"Walker isn’t claiming here to have put his finger on a great indictment of the Google Bus. But this property-assessment map in particular raises another issue: it’s clear that the entire city is becoming less affordable, even those places where tech workers can’t live within walking distance of their commuter shuttles. ‘I think it’s an important thing to point out,’ Walker says. Still, rising property values – at least by this metric – are particularly prevalent in the neighborhoods served by these buses.
Here is Walker’s take: ’The shuttles are accelerating the process of gentrification that was already happening. There is a feedback loop. The tech workers are attracted to neighborhoods that are nice, but by moving there en masse, they are feeding into these affluent clusters in the city and making them even more unattainable for the median earner, or for people who are struggling.’
That theory is likely closer to the truth. Inconveniently, it supports neither the simple claim that tech shuttles are the cause of all this change, nor the blanket defense that San Francisco can only stand to benefit from an influx of the people who ride them.”
The 4,000 inmates at Santa Rita Jail in the San Francisco Bay Area have an unusual home. The Alameda County facility boasts a microgrid, a self-contained power system consisting of a 1.2-megawatt rooftop solar array, five wind turbines generating 11.2 kilowatts, a one-megawatt fuel cell, and two megawatts worth of batteries to store all that energy.
That makes Santa Rita perhaps the world’s greenest modern jail, according to a discussion at a recent conference. It, and other large-scale infrastructure projects like it, are another sign that institutions are beginning to pull the plug on a century-old energy business model in which a monopoly utility sells electricity at a regulated rate for a regulated profit to captive customers. “We’re saving a $100,000 a year while generating our own renewable energy,” Matt Muniz, Alameda County’s energy program manager, said of the facility at a recent conference in San Francisco.
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[Images: Megan Garber]