7 percent from July 2012 to July 2013. Pleasanton neighbor Livermore; Brentwood neighbors Antioch and Pittsburg; and Walnut Creek helped complete the top 10 fastest. San Jose, the region’s largest suburb, also appears to have turned a corner. The self-named Capital of Silicon Valley added not quite 16,000 people, making it the country’s 11th fastest-growing city on a numeric basis. San Jose’s 1.6 percent growth rate was its fastest in three years. The Bay Area trends echo national trends reported May 22 by The Wall Street Journal bas...
Afghan Sisters in Silicon Valley
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Afghan Sisters in Silicon Valley

By Sharon Simonson SANTA CLARA, Calif.—As young children, Afghan sisters Hasina and Somaya Qaderi scampered through dusty streets once shared by soldiers under command of Alexander the Great. In their native Herat, an enormous citadel built in the early 14th century still occupies the same site as Alexander’s fort. The citadel's turreted walls rise high and stern from the central hilltop, a weighty symbol of the 2,500 years of civilized history that underlie the modern city’s expression. Herat is 7,500 miles from the suburban Santa Clara ranch home that the women now own and share with their parents. Even that enormous distance doesn’t measure the intellectual, psychological and emotional chasm that the sisters have leapt in the last 12 years, and in some ways since their births. The ...
Fertile Valley
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Fertile Valley

By Sharon Simonson Known first as the world's information technology and innovation hub, Silicon Valley and its people are much more. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly four in 10 valley residents were born in another country, and the citizenry is among the nation's most racially, culturally and ethnically diverse. From 1990 to 2010, more than 20 million people from other countries settled in the United States—more even than the crush of European immigrants who came in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, 40 million American residents were born elsewhere, the highest absolute count in the nation's history and the highest proportion—one in eight—since 1920. Silicon Valley's population has been among those most changed. Since 1990, the number of foreign-born residents ...