In this narrative progression from marginalized identity to predominant position of power, we find the nucleus of Silicon Valley’s mythology: Nerds win. Yet what this mythology has been very good at obscuring, through ritualistic repetition of the revenge narratives of white, male founders, is how deeply racialized the narrative is. Not all nerds are entitled to equal portions of revenge.
There’s not enough resentment toward Silicon Valley. I say that while acknowledging the dripping anger that pervades everyday life in the Bay Area. This was at its most visible during last year’s massive protests against the Google Bus—a metonym for the extensive network of imposing, privately chartered buses that use public stops to pick up and transport tech workers 40-some miles from San Francisco to their offices on the peninsula. These tensions have arisen in response to skyrocketing housing prices and community displacement—both direct consequences of the influx of Silicon Valley money and the regulatory capture of local governments. Some San Franciscans do not wish to live in a suburb of Palo Alto.
BELOW, you will find our preliminary organizing principles and research questions into the project on the Silicon Valley green economy. CLICK here for more information about this project at the Center for Community Innovation and the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley.
* Research Questions
aaronwilcher AT gmail DOT com (Aaron Wilcher, MCP student researcher)
smontero AT berkekey DOT edu (Sergio Montero, MCP student researcher)
Research Questions: Silicon Valley’s Economic History and Innovation Assets
* Social Networks (see Saxenian, Castells, Rhee, and Joint Ventures annual reports)
–leadership organizations and associations (Joint Ventures, SV Leadership Group [formerly Manufacturing Group]), American Leadership Forum
–industry associations (see Saxenian, 1994)
–community organizing groups (People Acting in Community Together PACT)
–labor groups: South Bay Labor Council and Working Partnerships
–nonprofit and volunteer associations
* Industrial Development (Saxenian, 2 books; see also Walker, Rhee, and Benner; Castells, Pincetl)
–How did flex-spec evolve and diversify? Where does the Valley stand in relation to broader national and international materialist developments in industrial production practices: social networks, spinoffs, flexible employment? With what cities does it share economic-industrial development practices? (see O’Mara’s current work: Bangalore, Shenzhen, Silicon Valley)
* Labor Markets (see Benner, Zlolniski, Pitti, Alarcon, and Saxenian)
–evolution of flex spec and polarized income-wealth distribution
–migration patterns international and domestic-regional
–visa labor markets and illicit markets
–industrial relations: while high tech emerged unorganized, Working Partnerships has led some innovative policy initiatives and been a power broker in the Valley
* Geographic Factors (Spatial Political Economy) (see O’Mara, Matthews, Winner, Findlay, Pitti, Trounstein and Christensen, Rhee, esp. Ch. 4; in general, see Pincetl; see land use reports from the SVLG and Joint Ventures annual reports)
–Political economy of land use
–Stanford’s networks and the political economy of “cities of knowledge”
–in the context of the rise of the Sunbelt
–evolution of economic development factors
–Identify political regimes and their impact on land use and economic development (see especially Trounstein and Christensen; Rhee, Walker 2002, O’Mara)
* Economic Development and Regulatory Contexts (Pincetl, Saxenian, O’Mara)
–crossover with political economy of landuse and development, but specifically, how did city and state policy affect the economic development climate?
–“good business climate”?
–What kinds of policies lay the groundwork for “green economic development”?
–with whom has the Silicon Valley competed and with whom is it now competing (see O’Mara’s current work: Bangalore, Shenzhen, Silicon Valley)
–How have/will regional consumer practices influenced/been influenced by
* Environmental History (see David Pellow, Pincetl, Walker)
–the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition; Superfund sites
–how has the interaction of EJ, environmentalists, federal cleanup, and business corrections and abuses affected the political economic context for developing a green economy?
* Education Institutional Framework (see Saxenian, O’Mara, Walker, 2002; Findlay)
–community colleges, state colleges and research universities, Stanford
–How were these institutions both power brokers in the political economy of land use, but also engines for economic development with employment-education agreements?
* Finance Capital (see Saxenian, Castells)
–how did VC evolve and what did its presence do for the evolution of the Valley
–Can we place this VC market in the context of other global knowledge cities? How might these relationships change? How do these investment patterns model other places? Who are the players and what are their portfolios? Are the major finance brokers betting on other places? If so, how?
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Matthews, Glenna. Silicon Valley, Women, and the California Dream: Gender, Class, and Opportunity in the Twentieth Century. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press, 2003.
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Zlolniski, Christian. Janitors, Street Vendors, and Activists: The Lives of Mexican Immigrants in Silicon Valley. 1st ed. University of California Press, 2006.
Bay Area Alliance for Sustainable Communities
Building Partnerships USA
BVN San Jose 1975-2006
b l a n c a ~ a l v a r a d o
California Redevelopment Association
Central Valley Partnership
CJTC — The Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community
Conference Program SJSU Immigration Conference
Enter the World of Eichler Design
green planning facilitation education
Institute for the Study of Social Change (ISSC) UC Berkeley
Interview with Ted Smith SV Toxics Book
Joint Ventures: The Index of Silicon Valley
Leadership Institute | Urban Habitat
Manuel Pastor Presentations in pdf
Margaret O’Mara – Home
Mysteries of the Region Knowledge Dynamics in the SV Paul Duguid
Oanh Ha won a 2003 award for reporting on Mayfair
Professor Langdon Winner – Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Resources : SV Modern | Celebrating the Silicon Valley’s Mid-Century Past
San Jose Redevelopment Agency
San Jose Underbelly Cool historic al photos
Santa Clara County Archives – County Clerk-Recorder (DEP)
SiLiCoN vAlLeY dE-bUg
Silicon Valley Community Foundation – Publications & Research
Silicon Valley Council of Nonprofits
Silicon Valley History
Silicon Valley History
Silicon Valley History Online
Silicon Valley Local History Resources
Silicon Valley Online: Silicon Valley Economic Development Alliance
Silicon Valley Prospector: Economic Development Available sites, buildings, demographics, businesses and GIS mapping–
Silicon Valley Workforce Investment Network, connecting job seekers and businesses.
South Bay AFL-CIO Labor Council
Stanford Silicon Valley Archives
Sustainable Silicon Valley
SVTC: Silicon Valley Toxic Tour
The Regional Advantage of the Silicon Valley and Its History
Thrive Alliance of San Mateo County Nonprofits
Transweb – Mineta Transportation Institute
UC berkeley Labor Center Leadership Schools
UCB Guides to City & Regional Planning Research
University of Minnesota Syllabus on Silicon Valley History
Working Partnerships USA
Working Partnerships USA Reports
The history of the Silicon Valley was wrought by the bulldozer. Here is a 1954 conversion of a field into the Palo Alto Shopping Center on the Stanford Campus.
In July, the CSA steering committee voted to hold our next conference at De Anza College in Cupertino, CA, likely sometime in April, though the date has not been finalized.
The conference theme will focus broadly on an alternate vision of the Silicon Valley, an attempt to orient the official boosterist narrative of the entreprenuerial region toward the history, culture, and politics of the local communities in the Valley. The conference will bring together scholars, activists, non-profit professionals, and government officials to discuss the political economy of the Valley in the historical and cultural context of California.
The conference co-chairs are,
Mae Lee, PhD, professor of intercultural studies at De Anza College and co-director of the Asian Pacific American Leadership Institute, who is conducting a study about political formations of Asian Americans in the Silicon Valley. Contact leemae@
Tom Izu, executive director of the California History Center and Foundation, located on the De Anza campus. Contact izutom@
Also on the conference organizing committee are,
Cynthia Kaufman, PhD, a professor of philosophy at De Anza and author of the book Ideas for Action: Relevant Theory for Radical Change. Contact kaufmancynthia@
Nari Rhee, PhD, post-doctoral researcher at the Institute for Research on Labor and Education at UC Berkeley, who has written a dissertation on labor history and politics in the Silicon Valley. Contact nari@
Aaron Wilcher, MA, instructor of Humanities at De Anza College and a master’s student in the Dept. of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, who is working on a study of politics and built space in the Valley. Contact aaronwilcher@
From Tamon Norimoto, Asian Americans for Community Involvement
“Please join us to learn about how the South Bay labor movement is helping working families in the service sector fight for economic justice and how you and your job in Corporate Cubicle Company can affect the implementation of progressive labor policies. Labor activism in the Silicon Valley looks very different then you think – our panelists will share real life stories about why and how they got involved in the labor movement and what difference it’s making in all of our lives. Their stories about standing up and fighting for respect will inspire you in the most unexpected ways.”
Thursday, July 10, 2008
7pm – 9pm – (Registration opens at 6:30pm)
Ironworkers Hall- South Bay Labor Council
2102 Almaden Road, Room 110
San Jose CA 95125 view map
To RSVP, please visit our Evite
Donations support refreshments, room rental, misc costs, and fee waivers.
Recommended donation for program and food: $10 – $20
No one will be turned away for lack of funds.